I have yet to see a photograph of a baby dressed in split pants, with a sign propped next to her boldly announcing the three Chinese characters that form her name. I have yet to share in the joy of referrals with others in our DTC group. I have yet to see a light at the end of our tunnel. Yet, I still believe.
I believe because I have faith.
Whether you are Christian or not, it takes Great Faith to believe that China continues to move along with its international adoption program, albeit at a snail’s pace. It takes Great Faith to cling to the thought of one day meeting a child who will become your daughter or son. It takes Great Faith to trust in God’s will and timing.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
We, I, being human, often blur the lines between faith and personal rights.
China doesn’t owe me anything. God doesn’t owe me anything. In fact, if the truth were told, I owe everything to God and to the country of China for allowing me to parent the one beautiful, vivacious daughter who currently fills my life with laughter and our little corner of the world with mischief. (Most recently, she upended an entire bucket of water onto poor Posies head. Sigh.)
Yet, I’m struggling with anger right now as well as a tremendous sense of impatience. It shames me to admit that because I don’t have a right to these emotions. God does not owe me anything, not even parenthood, whether through birth or adoption. I am not entitled to adopt from China; I am privileged to apply. And, a child born halfway around the world does not deserve to experience abandonment just so that I can mother her.
It’s difficult for others outside of the adoption world to truly understand how it feels to wait during the adoption process. It’s similar to being two months pregnant, only that single moment in time lasts for years and years. You still haven’t quite reached “the safe period,” so you hesitate about sharing the news, since you don’t know what the future holds. It’s too early to set up the nursery, yet you need to plan for it, so you dream and wait. You aren’t visibly pregnant, yet your emotions often take you on a roller coaster ride, so you struggle to live life as you did before. Things get put on hold because you make statements like, “well, we won’t be able to do that because the baby might be here by then.” And, because it’s an adoption, instead of a pregnancy, your due date constantly pushes back further and further and further.
It’s difficult to wait.
This past weekend the Husband and I worked for hours in our garden: pruning, weeding, even widening one of our flower beds. I spent quite some time puttering with my roses. We have several rose bushes, but the ones most people notice are the two largest. The first sits in the front yard, along the walkway leading to our front door. It blooms with gorgeous, fragrant red roses. The bush in our backyard next to the herb garden blooms with smaller, pale peach and less fragrant roses. While I worked with these two plants, I remembered something my friend Lizard once called to my attention.
If you look closely, you’ll see there exist less obvious differences between our two rose bushes. And, if you grab hold of a stem from each plant, you will learn of their differences painfully.
Our red rose bush sports the most wicked thorns I’ve ever personally handled. Our peach rose bush? It hardly contains any thorns at all. I can cut this bush back without even bothering to wear gardening gloves. Lizard, a former florist, once told me that you can predict how large the blooms will be by looking at the thorns . . . the larger the thorns, the larger the roses.
The larger the thorns, the larger the roses.
The larger the bumps in the road, the larger the blessings.
I learned this lesson already with the Tongginator. I truly did. Now, perhaps my thorns, at least this time around, aren’t the actual adoption process and wait, as I initially believed. Perhaps, this time, the thorns are in my soul. Perhaps God is using this long wait (25 months today) to teach me the true meaning of faith: hope without entitlement and patience without anger.
What are you waiting for? And, more importantly, what are you learning during your season of waiting?
Although Tonggu Momma wrote this post over 2 years ago, she continues to learn God-sized lessons during her season of waiting. She and her family now have been officially waiting to adopt from China for 4 years, 3 months, 5 days, and 6 hours. Not that she’s counting or anything. (And see??? She DOES need this lesson from the Lord.) They expect to receive a referral sometime this winter and to travel to meet and bring home their newly adopted child 1 to 2 months after that. Tonggu Momma knows that her long-awaited second child will be worth the wait! And that her now 6-year-old Tongginator will make an awesome big sister! Follow along as they prepare to travel to China to meet their new child at her personal blog Our Little Tongginator. She also writes at the group adoption blog Grown In My Heart and the China-adoption special needs program advocacy blog No Hands But Ours because sometimes children adopted through the nonspecial needs program have special needs too. Just ask her daughter, the Tongginator.