July 06, 2013

One Thing

Our adoption is especially on our minds lately.  Partly because we just had our big annual sale. Partly because a big contribution to the craziness I mentioned in the previous post is that it is time to update our home study (which is significantly less involved than the last time, but still requires chasing down a lot of paperwork and a meeting with our social worker in Detroit).  Mostly because, if you remember, we are just passed a significant milestone: 12 months on the waiting list.  

When we went on the list our estimated wait time to be matched was 12 months.  We spent a lot of time dreaming about what this summer would be like, what it would feel like to finally see our children's faces and know their names, how exciting it would be to immerse ourselves in the preparations to travel to meet them and bring them home, and how it would feel to finally have our family be complete.

Of course, I mentioned in the fall that Uganda was experiencing a slow down, and that our time frame was getting longer, but things were still moving...so we didn't anticipate the stand-still that followed.  While our number has changed, it has been because of people going on hold or leaving the program rather than forever families being brought together.  For 8 months, our monthly update e-mail has told us in big, bold letters:
"In the past month we have not matched a family with a child."

I would be lying if I made it sound like it was all good, or the wait is easy, or we are waiting patiently.  Honestly, every month when we scroll down and read that line (we scroll down to check that first, before reading the rest of the e-mail) it feels like being punched in the stomach - for a moment I can't breath, and it hurts, and I feel sick.  And, even though I think every month that I am mentally prepared for no change, each month I realize how much hope I had when I recognize that it hurts more and lasts longer.  Most of the time, we try not to even think about it.  We are not close.  Things are not moving.  That is the reality.  So we will go on with life, and get excited when that reality changes.  But that always ends badly.  Multiple times we have looked at each other recently and said, "I'm done with this."  Not with adopting, but with this feeling of being stuck in limbo.  This constant distraction.  This horrible feeling of being neither here nor there.  This waiting that we suddenly cannot pretend for a minute longer is okay.  We break down and get angry, or sad, or both.   

June was especially difficult.  June, which once was the time we couldn't wait to reach because it would be so full of excitement and answers, was more like reaching an oasis in the desert to discover that it was a mirage and there is only endless sand.  Allie asks me at least weekly when her brothers or sisters will finally be here, and I tell her I don't know only to hear her sigh deeply and say, "This is taking too long," and I struggle to hold back tears as I tell her, "I know." The night before the home study update, I discovered that Ryan was so excited because he thought we would be bringing his new brothers or sisters home with us the next day.  I explained that it was only part of the process, and it would be a while before we would bring them home.  The next morning he hugged me close and whispered, "Mommy, I dreamed all night about my new brothers and sisters."  I cried as I whispered back, "Me too."  Feeling like I couldn't keep feeling this way much longer, I kept praying, "God, we need a win.  We just need one positive thing  that we can hold onto.  One thing that can boost our spirits.  One thing that can get us through this difficult season in the midst of the wait.  Please.

Just one thing."

I thought the yard sale would be that one thing.  In past years we have been blessed beyond belief by the people who stopped by, the money we raised, and the opportunity to bless others as we have been blessed.  But this sale wasn't.  In fact, it felt like another punch in an endless series that only made us feel more beaten down.  I thought my regular conversation with our social worker would be that one thing.  After a conversation with someone from our team at Lifeline I always feel uplifted, encouraged, and ready to take on the challenges of waiting.  But, perhaps because I was already so beaten down, it didn't help.  As close to hopeless as I have ever been, I threw myself into our busy summer thinking that the business would at least claim my focus enough to keep me from hoping.  Because clinging to the hope of a win was starting to hurt too much.  I let go of my prayer for just one thing.

Just getting ready to settle in for a week of much needed rest, relaxation, and time with family, I found a message in my inbox.  It was from a sweet friend from college who has been a great support by organizing fundraisers for our adoption in the past.  It seems that she and our Indy Cousin (who has been a huge support as well as partnering with my college friend for a fundraiser) have cooked up another fundraiser for our adoption.  A BIG one*.  And they just wanted to let us know.  It was so out of the blue, and so sweet, and we felt so blessed.
* If you would like to know more about the fundraiser, please, let me know by either sending me an e-mail or leaving a comment on this post.

It was the ONE THING we needed to encourage us to keep going.

But it didn't stop there.  Figuring that, due to the holiday, our agency wouldn't send our monthly update e-mail until next week, I didn't bother to check my e-mail.  Yesterday, Lucas came up to me and I could literally feel his excitement.  "They just sent the update e-mail," He said "What was our number last time?"  I responded that it was 19 (which it has been since December).  He smiled and informed me that our number has changed! It turns out the e-mail still contained those big, bold letters.  They haven't matched any families with any children.  Our movement, once again, was due to people going on hold or moving to a different program.  But in the e-mail they let us know that they are close to matching one family and are confident of another referral (i.e. match) following closely behind!  Just as it had in the 7 months previous, the update e-mail took my breath away, but this time in the best way possible.

What is our new number?
Thank you to our family and friends who have walked beside us through the funk, who have repeated to us God's promises that we cling to so desperately when we feel like nothing is happening, who have silently listened when we just needed to vent, who have held our hands (literally and figuratively) and let us know that we are not alone as we wait, who have offered encouraging words, resources, and connections, who have asked questions and listened carefully to understand more about this process that is both difficult and amazing.  And a huge thank you to everyone (especially Marcy and Lauren) who have been a party of the many little things along the way that have been the ONE thing we needed at just the right moment to keep us going.  Our family, present and future, is so blessed to be surrounded by so much love.

1 comment:

Valerie said...

I am in tears as I read this. Sending continued prayers as this long process continues. And sending some live for extra measure.