Posted on December 31, 2016
Three Christmases have now passed since we began the paperwork for international adoption. Three. You might remember my post from last year where I cried in the middle of Target as I bought the second Christmas gift she would not be home to open. I wrapped the third gift this year. The holidays are hard. Good, but hard. In reality, any calendar event that marks the passing of time just reminds us of how long this wait has become, and our legs shake a little more as the miles drag on in this adoption marathon.
I get nervous that people think we have run off with the adoption donations and bought a boat or a farm, us laughing into the sunset of our great fundraising heist! :/ I ache when people approach us anticipating good news, and I'm never the bearer of any. I sigh every time we read how many children were matched each month, and that number never includes our family.
This waiting is starting to feel like a lump in my throat. It's slightly painful, but mostly just uncomfortable, and leaves me with an on-the-verge-of-crying response at random times. You know the kind. The times when you try to hold it together and your throat burns with that lump sitting hard and hot trying to weigh down your tears. This is what almost three years of waiting feels like to me.
The equally hard part of waiting is that I know that this is the holy ground on which God chooses to tread in our lives. He seems to work out His plans in painfully slow rhythms and what appears to be near-misses in the end, and it feels so risky and so uncertain. So I wait with this lump in my throat and keep wrapping Christmas gifts. In this radio silence, the temptation is to take the reigns myself, to start changing course and making calls and making it happen, because trusting in God's timing is kind of easy up until things start getting uncomfortable and feeling uncertain. Waiting on God is okay up until His timeline starts to drastically interfere with what I think is appropriate. As I wrestle with this wait, it continues to challenge and confront me as each year passes. I juggle the opposition within about this God whose ways are higher and sometimes unsearchable. I am learning, ever so slowly, to embrace the reality that though everything in me wants to bypass the waiting, or curb its frustrations by finding a faster route, there just might be a purpose here in these long days and even longer years. Though I wish it weren't true, I do have the suspicion that leaving this barren place before it's time, might actually be a worse and more painful thing in the end.
Last month, Tim discovered a caterpillar hanging from a branch propped against our back porch. A storm was forecasted to come through that evening, the outer bands bringing stiff wind, so I brought the gnarly branch and little creature inside the porch for safe haven. Instead of getting ready for a flight we had to catch that afternoon, I sat in a rocking chair, transfixed by the brave little thing anchored to the branch. It wiggled and wrestled and shed it's outer layer, along with it's legs into a small heap dropping to the floor. It discarded it's only way of escape. No more legs. Just a view of the world, upside-down. There was no turning back for the caterpillar that day. I witnessed the little worm start it's cocoon in the next minutes, hardening slowly over the next hour or so into a brown tomb of waiting. Prayers went up from me for her safe passage to butterflyhood. Maybe they were also prayers for me. This cocoon held more than a caterpillar inside. It was holding my fragile hope for all this long and unexpected waiting. The truth was, I thought that maybe when the butterfly emerged, something new might emerge in me too. Some new found strength or hope or way of being. Something alive with wings. So I kept vigil over her day and night.
One afternoon, through the warped glass of our old french doors, my eyes must have been playing tricks. I opened the doors, and walked closer. My heart sank. I quickly looked around the porch, poking boxes and moving chairs. I searched the screens, the ceiling, the walls. My husband joined the search party, shaking brooms and shoes and work-out equipment. Hanging from the limb was only an empty, half cocoon. There were lizards passing glances between each other that seemed like they knew what had happened, but were sworn to secrecy. There was no cathartic moment watching the new creature emerge and take it's first delicate and daring flight. There was only a vacant, torn cocoon and barefoot me standing there feeling a little lost.
Days later, as I was working on the computer, Tim walked in our office holding something curious in his hands. Sadness was written across his face. In one of our boxes on the back porch, Tim had discovered the newborn butterfly laying stiff and lifeless. He handed it to me with a heavy heart, and I cried. I traced one orange wing decorated with shining silver spots, and turned over the little beauty to discover a smaller, wrinkled left wing. She was so lovely, yet not quite ready for life outside the cocoon, and so she dropped, weak and flightless to the boxes below.
As I sit here in my own uncomfortable waiting, I will remember the flightless orange creature with a small and wrinkled wing, and ask the LORD to give me strength and endurance to stay here, to wait here, as long as He deems necessary. May I lay still before my Maker, and know that His ways are not only right, but perfect. I pray for the grace to believe that He is making everything beautiful in it's time. And though His plans be long and often painful to this finite little chrysalis, I trust that soul-making is His creative domain, His area of expertise, and I dare not leave before the time that is set for me.
Thank you for your prayers for our family, and for your endurance with us on this longer-than-expected road. Your faith, hope, and love is such an encouragement to us when we grow weary in the waiting. Hold fast to this Psalm with us as we walk into a new year, and further into His plans that are higher and holier than ours. ~Kristinjoy
“In you, Lord my God,
I put my trust.
I trust in you;
do not let me be put to shame,
nor let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who hopes in you
will ever be put to shame,
but shame will come on those
who are treacherous without cause.
Show me your ways, Lord,
teach me your paths.
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my Savior,
and my hope is in you all day long...”