Adoption is a daunting, tedious, emotional process. Every part of it is hard. I’ve done it three-ish times now, and I can say that with certainty. But more than I hate the paperwork, the financial costs, or the many appointments, I hate the questions you get from well-meaning friends and family in the midst of the waiting. I hate the waiting. The comments people make along the journey can be exhausting. Well-meaning friends and family want to know “when that baby’s coming” and what comes next. It’s frustrating because I can’t answer these questions. I know they are said out of care, concern, and even curiosity, but they still get to me. Unfortunately, most parts of adoption involve a whole lot of waiting, guessing, and saying things like “we just don’t know yet.” And people don’t like that response. It leads to awkward silence, vague well-wishes, and cliché platitudes, like all in God’s timing and such. While that’s true, it still digs up feelings of frustration. I believe this happens because there are so many people who just don’t understand adoption process, and most of what they do know about adoption comes from Hallmark movies or hearsay. Some people think you can just sign up and pay a bunch of money, and then take a baby home. It is miles and miles and miles of paperwork and hoops and procedures, then there’s the waiting, guessing, hoping, and praying. It never goes according to plan, and it’s almost impossible to predict. People make comments about adoption without ever truly grasping the task’s emotional and financial magnitude.
Furthermore, what really makes me as an adoptive mom a crazy, is the comment that “I have always wanted to adopt someday.” I’ve started to retorting back that, well, waiting kids want a family someday. For those babies, the waiting is excruciating, with each passing day without a family setting them further and further behind in emotional, social, and often academic growth. Days that can’t be made up. Adoption is never a matter of convenience. I feel this burden each and every day we wait for a match. The waiting is truly the hardest part. It’s helplessness.
Truthfully, I have to get over my frustration with people’s general naivety when it comes to adoption and not let it get so under my skin, especially if I want to be an effective advocate for adoption. It’s a gut-check for me when I realize that I am not an effective voice when I meet people’s ignorance without grace. Most simply don’t know. They don’t get why it costs so much do adopt privately and why adopting through foster care is so incredibly risky.
Thursday will mark the one-year anniversary of learning that we were matched with a precious little baby girl who would be born without a heart. It was right before Memorial Day on the last day of cheer try-outs. Same as this week. The fact that we are still waiting, still hoping, still sitting in this limbo land of waiting underlines and exacerbates the aching.
One of the biggest comforts in this season is the reminder that had we been matched any sooner in the eighteen months we waited for Mira, it would have not been her that we were given the chance to love. We would have missed out on her. And while the cliche statement “All in God’s timing” might irritate me, it was truly His divine timing that allowed us to be her family. So waiting this time takes a new feeling. Whatever we are waiting for, whoever this special little boy or girl is, is the exact one God has planned for us. We are waiting specifically for him or her. And that fact brings me so much excitement. It gives me patience and helps me navigate this time of frustration with an overwhelming peace from above.