This month marks our two-year anniversary in the adoption process. We never imagined that we would be at this point and not have a child home, much less, a referral. But here we are.
And God is faithful.
Adoption, and international adoption in particular, is so unpredictable. We have had so many roadblocks, twists and turns. It would be easy to throw our hands up in frustration, but God has made it quite clear that He is the one who is tarrying. We thought we would be adopting from Ethiopia. Then we thought we would adopt from India. And now, it looks like China.
We began working on our paperwork for China back in September. We thought we would have everything finished and ready to be sent to China in October. And then there were delays and that didn’t happen. We finally got all of our paperwork finished and sent off in December. Then it had to be sent to China. Insert several delays and holidays. Then we thought we would have everything turned in and approved by the CCCWA (The China Center for Children’s Welfare and Adoption) in January. The process typically takes two weeks from the time you turn in all of your paperwork to approval. There was a delay and it was February before all of our paperwork was turned in. And then there was the Chinese New Year. (Who knew this was such a celebration?!) Delay. And then there was March. Surely, we would be approved in March. But, no.
Then we got a call that our agency was chosen to go to China on April 15 to evaluate children. Our caseworker would specifically be looking for a child for us while she was there doing her evaluations, and we would have pictures, video and her personal evaluation. YESSS! (This is not how things typically work in the referral process, which is why this was such a special opportunity.)
Although this seemed so promising, we did not have approval and would not have been able to officially accept a referral. And then April came.
I began asking questions (internally) like, “Did they lose our paperwork? What is going on? Are they going to reject us even though we meet all the criteria? Are we even supposed to adopt? I mean, did I hear wrong? Did I misinterpret? Why would God provide as He has, and then this not happen at all?”
In the midst of all these questions, I just felt spiritually exhausted (perhaps I will detail that in another blog post, later). I was really questioning what the Lord wanted of us with this adoption. I was begging God to speak directly to my heart, to pierce with Himself, with His Word. One day I set my heart to read the Psalm-of-the-Day, pick out a characteristic of God and meditate on that. That day was April 2, so I read Psalm 2.
I began to read, and I got to verse 8 and the Lord pierced me with His Word, just as I had asked of Him. Tears flooded my eyes. This was the second time in a span of 24 hours that I felt the Lord directly remind me of His nearness and love for me in a season of spiritual exhaustion, when my feelings were not lining up with what I knew to be true.
The words brought such life, such relief, such assurance, such hope.
“Ask of me, and I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession.”
I realize that this verse is about mission. This is not an adoption promise, per se. However, the Lord spoke this so clearly as the answer to my questions. The Spirit whispered that this is what my heavenly Father wanted me to do.
Ask. I will make the nations your heritage.
Yes, LORD! This is the cry of our hearts!
And then a few days later, we got an e-mail…
We are approved! YAY! FINALLY!
the trip has been delayed until August because not all of the paperwork was in place in the province where they were supposed to do evaluations of the children. We can still get a referral when the new listing of children comes out each month. This happens on a first-come, first-serve basis, essentially. Therefore, we could be in this position for months because all the adoption agencies are trying to match children from this list and there is no priority given to families who have been waiting longer. Our agency worker in China tries to work very diligently so that she can match the families with the children who best meet their criteria.
As soon as a child is paper-ready for adoption and meets our criteria, we can be matched. Then, it is typically about 3-4 months until you can bring your child home.
I have been so reminded that the Lord is making us wait for a reason. He is in control of all things, including governments, time and our future. For whatever reason, it is not best for us to have this child in our family right now. I am confident that whenever this does happen, it will be His perfect timing and His perfect child for our family. He knows.
Maybe one day we will understand why this adoption has taken so much longer than we thought, with so many twists and turns. Perhaps we will not. What is important is not my understanding of this adoption, but my confidence in my heavenly Father.