One of my dearest friends asked me not long ago, how often I think about the child we will adopt. “I know you think about adopting, but how often does it come to mind……every day?”
I found the question interesting. When we first began praying and talking about it, it was on my mind every waking (and dreaming) moment. For months I couldn’t even talk to Andy about it rationally without sobbing because the burden was so heavy. I would lay in bed with tears rolling down my cheeks in a longing for a child I didn’t know, before we had even committed to adopt.
Then we did commit. We filled out an application, and started a crazy 9 months of paperwork and doctor’s appointments and fingerprints. A large weight of the burden was lifted, the moment we said, “Okay, let’s do this thing!” Many of the tears had dried up and were replaced with excitement and purpose. I worked diligently at organizing appointments and ordering documents, arranging our schedules to meet deadlines. Every paper, every signature, every appointment was a reminder that the end result would be our son or daughter. Then, we finished it. All of it. We sent our paperwork off, it was accepted by Bulgaria and we were placed on the wait list. I thought that since everything had settled down, my thoughts would return to (mostly) normal.
I was wrong.
As I prepared to answer my friend’s question, I realized that I not only think of the child (or children) that will come home to us daily, I’m not sure even a waking moment has passed in the past year and a half that they weren’t in my thoughts. At breakfast, I check emails and Facebook groups and read the excited chatter of families travelling to bring home their children, or getting that important “call” and think about what that will be like for us. As I begin school with Addy and the little ones, I imagine what our school table will look like with four students sitting around it. At nap times I daydream about who this child will be, and which room they will call their own. As the kids run around the yard, I imagine one more barefooted baby joining in the mix. I sit at church on Sunday morning, and I think about my baby preparing for supper and bed. As I snuggle up with Addy and Abe to read a book, or rock with Cora and softly sing “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us” I wonder if anyone has ever snuggled up with my baby. I wonder if anyone has ever rocked them and sung them a lullaby. I wonder if they must lay awake and rock themselves to sleep in a room of a dozen or more other babies who are missing another night without the touch of a mother. When I see Cora playing with other babies, I long for the day that she gets to play the part of big sister. When we go out in public and I do a head count to make sure all my precious ones are accounted for, I find myself time and time again, panicking when I only find 3. (I’m not yet sure if this is my sub-conscience way of realizing we aren’t complete, or that after having three kids I have lost my mind.) When we find ourselves awake in the middle of the night with a puking child, I wonder if anyone is there to clean them up and reassure them that they will be taken care. Is there anyone there to gently stroke their hair, and hold a cold washcloth on their forehead until they fall back to sleep? As I’ve prepared for rummage sales, I’ve held up tiny items of clothing and wondering which ones will be worn by this child. On good days, I’ve felt moments of grief that this child isn’t already home with us to share and add to these memories. On bad days, when things feel like they are falling apart and the children are driving me nuts, I wonder why I ever thought I could handle another child to add to the madness. Yesterday, as I updated my children’s pictures in the frame, I yearned for the necessity to buy and fill another frame. I bought different colored water bottles for each of my children to put in the camper, and bought an extra in the anticipation of our first camping trip together after we are all together. I find myself saying things like this to Andy, “The next time we are on a flight together, I think it will be to Bulgaria,” or “I’ll bet the next time with see the ocean, we will have ALL of our children with us.”
The thing that I have found the most bizarre in this whole journey so far (and trust me, there have been a lot of bizarre things) is that I believe there is a newborn baby laying in an orphanage crib right now, and that baby is mine. I can not wrap my mind around this phenomenon. I have a child halfway around the world at the very moment your eyes are reading these words, and I don’t know them. They will be fully our child and I can not know them for possibly 2 more years. How can this make sense? It is impossible to imagine where or what that sweet baby is doing right now. I am able to trust that God is holding them gently in the dark places, and I pray daily that He will place hope in their hearts, even now, that we are coming to bring them home.
I long for them to know that they were always wanted, and their home was prepared for them much in advance, in the same way our Heavenly Father promises that He has prepared us a home. I want them to know there wasn’t ever a time that they weren’t thought about and loved….daily, hourly, by the minute.