Our adoptions seem to hold individual themes for me. And by theme, I mean one truth being continually beat into my head. To recap from Malachi - the theme was control (my lack thereof to be exact). I walked away proclaiming to any new adoptive family that "adoption has nothing to do with what you want - and everything to do with the heart of God." In other words, don't try to control this - because it has no part in this journey.
It didn't take long into this second adoption for me to clearly see that God's theme for me was going to be "Faithfulness". One day when this adoption is complete, I plan to have a ridiculously long blog post (you know, because all my blog posts are generally short...) outlining His faithful hand over this adoption. I tear up at the thought of all he has already done. I am learning that God's faithfulness has much less to do with me and my plans (and prayers), and much more with his story unfolding.
There are two extremes in adoption, or at least I've made two extremes. (The story of my life.) One extreme is how I lived through the entire first adoption. This would be: trying to control every aspect of the process, being an emotional wreck when things don't go your way, making those around you miserable just because you are, being beyond consumed with the planning and the dreaming of the child that will be yours, impatient, pleading with God to move things along - only to be so broken when things don't go your way that you aren't sure how to pick yourself up when it's all said and done. Pleasant.
The second extreme is what I have found myself living this adoption. It all came to my attention about three weeks ago. This extreme would be: emotionally removed, self-protecting, distant from the process, even more distant from allowing another child into my mothers heart; not able to even pray about the process, the timing, or the child because it was just too much to let it all in because after all - God was going to work this in His time no matter what I do or don't do, so being "guarded" is the safest way to go to remain sane and keep friends around. Joyful.
Thankfully, three weeks ago, this second extreme came crashing to the ground. We found out some information about our little Ugandan Sweetie that just broke me. My mothers heart for this little one came bursting through every crack in the wall that I had built. I realized all I was doing, I realized that I wasn't letting HER into my heart because I was so afraid of the hurt we endured when adopting Malachi happening all over again. What hurt? Well, to be honest - it came when we were facing court closures while adopting Malachi. I was so convinced that because Jesus loved me, because He loved Malachi, He would hear my prayers and bring us this child before courts closed. He didn't. We waited four extra months (very long months) to welcome him into our arms. I was left so confused. I didn't understand why God didn't just orchestrate things for us to have him home earlier rather than later. I D.R.E.A.D.E.D that emotion this time. I dreaded the doubting I knew still lingered in my heart from Malachi's adoption.
Oh the doubting. It doesn't take very long to do a BibleGateway search to find verse after verse about God answering our prayers, about God granting us the desires of our hearts, of God telling us He will answer if only we ask .... and ask in faith. So when He doesn't answer .... correction .... when He doesn't answer the way we (I) want Him to - was it Him being unfaithful, or was it my lack of faith in asking? And if I truly had the expectant faith of answered prayers, then surely it reflects HIS problem. But if I believe the Bible to be true, which I do, then it WASN'T His problem, it most certainly was my lack of faith that I just didn't realize existed. (Aren't you glad you don't have to live inside of my head??? Brutal.)
So this adoption I wanted to seem holier than I thought I was, so I labeled my doubting as "caution". In the name of Jesus and all things Calvinist (don't ask me what that means), I held firm to the truth that God was going to work this all together in HIS perfect timing no matter what I wanted or asked for. See, I had learned my lesson about control the first time around. None of this had anything to do with me. So I may as well go with the flow and wait on Him. This required no emotion, no prayer, no longing. Just waiting. Certainly I had become an expert at waiting.
Thankfully, God placed a wonderful friend in my life who had the privilege of me unloading all of this on. She graciously and lovingly corrected me after quietly listening. She reminded me that as this little one's mother, I had a RESPONSIBILITY to pray her home. Wow. For someone who is such an "advocate" of orphans, you'd think I would have understood this. My little Ugandan Sweetie has no voice. She needs a voice. I AM HER VOICE. So before the Throne I went. And into my heart she came.
I've ridden on the coat tail of the phrase that when asked why bad things happen to good people states:
"A better question to ask is, why do good things happen to bad people."
It sustains me ... through most things. However, since the adoption of Malachi when I could barely cling to this statement anymore because I was so confused about WHY God didn't answer our prayers the way we prayed, we've seen (and lived) some of the harshest times we've ever known. We've prayed for things, and have seen dear friends pray for things only to be let down in the end that God didn't answer the desired way. We've seen some cling to Him in response, we've watched others turn their backs as a result. I'm not talking about little things anymore like my adoption. I'm talking about things like children having to shift to Glory before seeing this world. Moms and Dad having to watch children brutally suffer and in the end, pass from this world to the next...children much too young. Dads who were not healed, but instead taken to Glory leaving behind wife and children. Wombs left empty after years of prayers. Failed businesses. Crushed dreams. Marriages struggle....marriages end. Financial loss and burden far greater than what most of us will ever endure. Cancer. Death. 147 Million Orphans still not set in family.
In the face of these things, I say - God surely you are there. You say in your Word that you love your Children. You love family. You love marriage. You love the Orphans. You long to heal, to redeem. But sometimes you don't. So then what?
While my longing for our next child to be home before courts close pales in comparison to what I've just listed, it's what I face today. It feels at times more than my faith allows me to deal with, and at other times what I pray for the ability to prove my character with so that when harder days come - I'm ready. What is an extra couple months in the grand scheme of eternity if she doesn't make it home this summer? Nothing, I'm sure. But the grand scheme of things in my heart is very different at times. I want to pray in faith. I want to ask FULLY expecting God to work a miracle because He can....because I asked. But so did everyone else who I just talked about. So when it doesn't look like the mountains are moved, when it doesn't look like the expectant faithful prayers of His people are answered - what am I left to cling to?
This is what I cling to..... My prayers have very little to do with me. My faith-filled longings and requests have very little to do with me. At the end of the day - God's story unfolding before me is what will bring Him glory. Because it is His story. God's story - that He's allowing me to be a part of - is where His glory will be found. This has nothing to do with me. If he doesn't answer my prayers as prayed, it doesn't mean I lacked faith. It doesn't mean He didn't hear. It doesn't mean He wasn't faithful. No, it means that His ways are not mine, and that if I truly believe what he says - He WILL work all things together for good. Unlike the popular pop song - it's not because "the rest is still unwritten" , it's because the "rest is not revealed." He's revealing it. We get to watch. We will get to sit on the other side one day in FULL glory seeing what He saw, and falling to our knees in praise for how He did it. (And in full repentance for our part in such a mess.) That is what I cling to.
So I come before the Throne, afraid and broken STILL of His answer, pleading for my daughter. Today I am her voice. Not because I'm tired of waiting. But for her. I ask He grant her family. Grant her health. Grant her love. And if she has to wait a few extra months - grant me grace. Grant her patience. May your name be known and praised. But God --- bring her home. With my mustard seed of faith, I ask this mountain to move.