As we walk the path of adoption, waiting becomes our theme. For paperwork. For governments. The weekends when everyone is off work and offices are closed, the hours drag by. I hope to provide some hope. Some light for your waiting….
Today Megan share her story….
With four kids at home, the phrase “just a minute” has become my diatribe. I’m not necessarily proud of it, but there it is.
“Murphy’s Law” around our house is that everyone seems perfectly independent until the stars align in some sort of cataclysmic ambush and everyone needs something from me all at
once. Lots of needs. One Mommy. Impossible math.
Just yesterday, my feisty little 9-year-old wanted me to paint her nails. (I told her she couldn’t watch TV, so that meant she looked to me for stimulation. It’s the risk I run.) And she wanted them done immediately! The only problem was that she lost the privilege of doing them by herself due to a certain nail polish spill on the bathroom floor. Think LOTS of rags reeking of nail polish remover to clean up that mess. As such, she needed a certified adult to complete the glamorous french manicure look she envisioned.
That meant she needed me.
And of course I wasn’t lounging around looking for something to do (shocker) — I was cooking dinner (admittedly another shocker).
“Mom, mom, mom…,” she jumped up and down next to the stove and shoved her nails in my face. “Are they dry yet? Can you check?”
“Honey, can you please wait? I’m cooking dinner.” (Not sure I used such a sweet tone, but I prefer to remember it that way.)
“But, Moooooommmmmm! Please! It will only take a minute. Can you just touch them and see if they’re dry? Seriously. It will only take a second!” (The timeframe was miraculously shrinking.)
“Just, please, wait until after dinner. I need to finish this and take your brother to Young Life. When I come home, we’ll eat and then I can give your nails all the attention they need. You’re just going to have to wait! Please don’t ask me again.”
“But, Mom! I promise, it will be so fast….” And so it went.
Truth be told, I can empathize with my little fashionista. When you desperately want something, waiting for it can feel like an all-out eternity, like someone removed the batteries from the kitchen wall clock and all time has frozen to a near standstill. Like the thing might NEVER HAPPEN.
That’s precisely how the waiting period felt towards the end of our international adoption process. I wanted things to go faster and God said, “Wait.”
All I could think about during the time we waited for our fingerprints to clear, for the dossier to be translated, for the embassy to get off their rear-ends and clear whatever it is they needed to clear, was the fact that two beautiful children sat “stuck” in an Ethiopian orphanage. I felt they needed to come home as soon as possible so we could start our new life together.
At the time, I didn’t see much point to the waiting. However, after much reflection, hindsight being 20/20 and all, I now realize the waiting period was less of an unjust inconvenience and more like God’s way of preparing us for what lay ahead in the preliminary months at home as a newly blended family of six.
Four years have passed now since we brought our two youngest home from Ethiopia at the tender ages of eight and five. And I can say adoption has been the hardest thing we’ve ever done, but it is also unequivocally the best.
Lest I deceive you into thinking this story had a fairy-tale ending, I can assure you the transition home was nothing short of “other-worldly” for the lot of us. Grief loomed large over our home for quite a while, manifesting in all sorts of tantrums and tears. And not only from the kids! I confess my own heart wrestled to embrace the new family dynamics as well.
In the months that followed, I realized God used that waiting period as a runway for me to begin a journey of my own — a journey that has rearranged everything I thought I knew about life and love. I needed to till a more personal soil through much prayer, community support and outside counseling to bring me to the place I am today.
The idea of waiting has now morphed into something that is less of a “bad word” and more of a realization that sometimes I’m not ready for what’s on the other side. Waiting encapsulates a time and space that the Lord uses to prepare me for whatever He has next. Perhaps He wants to grow me more. Perhaps angels are fighting battles in the heavenly realms. Perhaps it’s something else entirely.
I once heard Beth Moore say that God invented time so He could glorify Himself through His sovereign, impeccable timing.
All I know is that if it’s not reality, then it’s not time. Therefore, I trust and am thankful for the wait.
Megan Nilsen is the mother of four children — two biological, two adopted, and by all accounts the most beautiful kids in the world (at least according to their unbiased mother). She is married to her college sweetheart. They have served on Young Life staff for the entire 20 years of their married life. Megan passionately pursues writing as a way to process God’s ever-active work in the world. Last summer, she released her book, “A Beautiful Exchange: Responding to God’s Invitation for More,” available online at Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can find her blogging about life and faith and all the rest with two of her dearest friends at www.writinginpencil.com.
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