I’ve been avoiding writing an adoption update for, hmmm…let’s see, the past 6 months. It’s not my favorite topic, frankly, because it’s not looking anything like I had hoped; and my heart aches so gosh-darn hard when I talk about it. Even though Ethiopian adoption had slowed down considerably when we began, we still thought 2014 might possibly be the year of the referral. And while I’m grateful to announce that so far Ethiopia hasn’t shut down like they threatened in December, we were told our referral might not come until 2015. Then we were told 2016, and now our adoption agent recently mentioned that it wouldn’t be a stretch to say 2017; and well, my head is spinning just writing that out. Adoption is more like a pregnancy than I ever imagined. If you have a friend that’s adopting, just think of her as pregnant because that’s exactly how she feels. And when it takes so long, it feels to her like she’s over-due by months…even years. Sure she’s not dealing with the bodily aches, but the heart-tearing aches to meet the child she’s fallen in love with is there to the extreme.
I’m learning to hold this thing so dear to my heart very loosely. I was listening to Tim Keller preach on Romans 8:28-30 and encouraged by this truth: “[As a Christian] you will experience [joy] to the degree that you grasp these three things- our bad things turn out for good (vs.28), our good things can never be lost (vs.29), and the best things are yet come (vs.30).”
I’m slowly coming to terms with the fact that, what God deems good for me, may not be to hold my Ethiopian daughter in my arms. It feels like I’m tearing my own heart out to write that, but I know beyond a shadow of doubt that He knows what is the best more than I do. And I still pray, like a mad woman, that I will be holding her tight one day.
As I was pondering this path that has looked so different, the Holy Spirit drew my attention to the beautiful mural on the wall of my life that I had over-looked. While I was so focused on the fact that the painting of my adoption journey wasn’t taking the form I would have preferred, He showed me that other brush-strokes had been occurring; and when I finally lifted my head, I almost gasped. How had I missed this spectacular artwork that God had been painting?!
Last year, we took an unexpected trip to Ethiopia. This year, we have had the amazing blessing of being able to advocate for orphanages and ministries we had never even heard of of before that trip. Next week, we’re helping to lead a team back; having connected with some of the work going on in that country like we could never have dreamed possible. If my daughter was home already, none of this would have happened. Our delayed adoption has pushed us into this new direction, and it’s effecting our family in the most amazing ways. But somehow, I hadn’t made that connection before.
Next week, as I touch down in the mountainous, lush country that already holds a piece of my heart, I want to remember this. I want to look up and see this God-authored mural on walls of my life. It looks so different than I envisioned, but isn’t it so much more gorgeous than my own rough-draft? And then I think of heaven, when my sin-tainted lens will be removed; and I’ll sit in dumb-founded awe. Because this unveiled mural will the pièce de résistance that is more flawless and stunning than anything I’ve ever seen in my wildest dreams.