Can you imagine being 18 months pregnant? I sure can. I don’t have the aches, pains, cravings, and itchiness that go along with carrying a biological baby in your physical belly. But I certainly understand the expectation of preparing your heart and home for a child you don’t know, yet already love, every month… for 18 months.
At this time last year, we were feverishly applying for grants, creating leather bracelets, and selling t-shirts, knowing that after our dossier arrived in Ethiopia we could at anytime within the next 18 months receive a referral and at the same time be asked to give away a pretty penny (like the median income of a US household for a whole year kind of beautiful penny.) Charity funds, complete strangers, friends and family (you know who you are), provided all the needed resources within just a few short months. And the only job left was perhaps the most difficult… wait.
So here we sit on our DTE anniversary. DTE is obsessive adoptive momma speak for dossier to Ethiopia. We’re about as close to receiving a referral as Maddox is to eating vegetables. No, friends who don’t spend much time with our choosy child, that’s not very close at all.
I’ve let months go by without posting. I keep ignoring that little checkbox in my to-do list app made only for the borderline OCD that says “write a blog post.” It’s not because I don’t have anything to say. But rather because the thoughts are too hard to organize. Writing them down forces me to assign some kind of logic to a process I can’t understand. To get the answer to the “why so long” question, you must first rid yourself of applying American time values to a culture we’re a hemisphere away from.
Many families walking this journey have already switched programs and chosen a new country because the wait is turning out to be so much longer than expected. The lag in the process is not described as a delay, but rather Ethiopia’s new normal. Our agency has asked us many times if we would consider switching countries. We’ve entertained the idea, but honestly, we just can’t stomach throwing a year and a half of waiting in the trash. If we switched to another country, we would be back at the end of the line, and that’s not a fun place to be.
God has used the extra-long wait to begin to open our hearts and help us begin to reconsider a different family scenario – older child and/or special needs adoption. You see, the younger and healthier the child, the longer the wait. Many older children or children with significant special needs remain on a waiting child list and are available for nearly immediate adoption by a family who feels equipped to parent them. God has indeed already moved our hearts to a place of willingness, and we are actively praying about specific children on the waiting child list.
We need great wisdom and discernment to make the decisions that lie ahead. We need great patience and endurance to travel the journey we’ve been called to. We need supernatural intervention in the government of a country that is under-resourced, under-staffed, and disorganized.
The pregnancy pangs I feel aren’t physical, but I think they hurt equally as bad. Here’s to praying and waiting and waiting some more.