This post could also be titled "The Exhaustion", "The Never-Ending Journey", "The End of My Rope", or a plethora of other titles that would be both witty and true. I am tired. So very, very, to-the-bones tired. It feels like I have been fighting and praying and trying-to-live-life-while-ignoring-the-giant-thorn-in-my-side for so long now. We are not walking a path that is foreign to adoptive parents all over this world. Those parents who have also been called into the trenches of adoption will probably fist pump the air and yell "yes!" with the laments of my body and heart and soul that are being put into words here...assuming that the words I am writing will make sense despite the haze of exhaustion I am writing thru. It does not matter if you step into the fight for the lives of orphans, soon to be sons and daughters, with a head full of knowledge or a history of having done it before or a heart that you feel has been fully braced against the attacks of the unknown. It does not matter because there is no way to prepare. Fighting for the life of a child is not a pretty task. We have chosen to not only let our hearts walk around outside of our bodies (as is the case with all parents and children)....we have chosen to have absolutely ZERO control over those hearts. Not only are our hearts walking outside of our bodies...but we are unable to clothe them or feed them or protect them or soothe them or hold them or teach them or wipe their noses or read to them or pray with them or hear their breathing or even to have any control over simply bringing them home. As parents, we like to live under the allusion that we have some control over what happens to our children. Ultimately, we have no actual control over the hurts and illnesses they experience....we cannot always stop them from running out in front of a car or falling in a pool....and we certainly do not get to stop tumors from growing or remove ravaging cancer cells. Ultimately....where the big things are concerned....we have no control. So we focus on what we do have control of. We focus on healthy diets and bicycle helmets and vitamins and books at bedtime and bandaids and hugs and kisses and prayers and words of wisdom....because they matter and because our children matter more than anything else on this earth. Because they are our heart and the thing that matters most is that they are protected and loved. The need to protect them and love them and take care of them is basic....it is overwhelming and it is necessary to the mental, physical, and spiritual health of parents. They are the most important part of us...they are our heart...and if we are not meeting their needs we just plain are not meeting our own and we are not whole...we are not healthy...and we are not well. The ability to meet these needs is stripped when you are adopting. For 6 months, my only links to the part of my heart living in Ethiopia were 12 pictures and 3 emails from other families. The ability to meet any of his needs did not exist. For the last 3 months, my only links to that part of my heart are the pictures I took of him and the memories I made of his smile and his laughter and his sweet heart. I have spent 12 hours with my son in 9 months. 12 hours in 9 months. I assure that is not enough time. I assure you that this is no where close to the time needed to even begin to meet the most basic of his needs. It is impossible for me to be well at this point in life. It seems simple to me....a part of my heart is completely outside of my control....I cannot care for it in even the most simple ways....and therefore I cannot rest. If I cannot rest then I cannot be well. It is that simple. Part of me wants to apologize for not being well....the same part that thinks that I must not be praying enough or rejoicing enough or noticing the gifts in my life enough if I cannot be well. But I am not made to ignore the missing part. God created the heart of a mother....and He is perfectly aware that while I can rejoice in the beauty that is present, that beauty is not meant to be able to fill the missing part. I pray that my words help convey to those of you who are not in the adoption world (but who love those of us who are) why we are such a mess as we walk thru this process.
This is where my title for this post comes in...."The Faith"....because that is what it all comes down to. The faith that my God will sustain me. The faith that my God holds my little boy in His hands...and that He will not leave or forsake either of us. The faith that God has never shown himself to be anything but faithful and true...and that He will continue to be those things. The faith that we have been led down this path and that it is for a reason. The faith that God has placed Tamirat in our lives and our hearts and that He will see His work completed. The faith that when words fail me and my prayers have been reduced to saying "please, please, please" all day long....words are not needed. I will have faith that He will sustain me. I will have faith that He cares and that He is involved. I will remember how faithful He showed himself to be yesterday and I will not lose hope for tomorrow.
Hope is what it all boils down to. Every time we receive news that is hard to hear, I cry.....and I cry and I cry and I cry some more....and I lean on my husband and on the amazing friends and family in my life....and then I gather hope around me like a blanket. My God has shown himself faithful time and time again. He has yet to let me fall. He has yet to fail me. He has yet to close a door and not open a window (resorting to cliches now...I need to go to bed!). And so I have hope. Hope is so very important in being able to dance thru the day. I am surrounded by beauty today and I have hope that there will be even more tomorrow.
For almost 5 weeks now our paperwork has been sitting at the US Embassy in Addis. They request something and we hope that we will be cleared to pick up our son after it is turned in. Then a week later, they request something else.....and on and on. They are doing their jobs and their is no major cause for alarm....but I am feeling done. On Wednesday night, while we sleep, Tamirat's aunt will be interviewed by the embassy. She testified before the Ethiopian court in July and I can only imagine that being called to the city for a second time has to be difficult for her. Please pray for her journey. Pray that she would find strength and peace. Pray that her words would be clear and that the verdict would be favorable. I hope to post in a couple of days that we have cleared the last hurdle to our son and are booking plane tickets. Please keep us in your hopes and prayers....we need them :)