Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Advice... I'm not going to take

It's sinking in... I am going to fall in love with a child when I see his face in his referral picture. And I will watch him grow up in monthly pictures for about a year before I get to bring him home.  Ugh. This is going to be hard. I need to find some kind of random wealthy person who wants to send my family to Ethiopia for a year so we can be with him while we wait!

I keep remembering some advice we were given when we started this journey.  We were advised NOT to refer to our referral child as "our son" or as "your brother" to the kids.  This is because referrals can be lost.  We could be referred a child and then that referral can disappear for many reasons.  The idea behind the advice was twofold, I think.  1 - to keep the kids from thinking that little brothers can just disappear, and 2 - to guard our hearts against the loss of a referral.  I remember thinking this was great advice.

It sounds logical.  But I don't think I can do it.  Because here's the thing: I don't think it's legal paperwork that makes you a parent.  When we receive our referral, that's all it is - a referral. Our child is not legally ours until we stand in front of a judge in Ethiopia and that judge makes us his parents.

But in my heart, he will be mine from the moment I see his face.  

If we lose a referral, it will not matter to me that I was never legally that child's parent.  What matters is that I wanted to be.  I don't think I can refer to this kiddo as "the baby we hope to adopt" for a year as we get picture updates and monthly emails with the latest milestones.  I'm not going to be praying for him as "the baby we hope to adopt."  I pray for him as "my son."

Maybe it's prudent to guard our hearts.  But my heart just doesn't work that way.  And if we lose a referral, I will grieve. If something happens and Ethiopia closes before we get to travel for court, I will grieve.  I'm okay with grieving losses.  It happens.  I believe language is powerful, but I don't think in this case changing my words will change my heart.

Riley has started saying "maybe they don't want us to have our baby in Africa and that's why it's taking so long." My heart breaks a little every time he says it. It is so hard to explain to my two little ones who so desperately want to meet this child we've been praying for for the last year & a half that we will be waiting another year.  

Right now I'm praying for strength. Strength to explain to my children why we are still waiting. Strength to wait. Strength to miss milestones. Strength to deal with not being there to kiss boo boos.  Strength to deal with only one update a month.  Strength to carry on and see what God's doing around me here.

"For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength." Philippians 4:13.

PS. The latest average wait times are 12.5 to 13 months.  We'll hit 12.5 in two weeks.  I'm officially giving myself a breather from the carrying-the-cell-phone-with-me-at-all-times thing until the middle of May!  Partially to give myself a break, partially because I secretly hope that will cause my phone to ring! :)


  1. I LOVE this post... I watched Abby's photo on a Waiting Child List for 2 months before we could even ask about her because we weren't signed up with her agency.

    As the days passed and no one was accepting her referral, my heart fell more and more in love with her... In the weeks leading up to being able to inquire about her, I would log on every day and hold my breath because I knew my heart was going to break if she had been given to someone else...

    She wasn't even ours to ask about, yet my heart knew she was the child I was missing... No logic, no reason, no threat of a broken heart could keep my heart from loving her... I so understand what you're feeling!

    I'm so sorry this is taking so long, but I pray you find comfort in knowing that God's perfect timing will bring you to your child that He has known for all eternity would be yours! I know that doesn't make it easier, but what a sweet truth to hang on to...


  2. The truth is that God has a very SPECIAL child lined up for you....not just any baby...and you will know when the time is right. Riley and Allyn are simply having more time to practice their sibling welcome! You make me so proud to be your 'auntie'...

  3. In the movie "Facing the Giants" the coach's wife has a line where she says, "I never knew I could miss someone so much who I've never met."
    I did not really understand that feeling until we found out that Kirsten was pregnant. And because of all of the RA meds that she had been taking, it was possible that Brylee could have had some pretty severe birth defects. I just missed seeing her face and touching her. I know we only had to wait nine months, but the feeling was still so intense.

  4. I couldn't take that advice either. We've been talking about "little sister" in our home for the last year and if something were to happen and "little sister" stays in Ethiopia then we would grieve together as a family.

    So we will continue to love this little girl we have yet to meet; pray for her; talk about her; and as my 4 year old says "I love her cause she's beautiful".

    Hoping we hear something soon!


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