I have a confession. For all these months, as I have watched God do some pretty amazing things in our adoption, and seen how at every turn, things happened just as soon as they could, my faith has been strengthened. So has my expectation. As we finished the court process and began the Embassy process with our adoption, I entered this phase with full expectation that God would be consistent. That we would face no delays (even though nearly everyone else was), and that our daughter would be home in 8 weeks or so.
Folks, it's not going to happen. A couple of weeks ago, I returned from the land of optimism (foolish optimism, let's be real), to reality. There were a few instances in the last couple of weeks that crashed in conflict with my expectations and caused a crisis of faith. Or at least a crisis of expectation.
Just because I expect God to do something doesn't mean He's going to do it. And just because I think it's best, doesn't mean it is.
Now that I have fully embraced the reality of adoption in Ethiopia right now, allow me to explain where my heart and thoughts are at now.
Things are a little crazy and tense in adoptive parent circles these days. The Embassy still has us all hopping and panicking. When our family entered the Ethiopia program, it was just a few months before things went a little wacky at the Embassy and started to change.
When you sign up with an agency, they give you a "timeline." Our timeline said an average of 6-10 weeks after court before you could pick your child up. That was the norm a year ago. But the agency was very careful and clear to say that things always change in adoption and we could not necessarily expect that to still be true a year from then.
I think it's time I just own that there is a new norm at the Embassy. Many of us adoptive parents are really distraught that our cases are taking longer than the timeline we were given a year ago. We feel like since things are taking longer, there must be a problem with our case. We need to DO something. We need to start making calls. We need to write Senators. We need to hire an attorney. Anything we can do to get our child home faster.
I found myself walking down these roads mentally the last couple of weeks. What can I do? Should I go to Addis and take matters into my own hands? Should I write all our Senators and tell them about the bureaucracy happening in Addis that is so negatively affecting children? What should I be DOING to help my child right now??? I feel like we're in a plane that is circling the airport, waiting for clearance to land, and we have no idea how long it's going to take... Someone PLEASE make it STOP!
What God has been showing me in the last few days is.... nothing. Do nothing.
"Be still, and know that I am God." (Psalm 46:10).
The reality is that none of these delays are disastrous. Yes, our children will have to spend a few extra weeks or maybe even two months in the orphanage. But they will all come home. If I were to push and push and hire attorneys and write letters, I know what would happen. I might get Meryn home a few weeks earlier (and have a much lighter wallet), but many other families like ours would still be waiting. Many of their cases might have even been put on hold while my squeaky wheel gets attended to. No, this is not the right path for us.
There is nothing wholly devastating going on in Ethiopia (at least to my knowledge). Investigations are happening. Cases are being sent to another Embassy for processing, causing longer wait times. There are uncertainties. There are mistakes in paperwork. There are a thousand and one things that can go wrong and do. And none of them are in my control.
But I have a mighty Father, who is the Creator of all things, all people, all hearts and hands that touch each paper in Meryn's file. He is a greater advocate for her than I'll ever be. No, I'll not worry and fret over details and things I can't know or control. Instead, I will lift my voice and my heart and my eyes to Him. Lay it all at His feet. Because He Is Compassion. He alone sets the lonely in families. Not the Ethiopian court, of the US Embassy. I will be persistent, pleading, and patient. He has appointed the day that she will come home. He knows it now. Nothing can change that day. Nothing! What peace and joy that gives me!
Prayer and trust. No fret or worry... This is the new norm.