Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Setbacks and check marks

Friday I went to the mailbox in anticipation of Christmas cards and junk mail and discovered an envelope with the return address of the USCIS (Immigration).  Initially my heart skipped a beat thinking this was good news, until the fact that I could see red through the envelope "window" sank in and I thought to myself, "This can't be good."

Sure enough, it wasn't good.  The letter was a request for further "evidence" that was not provided in the home study we submitted.

Is the red really necessary?
Tears.  It was all I could do in that moment.  In this process the hardest part is the constant reminder that we are not in control...of anything...ever.

The moment you start to think you've got some say in this (aside from working your tail off to do your part in paperwork, appointments, etc.), it seems a little tap on the shoulder will inevitably come saying:
"Hey, I've got this.  It's not yours.  This is mine and it will ALL be in my time. 
These kids, I know you'd like to think they're yours, but they're not.  They're mine and I've got them too."
But it's this reminding that is so necessary and makes this so worth it.  The setbacks, the slow downs, the mistakes, they all serve to refine us right where we are...in this very moment...while these kids wait and wait some more.  I believe this time while we wait to bring our kids home is not a waste.  This paperwork, the seemingly endless fingerprinting, the notary upon notary and the trips downtown for apostilles...they are not wasted.  They feel repetitive.  They feel unnecessary.  After all, these kids have been sitting for 10 years and no one has wanted them yet so why can't we just get over there and bring them home.

But nothing is wasted.  Adoption is costly...financially, emotionally, mentally, even socially.  But good things, things that are worth it are expensive.  They cost much.  They deplete you.  But when I am depleted is when I most recognize my need for a Savior...it's in that place that I realize I bring nothing to this except a willing heart, and sometimes I can't even offer that.

People often tell us, "What you're doing is amazing."  "You're such good people", they say.  Let me be the first to say that neither of these statements are true.  Not even a little.

Amazing is the God we serve.  He is what is good in all this.  His goodness puts to shame anything in us that anyone would want to call good.

So I did cry Friday afternoon as I let my emotions get the best of me.  But even that wasn't wasted.  The tears served to remind me of the love I have for these orphans...a love that was put in my heart by the God that created them.  And the tears weren't wasted when I had my two daughters get off their bikes and kneel beside me when they saw my hurt.

Charlee asked, "Is it about Max and Kate?" as she pointed to the bright red letter I had laid down on the ground beside me.  She had no idea what the letter was about or who it was for, but her perceptive little 6 year old brain associates paperwork and letters and doctor's appointments and fingerprints with her brother and sister who are waiting for their Mommy and Daddy.

I answered her question with a nod and some more tears.

And then she said, "It's a lot of work to bring them home."

What I love about this journey is that it's part of who we are as a family.  The girls are just as much a part of this adventure as Adam and I are.  On some level they experience the joy and the disappointments with us.  It has served to unite us as a family because we are on a mission together.

So, while on the surface this seems a bit of a setback, we will take it in stride and keep moving.

*****

On another note, do you see all those big X's???  I love them!  And do you see that there's only one missing as of late?  Yes, that's it...all we need to submit our dossier is immigration approval.  Woohoo!  Progress is being made...in spite of setbacks.  Because our God is that good!


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