One of the exhausting things about pregnancy, for me, was that I was never, ever able to forget I was pregnant. Not even for a moment. I was constantly uncomfortable in some kind of way, and my body prompted my brain and heart to endlessly prepare and ponder.
Adoption is different. In the adoption process, there isn’t a growing belly, just a growing mound of paperwork. There isn’t a timeline or a sense of progress, just a bunch of days with zero news and occasionally an email or phone call with potentially life-changing news that ends up being someone else’s life-changing news. Sometimes it just feels like a project, not a person. This is a different kind of exhausting.
So that’s why the little shoes made me cry. They are real and real feet go inside them. My friend put them out on her dresser as a reminder: “Pray for the Saunders family adoption.”
That’s why I make myself look at the pack-n-play in our room and really see it. We’ve had it set up since June, and I’m getting too used to it. Sometime I put my coat on it, and it’s at risk of becoming a thing that holds laundry rather than a thing that will hold our precious addition. Some days it doesn’t seem like anyone will use this lovey or this swaddle or these clothes of Adelaide’s and Greer’s in all kinds of sizes that I washed and folded and hugged tightly before setting them aside months ago for our newest little love. So I have to touch them and remember: This is real, and it will happen someday.
Haven’t I heard everything there is to hear about waiting? Haven’t I sat with those truths many times? While I waited to be able to marry Luke, for us to have a place that was our own, to be able to teach, for us to be able to have kids, and then to actually go into labor since both of my kids were so obscenely late? All of those days felt like they would never come, but they did. Waiting has become a place of spiritual richness for me, and I am learning to sit here rather than fruitlessly out-hustle or out-worry the wait. It's always worth it, it’s always better, and some days the sitting is every bit as as rich as the receiving. Other days it’s just annoying.
But here’s something new I’m learning this time around: God waits, too.
“Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are those who wait for him.” (Isaiah 30:18)
He waits. Like a father excited to give his daughter a wonderful gift at the perfect time, He shows restraint. He waits, that His gift might have the maximum impact, that His graciousness might knock our socks off with the biggest WHOOSH, that He might be the most exalted. It's something we see throughout the Bible -- God curiously taking His time. And we realize, eventually, the waiting is not just for our sakes -- it's for His. That people might hear our story and immediately be able to spot Him in it.
So the message here is that waiting isn’t always a sad spiritual season. Perhaps it’s the most exciting. A time to sit around and wonder: What in the world does God have up his sleeve?
As we wait and endure the adoption process, I will not prop up my laundry on God’s promise or let the mounds of paperwork dull my anticipation of the exciting swirl of events that God will put into place. This is real, and it will happen someday. May God be most glorified in our “someday.”