I thought receiving our home study approval would be the equivalent to finally seeing a positive sign on a pregnancy test. And just the other day when someone asked me what being home study approved meant, I likened it to just that…for a pregnancy that could last two weeks to five years. Before I started the adoption process, this comparison seemed natural:
To me, a positive pregnancy test was what would allow me to get excited about bringing a baby into our family. Without that positive, we just didn’t know for sure if it would ever happen (except for God telling me, but I tend to doubt Him when I can’t see something already at work. He has yet to let me down, but sinful me still doubts). The same goes for our home study approval, without it, there is no chance of becoming a parent through adoption. So, these two events must be pretty similar…right?
But now, as Dean and I find ourselves on the other side of the home study, these two things don’t seem to match up at all. A positive pregnancy test signifies the BEGINNING of growth, the START of parenthood, exhaustion, weight gain, nausea, heartburn, cravings, tears, fear, prayers, discomfort, swelling, bloating, kicks, movement, ultra sounds, heartbeats, fingers, toes, a tiny nose…life.
I couldn’t wait to have that positive result so I could start planning a nursery, thinking of names, buying little booties with deer or foxes on them just because they were adorable and I wanted my child to have them. That positive pregnancy test (depending on when it was taken) would be roughly two to four weeks into the 9 month count down of when to expect baby’s arrival. That positive test would let me know that my future child was already with us, although just an embryo, our child was already growing, and would soon have its very own heartbeat. That positive pregnancy test meant I was already a mother.
I naively thought that the approval of our home study would allow similar feelings to flow. But our home study approval is not like that at all. It was received AFTER nine months of exhausting paperwork; after nine months of nausea, heartburn, emotional discomfort; after nine months of weight gain and food cravings due to stress eating; after nine months of prayer from so many people; after nine months of fundraising because without the funds we could not become parents; after nine months of persecution via articles written by unhappy adoptees and unhappy birth parents; after nine months of constant, loving, support from friends and family; after nine months of helpful articles written by happy adoptees and content birth parents; after nine months that included classes, tests, clearances, background checks, fingerprints, doctor’s visits, letters, photobooks, autobiographies, interviews, inspections, emergency evacuation plans, picnics, tears, prayers, tears, prayers, tears, tears, tears, and prayers.
And after nine months of all of that, I’m still not a mom, not yet anyway. I have no idea when I will become a mom. I have no idea when I will hold little Scout in my arms and vow to love him/her for eternity. I have no idea if Scout has been conceived, if Scout has fingernails, or if Scout is facing the possibility of death. I don’t know if Scout is waiting in Cradle Care (foster care provided by our agency during the 30 day revocation period) anxiously trying to understand this new world he/she is in without his/her only source of comfort known to date: birth mom. Is my child crying and being soothed by someone who loves him/her but knows these precious moments won’t pay the bills? Does my child sense his/her mother’s sadness and loss? Is my child receiving the right nutrition? I have no way of knowing any of these things, and I have absolutely no control. I am not nurturing Scout during this time. I am just waiting.
How long must I wait, Lord? How much longer? I have had to wait an eternity already, I can’t bear it anymore.
The other day I was in a Holy yoga class and as we stood in mountain pose the instructor invited us to imagine ourselves standing on top of a mountain and gazing out over the world.
We then were told to swan dive into our standing forward fold.
As we bent our heads low to the floor and hung there for several breaths the instructor prompted us to think about those times we felt low and in the valleys of life. I am in a valley right now and that sudden realization brought forth weeping. Yes, weeping. Weeping…in public. Weeping unlike any weeping I have experienced before: silent tears streaming up my face.(I was upside down remember?) Snot was running into my eyes. As our instructor reminded us of God’s faithfulness we all came to flat back and then with our hands held high we came back to mountain pose. And there, for the first time ever, I stood crying in a public place with snot and tears clinging to my hairline.
I am in a valley. Please don’t misunderstand me, the valley I am in right now is very beautiful. It is pleasant and comfortable, but I have always been the type of person who likes to go as high as I can go and then look out at the world.
I like to feel like I’m part of the sky rather than part of the horizon. I like to watch the birds fly overhead without any trees to block my view. I like to experience the enormity of the world stretching out further than I can see. And right now I am in a valley. I am comfortable here but I am itching to start climbing. The reality of my situation has hit me.
The unknown waiting period is rising above me like a mountain to vast to climb. How will I scale these heights? How, Lord? It is too great, too big; it will take too long. It is beyond my power; I won’t survive.
I’ve got you. Hold on and trust me.
Can we stop to rest sometimes and maybe let out a good cry?
Of course! But we will also be stopping to marvel at the beauty of our journey, to laugh together, to chat over an evening cup of coffee by the camp fire, and to gaze at the stars. You will find peace and joy in my presence if you keep your hand in mine and your eyes fixed on me. I will show you the way to go. I will lay you down by quiet waters and restore your soul. I will be everything you need. Trust me, my radiant one.
Oh, and Elizabeth…Scout is my child too, just as you are; I am tightly grasping to the hands of my children. I connect you to Scout; I link mother to child. With this in mind, pray. My dear daughter, pray for your child. You don’t need an umbilical cord to nurture your little Scout, I Am your connection to your child and your prayers are the nourishment you provide.