The past few weeks have found me in a place I never thought I’d be—chatting with Senator’s aides, writing letters to Congress people, planning a trip to DC to march for a cause. But this is the fate of a waiting adoptive parent. You find yourself doing all you can to shorten the distance between you and your kids.
Oh, and I’ve been on some conference calls. Major props to working folks like my husband who have to endure large conference calls everyday. Oh my word. And large conference calls with waiting adoptive parents means that at least one person doesn’t have their phone on mute. Most likely this person will be in a windtunnel located inside the Playland at a McDonald’s. I can find no other reasonable explanation for the constant chatter and babble of small children in the background.
So what did all of these efforts produce? Some news that was both encouraging and discouraging at the same time. We now know that there is no way we will travel this summer. The US Embassy in DRC does investigations of all adoptions to insure each adoption is done ethically. This is a good thing. No, a great thing. But because of the sequester and the rise in adoptions in the DRC, the embassy is understaffed and under-budgeted to handle the case load in a timely manner. So we wait. We knew that because our kids are not originally from the capitol of DRC, that our investigations would take longer. The DRC is one third the size of the US. It’s not like the investigators can just hop in a Humvee and trot off to where our kids are from. It’s 1000 miles away. But….we do now know that the investigators have scheduled a trip to our kids' hometown to do our investigation and the investigations of other kids from that area. (Which is a huge praise and one of the things we were lobbying for! Hurrah!) However, the investigators won’t be heading out to our region until the end of the summer. (Sad trombone) Please pray that nothing thwarts these plans. Any changes in politics or rebel uprisings could make this trip a no go. So while three months isn’t THAT long in the US, it seems like an eternity in the tumultuous landscape of the Congo.
(Why long investigations? International adoption is frought with controversy and corruption because where there are big-hearted Westerners with money, there are folks willing to take advantage of that. And while I have entered into the conversation about ethical adoptions in other arenas, community building in 3rd world countries and the oh so important need for family preservation initiatives, I don’t want this post to go down that rabbit trail. So if you want to enter that conversation, I suggest you go here, to Jen Hatmaker’s most recent blog post, to discuss that. Please hear me when I say I am thankful for the extra lengths the Embassy is going to to insure ethical adoptions. I just wish they had more resources with which to do them. Hence the lobbying and the march.)
This means that we will most likely travel to pick up our kids in the fall. Perhaps October? And we will now need to be in country for 2-3 weeks rather than just 1 week as we had first thought. Which makes finding childcare for Henry and Grace a bit stickier during the school year and also triples the cost of the trip. The wait also adds to our expense as we pay for our kids’ living expenses. And I don’t want to complain about those costs. Because the transition house where Charlie and Mollie are is great. But it isn’t a family. It isn’t our family.
Sometimes at night I hear Henry talking to Charlie. Telling him how he misses him. “Oh Charlie, I will teach you how to make the bed. Yours will be the bottom bunk. It’ll be easier to make than my top bunk.” “Charlie, I’m really too old for this train table, but I told mom to keep it in our room for you. I will build you tracks and you can play trains. Did you know there is a Charlie train? And a Henry train? There’s even a Molly train. Poor Grace, she doesn’t have her own train.”
I hear this and I cry.
Most days, I’m able to go through the day without breaking down. I trust that God’s timing is perfect and that He is with them in the Congo. But other days? Like Mother’s day? Sweet Moses. I was completely blindsided by grief. It was like it was pissed I’d been ignoring it so long and just full on attacked me.
So that was awesome.
I’m trying to see the bright side of the delay. We have the summer. I don’t have to worry about getting an email or a letter from USCIS or my case worker saying “It’s time to go.” I can just love on Henry and Grace. Sloan and I can go on loads of date nights. We can finish prepping the kids rooms and maybe unpack the last few boxes. I can relax at the pool. I can go to the gym and drop the kids off in childcare. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go crazy and finally paint the family room bathroom and dining room. You know, since I’ve got a coupon for paint and all.
Please pray for us to have continued patience. For us to trust in God to provide for all of our needs. For the health and safety for Charlie and Mollie and all of the kids with them in Kinshasha. For me to not obsess over other people’s adoption timelines. For me to celebrate with my friends at their airport moments when they bring home their kids before we bring home ours, despite them starting their journeys after us. For there to be no impediments in the rest of our process. For us to figure out childcare. For this Momma’s heart who longs to see and smell and hold and kiss her two youngest children.
Remind me that Jesus sees my hurt and hurts alongside me. Remind me that God understands a parent's ache for a child in harm's way. Don't give me churchy platitudes. Just give me Jesus.