It has been 7 years since our last international adoption, but the feelings have flooded back, like an old friend picking right up where we left off. They are all too familiar. The aching and longing to be with my child. Yet, we are separated by an ocean, an incomplete home study, a dossier to finish, a million appointments, money to be raised, a to do list as long at the constitution, and months and months and months of waiting. All I have to cling to is the idea of her and a few pictures.
Questions flood my thoughts….
Who is tucking her in? Does she get a good night kiss? Do the nanny’s sing bedtime songs or do special night-time hugs? Does her tummy feel hungry in between meal times? What makes her giggle? What makes her do that deep belly laugh that every parent loves? Is she timid or daring? Does she fall asleep easily? Does she wake in the night? If so, does anyone comfort her? What does she smell like right after a bath? Does she play well with other children? What makes her anxious? What is her favorite toy? What is she doing right this minute? When she is fussy, what calms her? Does she have a favorite little friend? Is she one of the “favorites” in her room in the orphanage (let’s be honest even in the BEST orphanages and care centers…there are always favorites). Does someone cherish her? Does she see her preciousness reflected in anyone’s eyes? What does she like to eat? What does her poop smell like (yep you even wonder those things….gross right???). What does her little body feel like to hold….is she limp, is she stiff, does she mold to the person holding her? The questions are endless. Totally endless.
There is a pervasive overwhelming reality that someone is always missing. Someone is not in your car, at your table, sleeping snuggly under your roof. Your bedtime kisses were one short. Someone was not at the Thanksgiving table. Someone will not be there Christmas morning or New Years eve, or Easter, or tonight, or tomorrow.
Being separated from one of your children is like nothing I can explain. I have walked a lot of roads as a mom. This one is excruciating. It is like a gigantic magnifying glass pointing out that you have not ever had one ounce of control over their life and you have to reach into this deep place of trust and cling to it with your life. You have to trust that HE has them. That HE always has and HE always will. That He created their life without you. That He has sustained their life without you. That He has provided care and protection (you pray) without you. And the fact that you GET to be a part of her story at all is a gift. Not a right. Not a given. A gift. Talk about humbling.
Maybe, it is somewhat similar to what parents might feel when they send their first child off to college? They have to come to terms with what has actually always been the fact ~ they really have no control. They have to release them. Prior to them leaving home maybe mom and dad could cling to the illusion of control. But not know. They know they can not avoid the truth.
When you are an adoptive parent, pursing a specific waiting child, you come FACE to FACE with your utter lack of control E.V.E.R.Y. moment of everyday. And you know it from day one of being their mom or dad. You are not with them. There is NOTHING you can do to comfort, protect, nurture, or provide for them. NOTHING.
For this control loving freak it is incredibly painful.
I realized today, that sometime over the last week, I moved out of the weepy stage I was in for months and months over Mae, to what I call my “grumpy momma” stage. I am just flat out grumpy. It is not good. I get this way when I am not in control of a situation. Some people cry, some people shut down, I get grumpy. I am not sleeping well. I feel “off”. Part of me is missing. There is no other way to say it.
And in this case the waiting has really just started. We are just getting started on the months of waiting ahead. I am praying for the grace I need to push through this stage into a place of surrender and patience. Patience for me is an outflow of my level of quiet surrender and trust. When I am resting in TRUST I am patient. When I am not, well I am not. I am praying by His grace I can move to a place where I can find some peace in the midst of the separation.
Today I just want to squeeze her and kiss those chunky cheeks (which even if I could, I wouldn’t b/c I am a STRANGER to her and it would totally freak her out…..but that is a blog for another day).
So I cling to Him. I cling to trust. I cling to His unrelenting love for me, for her, and for our whole family. I know He knows. So I wait in hope….and pray for the sake of my hubby and other kids this grumpy momma stage is short lived.