Despite how movies and television portray adoption it is not a tremendously wonderful process, in fact, it’s more like a marathon for which you really cannot train, except that some folks actually enjoy running marathons. I have never met a person yet who’s excited about the nonstop paperwork, background checks, and trips to get their fingerprints done for the 24th time at immigration. I have never met a person who says, “Oh yes, it was such a peaceful and beautiful process waiting for our child to come home. It was an easy five years.”
Not once, ever.
So I feel okay with telling the public that this process moves far past tedious and exhausting and instead heads into territories emotionally unknown to me. I’m just being real here y’all. It’s been four and a half years since we filled out our first form and several months since we received our referral and our first set of pictures of our son, Isaiah. And of course I think about him every single day, but I can’t fixate on his situation for too long early in the morning or late at night because the emotions of having a child over 8,0000 miles away are enough to send me reeling into the oblivion. So I pray and try to trust that God has him in the palm of his hand but still, there are days where the emptiness and fear of the unknown threatens to swallow me whole.
And God sees this. He sees my momma’s heart worrying over a son I cannot feed or clothe or even touch with my own two hands right now. He understands the complete powerlessness I am enduring. He sees my desolation and my frustration at a system so broken I despair of ever really making a dent in it and he does some things only he can do through the people he has created in his own image.
I recently awoke one morning to a message on my phone that simply said, “Sending them all,” and my heart skipped a beat before any real thoughts could come together in my head. I rubbed my eyes and tried to focus when I remembered, “she sent pictures of my boy.” And just like that I shook my husband from his dead sleep and raced to the computer all the while praying my neighbors didn’t see me skidding to a halt on the tile floor in my office with nothing but my nightshirt and white athletic socks on. Because friends, who has time to throw on pajama pants when pictures of your little man are waiting? Frantically I opened my email and navigated my way through downloading the files, all nine of them, every one spectacular. And there my eyes beheld a gift I had not dared hope for, Isaiah’s personality on full display. I choked back tears of pure joy as I saw what she saw through the lens of her camera, my son happily reaching for her, my son playing peek-a-boo through crib slats, my son smiling without reserve or trepidation. And I thought to myself, “There you are God. I see you working today. I see your image shining through this woman who lovingly stopped her life long enough to take these precious pictures and deliver firsthand news about our son to us just because she could.” Later that day as I looked at her professional credentials as a photographer I sat humbled that someone would sacrifice their time and skills to create an entire gallery of pictures for all the children at the Kidane Mehret orphanage. I understood how special it was that she recognized the need for these kids to see themselves in photographs on the walls of the home in which they reside. And just like that I was reminded of all the good there is to be found in the world. Just like that I saw His image refracted in a thousand different ways.
Yes, I see you God. And I’m so grateful.
I see you all around me moving through the hands and feet of your people in my life. In the early morning text from my elementary school friend that simply says, “praying,’ to the three patients who ask me about my son’s progress home.
I see you.
When my son stops in the middle of his bedtime prayers to ask me how much longer until his brother, Isaiah, comes home,
I see you.
In the way this family’s hands are no longer holding onto our own vision of this life but instead we are holding onto your dream for our lives,
I see you.
And though the pain doesn’t change and the paperwork doesn’t seem to move faster I am not defeated by either anymore because you see fit to send me messages all day long that confirm I am loved by you.
So I’m looking for you now. In every person, in every moment, in each turn of my head toward the new sunrise I’m watching to see where you’ll appear with glimpses of your glory woven into the everyday.
And friends I have to ask you, when’s the last time you looked for the greatness of God in the everyday around you? When’s the last time you looked for confirmation of His great love for you? When’s the last time you realized God did something just for you just because He could?