Our little family is trying to maintain a “Present Here, Ready for There” kind of existence. Somehow, we’re managing to stay grounded in the in between.
After my last post, we had a rare international phone chat with Nathan’s brother and our sister-in-law. They live in Rwanda, but the beautiful picture above is from their April trip to Ethiopia. I love it. Phone calls are always a priceless time, mostly because we crazy miss them. Also because…Nathan and I are only so-so at sharing a phone, and…I’m pretty sure the conversation was cut off exactly four times. Worth it though. Toward the end of the much needed chat, Travis reflected on our forty day waiting period. [Court closure (probably) caused a little extra adoption wait time for us.] He acknowledged the wait. And the rain. You see, while we have been waiting to meet our boy, Ethiopia has been in the middle of one of its rainy seasons. Perhaps, he said, this will give you a new perspective on the biblical story of Noah. Maybe, he said, you have the opportunity to practice the kind of faith that only comes with working toward an abstract, bigger-than-you goal. Certainly, he confirmed, this is a time of purpose. Forty days. To be still and wait. To plan and prepare. To be unsure and hope. To rejoice with Ethiopia’s rain.
Okay, I am paraphrasing a bit here, and trying to tread lightly with the parallels, but these were the themes. Thought-provoking and challenging. Classic Travis.
As a kid, I was honestly horrified by the story of the ark and the flood. Still am. Frankly, I don’t always know where to place this story’s tragedy (and many, many of today’s human tragedies) in my theology, in my faith.
Here’s what I do know:
The wait, all of it, has been a rich time for us.
We’ve had a few notable moments when, even in hindsight, it seems like we could easily assess our circumstances, stamp our glass HALF EMPTY, and the rest of the world would join us in calling it so. There’s not a thing wrong with acknowledging hardship. It can be so necessary. Still, there’s a scary gravity that comes with being in charge of our own PR. Nathan and I have confessed to each other several times that we especially feel the weight of our adoption press. We know there would be real tragedy in centering that unique story in the negatives.
In truth, the immediate slow-down of Ethiopian adoptions allowed us more time to honor and respect this foreign country and to posture an attitude of humility rather than entitlement.
In truth, a long wait equaled countless happy moments with our firstborn and much needed time to become resource-ready for our second.
In truth, the heartache that came with trying to add to our family made us even more certain of this adoption, this baby. The month-long threat of Ethiopia closing international adoptions made us more certain still of this adoption, this baby.
In truth, separation makes us miss a child we haven’t met.
This is beautiful, all of it, and we feel responsible to call it so.
As for the additional 40 days during court closure? Well, that’s been a really sweet time too. Far beyond us, though, it’s a necessary time for Ethiopia. When we really consider why we are waiting, the reason courts are closed, it is easy to just sit tight and wait. Ethiopia needs rain. Crops like maize, wheat, and sorghum depend on adequate rain. These crops will need to stretch further as Ethiopia accepts and will continue to accept refugees. Below average harvests or suffering pasture lands are devastating to poor households.
While the rains came, Nathan and I were eager to join forces with Team Anita and help plan the Team Anita – Pay It Forward Golf Tournament. I know zip-zero about golf, but I still take notes from Anita all the time. She was just one of those gems who had big reasons to complain but chose instead to make her story greater than the negatives in her life. I love seeing the good work that her faith continues to carry out.
We’ve also used the last month or so to furiously learn. Of course, we’ve already done some training and read a book or two on the stuff of adoption, of Ethiopia, of attachment, of the political and ethical underpinnings of it all, but I’ve had a new fervor. Apparently, this hunt for info is some kind of primal need that trumps cleaning or nesting or packing. I want to know what I don’t know.
Which is a lot.
No surprise here: I still don’t know very much, but I’m all about recommending content that is helpful to curious passersby. Look me up.
We’re still waiting. Not necessarily the ark-building kind of wait (lest you think I have a Noah Complex), but it is a faith wait, for sure. Thanks be to God, for moving us along, each step of the way.
Here’s the latest:
- Courts open next week on Monday the 6th.
- Two families have already been given dates to travel by the end of this week. Happiness! And also, woah, holy cow! (unexpectedly soon for these families)
- We still need that one little letter…that we can only assume is going to take several weeks + to be issued. Maybe. Probably. Who knows.
- We’re pumped, pumped, pumped.
- Baby S is getting older and wiser and cuter.
- Turns out, Steak N Shake’s Happy Hour milkshakes alleviate nervous energy tremendously…
and also might be adding to our baby weight. 😉