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Monday, July 14, 2008

Just Waiting, Part 25 ... or Large Thorns, Large Blessings

Faith is believing in things not yet seen.

I have yet to see a photograph of a baby dressed in split pants, with a sign propped next to her boldly announcing the three Chinese characters that form her name. I have yet to share in the joy of referrals with others in our DTC group. I have yet to see a light at the end of our tunnel. Yet I still believe.

I believe because I have faith.

Whether you are Christian or not, it takes Great Faith to believe that China continues to move along with its international adoption program, albeit at a snail's pace. It takes Great Faith to cling to the thought of one day meeting a child who will become your daughter or son. It takes Great Faith to trust in God's will and timing.


Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. Hebrews 11:1

We I, being human, often blur the lines between faith and personal rights.

China doesn't owe me anything. God doesn't owe me anything. In fact, if the truth were told, I owe everything to God and to the country of China for allowing me to parent the one beautiful, vivacious daughter who currently fills my life with laughter and our little corner of the world with mischief. (Most recently, she upended an entire bucket of water onto poor Posies head. Sigh.)

Yet I'm struggling with anger right now as well as a tremendous sense of impatience. It shames me to admit that because I don't have a right to these emotions. God does not owe me anything, not even parenthood, whether through birth or adoption. I am not entitled to adopt from China; I am privileged to apply. And a child born halfway around the world does not deserve to experience abandonment just so that I can mother her.


It's difficult for others outside of the adoption world to truly understand how it feels to wait during the adoption process. It's similar to being two months pregnant, only that single moment in time lasts for years and years. You still haven't quite reached "the safe period," so you hesitate about sharing the news, since you don't know what the future holds. It's too early to set up the nursery, yet you need to plan for it, so you dream and wait. You aren't visibly pregnant, yet your emotions often take you on a roller coaster ride, so you struggle to live life as you did before. Things get put on hold because you make statements like, "well, we won't be able to do that because the baby might be here by then." And, because it's an adoption, instead of a pregnancy, your due date constantly pushes back further and further and further.

It's difficult to wait.

This past weekend the Husband and I worked for hours in our garden: pruning, weeding, even widening one of our flower beds. I spent quite some time puttering with my roses. We have several rose bushes, but the ones most people notice are the two largest. The first sits in the front yard, along the walkway leading to our front door. It blooms with gorgeous, fragrant red roses. The bush in our backyard next to the herb garden blooms with smaller, pale peach and less fragrant roses. While I worked with these two plants, I remembered something my friend Lizard once called to my attention.

If you look closely, you'll see there exist less obvious differences between our two rose bushes. And if you grab hold of a stem from each plant, you will learn of their differences painfully.

Our red rose bush sports the most wicked thorns I've ever personally handled. Our peach rose bush? It hardly contains any thorns at all. I can cut this bush back without even bothering to wear gardening gloves. Lizard, a former florist, once told me that you can predict how large the blooms will be by looking at the thorns... the larger the thorns, the larger the roses.

The larger the thorns, the larger the roses.

The larger the bumps in the road, the larger the blessings.

I learned this lesson already with the Tongginator. I truly did. Now perhaps my thorns, at least this time around, aren't the actual adoption process and wait, as I initially believed. Perhaps, this time, the thorns are in my soul. Perhaps God is using this long wait (25 months today) to teach me the true meaning of faith: hope without entitlement and patience without anger.


What are you waiting for? And, more importantly, what are you learning during your season of waiting?


Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

This was a great post....truly from the heart!

We hit 26 months on Saturday....I feel your pain, but I have learned to try to focus on the here and now and when the time is right, out next child will be brought to us.

In the beginning I was so obsessed with the wait that I lost sight of the important things....we did get a little surprise on the way, which helped occupy our time, but still it is "Live for today, not tomorrow"

Have a wonderful week!


TAMI said...

I've learned that although I sometimes don't have a "right" to my feelings, the only truthful thing for me to do with them is to bring them before my Lord. Bringing the "corrected" feelings is a lie, and what's He supposed to do with that? As ugly as it sometimes is, He allows me, He urges me, He welcomes me to speak the truth ... and then He can speak His comfort and T-R-U-T-H to me.

Briana's Mom said...

What a beautiful post. Everything you said - I could have said over a year ago.

Impatience. I felt it and I wished I didn't. It's just human.

Love it - the larger the thorns, the larger the flowers. Perfect.

Georgia Peach said...

phew....this one weighed heavy on me while I read. Waiting with a clear end in sight is in some ways easier because progress can be marked. But it's this waiting without a distinct finish line/timeframe that's really tough. The best I can offer is a big, big hug and a promise to continue praying and waiting with you.

happygeek said...

I'm crying as I read this.
So beautifully said.
The stuff I am waiting for cannot be blogged about but this still spoke to me powerfully.

Anonymous said...

Until today, I was waiting for two friends to meet their daughters. Now it is three.

I am waiting for complete healing in my marriage. I have learned that my timing means nothing to God, and that his interest lies with the prospering of my soul, and commitment to him.

Doesn't seem to stop the waiting however. :)

Beachy Mimi said...

I love this post. It really spoke to me. I will pray for your wait. I too, am waiting. Not like you, but still, I am waiting.
God's timing I do not understand, but I have learned (painfully) to let HIM direct and lead and the answer will be there...in His time.
I'm so impatient. But, I'm learning...

Spades said...

Wow...you seemed to take the words right out of my mouth...things I am waiting for and your sentiments echoed mine almost identially. I needed to hear it from someone else...thanks!

Aunt LoLo said...

I wish I had some great, insightful answer to your question. Today, I just don't. I got a phone call from Lo Gung this morning at 7:30 - he'd been hit, head on, on his way to work. Everyone is fine, but I'm just counting my blessings today. I don't have the brain capacity to think about the future or my waitings...I'm just counting my blessings for today. I have wonderful neighbors - Lo Gung's accident happened just in front of our neighbor's place of employ. His wife was home and able to come sit with BBJ ALL MORNING while I went to Lo Gung and accompanied him to the hospital to get checked out.

So many blessings today.

Laura L. said...

This is so beautifully written. I enjoyed it very much. I love to read things touch the heart, and really make me think.

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for your compliments. I'm glad you enjoyed reading our story. :)


Janet said...

That was SO well written! LOved it. Especially the rose and thorn analogy! I know what you mean about "having your life on hold". And now that "the wait" is over for us, I don't know what to do with myself. LOL! Seriously, we've been waiting so long, it actually feels like we're still waiting, even though Adam and Jeanie are home! Weird, huh? But then, I never claimed to be normal. ;-)

Alyson & Ford said...

Your post is very thoughtful and loving; I loved reading it. Thank you for sharing.

Alyson LID 01/27/06

Shawnstribe said...

the thorns bring out so much stuff buried so deep within us....and the roses....so many blessings....

the long wait isnt right, weather we have a right or not...ive been to the SWI's doing volanteer work, some are packed with children....

The children waiting for forever families suffer because of politics....while we long and pray and wait for them....

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

As much as I hate the wait... and it somewhat bugs me... I try to not 'regret' anything - not even this wait... I do think we WILL get our turn and that there are little lessons to learn along the way... what they are... I have no idea... I guess I will know that AFTER the wait... but I do think that all good things come to those who wait... take care

Anonymous said...

OMG. We're in the same loooooong line as you. You're ahead of us though.

Our LID is 8/1/06.


Becoming Me said...

Beautiful, beautiful post. That's all I can say.

prechrswife said...

So well written. I'm going to share a link to this one with some waiting friends.

discombobulated said...

You are able to say the most beautiful things. I would only be able to say something like, "Waiting sucks". God bless you, the Husband, the Tongginator, and your someday-soon-to-be 2nd daughter. Hugs to you.

Carla said...

{hug} I despised the wait, truly and utterly. Especially the wait for LOA, and even more the wait for LOA AFTER we'd been skipped.

What am I waiting for? I'm not sure...life? for life to get better? for us to be able to afford a larger house?

I've learned to never ask God for patience as He seems to always give the opportunities to LEARN patience.

I loved what you wrote. {hug}

(also, if you check, I forgot I had this page loaded and walked off for HOURS...)

Cajunchic said...

What a great post. I am sorry that you are having to deal with this and I think the anger is perfectly acceptable in your situation. I will be praying for you and will pray that God sends your new little angel soon.

Sorry I have been so hit or miss with commenting lately. Things have been crazy with finishing up the school year and all the summer activities.

Kimberly said...

Wow. All through my wait ( and I have have to agree with Carla's opinion on the wait) I have fretted, fumed, and been frustrated -- and that's on a good day. The biggest wait is over and now we wait to bring AK home. Somehow I feel like I can handle this one-- there is an end in sight-- although it certainly won't be easy. I have a feeling the Lord isn't done with my waiting lessons just yet.

I was struck by the rose analogy... the bigger the thorns, the bigger the roses. How I pray that is true. Thanks for stopping by my blog earlier today-- I have enjoyed visiting yours and will be back!

Don and Lisa Osborn said...

God REALLY must've known I needed to hear this since I stumbled on your blog today as I struggle with all the things you mentioned. What a very beautiful post. I am going to bookmark it and I'm sure I'll read it MANY times before we ever get our referral.

Thank you for writing from the heart and sharing your very raw feelings and emotions.

May you find many blessings amongst the thorns and a big vase for the huge rose that awaits.

All the best,
Mommy to Lindy Li-Xiao
LID for her mei mei 11/7/07

Third Mom said...

This is beautiful, and clearly comes straight from your heart.

With kids who are now almost adults, our waits have faded into vague memories. The longest was 22 months, which you have surpassed. The shortest was nine months, unexpectedly fast. Today, as I look at my grown children, I'm thankful that God gave me the grace to wait, for without it I may have never known these two amazing people.

Today I've also come to know that every day of my wait meant a family in Korea - in our case my children's foster mothers - had more time with them. I also know that while we waited, their mothers and perhaps fathers wondered where and how they were. So as painful as it was for us, it was a thousand times more painful for them.

It's just so hard to reconcile it all. Thank you for your perspective, and for this beautiful post.

Chris and Deb said...

TM....what a beautiful post! It was great to read....what gives me the most peace with this wait is remembering that God's timing is always perfect! This has truly been what has carried me thru this endless wait!

Michelle said...

Wow! What a beautiful post. I missed this before. Thanks for linking back to it. I am sure you touched many hearts with this one.