“Hope deferred makes the heart sick.” –Proverbs 13:12
After two months of waiting fairly patiently for the phone call to announce our court date for our adoption, I called the agency to find out just what is taking so long. A few hours later, Ann returned my call. She said, “Are you sitting down?” I was desperately hoping she had good news but pretty sure that she didn’t. She proceeded to explain that my baby, M, is not “paper ready,” meaning that the courts don’t consider him eligible to be adopted at this time. We don’t know why this is. We don’t know why he was referred in the first place. He may have had a family member show up who wants him. The agency may not be able to locate any family to terminate parental rights and the courts are just waiting to be sure he truly was abandoned or orphaned. We also don’t know when he will be “paper ready,” which could be in days, months, years, or never. We don’t know. We are disappointed. We feel teased . . . in a way, betrayed. We are already invested in this little boy, and to be told we might never have him is heartbreaking. Our agency would like to offer us another referral in a few weeks, which we will accept, hoping that we will eventually be able to come home from Ethiopia with two children instead of one, but I hate the thought of replacing one child with another. If M has a family who loves him, we want him to be with his family, but if this is just red tape, we want him, and we want him now.
So, we are disappointed and discouraged. We have been waiting for parenthood for nearly three years now, and three years feels like long enough, especially when we’ve come so close to having our child. We are frustrated and angry. We both want to throw things and scream. That won’t help though. That won’t bring our little boy home. We know that there aren’t any guarantees in this process, or really any method of growing families. It is hard not to give up hope.
My husband tells me that it will be okay, and I believe him, but I only believe him because I know that my husband believes God. I’ve spent the last day reviewing the promises that God has given me in the past few weeks. Here they are:
“Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.” Hebrews 10:23
“So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while He who is coming will come and will not delay.” Hebrews 10:35-37
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Hebrews 11:1
“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise as some understand slowness.” 2 Peter 3:9
“I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day.” 2 Timothy 1:12
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever.” Ephesians 3:20
“Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. “ Romans 4:18-21
“And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.” Romans 5:5
“But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.” Romans 8:25
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“The one who calls you is faithful and he will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:24
“But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6
“You too, be patient and stand firm, because the Lord’s coming is near.” James 5:6
“Stop doubting and believe.” John 20:27
I reminded myself of all of this, and I said again, “God, I believe you.” I don’t know if I really, really do, but I’m choosing to tell myself over and over again so that I will. I’ve got to know that I know that I know that God is telling the truth. He will be glorified in this. Matt and I have been reading the book of Job in the past few days, and I can say that I feel just a little bit like him (not that I’ve lost everything of value in this world or that I’m covered in open sores, but I do feel that this world is unfair). Here’s what I read today in Job 42:2-3: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted . . . Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know.” Ok, God. I hear you. Now I’m ready for the plan. Take the mustard seed and grow it.