I love my outlook calendar. I know I’m late to this party, but I’ve only recently discovered how it can manage my daily outside-of-work life. I love it so much so that sometimes I put a task in there that I’ve almost or just completed, simply to click “complete.” When it comes to this adoption process, I’d love to map out exactly when I need to have certain items completed and when I can expect to achieve certain mile-markers along the way (ending in the long-awaited referral – with the names and pictures of the children we’ll bring into our home). I’m quickly learning this is not how it works. As I search websites of other adoptive parents like me, I see that – in lieu of a great tool that calculates their progress (in outlook you can map the percentage completed of a particular task or project) they post things like the number of days they’ve been waiting on a referral and hour-by-hour tracking logs of where their Fed Ex dossier is after it’s been completed.

I have the sinking feeling that my experience thus far in “waiting” has really only just begun.

BUT ….

There is something strangely comforting about having many of the major variables in my life in suspension at once. For someone like me who tends towards high control, you’d think this would be total chaos in my systematic brain. Actually, it’s quite freeing. I mean, no controlling person at their core really wants control. It’s just their safety blanket. A very false safety blanket – as control really only happens in fits and spurts. It’s never something that’s really ever yours.

I know I’ve judged people who have a proclivity to “flightiness” in the past. I’ve watched those who appear to be directionless with disdain. “How can they really NOT have any idea what they want to do next … again? Weren’t they just in the same place last year?” It’s almost as if in my mind I gave an allowance of 1 major period of crisis or uncertainty and still allowed someone to be normal. But if I saw any semblance of a pattern of uncertainty, that person immediately become flighty in my mind.

The Lord is funny that way. Now, here I am with uncertainty creeping into more than one area of my life and, even worse, over a period of time. I think I’ve used up my one allowance. And, you know what? Right now, it’s a pretty darn freeing.

We’ve put our house on the market to move to Kansas City and had a tentative move date of August 19th, and a going away party the night before to boot! We’re still here.

My job is winding down to an end and I can’t really look for a new one knowing that we could move to Kansas City at any moment … or … in a year, if it takes that long to sell.

We’ve begun the adoption process but are likely going to hit a delay when the move happens …if it happens. Our “paper chase”, as those in the adoption-world call it, will probably require several switch-backs given that much of the paperwork is specific to where you live.

And … who knows. We’re continuing to pray that I would be able to have children. So – we could get $10,000 or even $15,000 into this adoption process (because many of the fees are due on the front-end) and I could get pregnant. We could even get so far as to hold in our hands pictures of these Ethiopian children we’re already praying for and have begun hoping and dreaming about, only to find out that the process is abruptly ended due to my own pregnancy.

Praise God I’m not the one orchestrating all of this. Little me who at times would like to control the world … my husband, my friends, my family and even the weather … gets to have a chance at freedom. He knows; I don’t. These details will all come together in the order and timing that only He can orchestrate – that I would likely screw up.

Sure bitterness rears its ugly head into my being as I look at my circumstances. But it would be impossible to ignore all of the deep, soul-cleansing good that is coming out of this. God is changing me. I think I can even go so far as to say He is making me new. He is taking a heart that was so bound by fear and anxiety … and walking me out on the very cliff I was afraid of and spent years judging – uncertainty – and showing me all the beauty there is to see there. I’d miss this if I’d had it all my way to begin with.

A dear friend sent me this verse last week:

Isaiah 51:3 “He will make her wilderness like Eden, And her desert like the garden of the Lord.”

The “her” in this scripture is referring to Israel – Zion – and I believe it’s something God is going to do in that nation that we’ll one day see with our very own eyes. But, could it also be for me … His promise for me? That my wilderness – my current infertility and displaced desire to be a mom, the waiting on our house-sale that never seems to end, etc etc – is a place that he will turn into His garden?

These two children that I continue to picture in my mind and can’t help but pray for … will most certainly be a piece of this barren land restored. But, even more-so, my ever-changing heart, my growing awareness that I am loved by God, very intentionally, very specifically, this stirring inside of me for Him … is the “garden.” He’s taking a very controlling, overly fearful and anxious and often bitter-at-her-circumstances girl who can tend toward wallowing in self-pity and making her new. (At least, I think). It’s like today, as I prayed, I heard Him saying “this is more about Me and you than you think it is.” I think He might be right.

So, I guess I’m o.k. with being flighty … at least today.

Although … it might not be long before I begin posting Fed Ex tracking logs of senseless paperwork, as my last ditch crack at honing in on this process. If I do, I’ll just go back and take out that part about people who do that.

To The Hungry Soul, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet

There’s something safe about having a blog that you know no one is going to read for at least a while (or maybe never). Maybe it’s more like a journal. Regardless, this process seems monumental enough in our lives that I want it recorded.

Riding the range of my emotions with our struggles with infertility and our growing hope and desire to open our home to two Ethiopian children is like being an adolescent all over again. I find myself giddy and waking up in the middle of the night, unable to sleep, as I dream about housing these orphans I’ve read so much about. This, then followed by a day where I have an emotional breakdown because our computer technician is a few hours behind on installing my new email account. “I’ve had enough of the waiting!” I explain to Nate when he asks why the big deal about my email. He is a patient man.

The overwhelming piece in all of this is what God is doing in my heart. Two weeks ago I read this verse that I think sums up what I’m feeling:

“The satisfied soul loathes the honeycomb, but to the hungry soul every bitter thing is sweet.” Proverbs 27:7

This thing that feels like our Achilles heal – our struggles with infertility – has actually been the avenue by which God is meeting me and speaking to me most. At the moments where I wonder if I can peel myself off the floor, I am so saddened by our lack … God is more real than He’s ever been.

I continue to see the game of chutes and ladders in my head as I pray. I find myself thinking “what the heck did I do to land on this stupid square that took me down a slide and landed me well-behind where I should be at this stage in life?”

My heart that wants to lean toward bitterness begins moaning out .. “not another set-back” as I am quick to remember being the newlywed wondering if marriage really would ever be good. (Thankfully I can say now that it is GOOD.) Then, God invites. He says to me “climb up here, there’s a ladder just one square away.” And I find Him. In a deeper and more real way than I have before, I meet him.

Sure, that’s just the summary of a drawn out process of what’s now become years. I’ve had months of numbness as I watch friend after friend experience the joys of having biological children, fearing that I may never have that myself. Most recently, August and September were like a mourning period for me. I’d have random waves of sadness, triggered by hearing children playing outside or even seeing a maternity dress in a store. I found myself daydreaming about what I couldn’t have, to the point of indulgence.

I don’t know where the turning point was and I’m fairly certain this may be a corner I’ll re-visit … but God met me. He showed up. He spoke to me, ever so tenderly. In just the right way. Almost as if to make all the waiting worth-it. Because the truth is, my soul is hungry for more than just the normal life… isn’t this true for all of us? And even this bitter thing, because of how it’s being wielded in my life at this moment to bring me closer to God, is sweet.

And separate, but not totally removed from that is our adoption journey…