understanding of a situation or event only after it has happened or developed.
The funny thing about faith is that it’s so, so easy to say that you have faith, but when you’re tested you truly begin to understand what it’s all about. It’s not about proclaiming the fact that you believe. It’s about letting go and letting God do all the hard stuff. I needed to hold on to this so badly. During the tedious adoption process, the “faith” tattoo on my ankle was (and still is!) my constant reminder that there was a little baby with chubby round cheeks that needed and deserved to be held and loved by our family. He needed to see what “family” really means: that we fight and we make up; that we err and we forgive; that we laugh and cry and joke and aggravate the living daylights out of each other at times, but we are bound by love that supersedes any of the negative. The faith that we held onto through this process was tested over and over. Through roadblocks and detours, I began to become so frustrated with God. Why would he push so hard for us to adopt just to leave us hanging in limbo? I don’t think this ever comes as a surprise to God. I also don’t think he’s disappointed when it happens because once we let go and let GOD, our faith becomes even stronger.
While we questioned, God was working out his divine plan. It went something like this:
May 15, 2013: We sent our preliminary application to our first adoption agency.
June 14, 2013: Our formal application was accepted by that agency.
June 24, 2013: I had the first meeting with our social worker. (Very close to this time, a baby boy was conceived in China.)
August 10, 2013: I got a tattoo of the Chinese character meaning “faith.” (Very close to this time, a woman in China discovered that she was pregnant.)
August 13, 2013: We had our first home study visit with our social worker on my 38th birthday.
September 21, 2013: We had our second home study visit with our social worker. (A baby boy in China was reaching 3 months gestation.)
October 3, 2013: Kevin accepted a job in Ohio.
October 10, 2013: We were accepted to the China program of our first adoption agency.
October 23, 2013: We contacted our agency to notify them that we would be moving. We were assured that we could pick right up where we left off with our adoption after a home study update in Ohio.
December 20, 2013: Eleven days after moving to our new home, I began contacting our adoption agency to move forward. No one would return my calls or emails. (A baby boy in China was reaching 6 months gestation.)
February 7, 2014: After waiting for weeks with no word from our agency, I contacted an adoption group at church to seek advice on what to do. Soon after, I found out that we could not move forward with our agency.
February 8-13, 2014: Cry. Pray. Repeat.
February 14, 2014: I mailed our initial application to our second adoption agency, an agency recommended by a church member.
February 19, 2014: We were approved to move forward with our new agency. (A woman was approaching a full term pregnancy in China).
March 13, 2014: I took a picture of Waverly at her swim class. An adorable Chinese boy was sitting beside her. As they smiled at each other and splashed, I dreamed about her little brother. (A baby boy was born in China.)
March 14, 2014: I submitted my first set of fingerprints for a background check. (A baby boy was left to be found in China.)
July 23, 2014: I went to the doctor for bloodwork needed for the health report for our adoption. (A baby boy went to the hospital for bloodwork needed to prepare his referral file in China.)
July 25, 2014: Kevin and I took our kids with us to Cleveland to have our fingerprints submitted for a clearance from the Department of Homeland Security. (The Xuzhou City Children’s Hospital signed off on a medical report for the file of a baby boy in China.)
August 11, 2014: The kids and I drove to our agency’s office to deliver our completed dossier for China. (An orphanage took updated pictures of a baby boy to add to his referral file.)
August 13, 2014: We celebrated my 39th birthday. (While I slept that night, an MRI was performed on a baby boy in China, a “gift” that placed him on the special needs waiting list.)
How could we have ever known that just over seven months later, we would be holding that baby boy in our arms? At the time, it felt as if minutes were hours passing by as we waited for that referral call. All the time lost to our first agency? It wasn’t time lost. It was God putting us on hold for a little baby who had yet to be born. It was God using that time to mold our hearts, maybe even to give our other kids a little more time to prepare. It wasn’t just a lucky coincidence that the baby boy sleeping upstairs right now was meant to be ours. God slowed our process down so that we wouldn’t leave this sweet baby boy, our baby boy, behind. Honestly, if things had worked out on my timeline, we would have brought home a baby long before Caleb’s file was even ready. I’m so thankful that God is always, always good, even when we mortals are down here throwing temper tantrums when things don’t work out on our timelines. I wouldn’t have wanted to miss out on this gift.