Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Treading Water

I have really neglected the blog since my last post - primarily because not much has changed in Hannah's adoption process.  Around October 18 we found out that our dossier status had changed from being translated to being reviewed, meaning that we had cleared all of the checks that the Chinese government has in place.  The final step is for our file to be officially matched to Hannah, and then the LOA (letter of approval) is issued.  We had our hopes up since my last post that our LOA would come by the end of October - which would be just after 90 days of waiting.

About 10 days ago a group of families at our agency got their approvals from China.  We did not get approval, which was discouraging and upsetting because we have been waiting longer than quite a few of the ones who did get approved.  I've had my hopes up every day that there must have been a minor error or a computer glitch and that ours would show up in the system soon.  And yet we still wait.  It is beginning to feel like the international adoption version of the movie Groundhog Day.  I wish I could say I've been calm and composed throughout this period of waiting but that would not be true.  It has been terribly discouraging and painful.  I've done 'the ugly cry' more times than I care to admit, with my biggest meltdown coming in the Target parking lot last week.  It was definitely a new low for me out of our adoption processes!

Our agency has inquired with their representatives in Beijing, who have in turn questioned the government about our dossier status.  The only reply we've gotten is that they are "aware of the situation."  Our agency has speculated that there could be a simple clerical error with our file, only because they know that we passed review so the government is not requesting additional information about our family.  Outside of that, there is no rhyme or reason to how LOAs are processed or issued. We have been told it is rare for families to wait over 90 days; today was day 97 for us.

It has been a blessing that our agency rep emails me first thing in the morning when he gets to the office in Denver.  I usually have my bad news by 10am and can go ahead and cry, get over it and go about my day.  We trust our agency and how they are handling things and feel like not much more can be done except continue to wait.

It is hard to explain how my heart longs to bring Hannah home.  It doesn't feel right for her to be stuck in an orphanage when our hearts feel that she is part of our family.  We are beyond ready to have her home and sleeping in her crib and laughing in her high chair at the dinner table.  But yet in this wait we know that God is good and loves her without measure, far more than we ever will.  We know He is sovereign and that while it does not make sense to us now, He has a purpose for this delay.  The fact that we are still waiting is no surprise to Him.  We are choosing to believe that He wants us to focus on Caleb and Joshua while we wait for Hannah.  Perhaps more needs to be done to prepare their hearts for the major changes that Hannah will bring to our family.

I believe that in every challenge we face, every time we feel we are on stormy seas, that God is calling us to learn (or sometimes re-learn) something about His unchanging character.  What is it about Him that I am not focusing on and trusting in during this challenge of waiting for our daughter?  In this struggle of longing for Hannah I have had the awesome opportunity to focus on His goodness, His faithfulness, His sovereignty, His justice.  And I have found that in my saddest moments I have felt His presence telling me, "I weep along with you.  I weep for her, too."  Hannah has not, nor will she ever be, forgotten by our loving, gracious Father.

And so we continue to wait, not moving backwards but certainly not making any progress.  It feels like we are treading water for 97 days and counting, many times without a life jacket!  Yet it seems that just when I feel like I can't stand the wait any longer God sends us our parents, friends, or fellow adoptive parents who help buoy us up for the days to come.  We trust that God will be faithful to Hannah and will bring her home to us at the perfect time.  I am choosing to set my eyes on Him and on the verse Exodus 14:14  "The Lord will fight for you.  You need only be still."

Two songs that have really ministered to me in this time of waiting: