When I was four I asked for a calendar. Just writing that sentence seems ridiculous.
I asked my mom to keep track of my activities so I could know which event happened on what day. Sundays and Wednesdays were church and in between there was preschool, a plethora of playdates, and ballet practice. As long as I can remember I have loved to know the plan.
When we began our first adoption, a few people warned me that timelines don’t always go as scheduled. I mildly heeded their advice but inside my head I thought that our adoption would be the exception to the rule. I was hopeful that everything would go smoothly and there would be no hiccups along the way.
Fast forward a few years later and countless delays and country program changes and switching our adoption plans from one continent to the next and things didn’t seem so easy and predictable anymore.
After a particularly rough afternoon that brought the news that our program at the time had slowed to a halt, I sent a cry of help to my closest friends. My world felt out of control. My sweet friend, Deanna, arrived 30 minutes later in my yard with a Starbucks drink and a hug.
I wanted a plan. I wanted to know when our paperwork was going to move through the system. I wanted to know what time of year we would travel and every detail about our child.
I had been holding onto my timeline with a white knuckle grip. I was obsessively checking adoption blogs and Facebook groups. I was researching other people’s adoption timeline spreadsheets. (Yes, that is a thing). I was finding any excuse to e-mail or call our social worker just to check in and ensure she didn’t have any updated news for us.
I was frustrated that God wasn’t following my schedule. It was hard for me to celebrate when I heard other people with my similar timeline had jumped ahead of me. It was a mixture of joy that another child would soon be coming home to his forever family and also sadness and frustration that our turn had not yet come.
I did not like the way I felt and it was so disappointing to see the ugliness of jealousy and bitterness in me. I knew something had to stop. I began slowly opening my hands to God’s timeline. His ways. His ideas. I realized that the ultimate goal of having my child home was important but the work God wanted to do in me during the season of waiting was vital. I knew I could either spend the next few months of waiting frazzled and anxious or I could take a deep breath and be present in the moment and learn what God had for me during this time.
I stopped checking my e-mail 57 times a day to see if there were updates from our agency. I stopped logging onto Facebook every few minutes so I could to see what other people’s adoption timelines were and who was ahead of me in the process. I slowed down my pace and soaked up my moments with our family of four before trying to rush to become a family of five.
I rested and journaled and wrote letters to our future daughter. I bought her fun fingernail polish and sparkly shoes. I reread adoption books and brushed up on our training manuals. I started looking inward to see what needed to be healed and refined instead of obsessing about what I could not control.
And you know what? Our turn finally came. It took way longer than my original plan, but one sweet day in August a beautiful little girl was placed in my arms.
My tears of joy mixed with my tears of gratefulness. I was so thankful for that season of waiting. There was so much work that needed to be done in me and when I held our daughter I knew that a lot of those delays in the process were for me. I was now a more patient mom, wife, and friend. I had been refreshed and restored and healed through that time.
Here I am two years later beginning the adoption process again and starting another season of waiting. The second time around is sweeter. There is less stress. Less anxiety. Less worry. It’s a different pace. I do what I can on my end but I am not holding onto this process with a tight grip.
I know there will be delays and in fact, I expect them. I don’t look at spreadsheets because I have learned they are not going to help my child come home any faster. There is a peace and comfort in not relying on my own timeline and schedule. My perspective has shifted and I have learned that this season of waiting is not one to endure but a gift to receive.
Courtney and her husband, Charles, live in Athens, GA where they are loving the adventure of raising their three young children. Their eyes were opened to adoption after reading the Bible, blogs, books, traveling to other parts of the world, and even seeing the beautiful picture of adoption firsthand through friends and family. They realized how many children truly need a home. Their hearts went from wondering if they should adopt to how could they not? Their youngest daughter was adopted from China in 2014 through the special needs program and they are currently in the process of bringing home another child. Courtney is a self-employed producer, editor and videographer.