Over the years, we’ve dreamed and planned and feared and waited alongside dear families pursuing adoption. Slowly, out of the mist of rumours of referrals and matches that weren’t approved, these families had names of children. And then faces on glossy photos.
Suddenly, spare rooms and empty corners fill with boxes of diapers and neatly folded T-shirts. Sippy cups and brightly coloured plastic cutlery line cupboards. Carseats are buckled into seats, the difficultly of their installation a symbol of their permanence.
And just like that, sticky fingers and dimpled cheeks arrive.
In the span of a few days, or even one afternoon, a child comes home. Schedules that were once wide open fall into the time-worn dance of naps, snacks and playtime.
And I watch.
I cuddle and pray and help. Mostly.
But sometimes, when I’m curled up in the warmth of the sunshine, I sigh. Is it really possible that after all of the emails and fingerprints, after 22 months of waiting, that we’ll have a child? For brief moments, I imagine our entryway peppered with children’s shoes and our dinner conversation punctuated with babbling and laughter.
And I wait.
At some point, we seem to have shifted from being a married couple to being kid-less. As newlyweds of 2 or 3 years, we laughed off comments and queries about children. It seemed normal enough to wait a few years to grow our family. But as the seasons continued to fade into one another and we celebrated 5 years of marriage, I’ve grown increasingly aware of our kid-less-ness: we are the available babysitters, the doting Aunt and Uncle, the extra hands mopping spills and tousling hair at a friends’ tables.
To be honest, we enjoy the ability to stay out late, to make last minute plans and to have uninterrupted adult conversations. We know these are precious times of togetherness, an unparalleled opportunity to grow, to serve and to love others. Moreover, we chose this route: the journey of paperwork and waiting and unknowns. We rest in the knowledge that this is the path God is leading us along; that His plans are good.
But some days.
Some days…I find myself imagining an old fan lazily tracing circles around the ceiling of a still room, our adoption file tucked under a stack of files and receipts, a mug of half-finished chai perched on top. In through a window drifts the chirping of children and the clattering of metal thalis as dishes are washed.
From across two oceans and three continents and numerous timezones, I whisper into the quiet of a clean kitchen. I miss you, dear one. I wonder how old our baby is, imagining tentative steps as he or she begins to explore the world within the orphanage walls. I breathe prayers for safety, provision and swift processing.
And we wait.
When you ask for news, we smile and laugh, grateful that you haven’t given up on our pursuit. When you send us cheques ‘to help with adoption expenses’ or mail books ‘for your little one’, we grin, and weep, and thank God. When you invite us for family dinner or apologize for rowdy kids or ask us to hold a fussy toddler, we are thrilled.
We cannot wait to join the ranks.