Anybody following our story knows that we have experienced many of the highs and lows inherent with international adoption. We have experienced the indescribable joy, the soaring of everything inside us to cloud-height, of finally seeing our son’s picture and learning about him and receiving updates on his progress. We have also experienced the pain and heartache that comes from not being able to bring him into our family yet. The tucking away of our joy and excitement because, well, these things take time. The uncertainty, the lapses in communication, the duplicative paperwork, the nearly endless questions, and the pain of having to explain the process again and again to family and friends have all been difficult. To say the least.
Indeed, we have found that for us having to explain the process over and over while we wait has been one of the hardest aspects of the adoption process.
If you have never gone through an international adoption, the process likely seems mystifying. The news of a pregnancy sets in place a fairly well-understood set of expectations, including a timeframe. The news of a pending international adoption, however, creates many more questions than answers and presents a laundry list of unknowns.
When we shared the news of our adoption, the love, support, and genuine joy we were shown was incredible. We have written about some of the many ways that family, friends, and strangers have come together to support us. We continue to be amazed by everything that so many people have done for us to help get us to this point. God has been so good to us.
Indeed, we have been shown such genuine love and excitement that we feel almost guilty when we have nothing new to share for weeks or months at a time.
This has been, for us, where the devil has enjoyed doing us harm.
There has not been a week that has gone by where we don’t have to answer at least a dozen questions about the process.
“What’s the news on Brooks?” – “When are you traveling?” – “How soon will you bring him home?” – “What’s the next step?” – “What’s taking so long?” – “How can you handle this wait? I couldn’t do it.” – “Now that you’re matched, you can just go get him, right?”
The wait is indeed long and difficult. The devil has been using this long wait to attack our faith, to attack our trust in a faithful God, and to make us doubt God’s love for us. We know it is completely normal for others to have questions. It’s hard for somebody not living this process to understand how it all fits together. It’s even hard for us to understand how all of it fits together. It’s hard to maintain excitement when it seems like the process moves along at a snail’s pace if it’s even moving at all. It’s normal that even our closest family and friends might think, “What’s going on with their adoption? Why isn’t it done yet? Is it ever going to happen?”
For these reasons, it has been difficult for us to have to share that there is no news over and over again – for weeks or months at a time. It can be difficult for us to have to recount all of the hoops that remain to be jumped. It is hard to have to tell our parents that their first grandchild still won’t be home for a while and, worse, that we don’t know exactly when it will be. It is hard to tell friends, “we hope” instead of “we know” when Brooks will be home after everything that they have done to support and comfort us.
It is a strange feeling of guilt – a sense that you’re letting your support system down when you don’t have a better answer for them. The devil has been working so hard in these moments of waiting – to destroy our hope, to destroy our excitement, to have us cling to anything but our God.
But, God. Our God.
He finds us. He rescues us from our despair. Time and time again.
When we start to feel especially sorry for ourselves or our wait, we see him come to us in his Word. He rescues our hurting hearts from a wretched pit of despair. His grace overwhelms us and covers us completely.
He reminds us that adoption is not about us. It’s about answering the call that He has placed on our hearts and for our lives. It’s about following his will and trusting his plan. It’s about loving Him by showing love to children and birth families from afar until we can love them up close. Because he says so. (Matthew 25:40) He reminds us that the battle and the work belongs to him. We need only trust that he uses everything in this life for our eternal good.
If you are going through the adoption process and this internal struggle sounds familiar, just know that it is completely normal. It is not your fault that the process takes as long as it does or entails all of the steps that it does. Family and friends are with you, even when it is hard to explain what is going on. Continually pray that God would remind you of these things even when your sinful mind would have you believe the opposite.
We are so amazed and thankful at just how many people care so much about us and our son. We want to continue to share our progress and we want to continue to be honest about what we are experiencing. We do not mind talking about the process. Sometimes it’s just hard. We thank God for everybody who has supported us along the way, and we pray that God would give our family and friends the patience that we have prayed He would give to us. We continue to pray for the day that we can share the news that we have been so anxiously waiting to share.
This Lenten season we will watch carefully the events of Holy Week. We see the God who adopted us as sons and daughters, the King who died as our substitute, and through whom we claim victory.
Pro Gloria Dei.
Chris + Bri
You should know
Our Korean agency was allowed to submit families in the month of February for their emigration permits. Unfortunately, we were not part of this first batch of families due to the relatively small size of submissions. EP submissions have been taking increasingly longer to be issued within the past year and we are certainly feeling those effects in our process. We are praying to God that we are submitted in the second round of submissions in 2020. We are not sure when that will be, but most likely sometime in spring. We are also praying that once we are submitted that the rest of our process could move very quickly.
At this time, the Coronavirus that has been spreading rapidly in South Korea has not stopped or halted the adoption process for us or other families. Adoptive families are still traveling to get their sons and daughters and bring them home. We are praying desperately that things do not get worse before they get better. South Korea has been taking many preventative and containment measures to stop the spread of the virus. Because of that, the public is encouraged to self-quarantine and to not take public transportation. Because almost all foster families use public transportation in Seoul to take children to well baby visits every month, our agency has canceled visits for the months of February and March and most likely for the foreseeable future. While we understand this measure to protect the safety and health of the children and families, it does mean we will not be getting new pictures of Brooks until at least April or May. We are also unable to send care packages to him for the months of February and March – one of the only connections we have had to him each month. Please pray for us during this difficult time while we wait for movement in our adoption process and while we endure this season with little to no contact with our son.
Last week, our adoption agency shared a beautiful article explaining their continued and steadfast passion for ethical, child-centered international adoptions. We think it would be a great read for anyone interested in international adoption. Read the article.