We wait...

No news on the adoption front. Referrals for little boys from Ethiopia seem to be running 4-5 months. We finished our paperwork at the beginning of May 2009, so hopefully, we are getting closer. The waiting is such a crazy thing. In many respects, it feels so similar to a pregnancy...waiting for a new little one. What will he look like? Will he have health issues? How will we adjust to another family member? What will his personality be like? When will we sleep again? But during a pregnancy, even with so many unknowns, the central emotion is joy. A sweet baby...a new soul...happiness abounds.

Adoption is a more complex experience. It will be a celebratory event for us, of course. Adding a new little one is a precious time and we can't wait to meet him. But for him, for his biological family, there is an undercurrent of sadness and grief that our previous babies have never known.

We haven't learned his story yet, so I don't know the specifics of his short, but already difficult, young life. But as we wait now, I spend a lot of time thinking about his family and what they are going through during these months. While we flit from tennis lessons and swim practice to beach vacations and golf outings, they are trying to survive - to simply live to the next day - in Ethiopia. This precious little boy and his family...what is their life like right now? Is his mother ill? Is there a father in the picture or has he abandoned the family? Was the baby left in a public place or did his family drop him off at an orphanage? So many questions and so much sadness. I think of his mother often. To be a mother, to desperately love a child you have just met, but to be unable to care for them or to know that illness will take you away...to give up a child? The grief and agony suck the air from your lungs. This thought is something that keeps me going when I'm feeling "mommy fatigue"...when I whisper to myself, "How can I possibly manage more children?" If the roles were reversed, what could I cling to? Of course I would hope desperately for a loving family to envelop my baby....to love my child as if he had always been there. It would be the only way I could find a morsel of peace in the sadness and gut-wrenching heartache.

For us, this child will be a great joy. God knew he would be part of our family all along. He placed him with us. But as we wait, our sadness for his experience looms unceasingly. To have lived such tragedy and loss at this young age, I'm not sure there are words descriptive enough to express the myriad of difficult emotions. We are so anxious to meet him, to bring him home and to love him fiercely. We will rejoice as he joins our family and we will strive to fill his days with happiness and purpose. But as we enjoy our summer and go about our ridiculously suburban schedule, my mind and heart wander often...wondering how our little boy is doing, wishing I was there to hold him and to ease his pain. I long to wrap my arms around his mother and assure her that her precious child will be cherished. We are having a delightful summer, full of fun and rest. They are facing each day with trials we have never known. It difficult not to feel extremely guilty.

It is a strange mix. The presence of joy and sorrow, happiness and heartache...so many conflicting emotions arising out of one life event. But I suppose really, this is life. There are many times when these emotions present in tandem. Adoption is complicated and the wait has seemed long. But I feel so grateful. For us to love this little one well, we must understand from where he has come. In the waiting, we have been given much time for reflection and for God to speak to our hearts - as He prepares us for the real journey that will begin when we meet our sweet baby for the first time...

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