Sunday, February 24, 2013

On waiting

I feel like one of the recurring themes of this blog over the last two years has been how impatient I am. Waiting for Rose was one big long test of my patience, and as soon as we got her home we turned right around and started it again. We're almost at the end of our wait. Travel Approvals, the last step in our adoption process, usually arrive about two weeks after a family's paperwork is picked up at the consulate in Guangzhou. We knew that our paperwork would be delayed about a week by Chinese New Year. We've been waiting for 18 days.

Friday was the first day when I really thought it might come. I even jumped once when the phone rang. Yesterday and today have been easy, because the adoption agency is closed. But tomorrow-- tomorrow is going to be hard. And so will every day after that until the Travel Approval arrives.

Over the last few days, I've been thinking a lot about a story in the Book of Mormon. A prophet, Samuel, preached to the people of Zarahemla, telling them to expect signs of Christ's birth five years in the future. The time for the signs to appear was closing in, and the people were getting anxious. It seemed that the time had passed. Every day their agitation increased. The scriptures say: "But behold, they did watch steadfastly. . . that they might know that their faith had not been vain." If Samuel said they were going to wait five years, he meant five years, not four and a half.

For me, the early part of the wait is easy. I know that it's too soon to expect to hear, and so I can put it out of my mind and be happy for others. But as the time draws nearer, I find myself in a state of agitation. I'm the kind of girl who doesn't like to get things done on time-- I get them done early. I used to write my papers in college long before they were due. I'll drive late into the night to get somewhere so I don't have to make a two-day trip. My biological kids were all born at least two weeks early. I try to beat my previous records on the race course. I do not like to be late. If you've ever seen me racing down the freeway, screaming at my husband because we're going to be ten minutes late to his mother's house for dinner, you know what I'm talking about.

I have my heart set on leaving to get Eli on March 13, and one of my friends with the same agency got a message that if the approvals don't come soon (meaning tomorrow or the next day) they will try to make us wait another week.

So today, I see myself reflected so clearly in the people of Zarahemla. I would be one of the people who had faith to begin with, but I know myself well enough to know that my faith would be rocked at the eleventh hour. Because that would be the time when I would start to fear that the thing I wanted most wouldn't happen. 

On Friday, as I heard people on my message board get advance notice that their Travel Approvals were on the way, due to arrive in the early part of this week, I felt a little bit of excitement for myself. But more than anything, I was filled with doubt. What if mine didn't come? What if we were the ones left behind? What if something went wrong? What if we had to travel in three more weeks instead of two?

Ever since we started the process of adopting Rose, I've felt like there was an external force bringing our family together with this boy and this girl. It's not something I'd ever dreamed of for myself, but adopting Rose has been one of the greatest blessings, and certainly the greatest blessing I hadn't expected, of my life. I'm sure that Eli is supposed to be my son, and in calm moments, sure that the papers will come. If we have to wait an extra week, he will still be there, and we will still have a lifetime (minus seventeen months) together. But in that eleventh hour, it's sometimes hard to know and remember that my faith is not in vain. I've learned to grit my teeth and endure, but waiting with faith and grace? I'm still working on it.

Tomorrow, please, tomorrow.

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