Adoption journeys stalled, Covid-19 in 2020, she should be home by now, nations stalled in panic, doors slammed shut….we are stuck. And the ones who suffer are the tiny souls who wait.
Being stuck invites inevitable well meaning cliches…”It’s not the right time yet, in God’s time, God must be teaching you something, enjoy this time.”
And so it goes.
What the un-stuck cannot fathom is the love. Take your own child and put them in another place, cared for by other people, oceans away. Add in few to no updates, a lot of sleepless nights, wondering, waiting…that is the stuck. The love isn’t just a seed, waiting to grow. It’s real time love, already deeply rooted in the dark soil of paperwork, watered in months of tears, and grown in the desert of prayer.
Stuck is the small face on the fridge, reluctantly taken down, replaced by an older face. It’s the missed first steps, first words, candleless birthdays, the deep breath and closed eyes of more bad news.
Stuck is the aching bittersweetness of the longed for update. It’s the slow wait, but also the disbelief at the passage of time. Stuck is deep diving into adoption waters, knowing you can’t breathe again until the weight of her is in your arms.
It’s not easily explained unless you’ve donned the shoes.
Those who are stuck aren’t alone. In the wee hours glow, together we reach for each other, tapping out news and fears on tear drenched keyboards.
And for those alongside the stuck, just be with us, for bandaging words aren’t necessary. The necessary is simply the space to wipe a tear or clear our throat when her name comes up. It may be something as simple and profound as a hand on the shoulder and “this is hard”. It’s the room to grieve lost time and childhood. We aren’t fixable.
Because, you see, loving an unmet child doesn’t equal less love than what we have for those already home.
It just means that, for now, we are holding our breath…until that door opens….and there she is.
Only then can we catch our breath again.