hope deferred…

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs 13:12.

I haven’t written in a long while. Not since Ella’s birthday in May. I just haven’t had the heart to write, there is no exciting adoption update or news, just a vast, unending silence punctuated by the disheartening, autumn crow calls of more bad news.

I am Proverbially heartsick. I am watching my child grow up in fought for updates doled out like a slow drip during a desert walk.

And I’m not alone. There are hundreds of parents, families, Mamas, just like me, yearning to bring their little one home. We’ve worked so hard, waited so long….we’ve wept, written, hounded our agencies…..we posted, blogged, prayed some more.

God, how long? Where’s our “tree of life”? Why must our littles languish in cribs and institutions when we are SO WILLING to help.

I think that’s what frustrates me the most. There are people who are bravely willing to help, basically standing there with arms outstretched running to the waiting and we can’t get to the need.

Then, there’s this…..

I am definitely NOT a dreams person. In fact, I are overly critical of people who dream dreams and use them to justify all sorts of unbiblical things….I am of the school of thought that dreams need to be tested against scripture and tested hard.

But how many “coincidences” does a skeptic need? I guess, for me, a plethora.

It goes like this. Late fall of 2015, we had started our adoption journey. We wanted a little girl with minor special needs. Well, God laughed at us and we fell in love with the now-famous Lian. After we had accepted his referral (for you non-adoption people, it’s basically a process where you tell China that you accept this child and then they say, “are you sure” and you’re like “yeah” and so on…all in official paperwork forms accompanied by the familiar fees of consternation, namely because you never have enough money when said fees are due)…but I digress…

We are all formally accepted and “locked in” with Lian. It’s a big relief to know and it’s all “yay” and “wow” and “God is so good”, and so on and so forth.

And then I had this dream, one of those vivid dreams that you wake up with a start and wonder what’s going on. I mean, in the vast majority of my dreams I’m searching for a bathroom, which seems to be my lot in life (shout out to all Mamas who’ve had multiple kids, you are my tribe), but this dream was so incredibly different.

I’m in this vast, cement space, multi-leveled, many rooms and hallways. The floors and ceilings are cement, the walls are cement, there are stairways, ladders, all cement. And I’m searching for a little girl. I know it’s a little girl, I’m certain of it. Very certain. There’s nothing in these spaces except cement and shadowy gray faceless figures. I’m climbing cement ladders, I’m passing these figures and begging them, “please, help me find her, she needs me…” Please.

But the figures are silent and go on about their shadowy business…I’m on my own. I keep seeking and searching, going down stairs, climbing ladders, searching hallways, looking into echoing rooms. A feeling of desperation is taking hold of me. Why can’t I find her? I know she’s there. I feel it in my depths.

I come upon this ledge and start climbing down this cement ladder that is carved into the wall, and at the bottom of the ladder is a pile of bags and cloth. I fall to my hands and knees, desperately shuffling through the bags and cloth, feeling, searching for her and I find her! She’s wrapped in black cloth like a swaddled infant and as I turn her over, her straight black hair falls across her forehead, eyes closed, gray complexion, she’s lifeless.

In my dream, I wail, holding her face to my chest, rocking back and forth…. because I was too late! I failed her. She needed me and I wasn’t there…… I feel her soft cheek against my neck, and she suddenly gasps and cries. I look into her face and watch the rose blush rise into her cheeks, her dark eyes open. She’s alive!

And I startle awake with tears on my face, pounding heart.

The greatest puzzlement at the time was why this dream about a little girl? We are adopting Lian…a little boy…..why would I dream this? I remember the next day I was so overcome by it that when I saw my friends, I told them about the dream and it brought tears to my eyes again…I got choked up.

But we had Lian, he’s not a girl, and so, I just passed it off as some strange dream due to feeling overly emotional about adoption or eating too many chips….I don’t know.

Fast forward years…..to this year. Hands down, one of the hardest years of my life….we were supposed to travel to get Ella last December….then paperwork delays….it’s February….then COVID…and NOTHING…nothing but endless sighs, that sharp internal heart clench, deep breaths for more bad news.

We can’t go….there’s no end in sight. She’s a plane flight away, seemingly so easy and yet so impossible.

And I’m questioning God and questioning Him hard. I’m praying, I’m doubting….I’m quiet, I’m mad, I’m accepting, I’m raging. I’m all of it. (not all in the same day, mind you, that would be a lot)

One morning, in the fuzzy minutes between wakefulness and slumber this dream that I had years ago, popped into my head….this 2015 pre-adoption dream! So vividly. As if I had just had it.

Suddenly all the pieces fell into place….the search, the unhelpful gray people, the frustration, the hopelessness of it all….but I found her. I didn’t stop looking, regardless of how many cement ladders, hallways and rooms I had to traverse.

I know why I had that dream. I know why God brought it my remembrance so suddenly. Because I was doubting this journey. Wondering if God was closing doors. Wondering if it was all going to work out.

So, there’s my silence in a nutshell. This internal raging battle for this child that I love so dearly and want so desperately to be here in my arms.

There will be great rejoicing when this little one comes home.

And so it goes.

Author: Cady B. Driver

Cady is a homeschooling mother of three bio kids and one heart baby with Down syndrome from China.

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