Worth the Wait

worth-the-waitOur “on-demand” society has conditioned us to think that everything we want in life should happen quickly.  We have access to food, entertainment and communication with others almost as soon as we think of it.  When it comes to adoption, all-too-often, this looks like a 30 minute, or heaven forbid, hour long episode of our favorite television show.  A picture perfect couple decorates a nursery and gets a smiling baby while we fast-forward through the commercials. The show ends with a warm, fuzzy feeling of them holding their baby in a blissful “Hallmark Moment.”  In actuality, the process can really feel like you are trapped in the commercials and your favorite show won’t come back on, but real life is happening in the commercial break.  (For those that stream everything, this may be even more difficult.)

When my wife and I answered the adoption call on our lives, we enthusiastically jumped into our first training on the weekend of my 34th birthday.  We were blessed to have 2 beautiful, healthy children and they were excited to add a sibling to the gang!  As an elementary teacher and principal, my wife and I knew first-hand the need for loving families to adopt right here in our own community.  Arrogantly, I assumed we would be matched quickly due to our backgrounds, education and the gleam in our kid’s eyes anticipating their new little brother or sister.  However, patience and learning to wait on God’s timing was a lesson to proceed placement.

During our 5 year “commercial break” of the adoption process, our family experienced highs and lows that left us hurt and wanting to quit.  During the first 2 years without a placement, we experienced the hurt and disappointment facing many couples seeking adoption.  We were shocked and elated to find out Lori was expecting, only to find out months later that the pregnancy failed and we lost the baby.  While we had not experienced fertility issues, we had family and friends facing this hurt and challenge.  We felt the Lord was doing a work to help us love and support others going through this process in a deeper way.  Still committed to the adoption calling, we were even more surprised to find out Lori was expecting again a few months later.  The pregnancy was going well and we were eager to welcome another baby girl to our family when Lori was hit head-on by a lady talking on her cell phone.  After a scary night in the hospital and many faithful prayers, Lori was pronounced healthy and released from the hospital.  Two months later, we welcomed a full bundle of joy and life (Ava) to our family.  Even as our hearts sang over this new addition, we were still anchored to this call on our lives to adopt, but we couldn’t figure out why we were 3 years into the process and still had not received a placement.  When the new school year started, the Lord made an opportunity for 2 foster boys connected to my school to live with us. Even though this opportunity came through a different agency, our efforts in the adoption process helped secure placement for the boys with us.  Jumping from 2 kids to 5 kids over the course of a few months had many growing pains.  After 4 months, the boys were reunited with their mother, however, this left an even bigger hole for the missing piece to our family.  In addition to these major life events, we were also experiencing changes in caseworkers, being placed in a holding pattern for placements, and being rejected for reasons we couldn’t fully understand.  With 5 years of prayer, emotions, unanswered questions and money poured into the process, frustration and disappointment led Lori and I to ask for a meeting with our caseworkers to withdraw from the adoption process.  Against the desires of my broken heart, I yielded to Lori and agreed to wait the process out until August 1st.  After a few more rejections, we received a call from our caseworker informing us of a matching for a baby boy with a due date of July 31st.  (Insert every sermon, story, anecdote you have ever heard about God’s timing and waiting on His timing …here…).  With excited and guarded hearts, we moved forward with the matching and welcomed the birth of our son, Evan, on July 24th.  (In case you are curious, Evan means God is gracious.)

Today, the commercial break is over and we have rejoined our regularly scheduled programming.  We are enjoying the most beautiful, joy-filled blessing that could have ever completed our family. I don’t know where you are in your adoption journey, but our prayer is you will trust in God’s timing and be looking for how He is preparing you, this child, and the birth family during your commercial break.  For some, the commercial break may last so long you just want to turn the television off (or chuck it out the window).  Be patient.  Have faith.  Even though the commercial break lasted longer than we ever wanted or expected, it was definitely worth the wait!

Shane & Lori, Juhlin, Gavin, Ava and Evan (because adoption is a family affair!)