the expectation of a coming child is such an amazing, yet sometimes anxious, time. with each of our first four children (we lost our second baby), those first few weeks and months were a continuous tango of excitement and anxiety as i struggled to believe in the reality of something within me that i could neither see nor touch. everything started to change, though, as i could feel the flutters of tiny kicking feet or the familiarity of daily baby hiccups.
there's something about feeling my baby that assures me she's there. she's ok. she's coming.
we're expecting a coming child now. but this time it's totally different. first of all, we've been working toward getting him here for 14 months already (which feels like a hugely long time to be "pregnant"), but the biggest difference i'm struggling with right now is the lack of tangibility. i can't see him. i certainly can't feel him or touch him. and in many ways, it seems like we're permanently stuck in the waiting.
and there's something about not feeling my baby that worries me that he's not there. he's not ok. he's not coming.
now don't get me wrong. i know this will all happen, but my imperfect nature continually stirs me toward impatience. when we originally submitted our paperwork to adopt from ethiopia, our agency (CWA) told us that the timelines were trending a little longer but that we could hopefully expect to have our referral by christmas. so as the week before christmas went by and i knew our agency would be closing soon for the holidays, i got more and more anxious to hear something. and in all honesty, i got a little frustrated that we were stuck in this seemingly never-ending place of waiting.
god, you opened our eyes to the needs of this country, and you led us down the pathway to our baby. why is this taking so long?!?
then i got a package in the mail. i looked at the return address label and saw that it was from CWA. i knew better than to think it was anything directly related to our little guy, but i still ripped the envelope open excitedly. and inside, i found what i've clung to since that day. the first thing i pulled out was a letter from our agency's ethiopia team that said:
"enclosed are several gifts, hand carried back by our staff especially for you from recent trips to ethiopia, because we know the waiting is long and the journey hard. 'but these things i plan won't happen right away. slowly, steadily, surely, the time approaches when the vision will be fulfilled. if it seems slow, be patient! for it will surely take place. it will not be late by a single day.' habakkuk 2:3"
now habakkuk has never really been my go-to book of the bible, but no better words could have been spoken to me in that moment. in reading the book since then, i've seen that it's an account of habakkuk (a prophet) as he's wrestling with god over god's ways and timing. hmmm, sound like anyone we know? the passage above is the lord's gentle response to habakkuk's doubts.
the package also had several items that were handmade in ethiopia, and for the first time, as i stood and held them in my hands, i felt like i was close to our little one. holding a wrap in my hands, in my kitchen, that was made by women where he is right this moment finally made the atlantic ocean not seem so big after all.
it was kind of like feeling those little baby kicks for the first time.