Friday, June 27, 2014

In Limbo: Joy in the Hard-Pressed Journey

Joy in the Hard-Pressed Journey

When initially approached to write about our adoption experience, an uneasy hesitation accompanied my, "Of course, I'd love to," reply. Being in and around the world of adoption for any length of time, one quickly learns how drastic and abrupt the red-tape landscape can shift and quake. Given our story- albeit still fresh in many respects of the heart and mind- was written nearly three years ago, my tendency is to assume much of it is now irrelevant compared to what so many of my fellow adoptive families are now enduring. For we began our formal process in the spring of 2010, back when Ethiopian adoptions were a start to finish one-trip, one-year sprint. I still recall our social worker saying in our first interview how we may want to consider increasing the number of children we were requesting to be approved for, 'because let's face it, you will be home with your child within the 13-months and may decide to turn around and do it again.' Insert shifting and quaking. 

Several months went by, and our referral did come. Instantly in heart our family of four grew to five, adding a tiny 4-month-old warrior with story in her eyes, to our flock. Fasika Louise, our beautiful, wanted daughter and sister. From that point on, the waters of our adoption, our life, would begin to stir and rock. Due to the timing of our referral and changes with the Ethiopian courts, we had to wait several months before traveling to meet our daughter and finalize her adoption. Traveling over Thanksgiving of 2011, we held in arms what hearts had been aching after for so long. At that point we truly believed the hardest was behind us, and we would be returning to bring our baby girl home by year's end. 

Thanks to my deliberate, self-preservation tactic of adoption blog and forum avoidance, unbeknownst to us a political storm was in full force. By the time our feet hit Ethiopian soil in late November, dozens of families' awaiting visas for their adopted children were being held in limbo between the US Department of State in Addis and USCIS, Nairobi. Soon enough, we too found ourselves mired in the same halted system, with walls of stone seemingly going up at every turn. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, each and every moment weighing its fullness on our shoulders. I can still remember breathing in full once we had finally arrived home as a family, and as my lungs expanded realizing how many months of shallow, desperate breaths I had survived on. 

Back to present day and my present opportunity to share some of our experience in hopes to hold up a few weary arms engaged in their own excruciating waits and bureaucratic nightmares.  As I spent a few weeks thinking and praying over what I could possibly say to exhort the exhausted, the discouraged, the desperate souls whose eyes may find their way across these words, I went back and reread several blog entries from our time within the storm. Images and emotions etched into the walls of my very being, as true today as the day written. In His gentleness, the Holy Spirit reminded me of suffering's thread and its weaving of one to another. One morning well into the painful final weeks of fighting to bring our daughter home, I wrote the following excerpt:

Following another night of staggered rest, I sat at the kitchen island yesterday morning, waiting on brewing coffee with my head in my hands and the news that there is really no news pressing down on my chest. On his way out of the door for work, Rob, observing my posture paused placing a hand on my slumped shoulder. An act thereby rendering me unable to speak through the lump in my throat and tears stinging those tired eyes. He momentarily tried to help me find words with no success before one more shoulder squeeze and a ‘guess I’m leaving now.’ I understood his uncharacteristic haste in leaving me there collecting tears in my empty coffee mug was merely a move of survival more than insensitivity. For the frayed edges and nerves are non-exclusive, and both of us are fighting the effects of the twenty-some months we have spent on this obstacle course. It was…a low point. But a point, is just a point, and not the whole. That is, unless we allow it to be. And as low as we may have been for that point, we also walk with the experiential knowledge of how covered in peace the whole has been. I fully believe it is the constant, honest prayers of our community that allows me to say with all resolve what Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:8-9, “we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed; perplexed, but not despairing; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed.” For in my life I have walked through far less with far more anxiety and fret than these past two years have presented, proving to me the essential piece a community of exhortation and intercession plays in our lives. Adoption or otherwise. To all who have and continue to pray from your desks, or while driving car pool or when a certain song reminds you of our family- we may not fully be able to express our gratitude this side of heaven but some day your eyes will meet the gigantic brown depths of Lulu’s, and you will see the fruit of your faithfulness to us. And together we will celebrate the gift of this beautifully afflicted life.

Sweet friends, while my sleepless nights of waiting on an email from the other side of the world may have lasted weeks and another mama's months, my ache knows hers. While our case clearance and homecoming was realized, and you may be spending another day paralyzed in the unknown- my Hope is your Hope. The experiential understanding from one hard-pressed soul to another remains, unshaken, resolved, with you. The beautiful thread of suffering knitting us together, uniting us with our Savior who suffered all for us, allfor our children. To be counted among you as the persecuted, the hard-pressed, is a gift. A gift you now have the opportunity to partake in as your suffering strikes a chord in another's, and the thread knits on. May we hold fast to Hope and to one another. Whatever the outcome of our individual stories, may we run from the courts of persecution as the apostles did in Acts 5:41, rejoicing because we have been considered worthy to suffer for His Great name. 


Tuesday, June 24, 2014

In Limbo: 864 Days of Waiting

When it comes to adoption, whether it’s international, domestic, private, or through foster care, everyone experiences that time period in which all you can do is wait. For my husband and I, the waiting game for one of our adoptions was by far the hardest.

My husband and I have adopted five children through foster care, three individual adoptions and one set of siblings. Our sibling adoption was by far the toughest and longest adoption we went through. Nevin and Jovie came to us at age two and three. When we got them, their case goal was not adoption and was reunification. We were well aware of this and in the beginning fully thought they would only be with us for a short while.


The first time adoption was really brought up was probably around the twelve-month mark in their case. I’d be lying if I said we didn’t think about it sooner than that, but that was the first time someone else really spoke what we had been feeling. At that time, their mother was still battling her addiction and finding it hard to maintain employment and their dad was still in jail.

We had a meeting coming up in a couple of months, and at that time our case worker felt like she would recommend a case goal change from reunification to adoption. When the meeting came, we found out that their dad would be getting out of jail in a couple of weeks and his attorney wanted his client to have a chance to get custody. His attorney told us all that he thought thirty days would give us a good idea of how serious he would be in getting his kids back.
After waiting an extra three months, we were scheduled for court. Once we arrived at court we were told that some paperwork wasn’t filed in time, so the court date was pushed back for another ninety days. We were frustrated because in the six months, their mom and dad still struggled with their addiction, couldn’t hold a job, and fought against the caseworkers. They still were given more chances and more time, which just increased our waiting. At this point, the kids were well aware that things weren’t right. They loved their biological parents, but they also experienced the heartbreak when their parents constantly missed visits due to their addictions. It was tough on us because we truly felt “in limbo” and like everyone had forgotten about these two children.

Luckily we didn’t have to wait much longer for the team to come together and make a decision for what was best for the children. I will say that as frustrated as we were with their biological parents, we knew they loved their children. You could see it in the heart break they were experiencing knowing that they just weren’t fit to be parents at this time. They asked to meet with both my husband and I, and in the meeting they told us that they knew we were great parents for them and they wanted their children to be happy. After twenty months of having these two children in our home, the case was changed to adoption.
Adopting through foster care is the only type of adoption we know so I can’t speak on much else. I believe that the most difficult part of being a foster parent is the waiting game. We had Nevin and Jovie for almost two years. They called us mom and dad, they didn’t have visits with their biological parents anymore, and still we waited.
When my husband and I got engaged, I remember the engagement and one of the hardest things was waiting. You knew the wedding day was coming but you wanted that finalization and no longer being referred to as fiancĂ©, but as husband and wife. This was somewhat the same feeling. Once we knew the adoption day was coming, we just wanted that finalization. Nevin and Jovie had a different last name then us and when you went to the doctor’s office or their school, they were known by a different name. We didn’t want that for them, we wanted security, and direction for their future.
Adoption day finally came after our children had been in foster care for 864 days. Nevin and Jovie were now each a Hayes and their future had a more clear direction. Waiting was never easy. We’ve adopted five children and knew the whole time in our other adoptions that we would have to wait. It never made it any easier. Our first caseworker told us that we just had to be patient and see everything through because in the end, the only thing that mattered was that they were where they needed to be.

Lindsey Hayes married her High School sweetheart in 2007.  They started foster care in 2010 and have adopted five children since that time.

Friday, June 20, 2014

In Limbo: Raw

Three years ago we accepted the referral for a four-year-old boy.  We held his picture close; gazing at it often…dreaming of the day our arms would embrace.  It was a blissful time in our adoption journey.  Our faces beamed with smiles. It was everything we had hoped for since we started the process nine months earlier. 
Our celebration ended all too soon.  Ten days after we accepted “Z’s” referral, our world came crashing down.
This little boy, the one we had so quickly fallen in love with, was no longer available for adoption (for reasons we will never know or understand).
It rocked our world…and we fell on our knees and mourned. 
We embraced one another. Our family, friends and community held us close.  Those days were dark and tear-filled.  In ten days we had already fallen in love with this sweet child.  We had hopes and dreams for his future—and ours.
Yet, God picked us up from our fragile state.  He restored our joy and hope for things to come.
We were placed back on our agency’s waitlist and six months later we were given the referral for our son, Moses.  We brought him home nine months after that. Our mourning was turned into dancing.

Moses has been home for (almost) two years now.  From time to time thoughts of “Z” still pop into my head, for his picture is forever etched in my mind.  Those red sweatpants…the flip flops….his sweet smile.  My heart still aches for him.  Although we never met, our worlds collided and he forever changed us. I have no doubt that God used that sweet boy we named “Zeke” to work in our hearts and lives and prepare us for the rest of our journey. 
He’s a part of our story…one of surrender and heartache…and God’s richest blessings.
Shattered dreams are never random. They are always a piece in a larger puzzle, a chapter in a larger story. The Holy Spirit uses the pain of shattered dreams to help us discover our desire for God, to help us begin dreaming the highest dream. They are ordained opportunities for the Spirit to awaken, then to satisfy our highest dream.
- Larry Crabb


Emily: Daughter of the King, Wife to James, Mama to Moses (4 years) & Cora (3 months).  Lover of naps and chocolate. Striving to see the beauty in all things broken.  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In Limbo: Loss

Adoption loss is not unlike a miscarriage, emotionally.  You feel the same excitement when you know the baby is coming.  You prepare for the baby in the same ways.  When the adoption fails (or when the miscarriage happens), it’s just heartbreaking.  You grieve the loss of your child. 
Eventually, you pick up and move forward again.  You never forget that child—he/she is always a part of you.  In your heart, they will always remain.  It’s something we as adoptive parents know is a possibility from day one.  We gladly risk having our heart broken in order to know the love.  And it’s amazing how healing that love is once it happens.

We received the phone call about “Savannah” on a Wednesday night at 10:00pm.  My friend’s sister had a friend that was pregnant and placing the baby for adoption.  She was due in one month and wanted to speak with us.  The baby most likely was going to be addicted. 

My husband, Corey and I talked about everything in depth that night.  What would we do, how would we do it, what it would entail—all of the questions and answers that go through your head when you consider adopting an addicted child.  We decided to move forward.  We sent a text back to my friend with one simple word, “yes”.  She was to let the expectant mother know that we were “in”.

The phone rang unexpectedly at 6:00am the next morning.  “Savannah’s” mother had gone into labor at 1:00am that morning.  We made the decisions to go ahead and send Logan (our son who we previously adopted from birth just over two years ago at that time) to daycare and proceed to our jobs to tie up any loose ends there and let them know of the situation.  I headed home that morning at 9:00am and started packing for the trip.

Corey retrieved Logan and was home shortly thereafter.  We literally threw everything into our car and were on our way to Savannah, Georgia (this is approximately a 6 hour trip via car for us).  The entire trip I was texting the mother.  She had actually given birth at 8:00 that morning. 

The nurses on the shift knew we were coming and were holding off on any drug testing (they knew she was addicted) to avoid DFCS from stepping in since the mother was naming us as the adoptive family.  We got there as fast as we could.

We arrived to Savannah and ran into the hospital.  We took the elevator up to the floor in which she was waiting.  The nurse’s station rang us in and we asked for the birth mother by name. 

“She left the hospital an hour ago when we told her that we had to call in child services.  The child is still here in NICU.”

Stunned.  We stood there looking at her just stunned.  How could this have happened?  They knew we were coming?  Our attorney was faxing over the paperwork to the hospital now?  We went back into the waiting room and wept.  Not again.

There was a shift change at the hospital about two hours before we arrived.  The nurse that was taking care of the mother failed to let the new shift nurse know of the situation.  The testing was done and DFCS was called.  They proceeded to go into the mother’s room and tell her that they notified the authorities.  She ran.

We left the hospital and started making phone calls.  If we could get the mother back to the hospital, everything would be fine.  If we could get her to sign, the baby would still be ours. 

But we could not get her to come back.  Her fear of being arrested was too much for us to combat.  We tried and tried to explain the “Safe Haven” laws in Georgia—she wouldn’t be arrested for abandonment.  She just needed to come back to be sure she was okay (she had just given birth) and to take care of the signing for her daughter.

She just would not believe anyone.  Within that hour, she was high.  There was no reasoning that could be done. 

We met with the hospital the next morning to discuss our options.  They were cautious, but helpful…at first.  Thirty minutes into our meeting, we were interrupted.  They pulled everyone outside aside from us.  Ten minutes they returned and asked us to leave.  The hospital attorney had advised that they not speak to us at all. 

I spoke to the worker at DFCS the next morning and she seemed sincere with wanting to move forward with everything.  She took our information and said she would be back with us that day.  We waited.  We took Logan to the beach and stood by for that phone call.
It never came.

We called and called but no one ever responded.  We headed home that Sunday morning. As we drove away, we passed the hospital, knowing that our daughter was in that NICU room without a mommy or a daddy to comfort her.  It broke our heart into pieces.

Once home, we continued to contact the state to see if there was anything we could do, but to no avail.  The mother was still interested in adoption and wanted her to be placed with us.  It didn’t matter.  Unless we could get her to go to DFCS to discuss options, our hands were tied.  There was no way she was doing that.  When the state did call back, they basically told us that we had no options at all for two months when the state gained actual custody. 

Two months passed.  We called and left many messages.  We never received a call back from anyone and no one would speak with us.  We had no legal rights.  The child was now in foster care.

We hadn’t known about her for that long and we never held her in our arms, yet we felt as though she were ours.  It doesn’t take long for someone to fall in love with the idea of a child.  We drove to Savannah that day hoping to be coming home at some point with our family complete.  Instead, we came home and unpacked an empty car seat. 

Adoption loss wasn’t new to us—this was our forth-failed adoption since we had started this journey.  We had lost one baby when the mother decided to go with an agency, a sibling set when grandma and grandpa chose to parent, another son six days before his birth when his mother decided to parent (ironically this little boy is Logan’s biological cousin).  I held that baby in my arms ten days later.  He still carries the name we chose for him. 

But those were all pre-Logan.  This time we had him to think about.  He was old enough to know that we were taking a baby seat and that there should have been a baby in there at some point.  We did not explain it to him.  We just told him that the baby stayed with his mama.  That’s all he would have understood.  Yet, he was disappointed as well because he had caught on to the conversations here and there at home.  He knew we were trying to bring home a baby.  He knew that the baby didn’t come home.

To this day he still asks where the baby is that we speak about now and then.  He knows she is coming.  He asks about “Ruby” at the strangest times.  It’s usually unexpected and not when we are talking about adoption-related things.  I look at is as a reminder to not give up. 

She’s out there somewhere, or she will be.  We hold close to our faith and we know that someday it will happen.  God knows the wishes of our heart.  I never for one minute think that he does not know this.

Failed adoptions are hard.  They are also something that you prepare yourself for (as best you can) when you walk into adoption.  I don’t think you are ever fully ready for it when it happens, but you accept it and move on.  It’s all you can do, really.  You have to look at it as a stepping-stone that puts you just one step closer to the path that really takes you to your child.

If it were not for our first three failed adoptions, we wouldn’t have Logan.  Of course, we would have another child/children, but when I look at Logan every day…I can’t imagine my life without HIM in it.  I thank God each and every day for those failed adoptions, as crazy as that may seem. 
We would not have met his amazing first mom and we would not have his birth family in our lives.  And although we didn’t even know most of them three years ago, they are very much a part of our family.

We are still waiting to find the path that leads us to our Ruby Grace.  We pray every day that we find her.  I know that someday it will happen.  She is either out there waiting on us now, or she is about to be.  I just know this.  I have the upmost faith that we will find her.  

@wematchhearts (Instagram)

Friday, June 13, 2014

In Limbo: When Fear Turns to Faith

We all know these people. The married couple that got pregnant on their wedding night. The teenage girl who got pregnant after her first time. The 41-year-old single mother who thought her fertile years were behind her. Unplanned pregnancy. Unexpected pregnancy. Loved babies, but certainly not in their mommas’ plans. Without a doubt though, certainly wanted by God and certainly all in His perfect plan. These situations are common. We talk about them, pray for these mommas and their babies, and use this terminology in our daily lexicon.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never heard about an unexpected adoption. I certainly never thought I would coin that term because I would be living it. You see, we had been married all of five minutes when I happened upon a particular child’s photo on a waiting child site. I’ve looked at literally hundreds of waiting children’s photos through my decade of working in international adoption and I’ve never felt such a feeling about one child. For days, I couldn’t get this girl off my mind. I told my husband about her and after a short time, he too felt the connection. We scrambled, got a special dispensation from China to adopt before we would meet their marriage length requirement, and made it official before we really realized what happened. Let me be clear: I absolutely did not plan for this. I don’t think anyone really thinks of near newlyweds being the perfect candidates to adopt a 10-year-old with special needs, and certainly not I. If I was the social worker doing my home study, I’m not sure I would have approved it because I would have thought the couple had no grasp on reality. This adoption was a complete surprise to us.

But here we are, four months into our “unexpected adoption” and couldn’t imagine our lives in any other way. (insert knowing smirk here) Isn’t that what they all say?

If I would have been asked to write a blog about being in limbo before now, I would have laughed and said that I knew no more about being in adoption limbo than I knew about doing my taxes. But, it’s been long enough now, and I can separate myself out from the situation enough to see that I had limbo. Oh, I was so limbo, but I didn’t know it. You see, I fooled myself into thinking that I wasn’t in limbo because our adoption went lightening speed and things certainly have to be long to be considered limboesque right?

My adoption limbo wasn’t demonstrated through the passage of time, like it is for so many adoptive families. My limbo was fear. My limbo was saying out loud that I was trusting in Him, when really there were so many nights I sat up by myself, alone, worrying, ruminating, guessing, and second guessing the insanity of what we were doing. I wasn’t trusting. I was scared beyond measure. And fear isn’t trusting in my Creator.

I was afraid of literally everything. I was suspicious of everything we had surrounding our daughter’s adoption paperwork. I was certain she had been ripped from her bio family for nefarious purposes and I was merely a cog in the wheel of corruption that is international adoption. I was certain she was really 16 years old and was thinking she was coming here just for school. I felt my heart ache for the fact that we would never be able to bond with her, and that she would never make an attachment with us. I worried that she would be too much for us, that we would never be able to have a second child. I had visions of me blocking the knife drawer for fear of what would happen if I didn’t. And on and on and on it went. Day after day, night after night with the worrying, silently, alone.

So I buried myself in grants and fundraisers. I wrote my heart and tried to convince myself in what I was writing. I wrote about how we felt called by God to parent this child. I wrote about how my job as an adoption social worker had prepared me to parent this child well. I talked with others and shared what my heart once felt for this situation, hoping I would convince myself again of the dreamer, the girl who followed her Lord on a wing and a prayer but had since succumbed to fear and doubt and then shame.

The day before we left for China, the post-adoption coordinator from our adoption agency called to see how we were doing. I literally told her this was the craziest thing, that nobody should have approved this adoption, and that I wasn’t certain I was going to get on that plane the next day.


And then I blinked and I became a mom. In a horrible elevator on a cold and dark Sunday afternoon in Guiyang, I met my child. As 30 seconds of motherhood turned into 5 minutes and then 20 minutes in a freezing cold stairwell outside the provincial Civil Affairs office, I wiped tears, a snotty nose, gave my baby water, and learned how to crack chestnuts with my teeth to give my baby food to meet her most basic primal needs. As I was standing there, trying to figure out how to comfort her (and trying to keep it together myself) as the child sobbed with abandon, I knew that I didn’t get to be scared anymore. I had given that luxury up. I was a mom now and I could do it. A peace came over me and I felt confirmation that I wasn’t doing it alone. I saw everything slow down and then stop for Him to say, “don’t you see my plan now?”   

It’s been four months now. I think back on that fear, doubt, and all that wasted time I spent worrying this time last year. It sickens me to think of what would have happened if I acted on that fear. Two days ago we went to the doctor and found out at one week post-op that the child we adopted thinking she would be blind, in fact, isn’t actually. Yesterday I watched my child dance in the yard with a neighbor girl and a princess dress, correction, two princess dresses. This morning I cuddled a little girl on the couch for more time than I should have and I didn’t care that we were late for school and work. I’ve learned that parenting is hard, but it’s a whole lot easier than I went into it thinking it would be because now I’m parenting with faith, not fear.  

And I learned that for me, limbo was spelled r.e.d.e.m.p.t.i.on.


Nikki has been working as an adoption social worker for the past 10 years.  The consummate single gal was married in 2012 and started an adoption process to adopt a 10-year-old with special needs from China soon after.  Nikki loves writing home studies in the Western Missouri area and preparing families for the realities of adoption.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

In Limbo: Waiting in Peace

Never in my wildest dreams did I think we would be three and a half years into the adoption process and counting, however, if I had to sum up this year with a word it would be "peace". The lessons that were hard-won in year one and year two have taken me deeper in my faith and have yielded a much calmer year three.

And then two days after Christmas we received word that Ethiopia may be closing it's doors to international adoption. At first I ignored the rumors, because that was all I could find, but soon we started reading more concrete information from people who would know, and my heart sank. I'm pretty sure I experienced all the stages of grief while simultaneously putting together a playroom and seeing friends and family over the holiday break who expressed their excitement about our adoption. I didn't have the heart (or maybe the strength) to share the latest news with them.

Our own dreams of starting a family are so closely intertwined with the dreams of another country to care for and support it's own children. 

We waited for what seemed like the longest two weeks ever to hear from our agency. Right now they believe that Ethiopia will not be closing it's doors in the immediate future, but that the process will get longer and more difficult. The reality is international adoption is always unpredictable, and we aren't guaranteed a certain outcome.

God did not promise us a child. He did, however, call us to this path, and He asked us to have faith and to trust Him. If I can get to a place of peace knowing that God is good whether or not we adopt a child from Ethiopia... whether or not we go through three, four, five years of paperwork, hopes and dreams with a little one in our arms, then perhaps I have received a far greater blessing than I ever signed up for.

I am a better person because of this process, I know that much.

I've grown compassion for women who are struggling with infertility.

I've faced fear of the unknown and learned how to surrender it.

I've learned how to be persistent when it really matters.

I've grown more patience with difficult people and situations.

I've learned to trust my instincts and not fold under pressure.

I've grown a deeper love for my husband.

I've experienced grace like I never have before.

These lessons are so valuable to me, and many of them I'm learning over and over on a daily basis. I wouldn't trade this experience for anything. As another adoptive mama quoted recently:

"No matter what vision God has given you, I can predict it will take longer and be harder than you ever imagined... Going all out for God is not just about getting where God wants you to go. It's about who you become in the process. And it's not about how quickly you get there. It's about how far you go." – Mark Batterson, All In

This is a journey of becoming. I don't know if I will become a mother in the way I imagine or not, but I do know I'm becoming a better version of me, and more like the One who created me. And I'm thankful for that.

"Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." – Lamentations 3:21-23

Kristen is a graphic designer, a wife to her handsome tall redhead, and doggy mama to a rambunctious 5 year old chocolate lab. She loves spending time with her family, laughing and crying with good friends, and rearranging the rooms in her house over and over - usually on a whim and at the most inopportune times.

Friday, June 6, 2014

June Focus: In Limbo...

I sat in my seat on the airplane and watched the distance between myself and the ground grow more immense.  All the air felt as though it was being sucked from my lungs and I was fighting the mounting urge to grab the paper bag from the back pocket of the seat in front of me to prevent hyperventilation.

It was the moment that I had dreaded since long before I saw his face; the moment when I would have to leave my son on one side of the planet while I returned home to the other.  To be honest, that moment felt even worse than my dread had prepared me for and I was truly not sure I would make it.

We had met our son in Ethiopia just five days earlier and I had fallen even more in love with the little boy whose pictures had begun that process when we received his referral five months prior.  In some ways, our trip to meet our son had gone so much more smoothly than I'd envisioned; for two VERY unseasoned travelers, we were resourceful and navigated the trip somewhat seamlessly.  On the other hand, though, the trip had been rocky, our case had not been approved, and we had absolutely no idea when the issue would be resolved, paperwork filed, and we'd be asked to return to bring our son home.  Perhaps it was because of this uncertainty that stepping onto the plane to return home (without him) felt so heavy.  It was as if I'd turned my back on our boy and, although I never doubted IF we would return, I certainly questioned WHEN.

The ten weeks following contained some of the most difficult emotional days of my life.  I carried on with work and parenting and tried so hard to put a smile on my face and convince others what I truly believed...that God was in control...but, I was having a very hard time feeling it.

The rest of the story, of course, is that the issues were resolved, and that our son is home forever {PRAISE JESUS}!  

However, that time two years ago will never be lost in my story.  It was that portion of my wait, 

when we were truly

that God carried me when I could not stand and brought people into my life that poured into me, solidifying in my mind the importance of connection and encouragement.

This month, the Joy in the Journey blog will bring you stories that focus on those "In Limbo" times when God stretched, convicted, and allowed adoptive mamas to fully rely on Him as He placed just the right support into lives at just the right time.  We hope this month will serve as an encouragement to those of you currently in a difficult wait and will give cause for reflection for those of you He's carried through.

Much Love,