I’ve always dreamed of adoption. It was a calling marked on my heart from a young age and a dream I carried quietly for many years until I met my husband. When we were dating, I shared with him the desires of my heart and the deep calling I felt towards adoption. I needed to know that he was open to the idea as well. He was gracious and accepting, but admitted he had never felt that calling the same way I did.
After we married and grew our family through two biological daughters, I felt the familiar tug at my heart that adoption was still calling. I pressed my husband, worried that we were messing up the timing or that if we waited too long, it would never actually happen. We received precious prayer ministry over our desire to adopt and received a prophetic word that hinted towards a long wait but safety in the shadow of the Lord (Psalm 91). I clung to the promise of safety in the shadow of the Lord but casually brushed off the long wait.
Prior to this journey, I never liked waiting. I dived deep into research in international adoption programs, agencies, and adoption law. But it felt like every step forward I tried to take, something would stop me. We couldn’t afford many of the programs, we weren’t old enough for adoption in some countries, and the travel requirements in others would take us away from home and from our daughters for multiple months. When I finally paused long enough to look around, I realized I had moved forward in this dream without my husband. He knew adoption was going to be a part of our family but he doubted the path forward I was forcing. I was so set on achieving the dream that I forgot the purpose of it was always to glorify God, not to only satisfy my heart.
After being confronted with multiple roadblocks and the realization that my husband wasn’t in the same place as me, I discovered we had entered the long wait prophesied over us. Did I already mention that I really didn’t like waiting?
I was recently reading Oh the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss to my daughters when I came across the section of the book about “The Waiting Place”. As a child, the uncomfortability of the waiting place never sunk in, but as an adult, I can clearly see the desperate, lost looks on the illustrated characters’ faces. Seuss described the waiting place like this:
“Everyone is just waiting.
Waiting for the fish to bite
or waiting for wind to fly a kite
or waiting around for Friday night
or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil, or a Better Break
or a string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or Another Chance.”
Waiting is hard. Really, really hard. Waiting for that call back. Waiting for your turn. Waiting for the weekend. Waiting for your chance. Or, maybe the most difficult to wait on… waiting for your dreams to become reality.
Waiting on dreams is especially difficult because it makes us vulnerable to direct conflict, doubting what God said versus what we see or don’t see happening. You may begin to question, “Did I really hear Him correctly? Have I been wrong this whole time?” Once you’ve discovered your calling or your dream, it’s hard to not want to see it come to reality quickly. But, I’ve learned over the past four years in our journey to adoption that despite the nagging feeling that nothing is happening, there actually is goodness to be found in the waiting place (more on that to come). C.S. Lewis described it this way, “I am sure that God keeps no one waiting unless He sees that it is good for him to wait. When you do enter your room, you will find that the long wait has done you some kind of good which you would not have had otherwise. But you must regard it as waiting, not as camping.”
What can make the waiting place a trap is when we forget that we are merely waiting for our turn, and instead regard it as our destination. If while we wait (months, years, even decades) we begin to forget or doubt what God has said to us about our dreams and callings, we will surely miss when our number is finally called. We’ll be too busy with heads hung low, believing that we’ve been left behind and forgotten to see that the door of opportunity has been opened. But, if instead we regard the waiting place as a hallway to the room we’ve been wanting to enter, we can find purpose in the wait without compromising our endurance to actually enter the room. The beauty of the waiting place is that we are given the time we need to learn difficult lessons, iron out the details, and refine our opportunities so that when it is our turn, we’re fully capable and ready to use our dreams to glorify God, His goodness and His timing, too.
When my husband and I entered the waiting place of our journey to adoption we found exactly what was promised to us, protection in the shadow of the Almighty. I spent many months learning to accept that waiting did not mean lost dreams. At times I succeeded and at other times failed in my attempt to find purpose in the wait. But when I created enough space to allow God to work in my family, I found much growth was actually happening. We’ve learned a lot about parenting in the last four years since we first sought prayer over our journey. We’ve learned a lot about marriage. We’ve learned a lot from the families who have gone before us.
As God was teaching us all of these lessons, He was slowly refining the opportunities in front of us, carefully closing what had once seemed like an endless hallway of open doors until there was just one left. The most beautiful thing of all is that it was my husband who spotted that single opened door. Foster care. Our waiting place has lasted nine years of marriage with four years of serious pursuit. Had I not waited four years ago, I would have pushed a dream down a path that would have likely led to disappointment. But instead, God faithfully opened my husband up to what was once just my dream and made it our dream. God used the waiting place to teach me difficult but important lessons, and to shape my husband from a participant in my dream to a partner in our shared calling. Together we have now searched the ins and outs carefully and selected an agency that matches our Christian beliefs towards foster care and adoption. We have completed all of the training and paperwork and now await our home study. I believe we’ve entered into what is likely the last few months of our waiting place and we’re ready to finally enter that room. Praise God!
If you find yourself waiting, too, I hope you find peace in what was spoken over us four years ago. When you’re in the shadows of waiting, it may look like nothing is happening to you as you watch those around you dance in their sunlight. But hold fast to the promise that God is protecting you in that place. Good things do come from waiting when we learn to trust what God has said and allow Him to work in that place without losing endurance to actually enter the room when it’s finally our turn.
Psalm 91: 1 “The one who lives under the protection of the Most High dwells in the shadow of the Almighty.”