When Things Don’t Go As Expected…

We received some news a little while ago that was disheartening. Cynthia is fine, as far as we know she is healthy and happy. However, her adoption process isn’t going to go as we originally thought.

Before I share why and the outcome we now expect, it’s important that you understand the basic complexity of adoption, specifically international adoption. Adoption is an extremely intricate process, it involves a huge amount of legal work, layer upon layer of bureaucratic red tape, cultural and language hurdles to overcome, sometimes even translation of all documents, many hours of time zone differences, and on and on I could go. So keep in mind, adoption isn’t a one stop shop- it is an intricate machine where all cogs need to be moving for things to happen. If one cog stops, usually the whole machine is on shutdown until the issue is resolved.

Recently, our agent e-mailed us an update to our process. Our dossier has made it to the central government as of the end of May. That is a praise. However, there is new personnel in place for Cynthia’s birth country’s adoption processing. New personnel tend to be much slower because they are unfamiliar with adoption, so instead of expecting the 8-12 weeks of official processing for a match, we are now encouraged to think of it more like 6-12 months.

It could be so much worse, I know. Cynthia’s birth country could decide to cease international adoption relationships altogether (always a possibility no matter what country a family chooses to adopt from), or we could be separated from our little girl just after meeting and bonding with her, much like what happened to the Wilks family (and who are now all HOME, finally!). I know extended processing time is not the end of the world, but it was hard news to hear. It was, and still is, hard news to process. We were envisioning celebrating the holidays with our three children all home. We were looking forward to celebrating Cynthia’s 5th birthday, watching her start pre-K with her brother and sister (maybe), seeing her ring in the Chinese New Year with her new clothes in her American, multicultural, beautifully blended family. But, more than likely, we will need to refocus to anticipating celebrating her 6th birthday, seeing her start kindergarten with her brother and sister (maybe), and waiting one more year to buy her Chinese New Year outfit. It hurts to think on all the lost time with our middlest girl. It makes us sad to think it will be 6-12 months longer before she knows she has a family who loves her and is working so hard to bring her home.

But these new pains are just ours, and thankfully not hers. She is still fun and fancy free in her children’s home, where she receives healthy meals and safe, warm bed, hugs from caregivers, treats on special occasions, therapy regularly, and friends to play with. Cynthia is fine- and that is a balm to our hearts through all things endured in the adoption process.

For many of you, especially for those who know us well and are following Cynthia’s journey home closely, your immediate thoughts boiled down to something like, “Who can we blame? Who can we hold responsible for this outrageous increase of time? How loud and how often do we need to speak to correct the problem?” Those were our thoughts. We said, “But the timeline says…” Over and over, until it sunk in that timelines don’t really matter. Human planning doesn’t really matter.

In fact, we didn’t share this news quickly as we have every other bit of news regarding Ruth’s or Cynthia’s adoptions. I needed time to process so I could share from a place of humility and grace, not from my flesh. Because my flesh is ugly. It wanted to say and pray things like, “Why is this happening? We’re trying to do a good thing and we’re being punished. We just want the pain to be over- please give us an easy way out. We are wanting her to be a part of our family now and we don’t want to wait any longer than originally expected.” Human hearts are not good way down deep, guys. We are depraved beings in need of a savior.

We don’t like the extra time. We don’t like the “negatives” that accompany the extra time. But instead of doing what our flesh so deeply wants to do, we are going to cling to the Faithful One. Our Father in heaven is good- even when our circumstances are not. My understanding of Cynthia’s life and process is so finite- so why would I not just lean on the One who sees it all- before, during and after, and who works everything for His glory and our good. He is worthy of our faith, so when I am tempted to despair over things out of my control, I will stop, pray, and surrender my worry to God, who loves our middlest girl so much more than we ever could.

Thank you for following and supporting our family- our whole family. Please continue praying for us. Of course, pray for a faster process than anticipated. Scripture tells us that our Heavenly Father’s desires to give us good things. But also pray that we are a testimony of faith- even if we get to this time next year and are still waiting. We want to be faithful more than we want our lives to be comfortable, by the power of the Spirit.

And please pray that our Cynthia continues to be the joyful and thriving girl that we see in the rare-but-treasured pictures. Our beautiful, precious, across-the-ocean daughter. We’re coming for you, little bug. Just as fast as we can and as just when God intends.