Why we choose to wait

Given the current situation of many adopters waiting, we asked a friend to write about her experience.

Given the current situation of many adopters waiting, which we have written about here, we asked a friend of Home for Good to write about her experience. She is an approved adopter who is waiting with her husband for their first child or children to join their family. We hope that hearing from her will be an encouragement and a comfort to others who are waiting, and help us to understand some of the feelings and emotions connected to this process.

It’s my birthday in a few weeks. It will be my third ‘last birthday before having children’. A couple of months later it might also be my third ‘last Christmas before having children’, but as I write now in September, I can just about still live in hope that it won’t be.

I remember when our panel date was approaching and it felt like all I heard were the stories of adopters who got the phone call about their children just days after they were approved. I lost count of the number of people who told me it had happened that way for their friends who adopted, and of course I secretly and rather smugly thought it would happen that way for us too.

I never imagined I’d still be waiting now, many months later, with no sign of my children.

I didn’t mind the waiting in the beginning. It was such a relief to have finished all the paperwork and house renovations, to have completed all the meetings and made it through the intensity of panel, and to finally clutch that piece of paper with the all-important signature of the Agency Decision Maker. But it didn’t take long for the relief to become restlessness and the elation to become frustration.

Because I know there are children waiting. The main reason we started this process was because we became aware of the need and believe God told us to respond. I’ve scoured the pages of Adoption Link and I know I’ve read in excess of two hundred profiles of real children who are waiting, who are desperate for their forever home, and yet here I sit writing about the gaping hole in my heart and my home where my children should be.

For most of the profiles I’ve read I understand the reasons why we are not their match, but for some I still don’t get why their social worker didn’t consider us or why our social worker wouldn’t put us forward. I’ll be honest – relinquishing control over these decisions is probably the hardest aspect of this process, and I am grateful to have a faith in a God who is bigger than any human decision, be it mine or someone else’s.

We’ve had a few ‘almost-matches’, although when I’m being entirely rational I know that in reality we never got that far down the road with any of them, but in those weeks when I thought that perhaps they might be ours it felt so much closer. I can remember their names, and for those that we were able to see pictures or read their full reports, I can recall so many tiny details. The little girl who loves her trampoline, the little boy who likes to help with the hoovering, the big brother who enjoys playing in the sandpit and the baby sister who loves splashing in the bath. Hundreds and hundreds of children, and all I can do is pray that they find their parents soon.

Waiting without a deadline is a strange struggle. Some days pass by in mundane reality with just a bit of idle wondering if perhaps there’ll be a phone call or maybe the next notification from Adoption Link will be the one. On other days I rant a bit at God or my husband or my best friends and I battle to keep going when I feel like I can’t plan anything beyond next week, and I worry about how much longer this will last, and whether I have the capacity to keep waiting.

And on other days I miss my children so very deeply, which I know is ridiculous as I haven’t even met them yet and I don’t know their names or how old they are or if they’ve even all been born – but still I miss them.

Of course I know that when it does finally happen my life will be turned upside down beyond recognition, and the challenges I imagine we will face are terrifying to comprehend (and the challenges I’ve not even considered are even more so), but it doesn’t help to be told that by well-meaning people who’ve never had to live through this. I know it’s going to change. I want it to change. I’ve been wanting that change and waiting for it for years now.

In the time since we started our adoption assessment many things have changed, both for us and for the people around us. Sometimes it’s a challenge to keep hold of the perspective that we have chosen this and that this is the path we are walking – especially when so many around us are walking a completely different one, which for them at times is equally challenging.

As Christians we often need to exist in that tension of committing to our unique journey whilst supporting and encouraging others on theirs, and it’s not easy. But in God’s great strength I am able to truly celebrate my sister’s expanding belly and my niece’s first steps, while still pining for my own children. Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s really easy, but we have to try and hold on to His perspective and His unique calling for each one of us.

The best support we have is the friends and family who are waiting with us. Praying with us for our children. Sitting with us in the frustration. Crying with us when the possible-matches become not-matches. Not offering easy answers or comparing our situation to anything or anyone else, but just letting it be what it is for us.

If you’re supporting someone who’s waiting, find out what they need from you – not everyone is the same, so they may not feel as I do – but one thing that could make a huge difference is to stop asking them what's happening. Rest assured, if something significant was happening and it was appropriate, they would share that with you. Instead, why not ask how they feel about things at the moment, and if there's anything more you can do to support them.

And if like us, you’re waiting for your children to join you, then I pray you have good people around you who are loving you in the midst of this, and I pray you’re able to hold on and keep waiting.

I believe that God called us to adopt. I believe that He knows our children and in His time they’ll be with us, and already I pray that He is with them, protecting them, comforting them, and that they are with fantastic foster carers. I believe that He is a God of transformation and that no issue, no struggle, no pain is too much for Him. I believe that He is bigger, that His ways are not my ways and His perspective is eternal.

Because of this I can wait. (Most of the time. Sometimes I moan a bit.) It may not be easy but really, it’s not about me. It was never about me, or my husband, or our families and friends who are waiting with us. It’s about our children – wherever they may be – so for their sake I will keep waiting.

But the eyes of the Lord are on those who fear him, on those whose hope is in His unfailing love. We wait in hope for the Lord; He is our help and our shield. In Him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in His holy name. Let your unfailing love surround us, Lord, for our hope is in you alone.

Psalm 33.18,20-22




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