What To Expect When You’re Adopting

I could write a variation of the book that rests on many an expectant mom’s nightstand, one I’ve even given as a shower gift (What To Expect When You’re Expecting), for the adoption world. I haven’t yet done a google search to see if this book has been written, but if it hasn’t my manuscript is below. Any agents want to jump on this one? Here goes:

Have no expectations.

The world’s shortest book — probably would fall in the category of Scholastic Reader Level 1.

As I type I’m realizing this sounds a lot more cynical than I feel. In fact at the moment I’m actually enjoying this ride that, other than an official start, has done anything but follow the mapped-out course.

I’ve tried my best to put a grid to cost, timing, anticipated emotional expenditure, daily life and faith impact … to no avail. And today, as we have received notice that the paperwork phase of this process is complete and we are officially “Waiting” (a term adoptive parents use to describe the period of time after their paperwork has been completed/authenticated before they get their referral), I laugh. We’ve fumbled our way along and landed in a category that’s finally fitting. And — not to mention — where we’ll probably be for the rest of our time on this earth.

Our stay in this “waiting” phase of the adoption could last a day, a week or, who knows, maybe longer. My expectations of timing are eroding.

In the meantime, however, my expectations of God have only grown. The grip I’ve had on this process and how it should go is being loosened (and trust me, there’s no self-will in this … eventually everyone in their lifetime is undone by circumstances they can’t control. I am just fortunate enough to get my training early.). Simultaneously and not unrelated is my growing thirst for a fully-redeemed world, another age.

What looks like resignation to a process of pin-the-tail on the donkey, after being spun around more times than necessary, is a divine move of my Creator to stir in me a longing for my real home. Jesus never meant for this earth — and the systems, leadership, and authority structure that are in place — to “work” for me. The only thing that will never fail is Him. And, until He makes things new on this earth, the systems–and our circumstances–are likely to fall short in our expectations. But every shortfall, pointing to our need for another age and a greater Kingdom.

We’re sort of stuck with our expectations of the process having not been met.  But should we be surprised? If I peel back that circumstantial layer I *see*, a new reality, operating parallel to and higher than the one that seems most obvious. I see God, who has set apart girls that, from the beginning of time, were ordained to be ours. He is crafting the timing such that those specific girls land in our arms at the moment our hearts are most ready to receive them. All the while making His mark deeper and deeper in our hearts.

It’s all pretty cool, really.