In adoption terms, 9 months is not that long. In waiting for a child to join your family, it seems to be absolutely normal. In waiting for your heart to be fully broken, it's a lifetime.
We jumped into this adoption 9 months ago with naive notions about ourselves, about adoption, about God. We were fully submerged in expectation and paperwork and prayerful pursuit of our daughter from day one. It was not a gradual easing into the joy of a child, it was thrown in the deep end, all out, crazy love for the piece of our hearts we didn't even know was missing until we saw her sweet face. It was like we got a positive pregnancy test and decorated the nursery all in one weekend and then had another 9 months to await the arrival of our bundle of joy.
And now we will most likely never hear another word about her for the rest of our lives.
We are no longer the strong and stable people we believed ourselves to be. We are broken. Our hopes and dreams are dead and we don't even get to hold her one time to say goodbye. We cry way too easily, we hide out in our home hoping no one will notice our absence, we say inappropriate things when people ask us stupid questions. We smile and serve at church and come home and melt down. We are adrift in a storm.
Adoption is hard, ugly, messy business sometimes. No one really tells you this, and even if they do, you don't believe them. You see happy families around you in all their adoptive glory and have no box to fit people with broken hearts into. It's just beautiful, wonderful redemptive work. It's one of God's pictures, like marriage, and that automatically makes it amazing. But it is also the melding of broken lives together. Even when children join their forever families it is not sunshine, lollipops, and rainbows all day long. Just as marriage is harder than anyone could ever tell you, and soon to be married couples wouldn't listen anyway, adoption is harder than imaginable. And things break down. And adoptions sometimes fail. And there are more orphans in the world than anyone is capable of fathoming, so it seems absolutely unjust for adoptions to fail. A child needing a family, and a family needing a child, and yet bureaucracy, and culture, and sinful people get in the way of that perfect match.
And God is not in the business of making his people comfortable, happy, or fitting in with the people around them. God is in the business of conforming his people into the image of his Son. And sometimes (more often than not) God uses the hard, ugly, broken things of this world to break off our self-sufficiency, pride, and idolatry. He is not mean and vindictive. He is kind enough not to let us wallow in the slums of our ignorance and selfishness. He is working in our lives the good of sanctification by the heat and pressure of broken circumstances. He is holy God, the vestiges of my Adam-likeness are burned away in the heat of his glory. But burning hurts. It is difficult to cry out "my refuge, my fortress, my God, I trust you" while my entire self is a burning effigy of sin.
I spent 9 months waiting for my daughter to come home, but forgot often to pray that my heart would happily accept God's will. Now I struggle with bitterness. I spent 9 months being so productive because my home needed to be ready at any moment. Now I struggle with laziness. I spent 9 months sharing my heart with anyone who would listen. Now I have walled off my hurt so that no one will see how much I am broken by this. I spent 9 months caring about every girl who is being sold to meet the sick desires of sinful men. Now my daughter might be one of them. I spent 9 months thinking I have it all together, feeling so completely spiritual at my oblivious faith. Now I have almost nothing left.
Then out of nowhere this song wells up in my heart:
I am weak,
I am poor,
I am broken,
Lord, but I'm yours.
Hold me now!