Goodbye before Hello
Loss. It's the one part of the adoptive journey that I hadn't fully prepared for. In some respect I knew that gaining more children meant the end of a season. I knew instinctively that our ideals would be challenged and that the end picture would look much different from what we dreamed when God first whispered to us adopt. But... We're still waiting. I say still, and you can probably perceive my anxiousness. I wouldn't say impatience. I can and will endure any timeline to bring our someday child home. I am anxious, though. With each profile we consider, hope swells like the beginning of a bell curve, and just as surely, we slide down the other side awaiting the next possibility.
Journaling to our future child the other day, I wrote, "Each new opportunity could be you. And that's what's disappointing. Not that that specific child isn't here, or that they were adopted by someone else. But that it's not you yet."
With each passing case we say 'goodbye', before ever meeting and sometimes before even seeing these children. It breaks my brain a little: There are over thirty children who will never know that we prayed for them. Wanted them. Said goodbye to being their Mom and Dad, and watched them join another family or follow another path. It's incredible.
Goodbyes are hard. Goodbyes without a hello are hard, too.
This week we said yes to a potential adoptive situation that was unusual for us. A concurrent opportunity. These are risky and even more volatile in change than most domestic adoptions. We were told on Monday that we'd meet the children Wednesday. By Wednesday evening, two hours before meeting, we were told that things did not turn out as we had hoped. We wouldn't be meeting the kids and they wouldn't be coming home with us. Car seats purchased and rearranged, small welcome gifts picked out, family conversations had...We were so ready. So ready for 'hello.'
I look at my wall where a picture hangs that says 'Before we knew you, we loved you.' My house is not more full this weekend. But my heart is not emptied.
If I've learned anything in this season of preemptive goodbyes, it's that in my losses my gain in Christ is so rich. Even amidst each loss, nothing is really lost at all. None of this is lost to God. He works to redeem all parts of this story. And the gain of obedience is doing something to the core of who I am - I have known intimately the unwavering Christ; The constant love and goodness of our Jesus. It takes my breath away.
As I've written before, I feel that I'm being emptied to be made whole. Who we were at the beginning of this journey, honestly, likely wouldn't have considered the children mentioned above. It would have seemed like too much, in many ways. But through it we've learned what really matters. Seen what we can live with and live without. Been told truths about what our family's love is capable of.
Our God shaped love is capable of great, great things.
And so I know that we would say a thousand goodbyes to hear that one, brilliant, precious hello.