That is a wonderful parallel to my thoughts about our adoption process. Just like the longer than normal return of spring, I find myself currently wondering if our adoption decree will ever come. We spent 8 months in IBESR, the first stage of the Haitian side of this process, which included being on the President's desk waiting for his signature. This was "supposed" to be the long haul part of this process. However, at almost 7 months of waiting to simply get our legalized adoption decree, I have come to know first-hand that what was "supposed to be" is simply different for each family's story.
I know our decree will come. Just as sure as spring will indeed appear at some point, it will come, but it has been a long winter and the effects of the cold wind, hard ground, and wintry mix hitting my face has taken a toll. I'm beyond ready to see evidence of fresh, beautiful life coming out to meet my eyes. Beyond ready to see an email grace my inbox folder with a photo, not of my beautiful daughter, but of a beautiful decree that claims Nora is now a legal "Thieszen". (Although photos of Nora are always welcomed!)
The "toll" I just mentioned this long season has had on me comes out in different forms on different days. Some days I'm angry while others I'm filled with peace. Some days are anxious ridden while others are secure. Some days I'm on my knees and others I'm online messaging my fellow adoptive Mamas who are in the boat with me just to remember I am not alone in my human reactions to all I face. Some days I dance for joy despite the pain and others I find myself in a puddle of weeping tears. One of the more recent songs on the radio gives a pretty good representation of my heart at this point in the process. It's called "Worn" by Tenth Avenue North.
Although this song represents a pretty good overview of my thoughts/feelings, there are a few lines I thankfully still don't resonate with. This is the most prevalent..."I've lost my will to fight". Oh, no, this Mama will never lose her will to fight. Each day there is an underlying faith, trust, and hope built by my unending, undying, ever-needed intimacy with my God. Without Him I would be at such a loss. With Him I can continue the fight even when I'm worn beyond myself. I find myself ever-thankful and grateful to God because I have been able to journey through much more than I ever thought possible with His help.
So, how do I keep on in the fight with Him? How do I continue on in the journey of winter until spring eventually comes? Those are great questions that I unfortunately don't have a great answer to right now. I'm struggling to understand my current place in the battle. I'm struggling to know how to be the best soldier for the Lord. As much as I would love to go grab a hold of my papers traveling through the different offices in Haiti and somehow move them along so much faster than what the lawyer is doing, I know that is not possible--it's not the role God has called me to in this fight. I have to rely on another to do that part of the battle for me. As much as I want to daily be loving on Nora in a much more tangible way, I know that is not possible--it's not the role God has called me to right now (oh how it aches to even type that). We have been blessed that Nora's nannies and our director are extending daily love and care to Nora in our absence. So, as far as what is left to do in the fight...I just don't know how to be an active part of this process beyond prayer and immense love for Nora at a distance. Although that "should" be enough, it is really, really tough to not be doing more.
One way I recently tried to be a more active role was to make an additional trip to Haiti. A few weeks back, after many tears and talking through options, Micah and I decided to sacrifice a bit more money, time, and logistics to have me make an additional trip down to love on Nora in the next month. My Mama heart LOVES this stage with my children. 18-24 months is a stage of wonder to me. Their personalities are coming alive and I absolutely delight in watching it unfold. I have been having a terrible time knowing that these beautiful moments are happening in Nora and I'm missing them. We decided a long weekend trip where I could just relax with her, love on her, watch her, and bond more with her would be very beneficial at this point in the journey. It would give me a place to be "active" in this journey. Sadly, however, when I inquired more about dates to make this trip happen, I found out the guest house is full for the next two months and a trip would not be able to happen. A closed door. I can not sit here saying I'm not heartbroken. I can't say it's "fine" to be told you won't be able to go visit your own daughter. It hurts. It is a hard closed door to be starring at, but I know that God is still working all things out for good. Again, it's my faith in the Truth and Character of the God who loves me deeply that sees me through times like these. It's an awesome thing the guest house is full for the next two months--that means that many, many teams are there helping offer medical, dental, or other care to these beautiful people. There are ways to see light even in your own darkness, but it doesn't mean you don't still have your own darkness to get through. I know God has a plan and when closed doors happen, I have to continue knowing He loves me and is always on my side. He will open another door for me soon. I don't know what that looks like, but it will happen.
So where does that leave me? I can't help the paperwork along, I can't take care of Nora's daily needs or tangibly show her my love right now, I can't even make a short trip to see her. I can't make an email show up in my inbox and I can't make this process happen faster. I can't, I can't, I can't... This is where I find myself today. The reality of my thoughts right now is I feel surrounded by a lot of "I can'ts" and I'm searching for a "I can" to hold on to. Some days I get instant answers to those type of questions and other days I'm left with silence. Today, I'm still with silence. I'm still searching. I know I can pray. I know I can believe. I know I can keep learning valuable, life-changing things God is revealing to my heart of hearts along the way, but for some reason, these are not enough. I'm not finding peace in doing these things. I believe there is something more I can do, but it hasn't been revealed to me yet.
In my time of loudly discussing these things with the Lord yesterday (yep, sometimes my "quiet time" with God is not very quiet), I heard Him answering my rant with His loving, tender, calm voice once again. He seemed to be saying to my agitated spirit..."Oh, Angie, I know what you are feeling. I know what you are thinking. I know all too well what it is like to want and desire to be more involved in helping good things happen when there is nothing much you can do. I know what it is like to be in a position where you think or know you could make something happen if you only had the control of it, but instead, you are forced to rely on other people to do it for you and sometimes those people are not doing it quite like you want them to. Angie, sweet Angie, try being in my shoes for a day. This is what I feel, this is what I deal with moment to moment with my creation. My children (you included at times) run wild, you chose to ignore me, you chose to walk on paths not meant for you, you choose second-rate life instead of the abundant life I have planned for you, you choose sin and corruption instead of love and forgiveness, you chose your broken selfish desires over the richness of what you could have if you saw yourselves how I see you. Oh, how I understand your desires for good. Oh, how I long to be able to do more than I can do in the lives of those I love, but until they willingly come to Me and ask of Me to help them, show them, guide them, walk it with them, and bring it to them, I will remain in this same type of place. The place where I see "I can'ts" ruling over "I cans". It breaks my heart as well. Today, Angie, rest knowing I feel your pain and even though you can't do a lot of things, you can love me and love others well. When I can't do what I want to do to help my children, I can still love them fiercely where they are at and continue to hope and believe things can change so I can eventually do more. The rest will be revealed to you as you go, but for now just practice loving. Continue to trust Me. I am here and I am able."
And so I come to today...April 25th...worn, but trustful. Weary, but still fighting. Not filled with answers, but filled with love from a God who has a good plan and understands where I am at more fully than I even do myself. I'm still bundled in my winter coat while my spring jacket hangs on a hook just begging to be worn. I'm heading out into the cold temperatures with the promise that spring will eventually come...probably not today, but some day. I'm heading out with the promise that the miracle of a legalized adoption decree, eventually a passport, a visa, an airplane trip and a daughter in my arms in my own home with her daddy and siblings all surrounding her is still growing just under the surface, but today...it still feels like winter.