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As I mentioned in my last post, the waiting was a gift I lived oblivious to until months after the fact. Because Superman’s deployment happened during our adoption waiting, I lived cherishing my boys; purposefully creating moments they could remember as sweet and good during a season of heartache and holes left gaping where Daddy normally filled.

Had there been no deployment, we would have missed the waiting gift.

Yes, I know. Those of you reading this while in the middle of waiting probably don’t feel like your living much of a gift. And I don’t pretend to know what it’s like to wait beyond a year, as our ‘waiting time’ (from the time our paperwork was sent to Ethiopia until the time we traveled) was just 13 months.

Adoption waiting is often described as a trial, a testing and even a battle. Certainly I felt all these struggles, within myself and from other families waiting alongside us. We often held cyber-prayer vigils, met virtually for fasting and prayer. We even had a mom who offered her scones recipe and suggested we all make scones on Saturday mornings (I think it was Saturdays) and pray over concerns of critical importance. Waiting people sometimes do loopy things.

But, what if, in addition to prayer, fasting and going to ‘battle’ for the release of our children into our arms, we were able to also praise God for the gift of waiting? And then went a step further and actually acted on the gift?

So, at the risk of having cyber-egg thrown in my face, I offer to you an opportunity to accept the waiting as a gift. How? Here are just a few ideas:

  1. If you have children at home, create special times to spend alone with each one. When my husband was deployed I instituted “Mommy Date Night”. I knew I could never fill my husband’s shoes. I wouldn’t even try. Rather, I would love them more purposefully in my own way. Each week I took out one of the boys. It was their night. They chose the fun. Sure it was tough. I had little boys and needed to arrange sitters, set aside extra cash and work around the rest of life’s schedules. But I cherish those times intensely. Times of getting to know each boy more intimately. Knowing his hopes, fears and random thoughts. Listening carefully to the inner ticking and beat of each one’s soul helped me anticipate and understand their reactions and struggles when the new kids came home.

And once the ‘new kids’ had been home a few months and everyone was running on empty? Mommy Date Night was quietly instituted once again. Because we’d established this safe intimate time for each one to be treasured and listened to individually, the stage was set for the essential grief, acceptance and embracing to occur in a way which also filled their very dry “love tanks”, reminding them no matter how crazy life got, they were safe and cherished and ultimately, God is good.

  1. Make special moments as a family. Build into one another. Be purposeful about establishing some family routines. Eat out after Sunday service, play a family sport, have game night, movie night, Dukes of Hazzard night… Whatever it is that makes your family harmonize, find a way to make more of it. Don’t let the hectic pace of life squelch the waiting gift. Your new child (or children) will find comfort in your established family harmony – even if they initially (and for a long time afterwards) sing off-key.
  1. If you don’t have children, be purposeful about feeding into your marriage. Establish a date night. Take some trips. I know – adoption is expensive and money is tight. Be scandalous. Do it anyway. Feed one another and grow in your relationship. Find what you both love and find a way to do it together – read, exercise, taste fine wines… whatever it is, do it.
  1. Draw deeper into the arms of God. Chances are if you are a believer, you’re already seeking His strength for each passing day of waiting. Go further. Get so close to Him, you can feel His pulse. Ask Him for the vision to see the un-seeable. Ask Him to reveal the waiting as a gift. Read deeply. Worship fully. Find new inspirations. Seek Him with all your heart – beyond what you need from Him for the moment.

I think newly adoptive mom, Alison Grant, says it perfectly:

Even though it seems like this time will never end, and you cry over your kiddos waiting for you there…know that when you get home and your life is turned upside down, you will look back on your “original” family and cherish every memory and think fondly of when times were easier. Use your waiting time to grow in all areas…grow closer to God…you need a firm foundation from which to draw in the upcoming months. Fill up your kids’ love tanks…fill up your marriage tank and your emotional tank… everyone will be running on “empty” soon. Take time to do special things with your kids right now… special, fun memories, special trips and outings. Enjoy!

Whether you’re waiting for a child or a job or a promotion or a personal struggle to be over or any of life’s waiting games to end, you can be sure… the waiting can be a gift. But, you have eyes to see.

Next up: Handling the delicacies of family and friend reactions to your adoption