Perhaps the most awkward season of parenting is this one where an adoption is imminent, but miles of ocean and red tape still separate the waiting ones from the arms so ready to embrace them forever. As I go about my normal routine, they are always on my mind. Are they carrying water right now? Is someone coaching them to memorize the alphabet yet? What sounds fill their ears as they fall asleep? Crickets? Music? The words, beautiful or not, of the adults around them? Do they feel safe? Will they be terrified of me?
This kind of wondering and speculating can drive a mama’s heart to frantic anxiety because these children feel so real, so ours, and yet so out of reach.
Or are they?
When I was little, my mom used to tell me that when I wanted to talk to Jesus, I could ask Him to pull me onto his lap. That image has never left me and now, as I long to pull the girls onto my lap and meet their every need, it seems so obvious to just ask Jesus to do that for all three of us while we wait.
Throughout the day, my eyes close and He whispers “I’ve got you. What do you need?” The God who is not constrained by distance or time can gather us in the same space and doesn’t He love to build and restore? He’s the God who loves to make something out of nothing, to take what is not and make it real.
And so I ask Him to – even now when they don’t know I’m coming and my imagination of their days could be drastically inaccurate. Even now as I wonder what their personalities are like and if I’ll get to teach them to read, pull their first tooth, be the first one to say “I love you”. As paralyzing as the 10,000 miles separating me from the girls may seem now, life has taught me that even after those miles are crossed, fear and lost time and language barriers and trauma surface to remind that physical nearness is not the cure-all answer to our hearts’ ache. The kinds of wounds we’re dealing with here cannot be healed by cuddles and bedtime stories and back logged vaccinations alone. These are wounds, mine and theirs, that need the touch of a perfect Father – and we happen to have One who knows no limitations of time, space, and distance.
So when that Father sits beside their African beds while I eat my American lunch, why wouldn’t I ask Him to begin His work in them (and in me as their mother)…even now. I ask Him to begin building up their little hearts to know me, trust me, want me. I ask Him to gather their broken places in such a way that they will feel safe with me.
And you? Maybe the distance you feel is not miles, but invisible walls around a child’s heart. Maybe you’re a teacher whose little students walk home to empty refrigerators and absent parents and the few hours you have with them seem so insignificant to heal. This is for you, too.
Below is a PDF download of the verses I am praying over the girls (and have been praying over my yet-undiscovered waiting children for years). Many of them are from the Old Testament and I know that can be a hang up. They were specific to people and places and battles then, yes, but Jesus is the same yesterday and today and forever. Those stories, words, and promises are recorded so that we know what we can ask. The history of those men and woman long ago is a promise for us to cling to here and now – to remember that just because our problems might be smaller than those of Gideon and David and Noah, our God is not.
He is waiting for us to ask Him to be bigger.
To access the full size pdf, click here.
Mandie Joy is a foster parent and soon-to-be adoptive mama of two beautiful little girls who are waiting in Africa. She blogs at www.seeingjoy.com.