Not Yet

July 9 will mark one year since we started our big push to bring you, our Little Shope, home.

It’s funny, because time flies. And then it doesn’t. On one hand, so much has happened in our journey for you. We’ve raised money, we’ve prepared our hearts, our home, our lives. All for you.

And in other ways, time has stood still. We feel we’ve moved only inches in our very long journey to bring you home. They say that race car drivers experience a similar sensation. At 200 mph, everything feels frozen.

In the last year, we’ve filled out (literally) hundreds of sheets of paperwork. We’ve raised and saved thousands of dollars. We’ve written dozens of thank-you cards, sold enough coffee to power a journalist for a solid year, and said countless prayers.

We’ve fielded thousands of questions, received a thousand hugs, heard a thousand prayers whispered. All for you.

And while we have waited, time and the world and every other living thing has not.

In the last 12 months, we have seen so much:

We’ve met the Walton twins, who are living, breathing evidence that God hears us. Besides my prayers for you, dear one, they have been the subject of most of my conversations with God in the last year. You are going to love Eisley and Solomon. I already do.

Your uncles have gotten married and watched their families grow.  Have I told you yet that you have little cousins who are waiting to play with you? I’ll show you how to play Monopoly, which ate up most of the hottest days of my childhood summers with my brother and cousin. Hopefully, I can teach you how to be a good sport, in case you are as mediocre a player as I was.

I went to Florida, which changed my world forever. I held the hands of women who almost lost everything on their journey to America. They risked it all because they dreamed about freedom.

I also saw alligators and giant tomato fields and signs that said “Panther Xing.” I put my feet in the ocean and giggled with my friends, who can’t wait to meet you.

This man named Nik walked across 2 inches of steel, 1,500 feet in the air over a giant canyon. This other guy named Felix jumped out of a vessel in space so that he could break skydiving records. It was awesome. You should know that I will ground you if you ask if you can do either of these things.

We screamed in excitement watching Olympians swim and run faster than any human ever has. Swimming and running are totally acceptable hobbies for you, by the way, if the Monopoly thing doesn’t pan out.

Our friends brought their babies home from all over the world, all over the nation and all over Albuquerque. We have rejoiced with them, and we prayed for them while they waited too. I even got to watch one take his very first breaths. I will never forget it.

Your dad became our church’s youngest elder, which is a lot of responsibility. (You can start teasing him now about what an old fogey he is. He won’t mind at all.)

The world is crazier and scarier than ever. There have been earthquakes and bombings and giant waves and tornadoes. There were violent protests and civil wars and men who robbed America’s movie theaters and schools of any notion of safety. If I’m honest, this terrifies me. I feel so sad knowing that I cannot protect your eyes and mind and heart from everything. I want you to grow up in a world without heartache, but it is everywhere. Yet, I do have some good news: Your dad is a superhero. Have I mentioned that? Not the kind in a cape or who can catch bullets in the palm of his hand. His super power is even cooler than any of that. He is capable of more love and gentleness than most people will ever really understand. God gave him that gift, just for us. And compared to the love of God, it’s like a grain of sand. Cool, huh? This is important for you (and I) to understand, because even when the world is monstrous, love is stronger.

I could go on for pages and pages. (You’ll learn soon enough that I’m not exactly brief.) But this feels like a good place to stop. You see, so much has happened, Little One.

But not you.

Not yet.

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Waiting well

“And I’m an olive tree, growing green in God’s house. I trusted in the generous mercy of God then and now.” ~ Psalm 52:8, MSG

 

I was just thinking about the day we were told we could not have children.

I remember coming home from our doctor’s office and slouching into a chair on my porch. I remember the tears, too. It was a sunny day, which seemed spiteful to me at the time. News like that was meant for rain and thunder. I wanted all creation to commiserate, or at least show a little sympathy.

That morning, everything changed. And of all the places I felt the blow, perhaps my expectations were hit the hardest. I expected to have kids by now. Or, at least, someday.

That mournful passage in 1 Samuel, when Hannah was taunted for her childlessness, still makes my stomach turn. We haven’t endured taunting from the outside, but we’ve definitely suffered a sort of internal mockery. We’d see friends and relatives with their children, and we’d ache. We’d hold babies, smell their sweet faces, give them small kisses. They’d wrap their arms around us and drift to sleep. And we’d wonder if we’d ever have our own little ones to tuck in at night. Year after year, we were taunted by our own minds, by our expectations.

It’s been five years since that morning. I like to think we’re a little wiser now. There’s a kind of peace that comes with the passage of time, and maybe that’s the root of whatever wisdom we’ve gained. The evidence of that peace is that we’ve learned how to wait well.

We have learned how to wait in peace. Wait with hope. Wait while working. Wait with prayer. Wait with patience. Wait with thanksgiving.

And I think all these things combine to create the essence of “waiting well.”

Waiting well doesn’t mean ignoring the reality of our situation. It doesn’t mean we’re naïve. On the contrary, we’re probably more aware than ever.

Waiting isn’t fun and it isn’t what we’d choose. But we spent the majority of our lives in wait for something – a family, a spouse, a job, a vacation, a phone call, a birth, a death, a change.

Waiting can be agony – a watched pot and all that – but it is a fact of life; the question isn’t whether we’ll wait but how. When I think about sitting on that porch, a day of bitter sunshine and anguish, I wince over the fact that I lived there for so long.

As you know, we are now waiting for our Little Shope. We have such hope for the day we will meet our kiddo. And we believe the waiting – including all we have learned and done in that time – will serve to bless our house in the future.

I had lived so long with expectations of what I believed my life “should” look like that I’ve missed the grace that was being poured over me daily. Even in the in-between, there can be life and growth and the sun can do its good work.

In the past five years, we’ve learned to loosen our grip on expectations, and we’ve been blessed abundantly for that decision. The baby that comes into our home is the baby that was meant for us. I trust God to choose that child for me. I have hope in His provision.

So yes, right now, we’re waiting. Without fear, without judgment, without anxiety, without impatience. That’s the goal, anyway.

We choose to wait well.

And being with you makes that waiting sweeter. We sent out our first round of thank-you cards for everyone who has donated to our fund. Writing them cost us many tears of gratitude. Our hearts are full. We have been blessed with support and kindness, from friends, our families and even from strangers.

It’s been five years of longing, and so much has changed in that time, including us. We have much waiting yet to do, and much to do while we wait. (Right now, we are waiting to do a home study. After that, we wait to be chosen. After that, we wait for the Phone Call. After that, we wait to sign papers.)

Wait. Wait. Wait. It’s our physical address right now; we have a tent set up in the in-betweens and the unknowns, a little plot of land centered in a time vacuum – a place that Certainty just does not visit. But we have another address too. It’s the one where our hearts and minds live. You can find us on Hope Boulevard, near the corner of Thankfulness and Prayer.

Thank you for your prayers for us, for our Little Shope and for the orphans everywhere.

 

By grace,

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