On Tuesday we dropped everything at 3 p.m. We left Daryl’s math lesson, half-finished, on his desk. We set science to one side. And we took a trip—a pilgrimage, really—to the Spring Hill Mall.
There’s nothing special about this particular shopping establishment—except for the fact that we were there when I received one of my most life-changing phone calls—exactly five years ago today.
That afternoon—January 19, 2012—Daryl (then 3), Mum, and I met some friends for a play date. We were all enjoying a snack at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks when my phone rang in my purse. I was on such high-alert that week—I knew this call might come any day—I can’t believe I didn’t hear it ring. But I didn’t, and our case worker had to leave voicemail, asking me to call her back.
As we shivered on that sidewalk, saying “good-bye” to our friends, I noticed the message. THE message! So surreal. We had been waiting for this Chinese adoption referral for six long years.
Nine, if you count the years of infertility.
Twelve, if you count the years since we had been married and wanted to have children.
Twenty, if you count the years since I had been longing to be a mom.
Sometimes you get so used to waiting that it’s hard to believe that the wait might actually end.
We decided to go back into the mall, so Mum could take Daryl to ride the little train, while I sat in the chair pictured below to call our caseworker and hear the news. I pulled an old receipt out of my wallet, on which to jot the particulars.
We had a daughter!
She was in Jiangxi province.
She was six months old.
And her name was Lixin.
So on Tuesday Daryl and Amelia and Mum and I recreated the whole thing—this time with our spunky five-year-old, Amelia Lixin, calling all of the shots and telling everyone who would listen that it was “her phone call day and my Daddy is going to make a cake!”
We took a picture in the “phone call chair.” We rode the little train.
We spent a long time in a fancy dress store, looking at all of the dresses and trying on all of the shoes. (Daryl was such a good sport.) And when I had to tell Amelia that we couldn’t buy an expensive fancy dress, she marched up to the clerk and asked, “Do you have any dresses that don’t cost a lot of money?” Thankfully, she didn’t throw a fit when the answer was “um, no.”
We finished our excursion with a snack at the Barnes & Noble Starbucks where we told and retold the story of that incredible, life-changing, phone-call referral day.
During our six-year adoption process, people always told me, “When you finally hold your daughter in your arms, the long wait will just melt away.”
Well, I’m here to tell you that they were right.
And they were not.
Certainly, when I finally held Amelia Lixin and looked down at her face, much of the longing that had gone unfulfilled for so many years was satisfied.
Certainly, the pain of the wait dissipated to a great degree. But it didn’t disappear. Rather, it left its mark. It seared me. It’s a part of my story. And I haven’t forgotten what it feels like.
I am—and will continue to be—one who knows what it is to wait.
And for that, I am thankful. Because through our wait I learned more of who God is, I learned more about His love for us, and I learned better how to love other people. Through our wait I saw the glory of God in new and awe-inspiring ways.
On this, the five-year anniversary of our Chinese referral, I can’t help but think of the ones who are waiting now.
They need our support and our prayers. I’m sure we all know someone who is stranded in the waiting room today.
Let them know you care and you are there.
Break them out of there for a bit. Take them out to do something fun and distracting.
Listen to them bemoan the wait. Again. Imagine how they feel.
Buy them a cup of coffee or a token of camaraderie. Something—anything—to say, “I wait with you.”
Pray for them.
Pray that God’s presence would be made manifest in astonishing ways.
Pray that His glory would shine through in awe-inspiring ways.
Pray against the despair and the lies that the enemy incessantly tempts them to believe.
Pray that their patience will endure.
Pray that they would be daily filled up with new hope.