Dear Waiting Mom,
I know you’re hurting. I know you are forcing a smile like everything is fine when people ask you where you are in the process, and you say “just waiting,” and then you turn around to walk away with tears in your eyes. I know you are buying items for a room to be filled in your home, but you can’t even go in there. I know that your every day is consumed with wonder and questions and doubts if this is ever going to happen. I know you grin and bear it when another friend announces pregnancy. I know you take a big, deep breath as you walk into another baby shower, eyes glazed over with gift after gift that is opened, and I know you lose it when you get back into your car. I know that you can’t get on social media seeing yet another picture of a perfectly put together family, but you’re obligated to share your own complicated journey because you have to have help to grow yours. I know the sting you feel when all your friends are having moms night out but you are not invited because you are not “technically” a mom. I know the pain you feel when other moms tell you how “lucky” you are to not have to deal with diaper changes, temper tantrums, a messy house, and to enjoy sleep when you long for all of the things that they are complaining about. I know you grin and bear it when another family brings home their child, and you’re still waiting on a phone call. I know you are asking through tears that sting and a voice that’s hoarse, “When is it going to be my turn?” I know you are watching your bank account drain and you cringe every time you promote that fundraiser…again. I know you are so, so very weary of the assumptions that are said aloud to you and the ones you can read behind judgmental eyes and tones full of pity. I know you are tired of explaining your choices and how you were led to grow your family. I know you feel like you don’t fit. I know you feel a loneliness that aches. I know you feel like you are literally not allowed to struggle. And I know you feel guilty for feeling all of this.
I know, because I see you. Right through you.
I know, because that’s how I felt too.
But here’s what I also know:
I know it’s ok to feel those things, those feelings need to be felt. I also know it’s not ok to stay there. I know it’s ok to say no to the endless baby shower invitations and to hide profiles on social media if it’s too much. I also know that allowing your grief to steal moments of joy and celebration for those you truly do care about and love is hurting more than just you. I know that you are experiencing a dichotomy of emotions-pain and love, fear and hope, lack and gratitude, sadness and excitement. I know that I thought some of those feelings would end once we brought our child home and our family was together, but I also quickly found out that it continues to spill out and run over, long after the wait is over.
Going to baby showers? Still awkward for me.
Attending mom’s nights? Awkwardly sip my wine while everyone else is swapping stories I can’t contribute to.
Holding a friend’s precious newborn? So excited for them, but triggered as I look down at the beautiful face and feel deep sadness that our family didn’t get that stage and missed that precious time together.
Feeling like you don’t fit? It’s taken years for me to find a table I truly belong at.
That dichotomy of emotions? That’s adoption and foster care.
Friend, as you sit across from me with shoulders heavy, head down I want to gently remind you that we live in a world that is waiting, and you are in good company.
Scripture is chalk full of waiting. One of the first couples we meet, they were waiting on a child just like you, and had honestly given up hope that it would ever happen to them until God showed up and told them otherwise. Even then, Sarai laughed. At God. Me and that girl are kindred spirits. Hannah was so bitterly desperate for a family to raise, her muttering prayers were mistakenly assumed as drunkness. Rachael watched her sister Leah give birth over and over and over again, while she remained barren for years. The Israelites were enslaved, their babies literally being slaughtered, waiting for rescue, waiting (imperfectly) for redemption to come. Elizabeth and Zacariah, much like the first couple we meet, thought it just wasn’t in the cards for them, and everyone in the community was whispering about it. Anna waited and waited and waited in the temple for this so-called Messiah that God’s people had been talking about for 400+ years, and until she saw his face, then she could leave this earth in peace. Even after Jesus arrived, the long-awaited Savior of the world, 31 years passed before ministry started. Even after Jesus cried out, “It is finished,” there was three, long, confusing and fear-filled days of waiting. After Jesus rose from the dead and ascended to be at the right hand of His Father, there was 40 days of waiting in an upper room for The Helper to come. Even now, we are waiting. Waiting for Him to come back, for heaven to come down, for Him to make all things new and restore what was broken in that Garden.
Dear Waiting Mom, there will always be waiting. It will simply look different in different seasons. You are in good company.
I want you to feel all the things, to ride the waves that come with waiting, but I don’t want you to swim in it. You’ll sink faster than you think.
In whatever season of waiting you are in, I want you to wait well. And I want you to know that you are allowed to struggle, because waiting is hard. I want you to wait with hopeful expectation, looking up to the One who sustains in the wait, and always keeps His promises. You are seen, you are loved.
With Great Hope,
Another Waiting Mom.
If you or someone you know is hoping to adopt or in the process to adopt or get licensed to foster, consider going through this workbook before or during your waiting process to help you work through and better prepare for the road ahead.