The Pain and Purpose of Waiting

I’ve had very little experience when it comes to waiting. I don’t know the pain of unmet desires for a spouse. I don’t know the pain of infertility. I don’t know the pain of waiting for a deployed parent to come home or the pain of waiting for a steady job. But I do know the pain of waiting for adoption.

I remember the exact moment that I first experienced a strong desire to adopt. I was 17, in India, and sitting on a concrete floor. A young girl, usually so playful and rambunctious, sat on my lap weeping. In her broken English she cried, “Me no have parents.” My stomach was in knots, and my waiting began.

My husband was completely on board about adoption when we got married. But we were young newlyweds and needed a few years until we could meet India’s age requirements. During those years of waiting, I had two beautiful sons. They are such gifts, and to a degree they distracted me from the wait. Yet it didn’t erase my intense longing to adopt. Finally, on my 27th birthday, we filled out our application.

The process to adopt from India typically takes 2-3 years*. Outside of some frustrating delays during our home study, the timeline has been moving as expected. On June 28th, we received the referral for our daughter. As any adoptive parent can attest, the joy we felt that day was surreal and overwhelming. But then time slowed down. Somehow the past 10 weeks have felt longer than the previous 11 years.

The wait after accepting a referral from India is 12-18 months. So far, it seems close to unbearable. There are days that I wake up and almost feel physical pain—as if my heart is being crushed. On other days there is a heavy lump in the back of my throat, refusing to be swallowed and begging for the floodgates to open. The difference between waiting for a hypothetical child, and waiting for your child is incomparable.

I have a daughter! A daughter who is half way around the world. I have already missed her first smile, her first steps, her first words. When she’s sick, I can’t hold her. When she’s sad, I can’t comfort her. I don’t know her favorite foods. I don’t know what scares her or what makes her laugh. There is nothing I can do for this little girl that I love so much.

The wait feels so arbitrary. We were matched, it was approved, why another 12-18 months? Yet I know that God’s plans are never arbitrary. That His ways are beyond my comprehension. And I know there is purpose behind the pain of waiting.

Some purposes are easily recognizable. I know that as I wait, God is teaching me to trust Him more deeply. I know that as I cry and yearn to hold my child, God is reminding me that His ever-present, ever-loving arms are holding her. I know that as I desperately pray over her, God is reminding me that I only have the illusion of control over my sons, and that I should be praying just as desperately on their behalf.

But with as important as these lessons are, He’s teaching me something deeper. Countless circumstances can teach joy amidst trials and trust amidst heartache. But there are unique lessons that can only be found in waiting.

As I experience the pain of waiting for my daughter, I am reminded of the One for whom my soul truly waits. I am waiting for the King of Glory, waiting to dwell with my Risen Savior. Caught up in this life, I too easily forget the ultimate unification for which I wait. I’m often too distracted to feel the yearning that resides in the depths of my heart for the Only One who can satisfy my soul. The daily trial of waiting for my daughter, has been a daily reminder that I’m waiting for my Lord.

I can’t even begin to imagine the heights of emotions I will feel when I finally take her into my arms. Yet I do know this: the overflow of joy culminating after years of anticipation, will be but a glimpse of what’s to come. When I finally see Him. Someday, it will be to His arms that I run, and it will be His nail-scarred hands that hold me. Someday, I will finally be face-to-face with the One who paid the greatest price to welcome me into His family.

*Wait times have been decreasing and are now typically 18-24 months.

I want to be on the list!

16 thoughts

  1. Tears are dripping as I type. You have put to words what I have experienced and felt in my heart. We just met our daughter almost 3 weeks ago in India after that long wait, I agree with the physical ache, the longing….be encouraged today that God sees your heart and loves you so very much, rejoice that His timing is PERFECT! Thank you for this beautiful post! I will be praying for you as you wait…


  2. I can’t even imagine the longing in your heart for your little girl but at the same time I’m thankful she has you to pray for her and her Heavenly Father to protect her. Thank you for sharing!


  3. This is beautiful… “And I know there is purpose behind the pain of waiting.” I know that your heart of trusting God during this painful time must please Him. May you be strengthened by His love as you surrender your longing to welcome your daughter into your family to His timetable.


    1. I agree with Wendy! Even when we know there is a purpose behind it all, it is still hard to walk through it. You give your readers a place to hear that they are not the only one waiting. I think that helps so much.


  4. Oh my goodness, I have always wanted to adopt. Josh and I have talked about it as well and we are praying about one day jumping into adoption. Praying for your family and this wait! So excited for the day you can hug your sweet daughter. 🙂


  5. This is a beautiful example of feeling a calling years before you live into it. I said a prayer today for your daughter. I know this post will offer hope to those who are waiting. God is faithful. Blessings to you.


  6. This has truly touched my heart. What a beautiful insight to the struggles + courage involved with adopting. I will keep your family in my prayers and hope you may soon meet your already so loved daughter!


  7. What a blessing you will be to your daughter, and I am sure that your prayers for her already bless her in unseen ways. Thank you for sharing your journey.


  8. I love how you put this in the context of God in a way that all of us can relate. My heart goes out to you in the wait and I pray that it won’t be much longer now. But I’m moved by what you’ve been learning and how you’ve been trusting Him all along. You’re an inspiration!
    Marva | SunSparkleShine


  9. OH my heart, this is so precious and beautiful. THANK YOU for sharing your heart, your aches, and your hope as you continue to faithfully wait for your baby! This brought me to tears. I am sharing it on my page. I KNOW many women have similar experiences, and your wisdom and encouraging insight will surely be a Godly provision for them all.

    Please keep us updated so we can celebrate the JOY with you, when you finally hold your baby in your arms. ❤


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