Our adoption is over. We didn't get a referral. We won't be bringing any children home from Ethiopia. It hasn't gone at all the way we expected it to. And surprisingly, we are full of peace and joy. I went back and forth with myself over whether I wanted to write about this publicly or not, but once again, reading Elisabeth Elliot's writing has helped me sort through a lot of my emotions and thoughts about the end of our adoption.
You see, we knew from the very beginning that we were stepping into this process on faith. We knew very well that we might make it to the other side with no child to show for it. Or at least we said we knew it. I don't think I ever really believed we wouldn't be parents when everything was said and done. But God knew.
We've had people ask us why, if we thought this was God's will for us, are we not immediately pursuing adoption from some other avenue or why don't we continue to wait it out. Those are certainly valid questions, and they aren't easy to answer. When I got to pages 30 and 31 of Let Me Be A Woman, I found that Elisabeth Elliot was able to start to verbalize some of the things I've been learning through this long, sometimes hard, journey:
"The truth is that none of us knows the will of God for his life. I say for his life--for the promise is 'as thou goest step by step I will open up the way before thee.' He gives us enough light for today, enough strength for one day at a time, enough manna, our 'daily' bread. And the life of faith is a journey from Point A to Point B, from Point B to Point C, as the people of Israel 'set out and encamped in Oboth. And they set out from Oboth and encamped at Iyeabarim, in the wilderness...From there they set out and encamped on the other side of the Arnon...and from there they continued to Beer...and from the wilderness they went on to Mattanah to Nahaliel, and from Nahaliel to Bamoth, and from Bamoth to the valley lying in the region of Moab.' So far as we know, nothing happened in these places. Oboth, Iyeabarim, Arnon, Beer, Mattanah, Nahaliel, Bamoth mean nothing to us. That immense crowd just kept moving. They traveled and they stopped and they made camp and packed up again and traveled some more and made another camp. They complained. There were so many complaints that even Moses, who was a very meek man, could hardly stand the sight of these whom God had called him to lead. But all the time God was with them, leading them, protecting them, hearing their cries, goading and guiding them, knowing where they were going and what His purposes were for them and He never left them. It is not difficult when you read the whole story of God's deliverance of Israel to see how each separate incident fits into a pattern for good. We have perspective that those miserable wanderers didn't have. But it should help us to trust their God. The stages of their journey, dull and eventless as most of them were, were each a necessary part of the movement toward the fulfillment of the promise...The life of faith is lived one day at a time, and it has to be lived--not always looked forward to as though the 'real' living were around the next corner."
The truth is, I don't know why God had us go through this experience to not end up with a child from Ethiopia. I do know that we trusted Him to do His will in our family as we started the process to adopt. And I do know that we are continuing to trust Him to do His will in our family now that our adoption is over. I'm not sure if that means we will try to adopt again in the future. I'm not sure if that means we will have children biologically. I'm not sure if God will ever give us children. He hasn't promised us that.
What I am sure of is that His plan is perfect, and I have learned in an even deeper, more intimate and personal way that I completely trust Him and agree with whatever His plan is for our family. He has given me peace and joy that I can't explain or even understand myself.
God is good all the time. All the time, God is good. It's really true.
To wrap this up, let me conclude with another excerpt from Let Me Be A Woman in which Elisabeth Elliot is talking about something her husband Jim Elliot wrote to her in a letter:
"'Let not our longing slay the appetite of our living,' he wrote to me, and those words have helped me very often since. We accept and thank God for what is given, not allowing the not-given to spoil it."Oh that I would live with a thankful heart in every circumstance. (1 Thessalonians 5:18)