Are you bored yet? I hope not but I understand if you are!
So...Taevy had been "ours" for less than a month and I was a complete wreck emotionally. I was a full time music teacher and I remember every day at school seeming to last forever. There were lots of days I simply couldn't cope so my kids had "game day" or "let's watch a musical" day (and I was NOT typically that kind of teacher)!
Back in 2000 international adoption was around but it wasn't as "everyday" as it is now. It was big news in my school that Eric and I were adopting from Cambodia. The kids did country studies in their class on Cambodia. We learned about the music of Cambodia. There was this huge electricity around the school of 1200 kids about "Mrs. G." bringing home her baby from Cambodia.
In a way, that was lovely and I certainly felt supported. But the flip side of that is that all of these supportive people asked me every day if we had news. Of course we had none. The country wasn't even open. And the rumors I had heard about us not even being able to adopt if they changed the laws out of our favor were too painful to share. So for weeks I smiled and said, "Nothing yet. I'll be shouting from the rooftops when I hear something!"
It didn't stop the asking though. And before long the thought of going to school and facing all of the well-meaning kids and teachers was too much. I took lots of "mental health" days that year--for sure. It became so painful. I finally broke down and put a sign on my door that said, "No News Yet. Thank you for not asking. I promise I'll share when I know something." Isn't that horrible?! But with that at least the teachers got the hint that it was becoming painful for me and stopped asking.
On Christmas Morning, 2000, I was miserable. I was a mommy without really being a mommy. I loved my baby but couldn't hold her. Here's part of my journal entry from that day, written in my parent's living room with tears rolling down my cheeks.
Merry Christmas my darling baby girl. It's 9:30 in the morning here, which means that you are probably tucked into your bed for the night, sleeping soundly. Oh, how I hope that this is my last Christmas without you. How I wish this to be my last month, week, day, hour, without you.
I'm siting here in Grandpa's big blue recliner while the family cooks breakfast in the kitchen. You are already so loved my dear child. Our family has already showered you with such gifts, the least of which are the many that we unwrapped for you this morning. The gifts my family has for you are love, and acceptance; humor and trustworthiness; and joy. Our entire family prays for your coming.
My sweet baby. Be safe. Be happy. Grow strong. Stay healthy. We will be there soon--and you won't spend another Christmas without us.
All my love,
Things got a lot more "real" after Christmas because our agency was working with others in Cambodia to try to get our kids "out" even though the moratorium was in place. They had us get our senators to write letters to the Prime Minister, asking that the children be released so that they could come to the US for better health care and protection. When the Prime Minister read these letters he agreed that our small group of families (there were 9 families doing this with us) could be processed. He would sign off on their dossiers.
If only it would have been that easy! What I'm leaving out is all of the time frames that came and went. One time we would anticipate leaving in 4-5 days. They next day we might be told it would be another month. Eric and I were #8 out of 9 families and the families were to travel in groups of two to Cambodia (so as to be as inconspicuous as possible). Through the kindness of others (who knew Taevy was going to be our first child) families that should have gone before us gave up their spot in line. So instead of being family #8, we became family #3--the second family group to travel!
Group one traveled and everything went well. The children got their visas and came home. Praise God! We were up next. We bought our plane tickets. We packed our bags. I went on long-term leave at school. And then two days before we were to leave we got word that the Prime Minister had changed his mind. The whole deal was off. Of course our agency was trying to scheme another plan to get the kids out, but it looked as if it was over and we would be waiting until the moratorium was over. Our agency said, "Maybe in 3 weeks or so" we could travel, but by that point I had learned that our agency was really good at blowing sunshine up my skirt!
I thought the world had ended. Still today--I don't know if I've ever been more devastated. I think that the ups and downs of the adoption process can SERIOUSLY affect the mental stability of some people, and at that point I'm sure I was a little loopy.
Here's what I wrote that day in the journal:
It's getting difficult for me to write you name in the heading. My heart is broken. We aren't going to get you this week after all. Lori says 3 weeks--I don't believe anything anymore. All of the assurances we have been given are worthless now. Something bad DID happen. The big set back that I have feared from the beginning is now occurring.
So much for having you before you turned six months old. So much for your big homecoming party a week from now. So much for becoming a mother. All of my dreams were filled with thoughts of being your mother--of you being my daughter. Now I fear that all of it is gone. Lori says 3 weeks. But it might as well be 3 lifetimes because I no longer can believe that all is going to end well with this.
Taevy...daughter of my heart...I fear you are going to remain just that. Goodbye sweet beautiful girl.
Did you noticed I signed "Anita?" I had NEVER done that in the journal. That's how much my hope was lost. I remember going into my bedroom and calling my mother in law to tell her the news through my tears. My MIL is normally a very sugar-sweet, quiet sort of person. But boy did she let me have it! I'm going to paraphrase since it was 7 years ago but it was something like....
"Anita! Now I want you to stop this--just stop this! I want you to stop praying FOR this adoption to happen and start THANKING GOD that He has already made it happen! His ways are not our ways. These problems are NOTHING to him. I mean it Anita. You stop ASKING God for this child and start THANKING Him for the gift He has already promised you through this child. She is yours--not start acting like it!"
Oh I was so mad at her! But you know what? She was right. I had no faith. I just had anger and worry. I just obsessed over Taevy growing older without me and about not meeting MY goals for the adoption. I got off of the phone and started praying. I just poured myself out. There was nothing left. No pride to even tell the Lord I had faith. I just fell on Him like a dehydrated person might fall onto a cool pool of water.
"Jesus--just take it. I don't want this burden anymore. I finally know that I have NO power over this. My worries bring no power. My plans bring no fruit. My tears do not lessen my pain. Lord TAKE this from me. It's yours. Do with this situation what you would have done. If that means she never comes home, I accept it. If that means she comes home when she's way older, I accept it. If you never intend for me to be a mother, I accept it. I just can't fight anymore Lord. Carry me. Thank you for knowing exactly how to work all this out. Thank you for my daughter. Amen."
And you know what? He took it. He took it and made it beautiful. He didn't need me. He didn't need our agency. He didn't need the Prime Minister of Cambodia! I didn't know how he was going to fix the mess of our adoption but I finally had peace in the wait. True peace. My joy returned. I could sleep again. And I truly found that I was okay with whatever the ultimate outcome would be.
One week later, on February 27th, 2001 (the day the Child Citizenship Act went into effect) I got a call from my friend Tally, whose husband was part of Group 1 that got to complete their adoption. She said, "Anita, are you sitting down?" Yes. I was trying to prepare myself for more terrible news. Shes said, "We got it!" "Got what?," I said very unemotionally. "We got Taevy's Adoption Decree!" What?! How! How did that happen! The Prime Minister didn't have our paperwork (as far as our facilitator knew) and had said he would sign no more adoption decrees until after the moratorium! HOW?! Tally said, "We don't know. We don't know HOW it happened. We don't know HOW your paperwork got there. But it did--and it's signed! Bill is holding it in his hands right now!"
AHHHHHH!!!!!! So there it was. There is the proof. God didn't need my worry or my plans or my earthly tasks. He just needed me to let go and be ready for Him to show me how perfectly in His hands it all was. Taevy was ours forever. Nothing could change that. No matter how long it took to travel, we now had a legally adopted daughter! And God did it all.
We never figured out (in earthly terms) how Taevy's paperwork got through a closed adoption system. But it doesn't matter. The truth is that God did it. Somehow, He did it. Wow.
Next Installment: Travel!