Life shouldn't have to look like it does sometimes. We should be able to grow up in happy homes, find true love, make babies and all live happily ever after with days filled with purpose and work that is more joy than job. We aren't designed to struggle with lonliness and heartache. This world is broken. And yet, hope can still spring new. Beauty can still rise up from the ashes.
Our emotions in the last month have been a jumbled, tangled mess. In a single hour, feelings of tentative hopefulness can be deflated by overwhelming uncertainity and then salved with reminders that, in spite of everything we have been through, our good God still has a good plan. I've been heartbroken, I've been scared, I've been hope-filled, I've been resolute and I've been shaky. I've been angry, I've been peace-filled and I've been despondent. It seems like there isn't a single emotion in the spectrum that we have not lighted upon for even a brief snippet. Looking backward, I miss Roman with every fiber of my being and, while I know logically that we could not have done anything more, I feel responsible that this little guy is still in an orphanage without a mommy and a daddy there. Looking forward, I am more and more excited about Daniel and the progress that we are making to bring him to a forever home. Where every step in the last six months of Roman's story brought us a new obstacle, it almost feels like we are being carried by a gentle current through this part of Daniel's story. Things have fallen into place with remarkable ease. We've reconnected with the people who helped us with paperwork in Roman's story who were eager and ready to help with Daniel's. The court in Murmansk would not release the paperwork they had and when we were first told about this, it felt like a horse had kicked us in the stomach. We would have to redo our FBI background checks, our psychological evaluations, our financial statements and, since so many months had passed, we would need an updated copy of our homestudy. It seemed like every scrap of paper that had been so incredibly challenging to get the first time had to be redone. We pulled up our cell phone records for the contact we had made through the Secretary of State's office for help with the fingerprints and, while he did not remember us, he was willing to help us again. The psychologist who helped us with the evaluation still had our records on file and was able to fit us in quickly. Our case worker came to our house the next week for an updated homestudy, and, since writing letters of employment had become routine at this point for home office, we were able to get that in order quickly also. Everything came in or had come in by April 24th, just in time for us to take it with us to St. Louis on the 25th on our way to the airport for the Bahamas. Finally, a trip that didn't require snowboots and a visa! Brock had earned the trip through work and I don't think either of us realized how desperately we needed to be away for just a little while. Brock had made a connection through a friend of a friend in Washington DC who was able to get our fingerprints apostilled and overnighted back to us, thus saving us the eight week waiting period. It no longer feels like we are dancing the one step forward, two steps back. We are moving forward. Without too much drama and without too much delay.
Both Brock and I have had broken hearts before. The feeling that we'd never be able to feel a certain way again is one that is familiar to us. In those days, we never would have dreamed that by God saying "no" to one story meant that He was saying "yes" to another one. In a strange way, the familiarity of those feelings is comforting to me now. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that Daniel is a precious little boy. I have seen a sweet nature in him and have been mesmerized by his joy in his play and the reflective way he seems to take in his enviroment. I have finally started having dreams about his tender smile and his delicate little body in my arms. But to be completely open and honest, there is still a part of me that is scared to give my heart completely to this little boy. We have reason to hope and we have experience to make us cautious. I know though, that if I had allowed fear to dictate my emotions when Brock and I were dating that I wouldn't have gotten to experience the incredible gift God had given me in a best friend and husband. In the same way that we both celebrate the families that God has given to the people with whom our lives were once entwined, we pray feverently that God would provide a family for the little boy with whom we have been entwined. So maybe Roman's legacy to us taught us preseverance because we would not have been in the right country at the time that Daniel's referral became available. Roman will forever be our son in prayer and we will keep trusting God for whatever comes next in Daniel's story.
So yes, failed adoptions are just another one of the many things that aren't fair in this life. But I do know this: there have been far more blessings in my life that I have not deserved than there have been burdens that I've had to bear. We were never promised a life free from pain and conflict. I've just been promised that I have a God who still causes ALL things to work together for His glory. Our story isn't over yet.