So the thing about adoption, at least with where we are adopting from, there are all kinds of acronyms and codes. It is like a secret language you don’t understand until you have to start speaking it. Sometimes I still second guess if I am pronouncing ‘dossier’ correctly. Anyway, when we first began this process I heard the term “Century Club”. I didn’t understand it, but I knew most families never joined it and those that did join it wanted out of it. I eventually learned it was what people referred to when talking about those that had to wait 100+ days for their LOA (letter of approval that averages around 60 days to get). I remember thinking how horrible it would be to wait that long – 100+ days. How I felt such sadness for those families and how I was confident I would never be a member of that club.
The last few weeks a lot of families have been getting their approval letters….with a huge number of them waiting far less time than we have waited. There is no sense to make of it. I’m doing my best to take my thoughts captive and remember that this mountain will fall one day. I’d be lying to pretend that watching others speed past us is easy. It is not, but I am clinging to the hope that God is up to something good.
Today I joined the Century Club.
100 very long days waiting.
100 more days I didn’t get to spend with my daughter.
I’ve decided to refuse to sit around and think about all that I am missing,
Tears are shed. My heart breaks. But our family has a beautiful future that includes 5 children.
So today I am going to list 100 things I look forward to when my daughter is home and I am going to hope my time in this club is short.
- Hearing her giggle for the first time.
- Feeling her body in my arms.
- Tracing the outline of her face with my finger.
- Listening to her daddy sing over her.
- Watching her big sister smother her in love.
- Sitting at the dinner table and looking around to see all my kids together.
- Waking up to her next to me.
- Playing “this little piggie” with her toes.
- Seeing diapers in the house again.
- Baby bibs.
- Sneaking in to watch her wake up from a nap.
- Whispering a million “I love you”s in her ears.
- Kissing her gloriously perfect lips.
- Breathing in the moment she is in my arms and recognizes it as a safe place.
- Watching her learn to crawl.
- Watching her oldest brother go to great lengths to entertain her.
- Comforting her when she doesn’t feel well.
- Loading five kids into the car.
- Introducing her to toys and lots of color.
- Capturing her with my camera.
- Picking up cheerios she drops on the floor.
- Helping her find her voice.
- Praying over her in person, not a world away.
- Watching her brothers go into protective mode over her.
- Introducing her to foods other than rice cereal.
- Rocking her to sleep.
- Hearing 10 little feet scamper together across the wood floor.
- Sitting on a blanket under the backyard sycamore with two little girls.
- Tucking her in at night.
- Helping her adjust to 4 adoring older siblings.
- Learning every part of her in person, not in pictures.
- Seeing her big sister cover her in blankets.
- Sweaty post-nap hair.
- Listening from the other room to her and her siblings.
- Little dresses.
- The first time she says “Mama”…and it means me.
- Comforting her when she hurts.
- Her first light saber battle.
- Seeing a smitten daddy with her in his arms.
- Five kids piled on my bed on Saturday mornings.
- Watching her big sister act as a little momma.
- Hiking with her in the ergo carrier.
- Going to bed at night knowing she has been fed.
- Introducing her to all the little critters outside.
- Her smile.
- Wiping away her tears.
- Bouncing on the trampoline with her.
- Bed times stories.
- Running my fingers through her beautiful dark black hair.
- Tickle induced laughs.
- Holding her hand.
- Sitting on the front porch as the sun sets with her by my side.
- Watching her brothers teach her the proper way to hold a foam sword.
- Seeing Chris manage to dance with two little girls.
- Finding out if she is like her brothers and likes mud, or more like her sister and doesn’t.
- Watching her watch her siblings.
- Getting to say “Girls………”
- Teaching her security.
- Showing her safety.
- Learning what she likes.
- Learning what she doesn’t like.
- Celebrating the beauty that is her.
- Picnic lunches with her in my lap.
- Reminding FireCracker that I am the mom.
- Knowing her needs are being met.
- Pouring seven drinks instead of six.
- Exhaustion from keeping up with 5 kids.
- Not having to say “no” every morning when her 4 yr old brother asks if it is time to go get her.
- Getting a front row seat as she discovers a beautiful world.
- Helping her through the difficult days of transition.
- Breathing in her smell.
- When she is ready, introducing her to friends.
- Slow days at home as a family of 7.
- Watching her thrive.
- Little girls splashing in the bath tub (if she adjusts well to baths).
- Holding her in my lap as she learns to stand.
- Whispering blessings over her as she falls asleep.
- Celebrating holidays together.
- Listening to her laugh at her goofy brothers.
- Butterfly kisses.
- Saying her name in her presence.
- The day she is at ease enough with me to rest on my chest.
- Seeing her little legs wrapped around her daddy’s neck as he carries her.
- Surviving jet lag together.
- When she learns to clap in delight.
- Watching her from across a room.
- Discovering her silly side.
- Movie nights with 5 kids squeezed under blankets on the couch.
- Watching FireCracker as a big sister.
- Introducing her to her anxiously awaiting grandparents and extended family.
- Piggietails – if she’ll have them.
- Knowing our family is together.
- Snuggling cheek to cheek.
- Celebrating Chinese culture and history as part of our family.
- Twirling in the front yard.
- Looking at the photos on the wall and seeing her in them with her siblings.
- Discovering her personality.
- Mundane normal life…with her here.
- Not waking up wondering if she be held that day, but being the one to hold her.
- Going to sleep knowing she is home.
And though the pain is an ocean
Tossing us around, around, around
You have calmed greater waters
Higher mountains have come down
I will sing of Your mercy
That leads me through valleys of sorrow
To rivers of joy
(lyrics by Jars of Clay, Valley Song)