I’ve been hiding again from my blog. It’s been a partially excusable absence, as Colby was gone 18 days the month of October doing various (great!) things for work, so I was flying solo and that meant just the basics of survival haha! The kids and I went home to Georgia and also spent a week at the beach in Florida with my mom, sisters (with their husbands and kiddos) and my cousin, Sophie. I had all these great, lofty ideas of writing on the porch watching the kids play below as the sun set while listening to the waves crash. You know, it’s kinda funny how that just didn’t happen with five kids ages 6, 3, 3, 2, 2!
Anyhow, today, November 2, is Orphan Sunday and I thought that was motivation enough to quit hiding and put some thoughts down. It’s been a hard couple of weeks (months?!) for me as Titus’ mama and the wait is getting so heavy and I’m just weary of it. September marked the one year point since we began the initial paperwork that began our adoption process. October 22 marked the one year anniversary since we saw our sweet baby’s face for the first time. He was a baby. That first, youngest photo was of him laying in a sweet little bed, dressed all in white and looking like a little angel. We have come a long way since we first laid eyes on him and he’s not a baby any more. Just last month…almost to the day, Colby stood in that orphanage in Seoul, South Korea looking at that little “bed” (which he described more as a “baby trough” with a bunch of babies all in a row, separated by little dividers) and met those ladies who first took him in their arms and held him, fed him, changed his diapers and- I pray to God- comforted him when he cried. Colby was in Seoul for work, teaching and training pastors, leaders and adoptive parents about the importance of orphan care and that the South Korean church must rise to the challenge, for the sake of these children and for the Glory of God, our Father. He was just miles away from our sweet boy in his foster home, but unable to see him due to the policies of his orphanage. It was hard and heavy for him to see and experience those things and not be able to see and hold Titus and let him know we are coming as fast as we can! We left a package and a letter that was interpreted into Korean by one of our sweet friends and prayed that, somehow, he would know in his own little way that we are coming.
This past week, I packed up birthday plates, hats, party blowers, a “2” candle and a “Happy Birthday” banner along with toys, clothes and a little treat for his foster parents for his second birthday on November 19th. Staring down the face of another birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years a part from our baby boy is so hard, but we are grateful that this year we can send gifts since we are further along in the process. How hard is it to have to search a Google image to find a birthday card in a language that he understands? It hurts a mama’s longing heart.
At the end of this week, I opened up his “official legal papers” that were FedEx’d to us from our agency to get all our paperwork in for his approval ready to immigrate into the US with a visa, etc when the time finally comes. It hit me so hard and I just sat at the kitchen table with tears streaming down my cheeks looking at a blank birth certificate- no mother, no father. I thank God for sending the sweet encouragement of a friend that reminded me it will not always be so! I turned the page and saw the small and wobbly hand written Korean character signature of a mama who had to face the reality after 1 month and 9 days that she couldn’t take care of her own child. It was his birth mama’s signature on his relinquishment of parental rights paper. I just cried and cried (annnnd, I’m crying again) looking at the only tangible, physical connection we have to her. The only other thing that Titus will keep from her his whole life is his Korean name. His paperwork specifically says that she gave it to him…and although I cannot tell the the actual name yet for security reasons, I can share the meaning, which in English translates “Bearing Fruit to a Nation”. We cling to this gift from her with our whole hearts and pray that God will answer the prayer and one lasting gift of his brave, little birth mama. It’s heavy to think of her and where she is…still enduring the shame of bearing an illegitimate orphan in a very real and public way as Titus still “attached” to her on records until our adoption is complete. I have grieved for her so much this week, and it is heavy. I love her…she has given us a son.
Many of you have pointed out that if we have done all of our paperwork and have been matched with Titus…what in the world are we waiting for?!!! It’s a very good question…one we find ourselves asking all the time!!! There is a long, loooong answer, but the shorter answer is that one of the main things holding us up is the lack of Korean domestic adoptions. South Korea has a “quota ratio” requirement in which there must be 2 children adopted domestically for every one child they allow to emigrate (or permanently leave South Korea as part of an adoptive family) per every calendar year. I know, I know….THAT’S NOT FAIR! And for Westerners, there are many, many reasons we just cannot comprehend…but we must accept for now that it is what it is. There’s a big stack of files waiting to be requested by the “Ministry” (of Health and Welfare), but are being held up due to this ratio.
Would our friends partnering with us in prayer pray for a move of God in South Korean homes to adopt? It is not a current reality, but ALL of these children deserve to keep their ethnic heritage, language and home country intact and be adopted by a Korean family…but those eligible for international adopted have already been “passed by” Koreans seeking to adopt after a required period of time, and yet they wait. Wait for mamas and daddies that are waiting for them, as we are all waiting for more domestic adoptions and for the court system to become more streamlined. Please bear this burden with us for every orphan of South Korea that needs a forever family…not just Titus. Pray for our endurance as we wait…with kindness, patience and trust in the Lord and his Plan. Pray for strength and that our hearts would be guarded as the ugliness of bitterness and anger tries to root in our minds and poison this journey. Pray that we will speak when it is appropriate…but more than that, let us be silent and stand firm confident that the Lord is fighting this battle and we must be still and know that He is still God.
This morning at church- on Orphan Sunday- as we worshipped, I was crying out to God for His nearness to my heart as I wait. I was reminded that He is an adoptive Father, too. For those in Christ, He has sought us out, chosen us for His sons and daughters, He has paid the ultimate adoption fee- death on a cross to break down the barrier of sin between us- and He still waits for many to come home to Him. I was reminded that I am not in this alone, He is fighting- and has already won– the battle for Titus to come to us. I am not alone in my wait for my child to be in my home forever. I was overwhelmed thinking of my “status” as a spiritual adoptee, my day in court has come and gone and I know who my Father is…I’m just waiting for Him to come and pick me up. I thought about Titus and wondered how much he understands what is going on. How could he know how we love him, searched for him, how we grieve with and for him, how we fight for him, how we would move mountains to get to him?! I suddenly feel very small, knowing that same love is being lavished upon me in a way that I will never fully comprehend until I am in my forever home with my Abba Father.
PS- If any of you would like more info about how you can make a difference in the life of an orphan, please contact me! Call, text, email, Facebook, Instagram, comment below…get in touch any way you can and I’d love to get you connected.