Guarding my heart

When I caught wind of the news on Thursday that all Congo adoptions were likely going to be delayed 3-6 months, my heart ached for those in the process. I thought of all you moms that I’ve watched as you wait for your child to be home. For some of you the road has been long and winding and full of bumps. I know that many of you are completely and utterly devastated. Maybe you thought you’d be traveling in the next month or so and now you are in a tailspin learning that that probably won’t happen. I am sorry. I’m so very sorry. I’m sure that all of you had at least created some type of landmark in the months to come that you determined your child would be home for. Maybe it was Easter, a birthday, family reunion, or even Christmas. We had a timeline too. In our video we wrote that our little guy would be home in the summer. That’s not going to happen.

I’m not going to go on here about whether or not I agree or disagree with the change. I am not even going to try to explain why it is happening. That’s not my position to do. In fact, when I heard the news I chose to sit back and be silent.

I didn’t have words.

I didn’t have heartbreak.

You see, I learned so much the last time around. I now know what it is like to be on the other side of the “wait.” Those days and months when I let my heart be shattered in the thought of my daughter sitting on the other side of the world are over. She came home and with her came a lot of pain. I learned that while I thought I loved her for months and months, I didn’t really. She was in my arms and I didn’t love her. As I’ve written about several times, that was hard on me. The guilt overwhelmed me and for a time I suffered from depression. I have not forgotten that dark time. It wasn’t that long ago.

I am determined to do everything in my power to not go down the slippery road again. While I spent the first few days after “meeting” our little guy for the first time imagining how wonderful life will be as a family of 4, I knew that I needed to take control of my emotions. I needed to shut them off. I needed to remember that I do not love that boy. He is a stranger. He probably smells funny, and I know nothing about him. He will come home, and THEN we can work on that whole falling in love thing.

That isn’t to say that we didn’t pour over all the pictures, videos, measurements, and notes about him. We did. I would sit and stare at him and daydream. I found myself talking about him more and more. I knew that I needed to make a conscious effort to not let myself get too attached. Not only did I not want to create a false love for him, but I am also much more keenly aware of the possibility of him not coming home. It is a reality in DRC adoptions. It is a reality that didn’t cross my mind when we were waiting for Odette. We saw her picture and practically wanted to rip through the earth to have her in our arms. This time I am guarding my heart.

He is not my son yet. He is God’s son. God may bring our little guy home or He may not.

I trust Him.

Maybe it is easy for me to say that I am better at waiting this time around because we are so early on. Maybe in a month or two I will be out there pleading for the next piece of paperwork or step to be crossed off. Right now, I’m not. We’ve got nothing on Little A so far, and while I do think a bit about when we might hear news, I am not stressing about it. If I count down the months, days, or even hours it doesn’t make them go faster. If I try to micromanage the process and compare family A, B, and C to me it doesn’t help anything.

It seems that we won’t be traveling in May or June like we thought just a week ago. It stinks when I think that we probably won’t have the entire summer to bond like we did with Odette. It stinks thinking about taking time off of work and losing pay, but I would take forever off if it is what he needed. It STINKS thinking of Little A in an orphanage even longer. I could dwell on so much, but instead I am choosing joy. We will have more time to save money. Odette will have more time to bond with us before her world is turned upside down. We may even get to sneak in a little family vacay as three of us.

We pray together each night that Little A will join our family. We pray for his health and for his safety. We pray he may feel God’s love. Soon enough he will feel ours.

choose joy

Please mommas know that I am sorry for you and I am sorry for your little ones. If you are really struggling with the news, I understand. If this had happened while we were waiting for Odette you would have found me in a pile in the closet drowning in my tears. I understand. I really do.

Sarah Signature


19 thoughts on “Guarding my heart

  1. My agency just met with the Consul in Kinshasa. They were told that these “field investigations” will be happening every 3-6 months. Meaning they will only be flying people out to do them once every 3 or 6 months depending on how far out in the country they have to go. And depending on areas of civil unrest. They have 1 consul and 1 vice consul and have 7 people to do all the investigations. They plan on adding another person to the team in June. They think they will still be taking 3 months to process the cases out east or maybe longer. If you are filing your i-600 in the USA the investigation will not begin until you have approval in the USA and the Consul in Kinshasa electronically receives the approval. If you file the i-600 in Kinshasa then your investigation starts the day of your appointment. And happens while your i-600 is processing. It is estimated that this can shave off 4-6 weeks off your time. I’m heading to Kinshasa on Monday and have my i-600 drop off appointment on Wed. It sounds like nobody really knows what to expect so the only way to know is to jump in and start swimming. I feel for every parent out there who is waiting. I am with you and I know it sucks. I’ll be happy to keep anyone posted on the status or process while I’m going through it. I really should update our blog Or you can email me Thanks for the wonderful blog and your little Odette is a doll.

  2. What agency did you go through for Odette? The organization my husband And I were going through just shut down. Do you have any recommendations? We are concerned about ethics, so are trying to be careful about that.
    Michelle G.

  3. I just found your blog and must say, I appreciate your honesty. We are just beginning our DRC adoption journey. Almost 4 years ago we brought home our three kids from Ethiopia. I remember the panic and desperation at every delay or change in procedure. In the end they came home exactly when God intended. In hind sight we can see His perfect timing in each step of the way. We are anticipating more peace in this journey because we are choosing to let go of the need to control things which are beyond our control to begin with. I appreciate that you are free to put words to what many feel but are afraid or ashamed to say. There may be times when you look at this little person that you have committed the rest of your life to parenting and say “what have I done! I don’t know this person and I feel no love for them.” People seldom acknowledge the pain of adoption. The loss on the child’s side and offen on the parents side. I think the hardest part for us was watching my oldest fall in love with my husband and yet fight depression because he felt that he was betraying his birth parents by loving us. I pray blessings on this journey of yours and I pray things move quickly and smoothly.

  4. I just found your blog and I have to say, I greatly appreciate your honesty. We are just beginning our DRC adoption journey. Nearly 4years ago we brought home our three children from Ethiopia. I remember panicking at every delay or change in procedure. International adoptions are so unpredictable. We were ex

  5. Sarah, I’ve been following your blog for a while. I thought you were sooo right when I read this post that felt I had to comment. Actually I feel what you say can be applied to our expectations in many things on life ( work, marriage, children etc). Thank you for being so honest. Odette is so beautiful. Love reading your blog. Tons of kisses from Spain 🙂

      • Not yet. Hope I can adopt in the future when I get married. If you happen to make a stopover in Madrid in your next trip to Africa , let me know. Would love to show you around!!. Lots of kisses for sweet Odette 😉

  6. For me, it was a tough pill to swallow. I was heartbroken and frustrated. I couldn’t imagine our daughter having to spend 3-6 months longer in an orphanage. But, I know that God’s timing is perfect and you cannot rush perfection. I don’t have to like His timing, but I have to trust it, which can be hard for me. Thanks for your blog. I wished we had a chance to talk at C4C…things were busy.

    • Hey April,
      So wish we could have talked. I was asking around for you the first night, but then when I saw you the next day things were busy. I am so sorry that you are stuck in the middle of this change. It is looking like there is a chance it won’t really be as long as they are saying. I will be praying that is the case for you and your daughter!!!

  7. Does anyone have any additional information on the delays? I haven’t heard anything from our agency yet, honestly panicked right now. We are waiting for an embassy appointment…
    Any further information on the delays would be greatly appreciated!

    • Hey Ashley,
      I would definitely check with your agency. From my understanding anyone who doesn’t already have an embassy appointment scheduled will have a mandatory 3 month wait for the visa to be issued. It is so hard to tell how it will be implemented. I’ve heard that the investigation into the orphan status will begin once i600 approval has been received. Again, check with your agency. I am no expert. Hoping that you’re not delayed long!

  8. For me, it’s not about guarding your heart, it’s about guarding your expectations. The moment I saw my son’s picture I knew I loved him. But I was keenly aware that he didn’t know I existed. He didn’t miss me, he didn’t love me, I wasn’t anything to him and he was everything to me. The day they placed him in my arms I was again reminded of that. This feeling of loving someone who doesn’t love you in return is something different than I have experienced before. And now that I know my son I love him in a different way but it’s still love. It was always love. Love isn’t just a feeling, it’s a state of being.

    Just sharing my perspective because I appreciate you sharing yours. 🙂 And we lost a referral of a child to an unknown amount of suffering before death so I do know about the pain of loss and what the risk of loving is.

  9. Love to you, Sarah. We know that although Baby A is not with you, he is not alone. He is never alone. God Bless. You are in my prayers always.


    • Does anyone have any more information than what we have heard from our respective agencies? We are still waiting for our I600 and the supporting documents we sent several weeks after applying for the I600 to catch up with each other and make it to where they need to be. Our agency said once that all gets to DRC, and the embassy receives it, then, the ‘investigation” will proceed. We have already “passed court”. I pray that will make some difference.I didn’t have much of a reaction when I first heard the news other than a word I wouldn’t print here, but later in the day, it sunk in.And it scared me. I know the sooner we can get our kids here, the faster they can get hugs and kisses and then medical care. So , I can only pray when our file is reviewed, the embassy will find everything in order and proceed as we had planned. We were told this is happening because of the large amount of cases for adoption in DRC since some other countries have shut down or have had a major slowdown. Is that what everyone else has heard? We had been told we could plan to travel in March. Now this.I plan to make sure all of my paperwork ends up where it needs to be and that’s all I can do but pray. A lot. If anyone can share any more insight into this situation, please do.

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