The parallels that can be drawn from my once-in-a-lifetime hike through a vineyard in Italy and the story of our journey through the adoption process are not that far fetched. Even how I stumbled upon the simple connection of the two is barely enough to receive a second thought. However, the comfort and hope that it has brought me through this recent darkness, is enough for me to want to share it with you.
If I were to map out the path of my incredible hike in Italy and our adventure to becoming parents through adoption, a pattern emerges of familiar disappointments with pleasant surprises, heartache eased with joy, and pain comforted by hope.
When we began our hike, I saw the City on the Hill. I was instantly discouraged. It looked too hard to even take another step. I wanted to give up immediately and turn around.
When we started our journey to parenthood, I daydreamed of what every step would look like since I was a little girl. We found out early on that things were not going to be easy, and that we were going to have to find courage to continue.
Because of the unknown, the beginning of my hike was dreadful. It was quite pitiful how desperate I was to find an excuse to quit. I was quickly exhausted, discouraged, and exasperated. Thankfully, there were many people put along that path to encourage and comfort me.
After our struggle with losing our first baby, and the battle of two failed rounds of fertility medicine, I was left feeling hopeless, depleted, and weary. Beginning the adoption papers was daunting, and the fear of our uncertain future was almost unbearable at times. Thankfully, the Lord placed many people in my life that had traveled this road before us, and even some precious new & old friends that could walk along with us too.
Thankfully, right before the point that I was completely burnt out, there was a beautiful place of rest. On our hike, this first came as I got a surprise glimpse of Manarola, and then as we took a longer break at the ancient cathedral.
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28
This breathe of fresh air came in the form of educational seminars held by our adoption agency. It was a welcome break from the piles of paperwork and endless questionnaires. During this process we were able to find hope in the encouragement from our case worker, we were surrounded by others going through the same steps, and we were inspired with testimonies from birthmothers. It was just enough to energize us for the next leg of this journey.
After each break, the journey continues. The path gets a little bit more rockier, which usually means there’s a difficult road ahead.
I have a merciful and gracious Savior. He alone is my Hope. He never promised me that it would be an easy journey. Even when I don’t know what the next turn will be, He gives me a glance of my past. A beautiful reminder of how far I’ve come, and how He has never left my side.
For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.” Isaiah 41:13
Naturally, I had an image in my head of how I presumed each of these journeys will play out. Ideally, there are things that I expect to happen and things that I want to happen. My hike in Italy is just a beloved memory now. It played out so differently than I expected, but looking back, I would not have changed a single thing. I would gladly take every painstakingly miserable step again. Because through it all I found beauty and learned a few lessons about myself.
However, about this adoption journey… I fear that it is far from over. There are so many ways that I wanted this to play out. If I’d had my way, there would be a baby in my arms right now, probably drooling on me as I typed this. Eventually, one day I’ll be thankful that it didn’t work out my way. Because that view of looking back and seeing how far I’ve come-through lonely nights, heartaches, tears, and empty arms-that view is worth it all. And it’s always more beautiful than I could have imagined.
It’s been a rough few weeks dealing with my emotions and my impatience. By comparing these stories, I’ve reminded myself of how glorious the journey can be. I’m going to try to enjoy this adventure a little more and try not to skip to the end. I wouldn’t want to miss out on anything marvelous along my path.