When I was 18, I went off to BYU, fully expecting to meet a returned missionary, fall in love, and start planning the rest of our lives together.
A week after first semester started, I was hopelessly, head-over-heels in love with the man I wanted to marry.
The only catch? He was a freshman too. And for the next four years I watched couple after couple follow the “standard BYU courtship” of four months of dating, followed by a four-month engagement. I wrote lots of letters. I told myself it would be worth it.
And it was. Those two years we spent apart, two prime dating years for this girl who grew up in Connecticut where the Mormon boys had been few and far between, felt like a sacrifice. But when he came home, I felt bound to him in a way that I’m not sure I would have if we’d gotten married four months, instead of four years, after we met.
Once Ed got home, I crossed “patience” of my mental checklist of trials. “Got that one covered,” I thought to myself.
And for the last two years, I’ve found myself waiting again, first for a daughter from China, and now for her little brother.
Waiting for Rose was so much harder than waiting for our biological kids. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t love not feeling good, getting fat, worrying about miscarriage, or spending nine months constantly on edge. But I wonder if being on edge has less to do with hormones than it does with being responsible with a child’s safe passage into the family.
With Rose, I worried about paperwork. I worried about how she was being cared for in our absence. I hated any and all government holidays because it meant that someone who could be pushing my paperwork on to the next stage was home doing their laundry or getting their oil changed instead. One of the very hardest parts was that, unlike pregnancy, which takes about nine months for everyone, the adoption timeline varies– some people jump through steps in 20 days that take others 120, and you never know whether you’re in the long line or the short line. I both loved and hated getting updates– she was growing up without me. I spent every spare moment on a message board with other adoptive parents, comparing stats and worries, and planning our travels. We all worried that spending that critical first year of her life apart would make it hard for us to be a family.
But when Rose came home, she was undeniably ours.
As the world’s least patient person, I’m not one to advocate for long, drawn out waits. But as I watch her write all over herself with pen while I write this post (she already emptied all of the drawers in my dresser that she can reach), I’m surprised that I’m grateful for this busy one-year-old stage. I can’t help but feel that the pain of waiting for her, and now of waiting for Eli, is part of what bound us together.
Can you relate? Am I crazy? How have trials that involved waiting affected you?