Friday, August 15, 2014

The Life of a Waiting Mom

In a little over a month, it will be a year since we first saw Emily's face. 
A year-- a full year. 
As in 365 days. 
And I've missed her on each and every one of those. 
I've felt that weight that year. 

That's 365 bedtimes we missed. 
That's 365 days with no hugs. 
That's 365 days with no story time. 
That's 365 with no big sisters. 
That's 365 days with no 'I love you"s. 

That's 365 days we can never get back
And it's 365 days that our little girl lived without a family.

You know how when your kid goes to camp or to Grandma's or to spend the night with a friend? 
And when he or she comes home, you're so ready to see each other because your home just wasn't the same without your whole family under the same roof? 
Well, it's like that except with no come home date in sight. 
It's also filled with fears. 

Congo isn't exactly the safest place on Earth. 
And even if it was, I'd still worry. 

Did she eat today? 
Was her water safe? 
Did she get any nutrition in her diet? 
Did she cry? 
Did she feel well? 
Did anyone love her today? 
Was she hugged and kissed? 
Did anyone tell her that she matters-- that she's smart and pretty and funny? 
Did anyone read to her or sing her the ABC's?
Did someone play with her? 
Did she brush her teeth? 
Did she take a bath?
Did she take a nap?
Was anyone there to tuck her in? 

Emily is two and a half, and these are the things she'd do if she had a family. 
Except that she doesn't, at least not in the daily sense of the word. 

We're here, and we love her. 
We're desperately waiting for her to come home. 
And yet she's spent the past year growing up without us,
 not to mention the year and a half she lived before we saw her face.

And her pictures-- she looks so good and so big.
And while that makes me happy because it means she's being fed and looks healthy, it also makes me sad. These pictures serve as a reminder of all the little moments she's spent as an orphan.

To put it mildly, life as a waiting mom isn't fun. 
I may smile and carry on, 
but don't for one second think that I'm not thinking of my daughter, 
the one I haven't met yet but already love like crazy. 

This year has been hard. 
I've learned a lot and cried a lot and been frustrated a lot. 
Waiting is not my gift, especially when it means that every day we wait is one day longer that my daughter spends without a family. 

And while I feel so alone in this phase of life and amid all the waiting, I'm not alone. 
There are so many other waiting moms out there, watching their littles grow up in pictures and praying that someone takes time to care for them until they can come to their forever homes. 
We spend our days hoping the phone will ring and being terrified that it will ring all at the same time. 
Sometimes no news is good news, especially when a phone call could mean sickness or much, much worse. 

I knew it'd be hard, but I had no idea what this would do to my heart. 
The worst part? 
We still have no idea when she'll come home. 
It could easily be another year. 

Waiting game, round two.
Here we come. 

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