I keep the door to her bedroom closed.
My husband or son will open it once in a while, draw back the curtains, trying to let the light in. But there’s something that seems right and seems true for me about having it shrouded in blackness; tucked away, out of sight. Not forgotten, necessarily–but almost. It’s how my heart feels these days. Hidden. Dark. Cold.
She was supposed to be here by now. But instead, the bed remains neatly made, never having been slept in. Her books remain unread. My still-packed suitcase sits on the floor, waiting to go on a trip it feels like I’m never going to be able to take. So, I keep the door closed so I don’t have to remember how much my heart hurts, how I cried myself to sleep last night (again), how the days keep passing and she’s missing holidays, milestones, memories, and I’ve only talked to her once in the three weeks since I’ve seen her. How I’m the mother to two children, but only one lives in my home.
That’s why I keep the door closed.
I know not everyone can possibly understand how we’re feeling; how could they, after all? Most days I can hardly manage to get the words out, to talk about it, to try and describe it. It’s not a loss, necessarily–but then again, how else do I explain my empty hands? The feeling we drew the short stick somehow, that we’ve been overlooked, forgotten?
Perhaps it is a loss. A loss of expectancy, how we thought all this was going to go. I told Kyle this morning that I haven’t run out of hope, but I have run out of that eager expectation I felt seven weeks ago when he boarded the plane, or five weeks ago when I did the same. I’m tired of hearing that God’s time is best, even if I do believe it; the words feel hollow, much like my heart these days. I pray and I cry and I ask God what could possibly be the purpose in all of this, because it feels like it’s only some kind of cruel joke meant to make us suffer. But on the other hand, that’s not the God I believe in, so how can both those things be true? How can the God of goodness that I know and love give me a taste of what it feels like to be with my daughter, and then allow it to be taken away?
These are the questions that don’t have answers, that only hurt me more when I ask them. And that’s why I keep the door closed.
I read mostly the gospels these days, and over and over again, I’m reminded that Jesus enters the mess. A woman caught in adultery, a blind man beside the road, a lame man lying by a pool; Jesus doesn’t stand on the sidelines, a detached onlooker as the story unfolds. No, he enters the story. He changes the story; I know this to be true. And my faith, though it be only a small seed at the moment, reminds me that he is good, always good, in all of his ways.
But truthfully? As I sit amongst the rubble of our shattered expectations and broken dreams, in our fear and worry and the pain of our separation, I struggle to see any goodness in this story. If it’s here, it’s hidden, much like our daughter’s bedroom. And so that is why I keep the door closed.
There is no neat or easy way to wrap this up, and that seems to be an entirely accurate portrayal of our adoption story thus far. It’s never been easy; it’s felt like a fight, every step of the way. “If you’re going through hell, keep going,” they say. All of the love and prayers and cards and kind words we’ve received from you have buoyed us, and words cannot convey how thankful we are for how you love our family so well. Truthfully, we could not do this without you.
So we limp on, step by painful step, until she’s finally, finally home, and all the doors will be open, and we’ll be flooded with the Light once again.