The In-Between Time
I feel like I have been sitting here for quite some time now. That in-between space. Honestly, my heart grows weary just thinking about it. Three years ago, we had just move to Africa. Three years ago we were in the in-between of our single married life and our first adoption. Not knowing when we would become parents. That in-between ended and we became parents to our little Evie. Then again to our little guy Aven. We sheltered down and fell into the in-between of being “done.” That holy space that every adoptive family goes through. The unknown of the end of the process. The long days that never seem to end. The end of our process came down in what felt like a crash. It was heavy, hard, beautiful and downright ugly at times. Our in-between of being in Africa ended and we were “done.” At least I thought we were.
Little did I know, we were no where near that “done”. Rather, we were just entering another in-between. We came home, but my heart was torn knowing that our in-between of adoption and life was just beginning again. We started Jensen’s adoption. It was redemption for my heart. We waited and waited in that seemingly never ending in-between. While waiting, we met Brian. The in-between with his life started. Our Jensen in-between and our Brian in-between ended and began at the same time. Brian moved in and I left for Africa to complete Jensen’s adoption. After a couple of months, it all came together and Jensen and I would board a plane together seemingly ending our in-between times that never seemed to end over the last three years. Unknown to me, we would be right back in our in-between again. Here we are with E, right in the midst of our in-between.
Someone asked me this question the other day “what has been the hardest thing about adoption?” Initially, I wanted to talk about all the bureaucracies and madness that is in the little details. But honestly, my heart knew that wasn’t my “hardest thing”. If I am going to be honest, my hardest thing is selfish. My hardest thing is about me and my heart. I told her “the hardest thing about adoption has been that most people think that we planned it all out this way – to adopt 5 children – when in reality this was no where near what we planned.” It sounded selfish rolling off my tongue. It still does as I type it here. But, it’s truth. The grandness of our children’s lives are not lost on me. The fact that God saw me worthy to step in as their mother is not lost on me. I am thankful each day that God changed our “plans” and led us down the road we are on now. But, that isn’t to say that it isn’t hard. That it is all rainbows and unicorns. It’s raw and ridiculously hard at times. Adoption is our children’s hardest ‘end’. It’s the saying farewell to all that is familiar and walking into their own in-between. The one where they work hard to heal, love and grow. The one where we hold them as they cry, as they struggle and fight. The in-between where we give our all to get them to where they need to be.
I think that has been hard on my heart lately, as I sit in our next in-between with E. Honestly, when I look back, this isn’t how I pictured it. I wouldn’t change it and I am incredibly thankful for where we are. But, these in-betweens are trying.
Right now, I have a little two year old playing with the loudest, squeakiest dog toy in the world. I have an eight year old arguing with me about the color of different fruits (bless summer homework). I have an eleven year old who wants to cuddle (our house is currently 86 degrees….Lord help me). I have a seventeen year old doing two-a-days for football (tired teenager zombies are real). Then, I have a little six and a half year old. I don’t know what he is doing. I don’t know if he has someone to put him to sleep at night. I don’t know if he is hungry, lonely, or scared. The in-between is hard.
But, when you have a glimpse of what it is like after that in-between– that’s what makes it all worth it. I have a little two year old who whispers “best friends forever” every night before she falls asleep. I have an eight year old who wrote me a love letter and gives me hugs just because. I have an eleven year old who loves to help and bless me by doing some of the chores I don’t like to do *cough* dishes *cough*}. I have a seventeen year old who when we were in the midst of deciding on moving forward with adopting E stopped me and said “I know that if anyone can do it– it’s you guys– you can do this”. Then, I have a six and a half year old who has the most beautiful eyes and his smile– it’s the sweetest grin you will ever see. I have a six and a half year old who can WALK and TALK (that right there is a miracle).
So yeah, my heart is tired in this in-between again. No, I didn’t expect to this road to look quite like it has but, thank you Lord for seeing me fit to stand in the in-betweens.
The story of the Ohlinger family continues, with Ezekiel’s adoption moving forward, step by step. Learn more about their incredible journey here