My favorite definition of patience is simple: quiet, steady perseverance. It is a quality I admire and aspire to, but sadly one that doesn’t come natural to me. I’m lucky to be married to someone with seemingly never-ending patience, yet our adoption journey even challenged his quiet, steady perseverance.
As someone who made the decision to adopt before even graduating high school, I had years to think about my future family. That initial decision to form my family through adoption and later marrying a man with those same desires was the foundation we needed to carry us through. When we honeymooned in Southern Africa, we instantly felt connected in a way that neither of us could understand. We felt such peace knowing that God was guiding us there and exposing us to the needs of so many. I cried on the plane when we flew home, and my husband reassured me with 3 simple words: “We’ll go back.”
We attended our first adoption information meeting just as a new adoption program from South Africa was starting. We felt God opening doors for us at just the right time, and we quickly applied. As the program developed it became apparent that there wasn’t the need they expected for international adoption, which was wonderful news as it meant those vulnerable children would remain in their country and grow up among their culture. Still, it was a bit of a shock for us as we felt like God had specifically led us there.
A few months later Small World started a program for international adoptions from Lesotho. We were perhaps a little more cautious but still jumped in with both feet. In hindsight, we were still completely naïve. As that program developed, it became apparent that the process would take much longer than originally expected.
We waited patiently at first. We trusted God’s timing. We built a house with rooms for our future children, researched about Lesotho and learned some Sesotho, educated ourselves about adoption, and made a firm foundation for our future family.
As the years went by, we weren’t so patient. We wondered if we had misunderstood God’s desire for us. As teachers, we both have a heart for vulnerable children, but was that the end? Had God only meant for us to mentor kids at school? Was adoption something beyond our reach?
Even through our doubts, we knew God had put adoption in our hearts, so we trusted him to guide us. We prayed for patience. We prayed to trust in God’s timing and plan for us. We waited, and when we started to worry, we prayed for patience again.
Then, after six years of (im)patiently waiting, we were matched with our daughter. We both stared in shock when we read her name for the first time: Patience. After so long of asking God to give us patience, He delivered.
Now when people hear our daughter’s name, they joke about her being patient or us needing patience to parent her. But to us her name will always be a beautiful reminder of God’s perfect timing and unquestionable sense of humor. And when she asks us about adopting another child from Lesotho, our response is simple: “Be patient. We’ll go back.”