The emotions of waiting are complicated. Despite the joys found at the end of the journey, waiting can be full of anger, confusion and frustration. We hate to wait — for food, in traffic, on decisions or desires.  Waiting to adopt is no different.

That’s why — after completing hundreds of pages of applications and background checks, passing our home study and paying the fees — we loathe the fact that all we can do for the next part of our adoption process is to wait. It’s really the worst when we’re told to wait for something we long for so deeply.

My husband and I waited for over 900 days to hear that we were finally matched with a prospective birth mother to adopt her baby girl. We had actually been matched before that, but this is the one that came to fruition.

We prayed. We prepared. We agonized and imagined while we waited.

But our wait ultimately brought a new daughter in a mighty way to our family.

Hindsight is always so much easier to reveal why something happened. Why did we have to wait this long? Why did we experience a failed adoption? Why would prospective birth mother after birth mother choose someone else?

But I am so grateful that even when these questions and worries filled our minds, we had a peace about God’s plan for our family — and we knew the love and support of those around us would keep us going.

Waiting is difficult. Waiting for an adoption is excruciating. Each day that passes feels like hope is not on your side.

However, what I knew is that I couldn’t stop living just because I was waiting. I trusted the day would come when we would receive that call and rush to the hospital for our baby’s birth. But I also knew that my life could not be at a standstill while we waited. I wasn’t disrespecting my future child by enjoying the time I had before she was born. I was actually ensuring that I would be happier and a better version of myself if I chose to wait in expectant hope rather than daily disappointment.

During the time in between, we not only prepared for our adoption, but we also made the most of family time with our two girls at home. Fundraising was a significant need as we ensured we were financially ready to support an adoption plan. We designed and sold t-shirts, planned rummage sales, hosted a golf scramble, and raffled off items that our friends and family would enjoy.

Our family also took vacations or little trips to keep creating memories. We traveled to the beach, the zoo, museums, new restaurants and more to focus less on the wait and more on the journey.

Waiting is also a time when we prepare our hearts, our home, and our story. My family wanted to wait well. When someone saw us and knew our journey, we wanted them to see peace, anticipation and maybe even learn more about the adoption process along the way. Our desire wasn’t just to add a baby to our family; we also wanted to be available to any other family, to show them they could do it, too.

From the time we announced our plans to adoption until today, we have invited numerous couples and families to sit around our dinner table. We helped answer their questions, sort through their fears, share our own details, and pray for their decision. We find comfort in knowing that our experience has (so far) helped four more babies join new families through foster care or adoption.

In helping other people find their way to adoption, our wait was made all that much sweeter.

My husband and I sat in our oldest daughter’s bed for over 900 nights, each time saying our prayers and having faith for the baby who would join our family. We listened as our daughter would pray with us each night for our baby to be safe and healthy and come home soon. One of my greatest joys as a mom was seeing her prayer answered and knowing our baby girl was worth the wait.

Don’t take the time in waiting to focus on the one thing you don’t have. Use it to foster hope, faith and love for when your family’s anticipation becomes reality.

Jill is a 34-year-old wife and mom. She has been married to her husband, Brannon, for 10 years and has three daughters; her newest addition was added to her family through adoption. Jill and her husband were in the adoption process for over 900 days before being matched with a birth mother. When they received the call that their baby girl was born, she was 1,000 miles away and three months early. Now she is thriving and home with her Mom, Dad, and two very excited and loving big sisters. Jill lives in a small community in Kentucky. She has her bachelor’s degree in psychology and Spanish and obtained her master’s degree in Christian Ministries. Jill’s passions are her faith, her family, writing, playing sports and eating good food.