The last few weeks have been such a roller coaster. We had been able to witness the highest, most beautiful moments in the adoption journey thus far — feeling what we thought was our future son kicking, seeing him moving, and relishing in the beauty of what was happening in our hearts and that of Lucy (the birthmother we were matched with). Only days later, we were in the throws of a painful grieving process that we were not expecting to face.
Having Lucy change her mind about us parenting her baby was the moment I had always dreaded would come. It was not an expected outcome, but always a possibility in the back of my mind, having known how uncertain all projected outcomes are in adoption. And yet, we had given ourselves — fully, completely attached our breathless hope to this growing heartbeat. We had loved big, and there was no holding back our hearts towards that little one we were waiting for. Everything in our world was preparing for his arrival. For weeks I had been dreaming up idea after idea of what we could do in his nursery. What should his crib be like, and where would we put up pictures? Where would we hang the present that his birthmother had given us — a small blue cross? How long would he sleep in our room, and what and how would we feed him? The world of babies that I had always longed to be a part of — always looked at from the outside like a kid longing after that shiny red bike in the window — I was finally stepping into.
Until it hit us, and the wind dropped out of our sails fast enough for us to sink.
But we didn’t sink for long. We cried and cried out — we questioned and we mourned, but before we could allow ourselves to sink into pity and despair, our nearest and dearest friends and family were rallying around us. The days strung together at first — a constant stream of tears, heartache and prayer. Oh, how our friends can pray. And intercede, and encourage, and rebuild, and understand, and give hope. They came around us and they held us up when we wanted to crumble. And our sweet family did, too. Our parents grieved our loss with us and yet still pushed us towards Jesus. Our siblings reached out, prayed, and loved. It is always the times of trauma and crisis that we truly see how “a friend loves at all times”. We were overwhelmed with the amount of friends and family that loved us in our brokenness.
Over the last couple of weeks, we have worshipped and thanked God for His goodness to us. We do not understand it, and we cannot see the end, but we know that He is greater than our current troubles. We know that He is faithful, and that His promises to us are true. We related to Job, when he asked, “Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?” (Job 2:10). We decided to remind ourselves of who He is and who He has created us to be. We chose to believe and speak out truth over our hearts — the truth that He has not changed, even though our circumstances have, the truth that He accomplished exactly what He set out to accomplish in that relationship with Lucy and that baby boy, and the truth that He has not forgotten us.
That brings us to last Saturday. Just 3 days ago, Arundel and I were at my parents house celebrating Thanksgiving with them, since we won’t be able to next Thursday. It was a happy day, cooking and enjoying our first holiday in their new home together. Mom and I buzzed around the kitchen, popping in and out of conversation, interjecting with questions of recipes and timers while current events and technology were what interested our husbands. We sat down at the table with Mom and Dad and some close friends, and we spoke of thankfulness, of gratefulness, and of a heart of gratitude in the midst of trial. We talked about being thankful for what God has brought us through up to this point, and how thankfulness releases hope in our hearts. As we smiled and ate and talked, we had no idea that somewhere 40 miles down the road, there was a little boy being born that very hour.
Arundel received a phone call from one of his students — they were checking in with him because they had heard of a baby who was just born an hour ago and the birth parents were looking for an adoptive family for him. A little boy was sitting in a hospital, waiting for his parents to realize he needed them. We were shocked to get such a phone call. You see, all along, we knew that this could happen. We knew that sometimes adoptions last for months on end of waiting, and sometimes they are sprung on you last minute. This was one of those last-minute scenarios. We were given the name of an attorney to call. We got in the car and headed towards church, where our service was about to start in an hour and a half. We spoke on the phone to the attorney and let her know that we were interested in being considered as a potential adoptive family for this baby boy. She was thrilled to hear from us, and she took down our information in a hurry. She was just about to leave to drive to the hospital where the baby was to meet the birth parents and start to make a plan. We were now a part of that meeting. She let us know that she would show our pictures and a little bit about ourselves to the birth parents, along with one other family, and they would be able to choose where the little boy was placed.
Our hearts were on a loop-the-loop once again. We immediately started buzzing, dreaming, thinking and praying for this little boy. For all we knew when we woke up this morning, it was just another day. And by the time we went to bed, we could have our son in our arms. Do you know how surreal that feels?! It was insane. We were both serving at church that night, myself running powerpoint and Arundel leading the service. We both had one thing on our minds, though, and it was that little baby waiting in that hospital room.
We hadn’t yet heard from the attorney by the time church was over, so we sent her a quick text asking for an update. She let us know that she figured it was a good idea if we headed down south to where the hospital was located — she wanted us to be close by if the birth parents chose us. We left church and immediately headed to the hospital, still in disbelief as to what was happening.
Sitting outside the maternity ward, we did the only thing we knew would keep our hearts from panicking. We prayed. Not because we thought it was the ‘right thing’, or because we were asking for God to make sure it all worked out for us — but because we have learned over the years of uncertainty and emotional toll that when we don’t know what to say, God still understands us. So we prayed for that baby in the hospital, and we prayed for our future child – not knowing if they would be one in the same. Eventually, after about an hour and a half of sitting there, we got a call. Arundel answered without haste to a hesitant voice on the end of the line.
The birth parents had decided to go with the other family.
And just like that, the hopes and dreams and desires for our children in us sunk back down to the pit of our stomachs. Even though we had only known of this baby for a few hours, nothing can hit you harder than hearing another door shut on your dreams. We gathered ourselves together and met with the attorney in person for a few minutes. She was very sweet and wanted to meet us in person to get more information from us in case she came across another adoption case that might suit our family.
We got back in our car and grabbed a bite to eat before heading back home, texting our family who had been praying for us for the last few hours.
It seemed so crazy to think that in that instant, our lives could have changed. And yet, that has become our normal. There have been so many instances — so many pregnancy tests and so many meetings, so many “almosts” when our lives could have been changed by God adding a child to our family.
But He hasn’t yet. He is still asking us to wait. Still urging us towards His gifts — the ones that are worth the struggle. He is still walking with us, and He has not forgotten. He has not overlooked us. He has not failed us. He is still good, still worthy, and still faithful. He has not changed. He continues to beckon us to His heart that is overflowing with love and comfort for our weary, tired souls. He continues to lavish His grace when we don’t understand, and His forgiveness when we don’t go His way. He will not leave us in this place. He will not deprive us of His blessings. He also will not let us settle for second best.
So, we continue to trust, and we continue to wait. And we continue to ask Him to reveal His plan to us.