My phone rang as I held open the door to the pediatrician’s office for my two little girls. Annual check up’s and flu shots were on the docket. The girls sat down in the waiting room while I stood in a corner in complete disbelief. After learning that our birth mom had disappeared and after a few days of finally settling into the idea that it was over- we suddenly found the miracle we had waited for ! A little baby girl was already born and signing would take place the next day in a town about eight hours away. The agency owner hopped on a plane while Phil and I rushed home to pack. We put children, puppies, dogs and chickens to bed- entrusted the kiddos to a sitter and off we went. . .continuing on the adventure of a lifetime.
Were we crazy? What if we got all the way down there only to lose another baby. But the agency owner’s information proved to be a 100% sure thing. It was real. . .we were bringing home our baby.
An hour into the drive, we stopped to grab some BBQ. At first we were planning to simply drive through to gain momentum on the road. . .but then Phil made a sobering remark. “This is the last time we’ll be going out alone for a long time.” We took about 20 minutes to stop and really soak in the moment.
In reality, we started our journey three years ago with the God-given revelation that we wanted to add to our family through adoption. As of those two half eaten plates of sliced chicken and brisket, we had already endured three failed matches. Of the three, two of those, we held. We held those precious babies and fell in love, only to leave the hospitals and never see them again. One boy and one girl.
The pain and suffering we’ve endured over the years since saying yes to adoption. . .the hard work with little rest to save up the funds and get our home ready for a little one. . .and the spiritual and physical warfare on our family and friends had been unmeasurably great.
But for some reason, God paved the way and gave our hearts the peace to continue down this road- no matter what. And here we were. . .about 500 miles away from what we thought was the end of this incredible journey.
“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
– Jeremiah 29:11
God knows our plans and He allows our scheduling and planning and calculating and re-calculating; but ultimately, He is in control. And for many of us “planners,” this is a hard lesson to learn. When walking through life with God, He moves and allows so that we may travel light with open hands.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
Our jobs, our finances, our marriages, and yes, our children are His. I wish I was one to just travel with a life of open hands as to avoid my Lord constantly prying them open. But as many of you have noticed. . .I’m a slow learner. I know where I want “my” life to go. I just struggle when the Lord leans over and whispers, ” I know that’s where you wanted to go. . .but here is where we’re gonna go. . .together.”
Trying to make it to a little town near the Texas/Mexico border, we slowed down on our intake of fluids so we wouldn’t have to stop so much. But approaching just 27 miles to destination. . .We were both barely holding on. Passing by a rest stop, Phil asked. . .going 75 mph. . .”would you like to stop?” (And here it is. . .the biggest regret EVER) “NO! it’s just 27 miles. . .let’s go for it!”
Go for it? What was I thinking? We’re 42 years old. Our bladders are well beyond “go for it” behavior. But it was so late, and we knew we just wanted to get there. So, the rest stop came and went and well. . .we didn’t. We decided to “Thelma and Louise” it.
Seventy-five miles per hour suddenly came to a screeching halt when out of no where in the middle of the night, red lights began lighting up in front of us.
To make a long story even longer. . .we managed to come across a little “conflict” between the police, state troopers, border patrol and two fine young gentlemen.
No, I was just kidding. . .I’ll shorten this part for you. . .
So, just at the time I was crawling over the back seat to retrieve our two “Dickies BBQ” cups to assist in my “let’s go for it” dilemma. . .the three rows of trucks in front of us released their air breaks and the bright reds began to let up. Praise the Lord. . .we were moving again!!!
Now, since every patrol car was behind us. . .we may or may not have exceeded the speed recommendation for the remaining 20 miles. Yes, I say 20 miles, because just 7 miles into our escape, we saw a gas station. But hey, we already sat through 2 hrs of standoff with full bladders. . .what’s just another 20 miles? Right?
Yeah, if you’re shaking your head, I’m right along with you. But when you’ve lost feeling to your lower extremities and just praised God you survived a standoff. . .you pretty much admit you’ve lost all ability to reason.
Nearly convulsing, the GPS finally led us to our hotel. . .”turn right onto South ‘P’ street.” We wanted to laugh. We kind of did. . .I mean, the corners of our lips turned upward. But an actual laugh at this time would have surely been fatal.
We made it! Yes, we made it! And we were exhausted as we fell into the bed at 5:30am. We just had to hold on until 9 am to go to the hospital and sign for our daughter. We were suppose to be back on the roads by noon. What a miracle!
. . .who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.
– 2 Corinthians 1:4
9am, 9:30am, 10am. . .10:23am. . .
Finally, a phone call from the agency. “So, um, here’s the problem. . .” Phil came around the corner and I just shook my head while trying to take in everything coming my way. We had just finished crying out to God on our knees to please allow this little girl to come home to us. The missed 9am deadline sparked our awareness that something was wrong. We asked God to move quickly as we were literally losing patience. And then the call. The birth mother was wavering and feeling pressured to sign. Something you don’t want to happen since being pressured can be means to over turn an adoption in the future. Our birth mother was in custody and gave birth to an audience of Federal Marshals. Not our place to judge. Just our child to adopt and rescue. With the birth mother soon to be discharged back into prison, she had to make a choice. Allow us to adopt her baby or let Child Protective Services take custody and place the baby into a group home about 1 hour away since there weren’t any foster homes in the area. Basically, an American Orphanage.
CPS was in talking with the birth mother so we hung up the phone to wait. Only three minutes had passed when the call came. “It’s over, CPS has taken the baby. . .the birth mother is hoping to gain custody once released from prison.”
We began to pack and quickly. We didn’t even cry at this point. Just silence.
The drive home was unbelievable. Especially since there was a search stop to make sure we weren’t smuggling anything into the USA- and we had to explain the empty car seat.
But the drug sniffing dogs smiled and let us pass and we started the long journey back. . .once again. . .with that !@&* empty car seat. Yes, the anger phase. I do believe we experienced all stages of grief approximately every 10 minutes.
We stopped to gas up and began to sob. . .then we began to experience Tourette syndrome moments where we’d just suddenly burst into profane song and then back to pure silence again.
There was a time when we both decided we just had to turn off the Christian music station. It had become irritating. No, we were not running from God. . .but in that moment of grief, we had lost our footing and just couldn’t stand up or even look up to see God’s sweet, sweet grace and love for us. We were hurt.
“In him we live and move and have our being; as even some of your own poets have said, “For we are indeed his offspring.””
We face-timed the kids and with every bit of the power of God inside us, we smiled and told them very causally that the baby just wasn’t going to work out and we would be home with pizza very soon. Even though we were sure this was a sure thing, before we left the kids, we explained that this may not work, so we were gonna just check it out an then be home the next day. Thankfully- their little hearts were protected and a nice family/pizza night at home with mom and dad holding them and smiling made all the difference. We had agreed to keep the emotions to our bedroom or alone in the car.
Backing up a few hundred exits. . .in the midst of our anger, sorrow and deep, deep hurt came a prayer. A moment of thankfulness offered by our friend in the Bible, Job. Job talks about while losing everything. . .his children, wife, money and health. . .he learned to cope by dropping to his knees and offering thanks and gratitude to God. “The Lord giveth and the Lord Taketh away, blessed be the name of the Lord.”
During those final hours of travel, we had absolutely no idea how to carry on with our daily lives. We were clearly heading into a sorrowful depression and the very thought of even trying for another child was completely out of the question. We had actually quit this time. We couldn’t drag our children through this, and we ourselves were struggling to make sense of our “foolish” actions.
Did God indeed want us to adopt? If so, why in the world would he allow this to happen. And in such a horrible way? How would we get up the next day and the day after that and say yes to another child only for it to be ripped away.
The answer came to us during the final forty-five minutes before pizza. Because God did not give up on pursuing us as His children – THAT is why we would NOT give up. THAT is why we would grieve, and with thankfulness, stand back up and strap on our armor once again in this battle of fathering the fatherless and FIGHT for not just “our” child, but “His” child. This is HIS child that He created. He thought up this child’s personality, soul, looks, and just who would deliver and raise this child. Every child is created with a purpose by God. Every single one is special and loved beyond measure. And every single being is pursued by a passionate God who loves so much, that in order to save. . .he sent His son to rescue so we could be adopted.
“The Gospels record how Jesus himself spent the night before his crucifixion in unspeakable agony, allowing the anguish of his soul to spill to the ground through his tears and blood. He pleaded with his Father, “”If it is possible, may this cup be taken from me.”” (Matt. 26:39)- Clayton King, Stronger
What if Christ had given up in the Garden of Gethsemane. He asked for a way out, but asked for God’s will to be done. His love for his children was so great, nothing could stop his sacrifices. I am so thankful for this sacrifice. For without it, there is no reason to live. . .and no reason to die.
And there you have the heart of the adoptive parent. Adoption is hard. Our adoption in Christ was hard. It was costly. Adopting a child is the mirror image of God’s love for us and how He calls us “His own.” We hold His hand while walking this journey and because we are not alone. . .because He goes before us, we can trust in His care and guidance to ultimately arrive home. This is His story. We are just a chapter.
Our love for this child is great. It knows no boundaries. It is the same love we have for our other children both here and in Heaven. We thank those who pray with and for us, who grieve our grief and who share our love for the Orphan. Please continue to pray: Please pray for the babies that have not come home with us. Pray the Lord grabs their hearts and protects them every single day of their lives. Please continue to pray for our adoption journey. Please pray for the birth parents of our children. Pray God’s peace and comfort. We know the Lord has our child or children and in His perfect timing. . .we will find them.