While I have written much of our adoption story on this blog, I haven't ever shared this part. When we tell our story in person, this is the part where I always start to cry. This is the part when our lives changed forever. This is the part I still question to this day when I feel crushed under the weight of loving our children.
It was July, 2011. We had been parents for three months, and it had wrecked us. We laid beside each other in bed with the air conditioner blasting away the summer heat and the night getting later and later, closer to the dreaded hour of 2 a.m. when I would once again be up for hours with a child who would. not. sleep.
This wasn't the first time we'd had this conversation. Should we give up and return the kids to foster care?
Always the answer had been no, not yet. We should keep going. Everyone says it's just an adjustment and then everything will be fine.
But everything wasn't fine. Nothing was fine.
What we didn't know then was that "fine" was a fairy tale. The words "trauma" and "attachment disorder" hadn't yet entered our lives. We felt like failures, but we didn't realize that we had been dropped into the midst of a life-long battle we didn't even know existed. We just felt like unprepared, naive, crappy parents.
We knew the implications. If we disrupted this adoptive placement, we would be an unfavorable choice for future placements. Can I just tell you what a horrible situation that was? With infertility still a painful reality and our adoption slipping away, a couple who desperately wanted children was not-so-subtly told that we had two choices: suck it up, or kiss parenthood goodbye.
We chose the latter, driven by exhaustion and confusion and utter bewilderment at the challenges we were facing.
I made the call the next morning to our caseworker, telling her that we needed to see her ASAP to talk about disrupting the placement. She quickly hurried us to her office and put us on the phone with a state adoption specialist.
More promises that everything would be fine, if we would just hang on a little longer.
We knew with growing certainty that this simply wasn't true. We went home to "think about it", but really we were just steeling ourselves to let these kids go and slip quietly away into the world of failed foster parents.
We got home and tried to go about our day. Yeah, right. I couldn't hold our newly-walking baby without erupting into tears, wondering when she would ever have a place to call home.
And then God got loud.
Remember the gospel.
Remember the gospel.
Over and over and over these words were screamed into my heart. I wrestled through them, praying not to miss what He was telling us, but also please dear Jesus don't ask us to keep walking this road.
It became clear, though. We were to look at these children and remember the gospel. Remember what it cost Christ to pay for our sin. Remember what it cost God to pour His wrath upon His Son. Remember that in Christ, all things work for the good of those who love Him. Remember that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Remember that He never leaves us nor forsakes us.
We were to adopt these children.
What I knew then, what made obedience so very difficult, was that in this remembering of the gospel, we were committing to having our lives shattered. I knew deep within that we were committing to a breathtakingly difficult road, of which I didn't even know a fraction of what was coming.
But what else was there? Our lives had been bought by Christ, and we trust Him with all that we are.
I write this so that you know how very close we came to walking away from our children. I want you to know how powerfully our enemy fights against adoption. I want to give a voice to the immense difficulties of adoption that are often hidden from view. I want everyone who reads our story to know Christ as the author and perfecter or our faith. We walk by faith and not by sight, as what we can see is a hot mess of crazy.
I knew, I knew, that saying "yes" to the gospel, to these children, would not bring a swift reward of comfort and ease. Six years in, I'm writing this post in the midst of a situation with our oldest child that the word difficult doesn't even begin to describe. As I got the call from the caseworker yesterday, as I sobbed during our small group, as I sat on the porch with my family and asked "what now?", as I asked our people to pray, as I spent the afternoon pursuing a door God miraculously opened...in all this, I was called to remember the gospel. To remember our good, good father. To remember His love that reaches as far as the heavens are above the earth.
May we remember this good news each and every day of our lives.