When our caseworker pulled up to the hospital, she told us the hospital had been giving our birth mother a hard time about meeting us and even about speaking with the caseworker. I'm not sure if I mentioned this before, but our birth mother (age 20) has two other children (ages 3 and 1) who have been in DFCS custody for the past year. Our birth mother had been pursuing private adoption through an attorney for a few months prior to beginning services with Bethany. We had been told she was choosing adoption because, if she did not find an adoptive family, this baby would enter the foster care system. What we didn't know on our four and a half hour drive was that DFCS had been calling her, pressuring her to leave the baby in foster care, and had somehow given her the idea that she may be able to regain custody of all three of her children if she did not choose adoption. DFCS was also under the impression that our agency was trying to coerce the birth mother to choose adoption when, in fact, the birth mother sought out Bethany. My stomach sank after hearing all of this. We waited in our car for approximately thirty minutes while our caseworker talked with the hospital administrator. Finally, we were able to go in and meet the birth parents....
Our birth mother and birth father (who are not in relationship...he clearly identified them as "just friends") had been living with the birth father's sister and brother-in-law (who are a sweet Christian couple). All of the above mentioned were in the room...and introductions began. Warren and I told stories about how we met and a little about our lives now. The birth parents shared their background and verbalized why they were pursuing adoption. In the midst of these conversations, it became very clear that the birth mother had spent her whole life searching for love and acceptance. She did not have contact with any of her family. The "family" unit the birth father's sister offered her (by inviting her to live with them) was likely the first experience she had of unconditional love. It was also apparent that she was dependent on others to make decisions for her. She seemed to lack the emotional maturity of a "typical" 20 year old (I don't say that to degrade her, but rather to give you a clear picture of what we saw). When we left the room (almost two hours later) we did not have a peace one way or the other. It was obvious the birth father, his sister, and his brother-in-law were supportive of adoption (both he and his sister had been adopted at a young age), but we could not get a read on the birth mother. After speaking with our caseworker later that night it became clear we would not be bringing a baby home in the next few days. Even if the birth mother decided to choose adoption, we felt confident (based upon our observations of the birth mother) that we would place the baby in interim care until our ten day waiting period was over. The caseworker told us that the birth mother wanted the birth father's sister to sign as the baby's temporary guardian so the baby could go home with the family. She stated she wanted one week to "think about it."At that point, in our minds, it was over...and on our drive home we began the process of grieving.
The wound of our infertility (which had almost been healed) was re-opened. While out in public Friday, all I could see were children and pregnant women...all reminders of what we did not yet have. And the question I had wrestled with for the first two years of our infertility re-surfaced..."Why is it so hard for us to grow our family?" ...more questions followed...Why did this birth mother have to choose us? Why could she not have delivered full-term which would have given us an opportunity to meet and build a relationship with her? Why were we so naive to the role DFCS would play? Why? Why? Why?
I was given solace in some of my questions to God...Maybe she chose us because God knew we would rely on His strength to make it through. I mean, if it were not us, it would have been another couple...and I would not wish this pain on anyone! Maybe it was a blessing she delivered early--we only had six days to begin a heart connection with this child. Think of how painful it would have been if these events happened after our hearts had been involved five weeks?! I was also reminded that nothing can alter God's plans for us...DFCS is not too big for Him...if it was meant for this child to be in our home right now He would have overcome every barrier to make it happen.
So many sweet family members and friends have poured love, prayers, and encouragement into us over the past few days. We don't understand why this happened, but we trust. We did not want to suffer an adoption loss, but we knew it was a risk when we began this journey. One of my best friends told me yesterday, "There is a risk involved in anything worth having"...how true this is! We did not want to suffer any more pain in attempting to grow our family...but, as my husband so wisely verbalized this weekend, "Without pain and difficulty our faith and trust would be shallow." I know God does not want us to suffer---suffering is the result of a fallen world. I know God's heart breaks to see ours torn apart. However, I also know he uses pain and suffering to draw us closer to Him. Psalm 18 has ministered to me the past couple of days. The words/sentences that have filled me with peace are in bold:
1 I love you, LORD, my strength.
2 The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
3 I called to the LORD, who is worthy of praise,
and I have been saved from my enemies.
4 The cords of death entangled me;
the torrents of destruction overwhelmed me.
5 The cords of the grave coiled around me;
the snares of death confronted me.
6 In my distress I called to the LORD;
I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice;
my cry came before him, into his ears.
7 The earth trembled and quaked,
and the foundations of the mountains shook;
they trembled because he was angry.
8 Smoke rose from his nostrils;consuming fire came from his mouth,
burning coals blazed out of it.
9 He parted the heavens and came down;
dark clouds were under his feet.
10 He mounted the cherubim and flew;
he soared on the wings of the wind.
11 He made darkness his covering, his canopy around him—
the dark rain clouds of the sky.
12 Out of the brightness of his presence clouds advanced,
with hailstones and bolts of lightning.
13 The LORD thundered from heaven;
the voice of the Most High resounded.
14 He shot his arrows and scattered the enemy,
with great bolts of lightning he routed them.
15 The valleys of the sea were exposed
and the foundations of the earth laid bare
at your rebuke, LORD,
at the blast of breath from your nostrils.
16 He reached down from on high and took hold of me;
he drew me out of deep waters.
17 He rescued me from my powerful enemy,
from my foes, who were too strong for me.
18 They confronted me in the day of my disaster,
but the LORD was my support.
19 He brought me out into a spacious place;
he rescued me because he delighted in me.
20 The LORD has dealt with me according to my righteousness;
according to the cleanness of my hands he has rewarded me.
21 For I have kept the ways of the LORD;
I am not guilty of turning from my God.
22 All his laws are before me;
I have not turned away from his decrees.
23 I have been blameless before him
and have kept myself from sin.
24 The LORD has rewarded me according to my righteousness,
according to the cleanness of my hands in his sight.
25 To the faithful you show yourself faithful,
to the blameless you show yourself blameless,
26 to the pure you show yourself pure,
but to the devious you show yourself shrewd.
27 You save the humblebut bring low those whose eyes are haughty.
28 You, LORD, keep my lamp burning;
my God turns my darkness into light.
29 With your help I can advance against a troop;
with my God I can scale a wall.
30 As for God, his way is perfect:
The LORD’s word is flawless;
he shields all who take refuge in him.
31 For who is God besides the LORD?
And who is the Rock except our God?
32 It is God who arms me with strength
and keeps my way secure.
33 He makes my feet like the feet of a deer;
he causes me to stand on the heights.
34 He trains my hands for battle;
my arms can bend a bow of bronze.
35 You make your saving help my shield,
and your right hand sustains me;
your help has made me great.
36 You provide a broad path for my feet,
so that my ankles do not give way.
37 I pursued my enemies and overtook them;
I did not turn back till they were destroyed.
38 I crushed them so that they could not rise;
they fell beneath my feet.
39 You armed me with strength for battle;
you humbled my adversaries before me.
40 You made my enemies turn their backs in flight,
and I destroyed my foes.
41 They cried for help, but there was no one to save them—
to the LORD, but he did not answer.
42 I beat them as fine as windblown dust;
I trampled them like mud in the streets.
43 You have delivered me from the attacks of the people;
you have made me the head of nations.
People I did not know now serve me,
44 foreigners cower before me;
as soon as they hear of me, they obey me.
45 They all lose heart;
they come trembling from their strongholds.
46 The LORD lives! Praise be to my Rock!
Exalted be God my Savior!
47 He is the God who avenges me,
who subdues nations under me,
48 who saves me from my enemies.
You exalted me above my foes;
from a violent man you rescued me.
49 Therefore I will praise you, LORD, among the nations;
I will sing the praises of your name.
50 He gives his king great victories;
he shows unfailing love to his anointed,
to David and to his descendants forever.
It is our prayer that God would continue to be our strength and peace in the days ahead as we journey through this pain...as we continue to grieve and heal over the events of the past week. We still trust adoption is His call on our lives...And, though we do not see it, we know He has a plan for our family....and in that truth, we rest.