I remember first considering adoption at the age of four, and being sure even then that I'd be an adoptive mom someday. That never changed.
It hasn't been easy. Adoption rarely is.
When we began this process 4 years ago, we realized it wasn't yet time, so we put our plans to adopt on hold, not knowing if the time would ever come.
That time did come last summer when we learned of a little girl in our community who was available for adoption. "M" was our daughter's best friend's little sister. We were familiar with her, she'd been to our house a handful of times, and we loved her very, very much. We were hopeful that we would be a great match for her, so we re-opened our file and threw ourselves into the process in hopes of having a chance to be matched.
While it can normally take a year or two to get a spot in the mandatory adoption classes since they only hold it once or twice a year and it's normally at max capacity, we were blessed to have grabbed a spot at the last minute. While we waited for the course to begin, we worked hard to complete all the necessary paperwork. We knew it was normally not required until after the course, but time was of the essence, we were fighting against time for this little girl.
We began the course in November.
Finished the course in December.
All our paperwork was finished in early January.
By the end of January, our file was declared "officially complete".
By the first week of February, we were on a waiting list for adoption case workers.
Although we've heard that the average time to be assigned a case worker was 8-9 months followed by another 2-3 months for appointments to begin for the home study, once again, things were in our favor.
In spite of a case worker shortage, we were assigned a case worker on March 14th. She contacted us on March 29th and two days later, she was in our living-room beginning our first home study interview.
Although we rejoiced in having gone through much of the process so quickly, the joy was bittersweet -- it was already too late for "M". We had learned earlier that week that "M" had been matched to another family before we had a chance to be considered, even though they knew that we were really hoping to adopt her.
We always knew there was a possibility that would happen, but it was still very difficult to hear. There were some raw emotions that week as we processed the news. While it hit me hard at first, I quickly began to focus on the positives.
All along, we had prayed for a family for "M". Yes, our hearts very much desired for our family to be hers, but in the end, our prayers were answered -- "M" had been blessed with a family.
I only had to consider was how "M"'s new parents felt at the news they'd be bringing her home, how blessed they were, and I couldn't help but celebrate alongside of them. We could understand how long and how hard the waiting period can be, and they had been well rewarded. In His time, our turn would come as well.
We believe that we would have been a great match for "M", and we love her so much... but as a mother with an intense mother's love for this child, I couldn't help but question the love I had for this child if I was so "easily" able to let her go. Don't get me wrong, my heart hurts, but my heart also rejoices, and the joy far outweighs the hurt. How is that possible?
Then, I remembered something I had read long ago...
There once were two women who both claimed one baby to be theirs. King Solomon, after praying for wisdom, told the women he had a solution: He would cut the baby in half, and they could each have half the child.
One woman accepted. The other woman immediately refused, relinquishing all rights to the child.
The act of giving up her child even in the face of difficult circumstances was evidence of the love she had for that child.
And so it is with "M".
Further evidence of love -- God gave up His only Son for us. His sacrifice in no way meant that He loved Jesus any less or that this didn't grieve Him. He can't love any less, He IS love, and we are to reflect His love in our lives.
We have since met with our case worker twice, and we're meeting with her again this week. Within the next week or two, these meetings will be over, and we will await the news that a child has been matched to our family.
Even though I realize that this can take years, I can't help but be filled with hope that not only will it not take years, but better yet, it will be a match beyond what we could possibly have asked for or imagined. That's simply how God works, after all! If our family seemed to be such a wonderful match for "M" but another family was matched to her, I can't even begin to imagine what God has in store for us.
"God sets the lonely in families, he leads forth the prisoners with singing; but the rebellious live in a sun-scorched land." Psalm 68:6
"God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, His Spirit deeply and gently within us. " Eph 3:30, The Message