I’ve always followed every dream I had. Mission trips, college degree, lots of traveling, ministry school, home ownership, multiple career choices. So when I worked towards the goal of becoming a foster parent, my mindset was always “I’m able to give children a temporary safe, loving environment so that’s what I’ll do.” I always thought adoption would present itself once I was married and intentionally wanted to start a family with my husband. (People do ask me if I can have my own kids or if that’s why I adopted. But once again, I never intentionally set out to adopt. I only had it in my heart to foster.)
My girls were my second placement. It became evident that permanency couldn’t be sought with bio family so I was asked if I would consider adopting the girls. I also don’t know if I ever shared this, but these girls had a very slim chance of being adopted together if they weren’t able to stay with me. Crazy right? To think that because Delaney was considered an “older” child, meaning harder to find an adoptive family. She was 9. Or that they’re a certain race makes them harder to place. They’re a sibling group of 3 which also was a factor. And 2 of them had some special needs/behavioral considerations (adjustment disorder and generalized anxiety) that would also narrow their chances of an adoptive family stepping forward.
This is sometimes hard for me to share. Actually this is the first time publically sharing. Because it presents these babies as a burden. And I NEVER want that message to come across. But on paper and in real life, their needs were messy and deep. Especially for a single parent. What most of you do not know, is that I said no. When presented with the option of adopting my girls, I said no.😭 My heart knew something that my mind could not understand. My heart knew they were mine. My mind said “But they’re probably better off in a 2 parent household. They have a lot of needs. I don’t think I can do it.”
I had people in my circle telling me that my answer was okay, because I had done all I could. Doubts, insecurities, even unhealed trauma from my own past completely warped my mind and told me I wasn’t the best option for them. That they deserved better or that I wouldn’t be able to commit to them for a lifetime or that I would fail them in some way- oh those thoughts were causing so much confusion at the most critical time in the girls’ case.
But then as the word “no” painfully uttered out of my mouth, my soul was filled with incredible sadness. I was crying every day, crying every night. Everything about me was just so sad. The girls didn’t know. How could I tell them? How could I fail them like this? They loved me so much and were so attached.
About two weeks later I had this moment of clarity where I finally said to myself, “Your heart says yes. Your mind says no. But what does God say?”
I remember specifically praying “God, I need to know what you want from me for these girls. If it’s a yes, that’s okay. And if it’s a no, that’s okay.” Now, just know that even tho that sounds so nonchalant, it was anything but. It was a HARD MOMENT of complete surrender, taking myself out of the equation and trusting God with an answer that was best for the girls. It required complete stillness on my part. No more trying to make sense of my world in that moment. No more rushing myself in spite of the fact that the case still needed to proceed forward. Just painfully allowing my soul to hush.
And then something so beautiful happened in one of those moments, weeks later (because the answer isn’t always immediate) when I was still forcing myself to be still. I felt a rush of brave obedience and courage and I started seeing glimpses of the girls and I together in the future, as a family. My heart was filling my mind with pictures of our adoption, and my wedding, and future foster children, and my girls were happy and loved and cared for and treasured. By me. By my husband. By our family. By our church. By community. And there was so much peace. And so much purpose. And I knew it was God saying YES.
And my mind settled. The storm subsided. The doubts bowed because peace was finally taking over. I told the agency I was ready to adopt the girls. So many tears, happy tears by the workers who were involved in this case...we were all experiencing our own relief and happiness, knowing these girls would be exactly where they were meant to be.
And adoption day was filled with absolute assurance. It was so beautiful. The girls and I dolled ourselves up to reflect what was on the inside. Joy and beauty. Confidence and assurance. And a promise that we were in this together. Always. Regardless of anything.
I vulnerably share all of that to say, God always has a plan. But more importantly, He always sees the big picture. Sometimes he may only show us glimpses at first, knowing the whole picture may just freak us out because it’s wild and wonderful and messy and chaotic and so AWFULLY BEAUTIFUL that we think we can’t handle His plan for our lives.
Honestly, I’m at a place where I so honor the glimpses. I don’t need to see the full picture of my life. It’s TOO big. I’m still learning to trust. I’m still learning to walk in obedience. I’m still telling my head to hush sometimes. But I will say this, next time when a big, wonderful, scary opportunity presents itself for my life, I’ll consider the joy of my YES first, instead of allowing the safety of no to be my default. Just to be clear, the JOY isn’t that I adopted. It’s not about me at all. The joy is having these 3 girls wreck my world in the best way possible. The privilege of being mom. The honor of raising fierce little women who know heartbreak but also know wholeness. The JOY is in the YES.