Last week we were matched with a precious little girl. We were elated to say “yes” and to announce we had found our daughter.
Just a few short days later, we found out additional information about the child we thought was ours and had to make a horrible decision. She wouldn’t be coming home with us.
Immediately, our agency asked to send us another referral. Literally through my tears I listened as our case worker described this second little girl while I tried to process the loss of the child I had imagined as my own.
I couldn’t think about another child yet. Processing my grief was enough. I had pictured this child in our family. I had to mourn for her, to cry for her future, we had to tell the big sister and big brother that she wasn’t going to come home and be ours.
Around Tuesday evening, we began to be able to turn our attention to this new little girl, this new referral we had been sent. I think I could accurately say that both Russ and I felt numb. It was not the desperate excitement and instant love we felt before. It felt natural at this point to stay guarded.
This time felt scarier, riskier. The reality is – it’s not. The practical risks remain the same. Our hearts, however, know the pain of loss in this situation now. I could see both of us keeping walls up, not wanting to get attached to her.
We agreed to look into the file. To be prayerful and talk to doctors. This time looked so much different. We didn’t let ourselves fall in love, we didn’t tell many people, we didn’t even tell our kids, we talked to multiple doctors. We avoided looking at her picture much for a few days. It felt so much harder for me to figure out how to make this decision a second time, while Russ seemed to gain confidence and clarity by what we went through.
On Wednesday we spoke to a doctor. The report was overwhelmingly positive.
We decided to ask for a recent video showing her development. We wanted to feel as safe as we could. We asked on Wednesday. We prayed that evening that we would receive a current video by Friday morning. We knew there was a possibility we may not be able to obtain this. We had another appointment with an International Adoption doctor set up for 10:00am on Friday morning.
I began to realize on Wednesday that my confidence in my ability to hear God had been shaken. I was scared to make a decision again that would ultimately hurt me. I was looking to feel as safe as possible with this referral, as if I could eliminate any future pain by doing so. As I processed through this, I found the Lord taking me back to the idea of hope over and over again.
Psalm 62:5-6 says “My soul quietly waits for the True God alone because I hope only in Him. He alone is my rock and deliverance, my citadel high on a hill, I will not be shaken.”
I began to realize that although I felt shaky, I was not shaken. He still had me.
On Thursday morning our case worker called. She had received all the videos taken the previous weekend and had started to send them to me. In total, we received 9 videos of her on Thursday from only days before. Videos showing an adorable, strong, delightful little girl.
We cannot eliminate all the fears. And God never told us obedience wouldn’t be terrifying. If I didn’t know that before, I certainly do now. Over and over this week, however, we were led back to Hebrews 6:19 – “we have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure.” Our confident expectation in who He is and what He promises allows us to face our fears. It allows us to make the choice to be vulnerable to get hurt again, because we trust the One who carries us through even when it hurts.
Because although facing pain and loss is scary, He himself is our hope.
And so, we said yes again.
We don’t fully understand the events of the past week. We may never fully understand them. Our hope, however, doesn’t rest in our circumstances. Our hope rests in the God who writes our stories, who lines out our steps, and who lifts our chins when life feels overwhelmingly hard.
And who redeems those desperately sad moments.
And so with so much joy, we introduce our daughter, Elliott Hope King.
This girl also has quite a story.
We asked God in the beginning of this journey to be clear, to bring us THE child that He intended for us. We know that journey could have gone many different ways, and to be honest, we didn’t expect the heartache along the way.
But God gets all the glory for bringing this girl to us.
While we were saying “yes” last week to a little girl who would not ultimately be ours, two other families were saying “no” to this girl. For no tangible reason.
Except that we can only assume she was meant to be ours.
There was one thing that never made sense to me about our initial referral. When we were in the midst of deciding to adopt, someone we trust spoke some words to us in confirmation. The short version of that statement is that our child already loves music, which is a heart connection for our whole family.
There was nothing in our initial referral about music. I looked up her name, I scoured the video. I wanted it to fit. I ultimately reasoned that we may not know that part until we actually meet her. Or maybe it was the human element to prophecy and it was just not accurate.
When I was on the phone on Monday, in the very midst of my sadness, trying to process what our case worker was saying to us, she listed off a few facts about this new baby. “One year old, born 2013, loves music.”
Thank you, Jesus.