by Heather Bock
If you know me, you probably know that adoption has been on my heart for as long as I can remember. It is something for which I have longed and waited, and at times, it has felt like it would never happen. I have prayed numerous times that God would take the desire away from me if He didn’t want our family embarking on it.
Then, a month or so ago, Greg and I agreed that this was the year to finally start the process, working on some of the heavy lifting of it in the summer when we’re not quite as busy (in theory, at least). We started our research into the many agency choices in our area, we talked a lot, and we prayed. Feeling led to the foster to adopt route, we chose an agency and began filling out the paperwork.
Two weeks ago, though, we came up against a bureaucratic wall. One state required us to find proof over a technicality that another state didn’t seem to want to give. Not only that, but we were up against a deadline. If we couldn’t produce the acceptable paper within ten days, we were to be banned from fostering or adopting domestically or internationally, perhaps forever. How could this be the end of my long-desired adoption journey, over something so trivial?
I should have been a wreck. I should have been stressed out of my mind.
It’s true that I was very frustrated at the bureaucracy, but instead of fear, I was awash with peace. I can only explain this peace by saying that God must have given it to me. I knew that if God wanted this to happen, no matter how we scrambled to find the right paper at the right time, He would have to take care of it. It was in His hands.
One afternoon, in the middle of this, it seemed like God really wanted me to understand that message clearly. Reading the Bible to my kids, I turned to our first chapter–Psalm 127:
“Unless the LORD builds the house,
They labor in vain who build it;
Unless the LORD guards the city,
The watchman keeps awake in vain.
It is vain for you to rise up early,
To retire late,
To eat the bread of painful labors;
For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
Even if we stayed up late and woke up early to find a solution to this issue, even if we labored as hard as we could to make it work, if God didn’t want us to adopt, we weren’t going to adopt. If He were on our side on this, though, He could take care of it while we were sleeping.
Instantly, I began crying, setting off a flurry of questions by my concerned children. Somehow satisfying them by saying God was speaking to me, without explaining what He said (since we haven’t informed them of the problem), I composed myself and read on, immediately losing it all over again:
“Behold, children are a gift of the LORD,
The fruit of the womb is a reward.
Like arrows in the hand of a warrior,
So are the children of one’s youth.
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them;
They will not be ashamed
When they speak with their enemies in the gate.”
Of course, the very psalm that spoke exactly to our situation about needing God to take care of this adoption for us, was about children. Who blesses us with children? Is it our effort that helps us obtain them? No, it is God who gives them as a gift. We are blessed if we receive them. I was completely humbled as I thought about how if God decided not to bless us with another child, that would need to be ok. If He did choose to bless us with one, it was an utter act of grace.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
Exactly. God has already planned what good works we will do. Will one of those good works be adoption? Maybe, maybe not. However, I could trust (I would need to trust…) that God has a plan for my life and that it is a good plan whether it looks the way I want it to look or not.
I write all this in the past tense, but as of now, I am still waiting to find out if the final paper we obtained will be acceptable to the state and whether or not we will be allowed to continue working with our agency. It does seem like a miracle happened already with an impatient, non-compliant government worker somehow obtaining the right signature in one day, the paper landing in my mailbox on the third day after that (just in time to turn it in by the deadline), when she had previously told me it would take two or three weeks. However, I know that the state might still reject it over another technicality, and that might be it.
If so, I will mourn. I will mourn hard, but I will still know that God is good. He has a good plan for us, and I will choose to trust that.