This post is the fourth in a series of posts about victory through Jesus, and “what if” the victory doesn’t look like we think it should. They can be found, in order, by clicking on each of these titles: The Victory, But What If, and A Mirror, Dimly.
“I have set the Lord always before me; Because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved.” Psalm 16:8 NKJV
Andrew was three when we decided to pursue adoption. After praying for direction and talking at length with our adoption agency, we settled on adoption from Bulgaria. We knew that once we were registered with Bulgaria the wait for a referral would be at least three years. First, we had six months to get all of our paperwork in and our dossier submitted. Always one to see a deadline as something to be beat, I set about checking off each part of our paperwork as quickly as possible. Within five months our dossier was on its way to Bulgaria to be translated and submitted to the Bulgarian government for registration.
And then, with the exception of yearly updates, we waited. I’m very good at doing, and I’m equally terrible at waiting, but there was nothing to do but wait. So wait we did. We waited and prayed and praised for the victory we knew was to come.
Just over two and a half years after we were registered, I was driving home from my sister’s house one evening when Hillsong United’s “Oceans” came on the radio. As I listened to the words, “Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders … Let me walk upon the waters … Wherever You would call me … Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander … And my faith will be made stronger … In the presence of my Savior …” I felt like God was telling me we were about to go on a journey that would require more faith and trust than we ever imagined. The very next morning, we received “the call” that would forever change our lives. Not only had we only been waiting for two and a half years, it was the referral of our dreams, a chubby, smiley, 14 month old baby girl. Fourteen months old! A baby which was virtually unheard of. The victory felt very real, and I was convinced that this was the journey God was talking to me about mere hours before.
A month after answering that phone call, Patrick and I were on a plane flying to Bulgaria to meet our sweet girl, and to say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. We fell in love with this sweet baby who was to be our daughter. For five days, we spent hours each day rocking and playing and holding her while she slept. Then, through tears, we handed her back to her caregivers to return home and finish our paperwork. Once again, we found ourselves waiting. Only this time we waited for a court date and ultimately, our pick up day.
As hard as it was to leave her, I had a goal in sight. I had boxes to check off, and plans to make, and preparations to undertake. So, while I desperately missed our girl, I knew it was just a matter of time. Then, on Friday, September 12th, we received a call that would turn our world upside down. A man claiming to be her biological father had filed for custody, and we were in danger of losing the referral. Our attorney in Bulgaria immediately left her family to travel to the city where our little girl lived to find out exactly what was going on. We spent the longest weekend of our lives waiting and praying for God to deliver her into our arms. How could He do anything less for this little girl who had been abandoned at birth? How could He do anything less for us? By Sunday night, I was completely, emotionally spent and could do nothing but sit anxiously waiting for news. It was in those dark hours of the night that I felt God telling me I needed to let go, and Monday morning brought the news I never wanted. Our referral had been pulled. We had a conference call with our stateside agency and our Bulgarian agency and were assured that they were actively pursuing another match for us. But I didn’t want another match. I wanted our girl.
The victory I expected had not come, and the grief and anger I felt was all consuming. I was mad at everyone involved from our agency, to our attorney, and straight up the ladder to God. I didn’t think for a millisecond that God had caused this catastrophe, but I was so angry that He hadn’t stopped it. How could He have allowed this to happen?
I recently saw a quote from Christine Caine, “Sometimes when you’re in a dark place you think you’ve been buried, but actually you’ve been planted.” I had no idea, in those darkest moments of my life, that God had planted me and was getting ready to grow me in ways I never imagined.
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