There is a growing stack of books on my nightstand that I intend to read one of these days. Some nights I manage to read a few pages. Most nights I barely skim a paragraph or two before my eyes glaze over and the book gets returned to the stack. Last week during my usual bedtime routine, I sleepily reached for the top of the stack and pulled the book, “Love Does” by Bob Goff under the bedcovers, expecting to read a few pages before drifting off to sleep.
After hearing Mr. Goff speak at our home church, I immediately ordered his book upon leaving the auditorium. When the book arrived on my door a few days later, I promised myself I would start reading it that same evening. As with every other book in my stack, it didn’t happen. But when I finally picked it up and read the first pages, I couldn’t put it down. A particular section caught my attention and caused me to sit up in bed, rubbing my eyes while I read it over again.
“It becomes clear that we need to stop plotting the course and instead just land the plane on our plans to make a difference by getting to the “do” part of faith. That’s because love is never stationary. In the end, love doesn’t just keep thinking about it or keep planning for it. Simply put: love does.”
Memories of adopting our youngest son filled my mind as I poured over the words, “Love Does.” I whispered the two words aloud, careful not to wake my sleeping husband next to me. Like fitting two puzzle pieces together, I mentally paired these two words with “adoption,” to form one simple truth: Love Does Adoption. My eyes widened with the reality that God had poured this simple but profound truth into me during our journey of adoption.
Giving family plans to God
You see, when I got married I’d made plans for what my family would look like. I’d live in a white painted cottage-style home with a cherry-red door, and a giant tree swing would hang in the front yard where I’d push my two boys in denim overalls and two girls in matching dresses. My baby names were picked out. My maternity clothes were selected. Adoption was never part of the plan.
After giving birth to three boys, my husband and I began to contemplate adding to our brood. An unplanned hysterectomy flattened my dreams of having additional children biologically, but I still felt a nagging urge to add to our family. “What do you think about adoption?” My husband asked. I shook my head in protest. I wasn’t sure I could take another stroll down memory lane.
Years earlier, I’d made an adoption plan for my baby girl when I was a junior in college. Despite knowing that I’d made the best decision for my daughter, the journey was filled with tears of heartache. Through the years, God cast threads of love and healing to bind together the broken pieces of my heart. Still, I didn’t know if the pursuit of adoption would re-open my past wounds and leave me in shambles. So, I brushed off the idea of adoption altogether. But every time I spotted a baby stroller or swing, my yearning for another child reappeared. I told God if He wanted us to move forward with adoption, He’d have to make it blindingly evident.
Months later, I was approached by a family friend to share my adoption experience with her sister, Megan, who encountered an unplanned pregnancy. Despite the nerves that fluttered in my stomach, I promised to provide my honest insight about the adoption process. After speaking with Megan on the phone, we arranged to meet at a local coffee shop. After we hung up, I prayed I would be of some guidance. My story could either point her towards adoption or send her sprinting in the opposite direction. In a few days, I would find out.
To my delight and surprise, the first meeting went well. So well, in fact, that Megan and I agreed to continue meeting at the coffee shop. We exchanged stories. We laughed and cried together. We prayed together. Megan and I became fast friends.
As I sat across from Megan during one particular meeting, I noticed something was different. Her black coffee rippled in slight currents as her hands shook. Her legs trembled slightly under the table. “I have a question for you,” she asked, “Would you and your husband adopt my baby?”
I jolted in my chair, spilling drops of hot coffee onto my dark skinny jeans. “Ex-cuse me?” I asked.
“I have this feeling that you both are supposed to be the parents of my baby.” Megan reached over to grab my hand and stared into my eyes. “What do you think?” she asked.
I pondered her offer, searching for the right response. I could’ve told her I needed more time, maybe months, to think about it before I could get back to her. I could’ve laughed in her face and proclaimed that her feelings were false, that she’d picked the wrong person for the job. I could’ve gone back to the drawing board to create alternate plans. I could’ve announced I wasn’t up for the task. But when I looked into her deep brown eyes, full of want for a loving home for her unborn child, I laid down my family plans before the Lord and simply said, “Yes.”
Following the call to adopt
Love Does. It doesn’t wallow in fear or doubt of the unknown. It simply has faith that God will fill our self-perceived holes of inadequacy with assurance that He will provide what we need. God will grasp our hands throughout the adoption process. He will strengthen us when we feel weak. God is the author of every adoption story, and has a glorious ending in mind, if we are willing to answer His call.
Saying “yes” to the call to adopt doesn’t come without fears. When I agreed to adopt, I dwelt on all the things that could go wrong. Things of which I had little to no control. I wondered, what if Megan changed her mind at the last minute and chose to parent? What if I didn’t bond easily with my newly adopted child? What if there was an unforeseen medical issue? When left alone with my fears, I trembled with doubt. But love swallowed up those fears. I realized that there are no guarantees with having children, whether they join our family by birth or adoption. God taught me to set down my fears, say “Yes”, and take one day at a time.