I haven’t been blogging lately. And that’s a significant understatement… because it has been since July that I posted anything.
And I’m going ot jump back in today… but I would be lying if I said it was easy. You see, I haven’t been blogging because I haven’t felt capable… or like I had anything at all to say. These past few months have been some of the hardest of our life. And I’ve wanted to hold these painful events close. I’ve shared them with family and very close friends… but the idea of sharing with people beyond that tight circle has been unimaginable.
But I think it’s time. I don’t know why, I just feel like I should probably share.
At the beginning of the month of August we found out (for the third time in our adoption journey) that a possible situation was no longer possible. It wasn’t a situation we had placed all of our hope in, but anytime a potential birth mom situation is no longer possible, it hurts.
We were finishing up a vacation with my family when we received this news. The day after we returned to Wheaton, we had the one-year update of our homestudy. When our caseworker was in our home, we found out that they were having a slow down in the number of adoption cases. No slow down in the crisis pregnancy situations they work with, but none of them were choosing adoption.
And I found myself fighting to stay afloat. Activities and events that in the past had been energizing now brought me to tears. Meetings that I could do in my sleep were requiring great effort.
And this was August. One of the biggest months for any Children’s Minister is August and I couldn’t afford to slow down. But I just couldn’t do it.
And then one night we got a phone call from a family member about a possible situation in AR. Within a few days we had made contact with a birthmom who was 7 months along. She and I spoke all day long, and it began to feel like everything was happening. During the course of that week I mailed our profile book to her, we talked about a possible time for us to come visit. We maintained constant contact. And then Friday morning she contacted me and told me she had chosen another family.
By that point Brandon and I had been praying for her for a week and we had sincerely been praying that whatever decision she made, she would feel a peace. We knew there were other families and we had sincerely been praying for them.
But this was still painful. Because unlike the 3 situations beforehand, this one was personal. This birthmom had a name and a face.
So we took time to grieve and tried to think through possible decisions that needed to be made. And as we were praying through these over the next week we learned that Brandon’s grandmother had died. We made the trip to be with family and had a life-giving and wonderful time with the O’Brien side. Diane O’Brien was an amazing woman who we admired and loved deeply. And she loved Jesus. I mean SHE. LOVED. JESUS. It was a beautiful testimony. We felt loved and supported and we rejoiced in her life. But not without sadness. You see Grandma had been praying for our child fervently and we had so hoped to place our sweet BabyO in her arms.
So we returned home and began to live life. We struggled and felt this struggle in every area, but we also felt God’s grace through the support of those around us.
Earlier this month we were contacted about a little boy from an agency we have listed with in Texas. This was a boy who had already been born and needed a home. We put our names in to be considered. (In this situation the agency would be making the call.) We sincerely felt a peace about it, but the problem was the placement fee in this situation was significantly above our previously planned-for amount. Significantly above. Several days after we had put our name in, we had to withdraw purely for financial reasons.
And I felt knocked out. I knew how it felt to not be chosen. We had experienced that, and I had prepared myself for it. But I had not prepared myself for the pain it would cause to walk away from a situation. I was heart broken. I found myself incapable of doing life.
And we were amazed at the support that came around us. Friends and family who prayed with us and for us. God protected us from platitudes (you know like “Don’t worry, it will be fine.” or “God has a great child for you, just wait.”) These statements may be true but they are never helpful when a painful situation happens.
Instead God provided for us a community that grieved with us… expressed their own frustration at these events… and crowded around us with support. Friends brought us dinner, one good friend expressed her own frustration that this had been our journey, volunteers covered for me to be able to take a break one Sunday. Encouragement and hope flooded our inboxes. Sweet cards came in the mail. These events were tangible expressions of God’s grace that we desperately needed. We felt like healing was possible.
And we are learning to move forward.
Before I conclude this very long post, I want to say something about the man who I have the great privilege of living life with… Brandon O’Brien. As I have struggled, he has sacrificed to care for me. When I broke down and felt incapable of doing life, he picked me up and together we have walked forward. The journey that we’re on can be a death sentence for any marriage… but I am blessed with a man and with a partnership that is life-giving.
As I weep to write this post, I also rejoice in God’s rich grace. In his beautiful faithfulness. Today I am just okay, but I am confident that one day I will find myself on the other side.