Listening is never easy. Sometimes listening is not so much fun. Sometimes listening means we need to turn off our own agenda and hear something we may or may not want to hear. Such is the case with our last few weeks. It was only a few weeks ago that we as a family began to celebrate the news of a daughter and a sister who would soon be coming to our home. We were happy, eager, smitten and even a bit scared as we learned who would become a part of our forever lives. All that emotion and the sharing of our big news and we never stopped to imagine the struggle and challenge that would soon be right in front of us.

Adoption can be a crazy thing.. and it is especially interesting when you choose to let go,  follow your heart and believe that God is partnering with us as a family and with our agency to find a child that is just right. We thought when we received the referral call from our caseworker that this long wait would be over. We would be headed to Ethiopia, sliding in just before the change to two trips. We thought we would have our little girl home in time to have a summer of chaos and bonding. 🙂 Not the case. You see those were all of our thoughts but they were not God’s intention on this one. I even had a friend this week who reminded me to relax and not to worry as we were going through the pediatric review phase. His words were, “God is not gonna let you get all screwed up with the wrong child.” That comment has stuck with me all week as we moved into the phase of knowing that Baby M deserved a calmer, quieter and perhaps less active family. I can tell you I did feel like God was letting me get all screwed up. I don’t feel that way today. Today I feel relief and gratitude for my trust in God to carry us through all the madness and questions. I feel gratitude for the communication with my family and friends and all the supportive fellow adoptive parents out there.

After many hours of discussion with our international pediatrician, family, friends and our agency and through many moments and hours of prayer we now know that the dear little one who was referred to us needs a different family. Baby M has needs that we as a very busy family of five may not be able to meet. This discovery brought on terrible heartache as we searched for ways to fit her into our world. We pleaded this past week to understand why we were meant to endure this heartache when we have waited for nearly two years (after one year in the Nepal program) to adopt our daughter.  We cried, we yelled, we blamed and we searched to understand what we were supposed to do. It felt very strange to be feeling like the referral of this sweet child was not the right fit for our family. After all there is little talk in the adoption world of what it feels like to have to say “no.” There is little discussion about immediately falling in love with a child before knowing what an international pediatrician is going to share. It is a very strange part of the adoption process and one that I can only imagine so many families endure as they go through the agonizing discovery phase of the child who has been selected for them. I have now learned that nearly 50% of the time children referred are not the right fit for the family or the family is not the right fit for the child. No need to be judgmental on that one. I am simply stating what we recently learned.

So after days of pleading and asking why, we needed to decline the referral of a little girl who had already stolen a piece of our hearts. We know that the very best family for Baby M is still waiting for her.  We know that we sit here now still waiting for the right child to be revealed to us. It may sound funny to say the “right child.” It sounds funny to me. Is that really true that there is the perfect child for us? We are choosing to believe that with all the children of Ethiopia in great need of families, that YES there is one child still waiting for us. She does not yet know us and we long to know her. But rest assured if we can get back to opening our hearts and opening our ears to hearing God’s promise well then we will surely know beyond a shadow of a doubt that all if the past few weeks was worth every second. Maybe it was God’s way of testing our faith and checking in to see if we would release our own agenda and get back to listening when we needed to most. We do need and want to listen even if the the answers are not always what we want to hear.  Maybe we endured such struggle in order to help another family as they endure their struggle on the adoption path.

Tonight I sit on my screened in porch listening to the wind chime (pictured above). I brought home the wind chime this week to help us as a family to remember sweet Baby M. Yes it is painful and the wound is still fresh but we want to hear the chimes and be reminded that Baby M and the many other orphans of Ethiopia need us. They need us to lift them up in thought and prayer. They need us to lift them up in our actions, be it mission trips, donating or even adoption. We are always striving to hear God along this winding road and God is not through with us yet.

6 replies
  1. Tif
    Tif says:

    Thank you for sharing this. I know it will touch others and minister to many. God is at work. He is faithful.

  2. The Young Family
    The Young Family says:

    so well written…and i am so thankful for your hearts–and your willingness to have open hands for baby M. I'm thankful for your listening to our Father's whispers this week. My prayer today is that your family will be loved on by the ultimate Father…and you will rest knowing there is a baby girl for your family that really needs you in Ethiopia…and sweet baby M needed your family's prayers these past 2 weeks. You stood in the gap for her and the Lord will bless your willingness and faithfulness. Love you friend

  3. Glowing Hearts
    Glowing Hearts says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I've often thought about what would happen if our referral didn't quite "fit" with our family, and you don't hear of people turning down referrals. I appreciate you sharing this hard story.

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