Once while we were out hiking with the family we got kind of lost. Not the kind of out-in-the-wilderness-never-to-find-home kind of lost but just not exactly sure where we were. It was in an area that my husband grew up so we counted on him to navigate. He kept assuring us that he knew where he was going. Finally we reached the top of the hill and as he looked around he said these words; “Well I didn’t expect to end up here!” This phrase has been repeated in both humor and truth many times.
Our little boy came to live with us that very afternoon. We made all sorts of adjustments. Both externally with things like high chairs and toys and baby blankets, but also internally. It was surprising how naturally it all came. Even though it had been over a decade since we had a little one, things came quickly. A kid on my hip while I did dishes or that sway you have while talking with baby in arms. But we all knew it was just until his mommy could get things together and he’d be reunified with her. This was our hope and expectation. Weekly I would bring him to his visitations. I remember getting a picture of him printed and framed so she would have something to encourage her daily. I prayed for her, gave her one of my bibles, and came consistently to our visits. But it was not to be. We could all see the writing on the wall.
Day by day our family was falling in love. There is a point where your heart starts to change. Feeling that protective mama’s heart, and wanting what was best for him, I realized that might mean not going back to his biological mom. It’s complicated because you do hope for that. One day I got a call from our social worker. Her words will always stay in my mind. “Do you and your husband think you would adopt Austin?” I was just dropping my daughter off at soccer practice. Fortunately I could pull over. “Do you know how old we are?” was all that came out. Both in our late 50s, the thought of adopting a baby never crossed my mind. She said a bunch of words, and asked me a couple simple questions at that moment. Do you love him? Do you still have 18 years left in you? I was a bit speechless. At the same time there was a part of me that knew the answer. When we had said yes to fostering him, that was when I feel like we really surrendered to whatever may come. But I didn’t expect to end up here.
Three questions: 1. When will you be home? 2. Can you pick up pizza 3. Do you want to adopt Austin? Those were the exact words in my voicemail to my husband in the moment. It began a whole season of soul searching, advice seeking, prayer and pondering this possibility. I remember one evening laying in my bed with all sorts of thoughts rambling in my head. A particular question kept coming to my mind. Why us? I debated with God, surely there are other families, young families that are looking to adopt. What came back to me humbled me. I felt this is what the Lord replied, “you’re thinking of Austin as a commodity. He’s not. I have chosen you.” Our ways versus his. The bible reminds us over and over, His ways are not our ways. His thoughts are not our thoughts. We decided to say yes (again!) and see what the next steps would be.