Never have these words hit home as they did this past week. Another family was chosen for the children we were hoping would be ours, and we were faced with questions of our own integrity. Would we rejoice as we said we would? Could we still trust the God Who appeared to have disappointed us?
Yet, nothing we face will really ever match what Job suffered. He lost his wealth, his children, his friends, and still he blessed God's name. He was a man who knew the character of his God.
This week was filled with questions, tears, and lots of re-evaluating. Yes, we are disappointed. Yes, we wish things had turned out differently. Yes, there is loss. But, we are pressed, not crushed; struck down, not destroyed.
If I had to compare this experience, the closest thing I could use to equivocate would be a miscarriage. My doctoral advisor and I were talking about this, and she suggested the comparison. It's not a perfect one, because no child actually died. But, in a way, there is a death of a hope. So, perhaps that's the best way to try to explain what we're feeling.
In that same vein, there are things that are helpful for us to hear, and things that are not helpful. I share a short list for those who may find themselves someday wanting to comfort someone in our shoes.
- Trivialize our experience by saying something akin to "it just wasn't meant to be." That may or may not be true, but it glosses over our pain.
- Suggest that we're better off because four kids would have been a handful. Again, we know you mean well, but would you say that to someone who lost a child?
- Tell us how blessed we are to have our daughter, and that we should focus on that. Yes, we are blessed, but again...well...do I need to explain?
- Simply say "I'm sorry. I know how much you were hoping this would work out."
- Offer a hug or an ear to hear our story.
- Remind us that you're praying for us and for the children that God does have for our family.
- Just be our friends. You don't even have to say anything.
For those who have asked, we do not need to begin the process all over. Because we had a new home study done, we are current for another year. We are also quite happy with our new agency and social worker. We've had great social workers throughout our entire adoption experience, and our new one, M, is no exception. This new agency is quite proactive in helping us search for children, which is a plus, and M has already asked me to put together a one-page profile that she can use to present us to caseworkers.
All in all, after a week full of many emotions, we are encouraged and grateful for a God that sees each sparrow fall, knows each hair on our head, and certainly cares about each waiting child far more than we ever could.