My daughter turned 10 recently. That very week, a decade ago, my husband and I had no clue about her birth and were rejoicing over our adoption paperwork progressing. We were matched with an adoption centre of our choice, a choice that without doubt had God’s fingerprints all over it.
It wasn’t even a place we had considered. But through shut doors and ridicule, we were led to a nondescript town that housed a humble office, where we were told about a two-week-old baby girl with beautiful eyes.
It took 13 months and several days before she became ours legally. In the waiting, which was as exhilarating as it was agonising, we made the decision to live apart in order to gain the right to foster her. Many things went wrong, and we were often threatened with the fact that she was not our child till the process was over.
However, for my husband and I, she was our daughter the very moment we found out about her. We did not need to see her photos to decide, as the adoption centre’s director suggested. Her origin was immaterial. All that mattered was that this baby who was born would be ours.
Born Sinner, Born Chosen
Adopting our daughter rewired me and my husband. It made us take greater delight in God’s redemptive and unconditional love for His children. He doesn’t choose the holy and whole. His righteous hand is held open, offering rest to the rebel, purity to the defiled, promise to the poor, refuge to the forsaken, discernment to the dim, love to the vilest, identity to the invisible, and grace upon grace from one moment to the next. Even the mangled, carried in His majestic hands, reflect His glory.
Prayers preceded our adoption paperwork. My husband and I would sit holding hands asking God to take charge over the process. We laid bare our helplessness at not knowing whether she was born or being formed, at the circumstances she would be facing, and we pled for God’s protection. We trusted Him to lead, leaving no room for doubt. This is why we did not need to see her picture before deciding. We knew our God had brought our baby girl to us.
Over the last decade I have faced much judgment for choosing adoption over assisted means of reproduction. Relationships were stretched and strained. My faith, or lack of it, was dissected. I remain rankled by the way people insist on referring only to biological offspring as a parent’s “own”, insinuating, knowingly or unknowingly, that adopted children are not of the same value. I keep having to return to what David says in Psalm 4:4–5 (NKJV):
Be angry, and do not sin.
Meditate within your heart on your bed, and be still. Selah
Offer the sacrifices of righteousness,
And put your trust in the LORD.
The desire to adopt was planted in my teenage heart long before I understood adoption’s complexities, and I believe that God in His mercy had granted me this desire, knowing—before I would—the thorny path of infertility that lay ahead. Undoubtedly, it was God who partnered me with a man who welcomed this desire of mine joyfully and prayerfully.
Together, we have grown to believe that every stumbling block in our path to growing our family was divinely placed to help us lift our eyes higher and stretch our hands further towards Him who authored adoption.
Sinner Saved, Chosen Corrected
Why then did He not come through like He did with our daughter when we attempted adoption a second and third time? Why were we matched with precious children just to lose them at the very last minute? And why did He later allow two pregnancies only for those children to wither in my womb?
Surely because there was much within my heart to surrender, and much more to purge. I had allowed the fear of discrimination against my daughter to take root in my heart and rule over my faith in God’s sufficiency. Restless, I did not pause to pray for His will. Every word and deed, or the lack of it—especially from relatives—would trigger a defensiveness in me like never before. My trust was misplaced in my calling as a mother, and not in the power of the Almighty who gifted motherhood to me.
It was after my first miscarriage that I pled before my Maker like David did in Psalm 51:1: “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions.” In lovingkindness, the Holy Spirit brought to my memory words I had uttered in anger about never wanting to conceive and give birth to a baby in a world that was unwilling to accept my first daughter as “mine”. I repented, confessing my sin spoken against my Maker.
Truth remains; His ways and thoughts are not mine. Even when I did not want to understand this, His faithful love endured, abiding through the travails and tears to reveal that He is willing to rebuild my ruins in His time, according to His purpose.
All praise to the one who resolutely pursues the hearts of those He has called to be His! In the stillness of nights when thoughts would assail me and sleep would flee, I found solace only in God’s Word. And in time, my wordless groanings gave way to prayer rooted in Scripture. He taught me to believe and pray from Psalm 113:9: “He grants the barren woman a home, like a joyful mother of children. Praise the LORD!”
Barrenness Buried, Freed into Fruitfulness
I write this as I near the end of a miracle pregnancy. We wept over the continual loss of children through unsuccessful adoptions and miscarriages over five years, but God has now ushered our family into a season of joy-filled expectancy. In my affliction, He faithfully freed me from more sin and taught me to trust Him even more. I would not have savoured God as the redeemer and creator that He is, had it not been for my passage through barrenness.
My prayer for every heart now tossed and tormented in a sea of sorrow and suffering is that it would find its shore in the presence of Christ. Oh to marvel at our God who not only created the world but sacrificed Himself to reclaim the separated and hopeless. Birth heralds joy. Redemption heralds love. Christ came for both.