Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Love never fails.

I turned 33 yesterday.

Hands down - the best part of being 30ish is complete confidence in who God has made me and little concern for what others think.

I sat in the court room, today, with my bestie, watching attorneys come and go. As a case was heard before ours, Sweet Boy and Little Miss' birth mom walked over and asked if she could talk to me in the hall. Several minutes before, I had handed her a pack of pictures.

She wanted to hear about her kids. I retold many of the same stories I told last month, but lovingly gave her every detail she asked for. She sobbed as we looked through the pictures, together, and I gave her background on each one.

She thanked me for being so nice to her and started sharing her testimony...She had Sweet Boy at 15 and was ill equipped to be a mother, left him in her dad's care...didn't realize she was pregnant with Little Miss until she went to the hospital with stomach pains...she thought she was getting a second chance at motherhood, but then one thing led to another and she found herself sitting in a courtroom, without a friend in the world and her husband behind bars [I squeezed her hand and held it through the rest]..."It's not right. It's not right that you get to do all of these fun things with my kids and I only get to flip through pictures! I should be taking [Sweet Boy] to the fair! I should be taking [Little Miss] swimming for the first time. How did this happen? How did I get here? How is it that my son doesn't ask about me? I am his MOTHER!!!"

Her body heaved and I held her while she sobbed.

"I have to pull myself together. Everyone in that room is mean to me. They tear me apart and point out all the things I'm not....I have to stop crying."

"[Name], the only thing you have to stop doing is acting the way you think everyone wants you to act. You have every right to cry. This is a very difficult situation that you're walking through. Who cares what anyone in there thinks? It's okay to be vulnerable. We're talking about your kids."

"I-I-I might lose them, today." Sobbing.

"I know....I can't even imagine how hard this must be....I mean that. I'm a mother. I cannot imagine... I don't know if you're a person of faith, but I am. And the God I serve is a REDEEMER. It might be too late for your kids, today....but it's not too late for you - it's not too late for the baby in your womb. It's not too late with God. It's never too late for him. He loves you more than anyone ever could. He created you...and I love you, too. You're not alone...I'm here...and I'll hold your hand."

Tears streaked her face and pain twisted her features.

I didn't think twice. I wrapped her in my arms and asked her if it would be okay for me to pray.

She nodded.

God met us in a big way...sitting there in the quiet corner of the courtroom hallway.

I will probably never know if that moment meant anything to her, but it meant something to me. I saw this young woman the way God sees her and my heart was full of compassion and mercy and love.

When we were done praying she asked me if I would adopt her kids if she lost them. She was really concerned that they would go back into the foster care system. I told her about our family....and how much we honor birth families. I told her that I love her kids as if they were my own and promised that they would always know of her love and their beginning.

I think she shed as many thank yous as she did tears.

I'm pretty sure it was the most humbling moment of my life.

God gave me the strength to set aside my own agenda and to love the way I would want to be loved if the roles were reversed. See...true love can never have an agenda because it cannot be self-seeking. It can't feel threatened because it always protects. It can't give-up because it always perseveres...

It never gives up based on circumstance and it, certainly, never gives up on people.

Love never fails.

I have never been more thankful for this promise. Love has never failed me and it didn't fail my new friend, today.

Her attorney came for us and, abruptly, our time was done. As court was called into session, she looked back at me twice. I smiled, willing comfort her way, both times.

We didn't dive too deep before the judge called the attorneys back to his chambers. After a long time of waiting, the prosecutor told me that even though Little Miss' birth father was in contempt of court for not signing the affidavit of parentage on time, the judge was willing to accept it. It seems that in light of the Sanders supreme court case, he is being extra cautious to make sure this father has no reason to appeal later. As frustrating as that is, I am appreciative.

The attorneys and judge agreed that we could move forward and terminate both mom and dad's rights on Sweet Boy (witnesses would be called - the whole shebang), but that we could not move forward on Little Miss.

I was prepared for that outcome and considered it our second best scenario.

I braced myself for the emotion that I was about to experience, the judge's clerk entered the courtroom, and........ the fire alarm went off.

That's right. We were, literally, minutes away from termination when we all had to evacuate the building. Apparently the fire was contained, but there was water damage and all the cases were dismissed for the day, not to be rescheduled until (we think) October.

Are you kidding me?!?!?

In case the details have been lost in translation, our "open and shut case" that was supposed to close in April - then June - then July - then August is now being put off until October? It's so frustrating.

I did, however, have to smile in my prayers to God, tonight. HE KNEW. He knew that we would never agree to all of "this" had we known. He knew he had to present it to us in a neat little package, as we were only willing to be stretched so much past the stretching we'd already experienced over the last 6 years. And here we are.

I am, oddly, thankful.

Don't get me wrong, I AM frustrated and wanted this all to be tied up in April, June, July, and, most recently, today. BUT. Look at what God has done in my heart through these many months! In the process of God massaging my heart for two more babies not born to me, he altered my worldview and taught me to love mercy.

If it wasn't for his lesson in mercy, the mother of my children would never have been found sobbing in my arms, this morning...

...and that moment changed my life.

I will never forget it.

I am going to bed with complete peace. Peace that God is not only in control, but molding me for his purpose.


  1. Your grace and mercy captivate my soul and brings such strong encouragement and peace and hope into my life. Thanks for sharing your life and your incredible heart with the are an amazing treasure.

  2. Thank you so much for loving her, for being compassionate and merciful, when many in your position would be completely opposite. Thank you for wrestling those feelings as you have them and putting them right where they belong, in God's hands. This story, your words, touch such a tender place. Thank you.

  3. Oh my God. You're amazing. This is probably not the right forum to ask, but I'm facing a challenging situation I just know that God will hear you if you say a little prayer for me. Thank you

  4. Love love love!!! The world needs to hear your story and learn from you!!! I hope you are writing a book!!!

  5. so beautiful, how He works

  6. I have followed your story for a while and was smiling as I read this post. Wasn't it a bio-sister of LJ you guys were being pulled toward? Seems God had these two waiting for you.

    And I have had the same tear filled conversation with a birth mom in a courtroom hallway promising if the courts terminated her rights I would love them as my own. So surreal to promise such a thing to a stranger.

  7. Wow! I've been following your story. Deep pain. God is a REDEEMER! I am so grateful.

  8. I am truly awed by the story of your hallway experience with the birth mother of Sweet Boy and Lil Miss. Your description of the events is so full of beautiful detail that I felt like I was witnessing it while reading your post. I love hearing how you seize these opportunties to show the true character of God. Mercy is something we all need--from God and one another. It's sad that humans have such difficulty giving mercy. Thankfully God's mercy and forgiveness is freely given to those who ask.

  9. Wow, you are incredible. I understand the pain of a birth mom, its indescribable and never goes away. I know my adopted grandson has much more than we could have given him.
    How selfless of you to take this birth mom into your heart. The sweetness is... what you can give your children.
    I've followed your story for quite sometime, my heart and should are touched.
    I have a friend who adopted two foster siblings, it's a challenge in so many ways, the legal system, challenges with the kids and so on.
    You write so well.... You are a spiritual giant!!
    Love is the key, you're right, it never fails.
    My best to you always~

  10. I have been reading your blog for awhile. God is working mightily in your life! Your post was such a picture of God's love for us. Just want to encourage you as you wait for God's perfect plan

  11. How true your words are. We have been in a roller coaster ride for the last 21 months with our foster daughter. It ahs been a ride through reunification, severance, yes-you-can-adopt, no-you-can't, to a full trial. Just yesterday we were told we would be able to adopt her. While the frustration of the last year has been unbearable at times, like you, God used that time to do a work on my heart. He has softened my heart towards people who have been nasty to us for no other reason than we were a perceived obstacle for them. And yesterday, instead of feeling immense joy as the judge looked at us, telling us we would be her parent, my heart broke for the family and I could not contain my sadness. Still today I am struggling with the emotions I was not prepared for.

    I am grateful God has done such a work in you. This road we have chosen is hard, painful and scary. Yet at the same time it is so refining and life-altering. I have loved reading your journey, as our lives seem to be on a parallel road, and hearing your heart and your honesty.

  12. Wow. Wow. Wow. Praise God for His faithfulness and His redeeming work in you and this birth mother. I will pray that she will find the Lord through the love that you continually show her. This is such a bittersweet story, and yet God is good and His love is immeasurable.
    --Rebekah S.

  13. I met my second son's birth mother two years ago at her termination trial. I sat on one side of the courtroom surrounded by social workers and attorneys. She on the other hand only had her court appointed attorney. I thought I would be elated when she signed the open adoption agreement. I actually felt conflicted that my joy came at a high price. I've read her history. If I had grown up in her circumstances I don't know if my choices would be different. My childhood wasn't perfect but I had love, stability and security from my patents. I've been asked countless times, "Aren't you angry with her?" The truth is, compassion is the stronger emotion.

  14. I've followed your blog for quite some time as well. I have found it very encouraging. I worked for a couple years as a birth parent counselor to woman and men who were considering or planning on making an adoption plan for their babies. The way you loved this woman is such an indication that you get what she and other birth parents are going's such emotional turmoil for htem, even the ones who seem to have done everything wrong, who really are not in a place that it is okay for them to parent. They too experience such gut wrenching sorrow. And I always pray that they feel loved by those involved in their situation as well as by our God. Redemption is a beautiful answer to brokeness and you gave her the gift of not belng let off the hook for her actions but instead recognizing them/taking ownership, and being forgiven by her Father. I'm just so amazed at what God is doing through you and in your heart. I am sure that the words you spoke are words you never thought you'd be able to say to someone. You've had your own challenges and heartbreaks that could have made it so easy to disregard or shame her. Praise God. Will pray for you as you walk this journey...this longer than anyone thought journey. I'm praying that TPR can happen for Little Miss at the same time as Sweet boys. Blessings to you all. And thanks for the cry;)