The Pictures We Never See


This photo was taken on December 10 with a sweet audience of two sets of grandparents who had just received the happy news for the first time.

I received a call on December 5 from our agency about a baby girl who was born on November 7. We were given more details about the situation and were told that this was the “jackpot of adoption scenarios” (sign me up!) Our lives immediately came to a standstill when faced with the prospect of bringing home a baby within that very week.

We stared at each other a lot, not knowing what to do with all of the nervous energy. We just so happened to have both sets of grandparents nearby for the weekend and knew we needed to deliver the happy news so that we could also have some immediate help with Reagan. A round trip flight to and from Dallas to meet the birthmother later, the anxiety in our home was thick.

We were told the meeting went great, but from that point on, the updates from the birthmother became more and more sporadic. As we started to approach the holiday season, we were faced with the very real possibility that the placement may actually not happen, and yet there was no way to protect our hearts from what had come crashing in to our happy lives.

We then received an update that things were 50/50 and we wouldn’t know more until after the holidays. The sinking feeling sank in even more.

This painful song and dance went on for more than a month, and by the end of January, we let the agency know we were removing ourselves from the situation entirely. Our hearts could no longer take it.

I was angry with God, in a way I’d never felt before. Here we were, having submitted our adoption paperwork and living our lives with joyful anticipation and the freedom that comes with HOPE. Adoption was almost pushed to the furthest recesses of our minds when I got the call.

It was hard to understand the purpose in all of it, what had been gained and what had been lost.

I wrestled with God for a long time. After about a month of sulking, I begrudgingly showed up at the kitchen counter early one morning, coffee in hand, to crack open my Bible. I couldn’t imagine that God had much to say that could rectify the deep hurt in my heart.

Little by little, he began to soften my heart. Little by little, He shared with me that that encounter had never been for or about us. Somehow that encounter was exactly what that birthmother needed in that moment. That encounter gave her strength for the impossible, to meet parenthood head on.

That little girl was never meant to be ours. And today, I have incredible peace in knowing that.

I can’t help but wonder how many photos exist like this one, photos we’ll never see. Photos of unrealized dreams, photos taken with incredible celebration, and before immense hurting.

And yet, God is there in the heartbreak. His timing is perfect and His purpose is unwavering. There is incredible strength and HOPE found in that truth.

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