On Sunday, I stood up in front of a room full of people I didn't know and through tears, muttered our truth—"my husband and I have been in the domestic adoption process for almost four years, and this season God is teaching me that part of receiving is asking. So here I am, asking..."
I stumbled through more words and prayers and please come home soons and then sat down next to Russ, his hand already reaching to wrap around my own. Every part of me was shaking. I didn't plan to stand up and speak. We've done well to remain somewhat in the background since June. But sometimes, you can't win against the overwhelming urgency of the Spirit within and when my limbs turn heavy and my gut shifts into falling feathers, I know. It's time to speak.
But I hesitated standing up for so long. Every time someone else stepped up to the mic, I would feel the nudge. Every time, I would push it away thinking it's just me or what if they get the wrong idea or don't want anyone to think I'm trying to get attention. And every. single. time. I fought against those words, I would hear how will they know what I've done if you don't speak?
So I spoke, believing something would shift on our behalf.
We said no to a baby boy today.
The same friend who sat next to me on Sunday and grabbed my other hand when I sat down after speaking emailed me a forwarded message from an out-of-state agency.
Urgent Adoption Need it said and my heart fluttered in my chest a little when I read the subject.
This friend didn't know I've thought about today all month. She didn't know that for whatever reason, the 17th stood out as a date I needed to pay attention. 17th and 20th. 17th and 20th. These days have circulated through my heart and soul for weeks. So when I got the email on the 17th of December (after our own agency shut down for the day) and when I saw the due date set for the 20th, I paused.
Immediately, I emailed the agency.
I called my friend.
I got the phone number and made a call.
I spoke with nearly everyone who was still in the office.
I'm pretty sure I was given the personal cell phone number of one of the case workers.
And when I got a hold of her, my breath caught because could this be it? Could everything be pointing to tonight?
We spoke for about ten minutes, long enough for me to know the baby still needed a family and this case worker believed us to be a good fit, when the bomb was dropped.
"What's your budget for the adoption?"
"I-I'm sorry? We-we don't have a budget." (small chuckle) "We paid off our adoption this time last year....we don't owe anything with the agency we're with right now...."
"Well, you could probably just get a loan. You'd need to come up with 28,500 dollars before picking up the baby here in a few days."
I could feel the room closing in around me and I recognized the feeling. I'd felt it before—many times—and I just closed my eyes against it because it wasn't it. It still wasn't right. After four years and countless leads and too many hopeful emails and phone calls to name, we were the ones walking away.
We got off the phone a few minutes after that, but I already knew the answer. I already knew this baby was not meant for our arms. And it sucked.
Sunday, when I stood in front of strangers, it was part of Prayers of the People—one of my favorite parts of liturgy. During these few moments, you gather around each other and help carry the load. Lord, have mercy echoes up and around you when you state a request. Thanks be to God cracks the silence after a praise. And even when you stand up shaking, like I was, the strength you receive from the whispers rising up with you emboldens you.
And after tonight, I'm even more certain of what He's teaching us.
This season, I'm learning that part of receiving is asking. And so here I am...asking. Would you join us in praying our child home?
It's been long enough. It's time for jubilee.
Lord, have mercy.