For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to adopt. My dream has been to open our hearts and our home to a child who needs a forever family. I’ve started the process several times, too, but each time I sensed that my husband wasn’t quite as enthusiastic about adoption as I was, so I felt it was wisest to wait (and pray!) until we were both totally on board with the idea of adoption.
As the years went by, I kept asking God, “How long, Lord?”
Then one day it happened. My husband called me from work and told me about a friend who knew a friend who was pregnant. She was planning on giving up the baby for adoption, and she wanted to find a family. My husband wanted to know if it would be okay to tell his friend we were interested.
I could barely contain myself as my excitement burst through every word, “Yes! Of course!”
After all those years of waiting, and now my husband was the one initiating the process! I just knew this was from God. And, really, the timing couldn’t have been better.
Lengthy conversations continued, and she said she wanted us to adopt her child, but there was another complication. A recent ultrasound showed there were two babies. She was having twins. Were we still interested?
Now I was crying, because I always wanted twins. “Yes! Double yes!” That was all I could say. That, and “Thank you, Lord!”
We contacted a social worker who could walk us through the paperwork, and the whole ball really got rolling. We continued to pray and dream, and some days, I found myself wandering down the baby aisle at Target, looking at two of everything.
The twins, we later learned, were girls. And I couldn’t help it. Their names were already etched on my heart — Ella and Emma. So I started praying for Ella and Emma, and their birth mom too.
And just when we started believing this was real, and this was really going to happen, it didn’t. We knew failed adoptions happen, and we were warned to guard our hearts, you know, just in case. And honestly, I had tried to prepare myself for the possibility that it might not happen. But all the signs seemed to be pointing in the right direction. I really, truly believed this was a gift from God, and that He was completely in this.
But then it was all ripped away.
I’ve never had a miscarriage. I’ve never bled from a lost child. But when I realized Ella and Emma weren’t coming home, that they weren’t going to be a part of our family, my heart bled plenty.
For months (dare I say the next couple of years?) I felt an emptiness I couldn’t describe. And I had lots of questions for God. Why would He put this desire in my heart only to take it all away? Why would He have me fall in love with two baby girls only to lose them in the end? None of it made sense.
I was a tangled mess of angry and sad, but mostly I was scared. Were they being cared for? Were they being fed? Were they being held? I was so worried for them, I couldn’t hardly think of anything else.
All I could do was pray. So I did. But I’ll tell you, it didn’t feel like enough.
I questioned the power of prayer because prayers are words. They may be sincere, heartfelt words. But babies don’t need words from afar; they need warm bottles and clean diapers and soft blankets and lots of kisses.
Every time I prayed for God to protect them and provide for them, I felt so powerless, so frustrated that I couldn’t make sure they were getting what they needed. And yet, during this time four faint words kept coming to mind, like whispers from somewhere deep in my soul.
Do you trust me?
And therein lay the crux of my battle . . . I didn’t want to release these two baby girls into God’s care. I didn’t want to trust anyone to take care of them except me.
For a long time afterward, I cried and grieved and wondered how they were doing. I’d pray too. Because that was literally the only thing I could do. But I still wanted to know why. Why did God let me fall in love with two baby girls only to take them away?
And then one day, in a quiet sort of way, I knew.
When I finally accepted that Ella and Emma weren’t meant to be a part of our forever family, I understood they were meant to be a part of my forever heart. They don’t know it, but they have someone, somewhere in the world, who is committed to praying for them, forever.
I don’t know what their birth mom decided to name them, so Ella and Emma aren’t even their real names, but I do know that when I pray for Ella and Emma, God knows exactly who I’m praying for.
And someday, on the other side of eternity, I pray I get to meet them.
by Denise J. Hughes, author of Deeper Waters.Leave a Comment
Michele Morin says
Oh, Denise — thank you for sharing this scalding your heart received and for standing in your healed and trusting place to declare that it is not only in happy endings that God is glorified.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
My heart was wrenching as I read your story. I can’t even fathom. At times like these, prayers often don’t seem like enough. Perhaps that’s our/my human pride saying, “I need to DO something….I need to fix this.” How many times have I felt like I needed to “help God along”?? Too many times than I care to admit. In essence, I’m saying, like you eloquently said, that I’m not trusting God. Letting go and trusting God with something so deeply personal is HARD, but He calls us into obedience to do it anyway. How else are our trust muscles developed unless we are forced to trust?? As my good friend, and writer, once said, “God has told me, on more than one occasion, that I need to resign from my self-appointed position of “Fixer-in-Chief”. Only God can fulfill that role. Thank you for sharing such a personal story that calls me/us to a deeper level of trust and prayer makes a HUGE difference…..even if our prayer is simply Lord, help me to trust you.
Carol orr says
Hi I am new to the website and it is truly wonderful for on liners. Questions: site does appear faith based a good thing. I see a lot of really feel good topics, prayer trust surrender friends with God as the answer. Is anyone addressing the hotter issues such as abortion and guilt, sex trafficking freedom of religion etc. it appears that a lot of the issues addressed are kind of whiney and spoken of over and over in different words and by the way so many gifted writers. I pray that you move forward with your gifts outside yourselves and look at the harsh realities of the world. Spoken with love and kindness. Carol orr please feel free to pass along.
Wow! Thank you for your thoughts. We, too, had children who we thought were going to become ours permanently and it did not happen. we did eventually adopt. While in the process of adopting God added biological children to our family. Then a car accident ripped two of them away from us. Worse than all of that though our one child has completely cut us out of her life and we do not know why. I have found it difficult to even pray. I wanted to fix it even though I do not know how as we do not know her reasons. As I have been learning to let this go prayer is returning. I am struggling though.
Please please do not give up. God is on your side. In 2008 I lost my husband and only daughter within a few months. I also have a son who stopped talking to me for almost five years and I had no idea why. We were always so close all of his life. I spent those years crying and wondering what went wrong, what did I do to make him hate me. Well I’m here to tell you that is an another one at work trying to divide families and all I can say is don”t give up. Pray Pray Pray.for your daughter. After over five long years my son came to me recently and asked me if I could put it all behind us and start over, no questions asked. He also lost a father and a sister as well and was going through his own kind of grief. Blood is a lot thicker than water as the old saying goes. One day your daughter will see the light and realize there is nothing stronger than a mothers’ love except Gods’ love. Leave all this in His hands and He will work it out in His timing. Keep the faith dear one. May God bless both you and your daughter and may He restore your relationship.
Beth Williams says
Sweet sister I’m praying for you & your family. Your daughter has lost two sisters & may be grieving in her own way. Pray pray pray & pray some more. I’m asking God to intervene & change her heart towards you. She may just be angry. May you feel God’s love surrounding you. I pray also that the peace & comfort of God go deep into your soul!
Do you trust me? This isn’t the first time I am reading these words this week. The timing of this piece is perfect. Thank you for sharing your story. My heart hurts for you but your sharing is giving me some much needed confidence that I need to trust and wait.
Ella and Emma are very blessed to have a prayer mother.
Read this with tears in my eyes. I have a friend who experienced a failed adoption last month, after having cared for a sweet baby boy from birth for 3 months. I don’t know how to help my friend, and so I pray, but it doesn’t seem like enough. This helped me remember that I can trust God with my friend’s heart and that He will show me other ways I can minister to her. Thank you for sharing your story.
Debi Gable says
This “story” of your broken heart & the comfort that you have shared with us has truly spoken to me & my life situation (s). When I was 16, I had a baby boy that I gave up for adoption. He’s 49 now, & I always pray that God will watch over him & that he will serve the Lord. It’s been hard, but God has given me the peace that passes understanding during these years. I thank Him so much for this peace. He says “I am the Lord that healeth thee:” & “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”I’m glad God has brought you through this difficult time & given you the strength, comfort & wisdom to look at your situation through His eyes.
Thank you for sharing this story. My best friend was a single mom since her baby boy was 2 years old and finally she remarried when he as 10. She wanted to have another baby so much. When they finally did, 10 years later, she lost the baby. I see how devasted she was and still am. I am truly sorry for your loss as well. Know that God have a plan for us even when we do not see it or think it is fair. He loves you and feels your pain. Trust in Him always!
Elizabeth A Curry says
Oh Denise, I could so relate to this and have often wondered how adoption could not be God’s will for our family–isn’t God all about adoption? We are ALL adopted into his family. But trusting God and his wisdom is the only way. And what a beautiful gift to be praying for those girls through their lives! Thank you for sharing your story. God’s plan isn’t always what we think it will be but it is good. God’s blessing to you.
I’m sorry, how devastating, and yet you are a blessing, not only to the little girls but to us for sharing, thank-you.
Like Bev mentioned, there are times letting go can be hard, fully trusting it with God, and not try to figure it out or try to fix it. I hope to do better.
Blessings to all,
Susan Daugherty says
After adopting two children from Haiti, we felt led to adopt two children I had met while on a mission in Ukraine. The process fell apart for several reasons. I too was hurt and confused. Why did God have me take those steps of obedience? Three years later, we still pray for them. Meanwhile God have them to a family with Russian language skills. Now they have two families at least, with heart investments in them! Thanks so much for sharing.
♥ ♥ Will pray for Ella and Emma with you today. You are a mother to them, because if there’s one thing I know about mothers, it’s that they’re pray-ers. — Sometimes, we humans have to remind ourselves of the power of prayer. Actual, literal, honest-to-goodness power. I love it when the Lord keeps me mindful of this because, it’s those times when my prayers feel less empty. — So many times I’ve heard that exact whisper, from that exact voice…”Do you trust me?” — Thanks for sharing, Denise. ((hug))
Kim B Smith says
Denise, I have a pounding heart and tears in my eyes for you and your husband. Yes, I will pray Ella and Emma, even though I question will that be enough. Those four words cross my path a lot this year, “Do you trust me?” And yes, I did say to a very dear friend of mine several months ago, I don’t’ trust God, and it has been a complete turn around for me ever since. So I trust and I love Him for I know he has my back, just like He has yours.
For the power of prayer is priceless, full of hope & faith.
After adopting my oldest, we were attempting to adopt a baby brother. He was born, we named him, had his nursery ready and the day we were to bring him home it all fell through. I was a mess. I still think about Tanner (our name for him) all the time. I was impressed upon again and again that I can’t see the “big picture”. I can’t see from God’s viewpoint. I was inspired to give fertility treatments one more time (after failing at that 3 times). I became pregnant with twin girls…..at 45! They were 10 weeks premature, but they today are healthy, beautiful almost 7 years olds, named Abby….and Ella. They bring such joy to my life. I can see now that I wouldn’t have them if the adoption had happened because I wouldn’t have been trying anymore. That little boy will always have a little piece of my heart. But my son and my little girls absolutely own it. I just praise God for his wisdom!!
Your life-story you shared today is truly amazing!! That good, godly desire of your heart to have and love, take care of a precious new life (lives); the seeming perfect answer to those prayers; the waiting, the waiting with exciting anticipation, albeit cautious; and then the agonizing, heart-wrenching devastation of that denial and door slammed in your face. Then all the ensuing questions and prayers concerning the babies, that you would have been so excited to love and care for and cherish! How unbelievably painful and distressing. Your struggles over it all in light of God’s goodness, love, mercy and plans seem to be irreconcilable. Thank you for sharing your struggles and the ongoing searching as you continue to deal with this delimma.
I have come to believe that one of the most mysterious ways of the Lord is His control of the opening and closing of the womb, including adoption. And then too, the resulting increase of pain to know of babies and children being neglected and abused whose conception and life came so easily to some, even though these precious lives are unwanted by those they came so easily to! In contrast, those who would be the best of parents, this blessing is denied. It is truly one of the BIGGEST faith challenging issues to a Mothering Christian heart.
I am a 65 + y/o grandma who has seen much in our own family as well as by just looking around and hearing other Christian heartbreaks in this area. The only thing that helps me is trying to cling to His promises and the people who love Him, even though I totally do not understand His ways; but trust He hears and answers prayers to fulfill His purposes, not ours – and that He will make it all “right” in the end.
Praying for you and His peace, God bless you, dear Denise. And thank you for sharing.
Ella and Emma are so blessed. Thank you for your honesty about how difficult prayer can be. Real trust is a hard thing to find sometimes. I so appreciate and am encouraged by your story. Thank you, Denise
Prayers are eternal and so only in Heaven will you know the MOST SIGNIFICANT role you played in those little girls lives through your prayers for them. One day…..
Rebecca L Jones says
You know as little girls, we push carriages with no idea of the challenges, the diapers, the crying, the tantrums, but it does something to woman’s heart alright. I have no children but have worked with them. I can’t imagine, the heartbreak. i like the idea of forever in your heart. This is national Adoption month. I always courage women to foster or adopt, but have to be honest that some of them suffering neglect and abuse can be difficult, and dealing with birth mothers and court, but there are some who would be up to the idea of adoption. It must be a hard decision at any age. I wrote a post for my blog called You have To Bleed, not literally but figuratively, to understand God’s love.
Lydia Flores says
What a beautiful story. Thanks for sharing your heart, and your heart baby girls. I pray too that somehow, NOW and TODAY Emma and Ella are feeling your love. God bless them and you.
Beth Williams says
Thank you for being open & honest about your broken heart & not trusting God. My heart ached for you.
I believe as women we want to fix everything. Sometimes prayer is all you can do & it doesn’t make sense. I’ve had times like that. The scenario didn’t make sense at the time & I didn’t know what to do. Prayer was my only option. I prayed & waited for God to send an answer. We need to believe & trust that “we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us” & “He know the plans He has for us”. “Plans to prosper us & not to harm us. Plans for a future & hope.” Someday we will find out the answers to these unknown trials. Love the idea of a forever pray in your heart.
Wow!! “Do you trust me? Do you trust anyone to take care of them other than you?” Beautiful questions!
Eunice B says
Oh, Denise…thank you so much for sharing this raw part of your story! It sounds so similar to ours except we didn’t get as far as placement, which sounds 1,000 times harder!!! Thank you for speaking life in to my heart today…God knows, and I’m confident you’ll see you Ella & Emma one day!!!
From the heart of another momma of “extra” kids out there, it is sometimes very hard! I still struggle with wondering if my boys are ok or not, and it has been 6 years since they left our home. Our family still prays for them regularly, and we have to blindly trust even now that God’s plan is still best. Trust is sometimes so very hard! Thank you for this beautiful reminder to “always pray and never give up!”
Jessica S says
Thank you so much for sharing your story. You have no idea how much reading your story meant to me. I pray that God blesses you for being so vulnerable and real. I went through a very similar situation with a failed adoption of a baby girl. She was 3 months old and we met her and held her and spent time with her extended family. Then it all fell through. A year later I am still mourning that loss. There is an emptiness in our home because someone is missing. I also felt that God told me that my role in this baby girl’s life is to pray for her with a mother’s heart. Through the heartache I see that God trusted me with a very special role: to be her prayer warrior. I may be the only one praying for her safety, salvation, health and well-being. Like you, I also pray that I will see her one day for eternity. Then we will be together as a family.