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Finding Purpose in Failure

“I’m not telling you it’s going to be easy.  I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it.” - Art Williams

The adoption journey is never an easy one, no matter what happens along the way.  Someone’s heart will break. There will be many tears shed. There is anxiety around every corner. However, every single second that you are experiencing the pain, doubt, and fear that come along with the process, know there is a purpose behind it all. God has a beautiful path for you to follow to your son or daughter—you just have to trust it.

Our adoption journey began in February 2016. John and I were so excited that we finally had a clear path that would lead us to our baby. We were in complete shock when we matched so quickly after only being live on our Facebook page for one day. A friend of a friend connected us with a young expectant mother (M) who was already overdue. Could this be happening? Would we finally be parents after 5 years of trying so hard to start our family? Was this our daughter? We got the call on a Friday a few weeks later that M was in labor and already at the hospital dilated to 6 centimeters. We needed to get there immediately so we rushed home from work, quickly packed—hindsight we probably should have been more prepared—and drove the 5 plus hours to Georgia to meet our baby girl. She was born before we got there, but we were able to hold her right away. I was shaking so hard that I had to sit down and hand her to John. I couldn’t believe she was actually here—our daughter, who we had prayed for, was finally in our arms.

But then she wasn’t. We spent the night in the hospital caring for that sweet baby girl, but God had other plans for us. We got a call the next day that M had changed her mind, and shortly after that the nurse came in to take her away from us. I was crying, John was crying, the nurse was crying, and I am sure M was crying, too. What a difficult decision for her to make. To have the courage, at 16 years old, to decide that she could be a Mommy. To know that, as young as she was, this was the path that she was willing to take—knowing it would not be easy, and that she was doing what she thought was best for her daughter. Were we upset?  Of course! Was it difficult to move forward? Yes. Did we question continuing with the adoption process? You bet. However, God had a purpose in connecting us with M. We truly believe we were put into M’s life to give her that little push she needed to realize she wanted to be a parent. While the adoption was a failure to us, at the same time it was an affirmation to M—that she could do this and be the best Mommy she could be, and that God trusted her to do what was best for that sweet baby girl and to always put her needs first.

A few short months later, after speaking with several expectant mothers, we connected to another young woman who would soon become our next match, “A”. She was young, having trouble in her marriage, had four children at home, and had already placed her son for adoption a few years ago. I was convinced God led us to her because the baby’s due date was July 29, my birthday! “A” and I became fast friends, texting all day long, typically every day. John and I met her, her husband, and one year old daughter for Mexican food one day. The conversation never stopped and she seemed so sure that adding another baby to her household would be far too difficult to handle. As more time passed, she began to feel more and more unsure. With her last adoption, things did not go as planned. She was still having a difficult time connecting to the adoptive parents and they were not nearly as open as they had originally planned. Her family was very much against her decision to make an adoption plan and they were starting to make her feel like she was a bad mother. “A” knew this would be her last child and was having difficulty with the idea of not experiencing all of the “baby” things one last time. All of these doubts were starting to creep into her mind; however, “A” and I made plans to meet one last time before the she gave birth. In the meantime, her mother and her friends had a baby shower for her. She ordered personalized onesies and hats for the baby when he was born, and started to purchase other baby things. It was so hard to see these preparations when we so wanted this baby to be ours. We had already been through a failure and I just didn’t know that we could take another one.

John and I began to realize that “A” was feeling that adoption was not the right choice for her family. We never met again, and when the little boy was born on July 25,  she did not ask us to be at the hospital. We gave her the space she needed to make her decision, but in our hearts, we knew what the answer was going to be. That little boy was not ours and we would never meet him. Yet another failure on our bumpy adoption road.

When John and I began to realize that “A” was changing her mind about the adoption plan, I connected to another expectant mother “D” who lived only 20 minutes away. She was a young woman who had a 2 year-old daughter, lived with her boyfriend, and had medical issues that she believed prevented her from caring for a newborn. With the support of her mother and a therapist, she decided to move forward with an adoption plan for her little boy and chose us to parent. We met with “D” and her boyfriend a few times and were even blessed enough to be present for an ultrasound of the sweet baby boy. John and I were so convinced that this was our son, that we allowed ourselves to begin to buy baby stuff. We talked about names, picked paint colors for the nursery, and actually got excited that this was finally our chance. We would be parents and our son would be home with us in a few short weeks. God wouldn’t let us down this time!

We got a text on August 5th that “D” was in labor and that we should get to the hospital immediately. It was a short drive away, so we were able to be with “D” during her labor, only leaving the room when she was ready to push. John and I waited nervously in the waiting room until “D’s” mother came to get us to meet our son—OUR SON! As soon as we got back to the room, they placed him in my arms. “D” asked us what name we had chosen for him and I finally exhaled and spoke it out loud for the first time. Was this really the end? Was he really ours? Would our prayers finally be answered? The short answer is no—over the weekend, we cared for that sweet little boy while “D” rested and her boyfriend worked. John and I only went home at night to sleep and were back in the hospital the next morning to bask in the joy of new parenthood. Sunday was the day that paperwork was going to be signed and that morning, we went to the hospital thinking everything was going as planned. We had his car seat ready, bassinet set up, and clothes washed. We thought he was coming home with us, but things took an unexpected turn. After a heart-wrenching, anxiety-filled day waiting on the benches outside of the hospital, we were told that papers were not going to be signed. They wanted more time with the baby. He was not coming home with us. This failure hit particularly hard for us because both John and I were so convinced this was our baby. “D” and her boyfriend, even on Sunday morning, were telling us what great parents we would be and that they were not changing their minds. That’s the thing about adoption—the path is never a straight one and nothing is guaranteed. We just couldn’t believe God had let us down yet again. Another failure? How could we come back from this one?

To say we were devastated is an understatement. I went to work the next day and had a complete break down, so bad I couldn’t drive home. John had to come pick me up and I cried nonstop that entire day. How could God do this to us? What lesson were we supposed to learn this time? How would we ever become parents?

With yet another failure, came another purpose. God does not lead you down a painful path without a reason in mind. At the time, I was convinced that we were just being tortured. Why would we be given another chance at parenthood only to get it taken away so easily? Why would we be connected to an expectant mother that was so unsure? Little did I know God was preparing us for parenthood, but not in the way we were expecting. The very same day that “A”’s little boy was born—two failed adoptions back—our daughter actually came into the world. We had no idea who she was, or had even met her birth mother, but she was waiting for us to find her and bring her home. God knew we were ready to be parents, but the timing just wasn’t right yet.

To tell you the truth, it was so hard to see through the fog of complete despair. At the time, we were both angry and confused; however, we knew there was a purpose for us meeting this couple and to experience this failure. In our heart of hearts, this was not a match that we truly wanted, and God knew it. The birth parents wanted to see the baby once a month, then changed their mind to every other weekend. We couldn’t say no because at the time, we were so desperate to be parents that we would have probably agreed to anything. We truly did want an open adoption, but what the birth parents were looking for seemed more like co-parenting. I know they would not have been happy with their decision had they moved forward with the adoption, and I know that eventually, we would not have been able to live up to our end of the bargain. God knew this wasn’t the match for us and was leading us to our daughter all along, we just had to trust in His timing.

Two weeks to the day after learning that the little boy would not be ours, I got a text telling us about a three week old baby girl whose mother was looking for an adoptive family. I agreed to share our profile with the birth mother and not thinking anything would come out of it, didn’t share this opportunity with John.  I didn’t want him to get his hopes up yet again and honestly, I didn’t think much of it. Why would we be chosen this time? Nothing else seemed to be working in our favor and I didn’t allow myself to get excited. However, a few short hours later, I found out we were chosen out of ten other families! I got the phone call while I was in the middle of teaching and just burst into tears. Could this REALLY be our daughter? After everything we had been through, all of the failures, sleepless nights, and heartache, would we finally become parents?

On August 22, 2016, we drove the three hours to meet our daughter—OUR daughter. It took seven agonizing months, but all of it didn’t matter in the end. We truly believe we were always meant to be Piper’s parents and God had planned for us to find her all along. She is a perfect fit for our family and I could not imagine being any other child’s mommy. Throughout this adoption process, I have learned a lot about faith and trusting in God’s timing. Had one of our other matches worked out, we wouldn’t have Piper—and she wouldn’t have us. Did I wish our journey was not so difficult? Sometimes, but then I look at my daughter and know she wouldn’t be with us if we had followed another path. Was it easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely!

*Post contributed by previous client, Beth Hardy.