When Your Plans Fail


We had a failed adoption last month.

We drove a sweet baby boy home in our minivan, my hands pressed over my mouth to temper my excitement. The next day, I found myself balled up in the same minivan, hands pressed over my mouth trying to hold back my ugly sobs. The social worker wrestled to unlatch the car seat in order to take back custody. I couldn’t watch. I couldn’t help. My own spirit was wrestling to unlatch him from my heart.  He was screaming, I was shaking, and the social worker was timidly whispering apologies before she drove away with our ‘Maybe Baby’.

No words could reach this uncharted space now exposed in my heart. This was a new kind of sorrow. A wound inflicted I felt no one could understand if they hadn’t experienced this exact situation. I was so certain that no one on the planet, the universe, the cosmos could ever ‘get it’. I laid face down on the surrender spot next to my bed, and sobbed out loud…

Lord, I know you’re trying to comfort me, but you can’t understand. You’ve never had a failed adoption…

Sweet Jesus, I can be so ignorant. My Father God hasn’t had a single failed adoption; He’s had thousands. Our God, in his self-sacrificing love, literally died on a cross to make us his sons and daughters. It’s his heart’s desire that all people accept this truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4), but not everyone does. And here I was, accusing him of not being able to understand my grief. I had grief over one; he’s had grief over a multitude.

He didn’t bring this truth to my spirit so I’d feel foolish, but to reveal there’s no anguish he doesn’t understand. This was a new kind of ache for me, but not for Him. He carries all the sorrow of the world on his shoulders. I’ll never be able to wrap my brain around the mysterious way God manifests absolute joy as he simultaneously pours out tears of lament…but he does. And because I am adopted by him, he carries my sorrow, too. And because he sent his son to earth,  he empathizes with it.

He broke through history and time to dwell among us…to demonstrate that he understands what it means to be human. Isn’t that what the Christmas season illuminates? Christmas celebrates the awesome jaw-dropping truth of Emmanuel, “God with us”.  Whatever pain or trial you may be experiencing, don’t let the enemy tell you that you’re alone. God ‘gets it’. He’s been there on a much deeper level than you could even imagine.

We planned on keeping this baby forever.

Even when our plans fail, God’s promises prevail.

He is still “God with us”. He will never leave us nor forsake us through the uncertainty. This season, I’m focusing on the baby sent to reign in my heart forever.

We’ve had people ask if we’d ever accept a placement again after this. Honestly, my heart is begging not to be laid bare in this way again. However, I’m reminded that Emmanuel understands the human experience; the laughter, the agony, the elation, the toil. Every ounce is used to summon us to the heart of God; to help us understand His great love for the world; to spur us to action; to inspire us to love fiercely and to fearlessly embrace vulnerability..for it was the vulnerability of the cradle that led to the victory on the cross.

2 thoughts on “When Your Plans Fail

  1. Christie Murray says:

    Such a beautiful reminder! I felt (and always will feel) that ache as we said goodbye to our daughter of 2 1/2 years. God is with us! Love you, friend!

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