This is Part 2 of a three-part series following Kendrick’s adoption story. We’ve fallen in love with her big heart and witty words. We know you will too…Find Part 1 here.
I don’t like to fail or to be labeled a failure, but I mean, really who does? When I was in college I failed one class. I was devastated… and my response was a bit on the dramatic side. Imagine lots of ugly crying and melting into a puddle in the middle of the street like the Wicked Witch of the West… “I’m melting.” Then came the embarrassment; how could I ever tell anyone about my failure?
Finally, I told my sweet daddy that I failed my class. I wasn’t sure how he would react, but I definitely didn’t expect him to respond in the way that he did. He said, “It’s all going to work out. I love you! This is not the end… You received a failing grade, but you are not a failure.”
Isn’t that exactly what our heavenly Father wants us to remember? God works in all things, even failure. “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them” (Romans 8:28).
I’m glad I learned that lesson, because it helped me keep perspective in my most recent failure… a failed adoption.
When I first started the adoption process, I read articles, books, blogs, and spoke to everyone who knew anything about adoption. But no matter how much research you do, no matter how many people you talk to—no one can prepare you for every detail of your journey.
People tell you it’s messy… today I am here to confirm that adoption is, indeed, messy.
I’d also like to add that it’s complex, is confusing, stretches your heart to love in ways you never thought possible, and causes you to say and do things you never thought you’d say or do.
In August of 2015, I received a call that I had been chosen… matched with a birth mother. I couldn’t believe it. I was stunned… Overjoyed, with tears of excitement flowing, I told my family I was going to be a mother. Music to my ears… The one thing I dreamed about my entire life was finally coming true!
My baby wasn’t due until December, so there was time to prepare and plan and wait. Lots and lots of waiting. For the most part, the time leading up to the birth was painless. There were some bumps in the road, some challenges and negotiations, but all in all God used this waiting time to stretch me and challenge me. Early on in the conversations and interactions with the birth mother, I felt Him press on my heart to just love her. No matter what… Love her. Somedays that was easy, and other days it was harder than I could have ever imagined. But I clung to God’s truth in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7, and desired to live it out as best as I could, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (NIV).
With my baby’s due date just days away, I packed my bags and traveled to spend the last few days of the pregnancy with the birth mother. Our lives intertwined, and for a few days I had the opportunity to walk through life with her in her shoes. To be honest, it was emotionally exhausting, but over and over again I just kept reminding myself that it would all be worth it once that sweet, little girl was in my arms.
Finally, the day had arrived… she was HERE! I rushed to the hospital and held her in my arms. I remember whispering under my breath “I’m your Mama and I will love you forever!” The birth mother and I discussed details of the next day and all the necessary players began planning for the transition, for me to take my little lady home. The following day I packed the car… it was time to bring her home.
On the way to the hospital I received a phone call from my attorney. She said, “You need to stop and go back home. The birth mother has changed her mind and has decided to parent.” It would take several more hours to confirm, but by the end of the day I would learn that I was not going to be a mother after all. Instead, I would become another statistic and have a new label: Failed Adoption.
I was devastated, my heart was broken. The gift was given and then taken away
I just couldn’t understand how this could be happening. There were so many questions: Why me? What did I miss? Will I ever receive a child?
The weeks following the failed adoption only became harder as I learned more details about how the entire process had failed on so many levels. I was angry, hurt and confused. I felt rejected, defeated and overlooked. My adoption plan failed in a crushing and humiliating way. I found myself crying out to God, “What am I supposed to do next? How am I supposed to move forward? Where will I get the money to do this again?” I’ve asked these questions over and over.
Over the past several months, God has given me time. Time to cry, process the loss, seek counsel, rest and re-group. I’ve realized that what the adoption world and I had labeled a failure, God used to refine me, refresh me, and remind me of His everlasting love and promises. He truly works in all things. He has been kind, gentle, gracious and ever so loving to me as my heart heals. He has taught me to love in ways I never thought possible. He has provided clarity and strength when everything else around me was spiraling out of control. According to the world this adoption was a failure, but today I see it as a win.
A win because I’ve had the opportunity to experience my own heart change. A win because my relationship with God has become radically more intimate. A win because I’ve learned the true definition of love: it’s a commitment, it’s doing what’s best for the other person in the long-term, it’s regardless of how I feel, it’s active and sacrificial, it’s expecting nothing in return, and it’s all for the purpose of making God shine bright in the midst of a failure.
The story isn’t over… In fact, I have been matched with a new birth mother. There are many things that must fall into place, but I’m ready to move forward, totally dependent on His guidance, provision and mercy. I continue to believe that He will do immeasurably more than I could ask or imagine.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord determines his steps.” (Proverbs 16:9 HCSB)
Read the final part of Kendrick’s story here.