(Apologies for the junky pictures! My computer is broken, so I am relying on my phone…but couldn’t wait any longer to begin sharing our story!!)
Friday, July 13th as Joel and I drove home from our seminary classes in Florida, we threw ourselves a party.
It was a pity party to be exact.
As we got closer and closer to Columbia, we got more and more sad about our life. The circumstances just felt so exhausting: the garbage truck totaling my car, the kitchen fiasco, etc., but primarily, God’s allowance of infertility and the lack of progress in our adoption.
Life seemed too big.
It just all felt pretty cruel, to be honest.
We boohooed the final hour home, (in our miraculously city-provided new/used car, mind you!) only to find HARDLY ANY SMELL in our home–though neighbors deemed it unlivable only days before–and rightfully so, until God used one of our *amazing* ministry supporters to save the day by having it professionally cleaned and fogged. (Saving us thousands of dollars and the cost of our insurance going up!)
Joel pointed out the fact that our attitudes were JUST like those of the Israelites. We were so quick to forget that almost exactly a year ago, God parted our very own Red Sea and delivered us from death. We were hitting rock bottom and yet God was faithfully providing all along the way, we needed only to trust Him rather than believe the Enemy’s lie that He was cruel! Out loud, we confessed our sinful attitudes and asked Him for help to believe yet again that GOD IS GOOD EVEN WHEN HE DOESN’T FEEL GOOD!!
Monday, the 16th, Joel went to meet with a student, I put my big girl pants on to call our adoption social worker at the Department of Social Services. I left a message, called a friend and vented like an Israelite, but then an hour later got a call with good news!!
Social Worker: Mrs. Hurdle? I am calling with some good news for you.
Me: Oh yeah? That’s great, please tell me more!
Social Worker: Well, your paperwork has been all signed off on and you have been approved!
Me: That’s amazing. I am so excited!
Social Worker: That’s not the good news though.
Social Worker: Well, not only were you approved Thursday, but you were also matched with a child–or maybe two children–I can’t remember.
Me: What?!? Oh my word. This is amazing!?!!!???
She gave me the name and number of a child case worker and I don’t even remember telling her goodbye…I immediately broke into a goofy mix of smiling and sobbing. It was as if the pain and the waiting of the past few years just broke like a dam in my heart and poured out.
I started walking circles around my house. I’d stop and kneel and sob into the couch. I’d sing. I’d furiously clean my oven. I’d pace. I was completely dumbfounded!
It felt like forever as I waited for Joel to come back from work, but the minute he walked in the door and said, “Babes?” I started breathlessly screaming, “They called! They called! Call this number!!” He excitedly grabbed me into a big bear hug and said, “What are you saying? Huh?” He knew it had something to do with adoption, but was so confused. But, so was I! It was a moment of confused excitement.
I gave him the number so we could find out together whether our match sounded like a potential match made in Heaven.
Was it a boy? A girl? Two of each? One of each? Age? Race? Circumstances?
Again, we left a message and waited (4 long painful hours!?! Insert more pacing, sobbing, scrubbing of the oven…)
Finally, the child worker called us back with news of a bubbly 2-year old little girl with brown eyes, brown hair and olive skin who loves dolls, Dora and dressing up like a princess, and a 5-year-old little boy with brown eyes, blond-ish brown hair who loves trucks, trains and Diego.
We couldn’t have been more overwhelmed, excited, thrown for a loop because we were thinking baby bitsies, same gender, under the age of 3 and these two are about to have birthdays making Sister 3 and Brother 6?!?
We were hesitant, scared, but thrilled.
We hung up the phone with DSS and picked it right back up to call our friend who is a child psychiatrist and would know how to get more info on these children. I was oozing with questions and apprehensions. She fielded my emotion, asked clarifying questions and then she grew very quiet.
She said, “Well, I am kind of in a hard place and don’t know what to say.” I responded quickly by saying, “Oh, it’s okay, you don’t have to tell me about them if you don’t want to or if you aren’t allowed to.”
She replied, “No, that’s not really it.”
“It’s just that, well, he is sitting here on my lap right now and has been living in respite care, here in my home for the past 2 weeks.”
My jaw dropped open and Joel’s eyes were wide. It sounded like this was going to be God’s story unfolding…God had provided a godly clinical psychiatrist to observe and care for one of these sweet child for 2 weeks prior to us knowing anything!
She told us of her love for this little boy. She let us hear sweet little “-isms” and stories from their days together. She told us of the incredibly godly and therapeutic foster home that they were living in right now. And she answered the questions that we had and beautifully reassured us that we had to hear from the Lord–and not her–on whether these were to be our children.
A major provision for these children was the foster family from which they came. These children came into care of the State and were bounced around from place to place until an amazing Jesus-loving family took a step of faith, left their comfort zone and got certified to foster. They took these two children into their home against all human reasoning and have worked with and fought for them day and night for the past year. The trajectory of these children’s lives has been forever changed by this family. (More on them soon.)
The next few days were a blur as we learned more details, asked more questions, tried not to burst when we were around friends or on the phone with family, etc. We just didn’t know yet if these two were to be ours. We just HAD to get to Thursday, the 19th at 3:45 when we would meet with the child social worker to hear her presentation about these children, go over all their paperwork and find out absolutely everything there was to know about these two and the family from which they came.
Our prayer this whole time (recommended by another godly wise adoptive mommy), was simply to hear no one’s voice but God’s and to have the freedom to fall head over heels in love…or the freedom not to!
Thursday came and we left the DSS office “ultrasound picture” (okay, really 3 trees worth of background paperwork and 2 hilarious photos) in hand.
Joel was pretty much convinced. I was pretty much about to be in the fetal position… Have you ever thought HONESTLY thought about what YOU would look like on paper?!? Not to mention if you were coming through “the system”? So much brokenness. So much for God to redeem.
So many fingerprints of God’s faithfulness!! How could this not be His story unfolding for His glory?
In the middle of dinner with our neighbors, I got to speak with my friend, the child psychiatrist, again. All our excitement levels were climbing and we arranged to meet Brother that next day to see if God would confirm him to be our son?!?
We got home, were able to finally share with our families, read over the paperwork DSS sent us home with and crashed into bed with Joel saying, “Why would we NOT adopt these precious children?”
I woke up Friday morning crying, as I had each morning that week…this time they were not emotional, grateful, scared, passionate “thank you Jesus” tears, they were sad, devastated, disappointing tears. Reality had finally caught up to me.
No more just me + hubs. No more me running back and forth to Greek Village on the whim of girls who wanted to meet. No more mornings lazily spent with the Lord. No more solo runs. Death to self, etc… But it didn’t stop at me…it quickly moved to these children.
Their brokenness broke my heart.
Their story should NEVER be.
All is not right in the world when children have been dealt this many blows. Utter fallenness. And I know this is just a slice of the fallenness of Earth.
I sat on my front porch in my pajamas and had a good ugly cry…
BUT GOD! My 2 favorite words in the Bible. BUT GOD provided the exact words I needed to hear from the exact person I needed to hear them from…”I am going to say 2 sentences that I won’t say again, because I don’t want you to feel pressured by me, but for these children to be in ‘the system’ and to be brother and sister, so young, so unscathed, so adorable, so loving, so protected, and for them to have me as a resource, the foster family that has re-habbed them for the past year, someone amazing is going to get them. It does NOT have to be you because we won’t let these children go to anyone less than wonderful, but from what I can tell, this is the best case scenario.”
And it was done!
They were mine.
God spoke through His mouthpiece of a dear friend directly to my heart. I moved from anguish to joy.
I immediately started getting DM tweets from the foster mom, we became insta-friends, she started texting me photos and I started walking in circles around my house again, stopping only to interrupt Joel mowing the lawn to get us both choked up by showing him the newest text pic of our beautiful little ones!
We would meet our sweet son that afternoon!!! And our daughter the next day!!!
More to come!!