We all have those times in life where, once the smoke clears on whatever has happened, the less-than-sparkling result causes us to say (or at least think to ourselves), “I knew better.”
Here’s my embarrassing illustration on that point. I had only been 16 years old for a few weeks, and had been driving legally for a few months, combining a few months of my hardship license with my 16th birthday. I had rules, and followed them the best that I knew how, but got something else around the same time as my driver’s license that is more dangerous – a girlfriend. Nothing that was ever serious or ever became serious. In fact, I don’t even think we made it to warmer weather that year (my birthday is in December). One particular Sunday evening, our youth group at church was having some sort of after-church something that I would likely attend. In fact, that was the plan when I left home – go to church, stay for the youth thing, then head straight home. Great plan. I went to church, but when the service ended, I drove to her house and stayed there watching a movie with her and her little brother instead. I left there within a reasonable amount of time and headed home, assuming that my parents’ assumption would be that I had been at church. I knew I would have to probably fake my way through the “did you have fun” or “how was it” session, but they probably wouldn’t really care overall.
Bad news for Greg. Apparently, the youth “thing” got cancelled. I didn’t get that memo. Also apparently, my father had to stay at church past the service for a few minutes, then walked down to the gym to look in on the youth before heading home, only to find an empty gym. I didn’t get that memo either, nor a heads up about Dad knowing I wouldn’t have been at church. (Side note for our younger readers – cell phones did not exist. My little brother did exist, and admits to thinking of warning me out the window when I got home, but did not.) So, when I walked in the house, the moment of truth didn’t contain any. They questioned to see if I would lie. I did. Dad let me know that he actually knew more about the youth gathering than I did, and that moment hit me – I knew better. The consequences were severe, expected, and justified. But, the whole time he was handing out punishment, I can remember thinking – I knew better.
I had that same feeling this past Thursday night. If you read last week’s update, you know that we got a little farther along with a mother in Arizona than we have been with any so far. Usually, we are put in a pile of 20-30 adoptive couples for a mother to peruse and choose from. This time, we got culled down to the final 4-5 couples. We prayed about this mother and Jaclyn and I both felt a strong connection to her through our prayers. So far, during these times, we have not let ourselves get emotionally involved (if that’s the right word) with any mother. It sounds calloused, but we look at the information before us, decide if it meets the criteria (so far, we have only said no less than 10% of the time, so most do), and we wait for the result without thinking about it a whole lot. This time, between the increased odds of being chosen and a strong tug on our hearts about this lady, we did just that – really got emotionally connected with the situation. When the agency called on Wednesday, it was to make sure that I re-sent a form they didn’t have completely filled out – she wanted all our “i’s” dotted – another good sign in my eyes. She also told me she was going to drive across town (Phoenix, not Mayberry) to make sure the mother had our profile book in her hands.
I saw the email pop up in my inbox Thursday afternoon, just before I left for home. Jaclyn and I were going to attend a “date night” banquet at church for couples, and the kids were hanging out at Pop and Nana’s (my parents). So, I clicked on the email to read the following:
“Hey guys, I am so sorry, but I don’t have good news. Cherie called to say she had decided to go with a same sex couple. . . “
There’s more to the email, but you read the part that hit us between the eyes. I left school and called Jaclyn, mainly to check on her. She had not had the best of days, running around doing more preparation for the banquet than anticipated at the last minute. I really was debating on whether or not to even tell her about the email, and just save it to tell her before going to bed. But, her first question was “I hope you have some good news from Arizona to make up for the rest of my day.” Sorry babe – I’m about to make it all. . . worse. I told her the news, the whole news, and we just had a silent moment on the phone. I got off the phone so she could go back to preparing, dropped off Kara at Pop’s house, and went home to change for the banquet.
During the banquet, after eating, we were watching the video that all of the couples were sharing in (by the way, 45 minutes is my attention span, Bro. Greg – so I have no idea what the third couple said, really) and just not talking a whole lot. I knew that I was disappointed and that she was taking it hard as well. We discussed a little and our consensus view is this – we couldn’t decide if we were more sad that this avenue had closed for us, or that this unborn child has already been placed in (to us) an undesirable situation. Most that read my blog share my views and for those that don’t, you’re entitled to your opinion that is to the contrary. But, if I find out that a baby was being placed with an atheist, I will feel sadness for the child, and my feelings here are much the same. I feel sadness for knowing that this baby is starting out life at a spiritual disadvantage. So, during one of the moments that the video turned to a song, Jaclyn and I both sat at our table and shed tears. We had officially become emotionally involved with a baby that we did not receive, and the bad news was compounded by finding out just where the child was ending up. And we knew better.
God will shape us through the joy in this process and through the times where it’s not so much fun, like this past week. I told Jaclyn on Friday that, at the end of the process, when we hold our new baby, the rest of the stories will be a distant memory. And though we still are sad for other situations around our country, we will rejoice in the life God has provided us with. We won’t want any other child but the one we will be holding. Pray for us to be patient, to continue to seek out what God wants for us to do, and for discernment. But pray for the moms out there making these hard decisions, and the unborn, innocent lives that don’t get a voice in the matter.
“The Lord will protect you from all harm; He will protect your life.” – Psalm 121:7