Three days after we received her file, the agency contacted me late at night to tell me some news. Her file had been given to their agency for a window of 90 days, and apparently they had just reached the end of that 90 days because they no longer had access to her.
Usually when those periods end, the child’s file gets returned to a large “shared” list that all agencies can access. BUT, this woman had tried to find her on now on the shared list, and couldn’t.
Her file had just completely disappeared.
The woman explained to me that this was likely explained by 2 options: either she had already been matched with another family, or another agency had requested her for their individual list. The woman had sent out a message on the listserve with all the adoption agencies, but no one had responded that she was on their agency's list.
I was crushed.
I cried as I read her email. And all that night – and week – I found myself mad. Mad at God, mostly. Why would he wait until the 87th day that her file was listed with that agency before I found it? Why did He even show me her, and let me get all excited about her, only to yank her away again?
What was the point of all that??
Friends reminded me that sometimes we need to wait until Heaven before we get the “why’s” of this life answered.
But, I felt like God had started writing the beginning of a great story – I mean, come on, her name was Rayna! I wanted to see that story unfold – to be able to re-tell it! A friend sent me a very appropriate article about how we sometimes try to write a story ahead of God, but they don’t always end up all nicely tied up in a bow like we’d like. The stories don’t end the way we want to write them.
For the next few weeks, I pursued every avenue I could to try and track down the girl’s file. It couldn’t have just disappeared, could it? I tried all kinds of different agencies, asked the people we had worked with in the past (and our agency representative) to submit inquiries. But they all came back with no answers. She really had disappeared. It looked likely that she had already been adopted. This should have made me happy – but it didn’t.
Meanwhile, I kept trying to ask God why He had put her face and file in our path. Was it to soften our hearts to more children like her? Were we supposed to pursue another child in China? Another child with club feet? An older child? What was He telling us???
I got no specific answers to those questions. But He did say something to me very loudly. One morning as my kids and I were getting ready to pray together, I thought, “We should include some Scripture in our prayer this morning… which one?”
Immediately, God brought Psalm 23 to mind (we hadn’t talked about this passage in a long time). Just as I was about to say that, Colsen, who had a Bible in his lap, piped up, “Hey, look what I just found, Mom – Psalm 23!!” I told the kids how I was just thinking of that passage, and so Miles said, “Let me see if I can just open the Bible and find it on the first page I turn to, too!” He tried, but he opened to the book of Jeremiah. However, on his third try, he did open right up to it!
We realized God was trying to show us how important this chapter was, so we recited it and prayed it together. And that passage has stayed close on my heart ever since. The Lord IS our shepherd. He is a good shepherd. He leads us beside quiet waters, He restores our souls, He takes care of us. He even leads us in victory so our cups overflow! He has love and mercy follow us all the days of our lives. Many, many times I have returned to those truths, in the midst of disappointment and sadness and confusion.
I realized I needed to just keep putting one step in front of the other…to keep working on the incessant adoption paperwork, even if it meant no child would be referred to us for years…
On November 7th, my friend, the children’s ministry director at our church, asked me if she could put an update about our adoption in the newsletter so people could pray. I responded that I was so discouraged and didn’t know if it would ever even happen, so just to put a short note for people to pray for us in the process.
Little did I know I wouldn’t be feeling that discouraged for long…
(I'll post Part 3 tomorrow): Part 3 here