We signed up to become parents again this week.
I know — big news to drop on you so nonchalantly, in an opening sentence with no explanation. But that’s kind of how I feel in this season. Over the fluff. Not into sugar coating things. Ready to just keep it real.
So there we were, standing in the UPS store on a Monday morning. You know, behind a guy shipping a DVD player (for reasons I’m still curious about. Do people still have those?). I was late for a meeting, Noland was on his way to the gym. And in the middle of our mundane Monday tasks we pressed pause for this profound moment that would activate a process that will change everything: the signing and sending of our adoption agreement contract.
I think I wanted it to feel romantic, and it felt so NOT like that. It was so impersonal. In a sense I guess I was looking at it like it was this kind of conception moment for us (sorry if that evokes a weird visual) and I wanted it to be special, but we were sharing it with Arron the notary and the guy shipping his DVD player in a room full of cardboard boxes. It was the opposite of romance.
And then I started thinking about what might be happening on the other side of this story… where there’s a baby growing inside of some woman I don’t know yet. I wonder if he or she even exists yet. I wonder where they are, or how they got to where they are. I feel the weightiness of the reality that there’s a woman out there somewhere who will choose to entrust the life she’s carrying to me. And the thought that my gain will be someone else’s grief makes me ache.
All these thoughts, swirling in my mind as I signed my name on the dotted line, the sound of printers and bad music filling the empty space around me, Noland and the DVD-player-guy. Arron the notary did his notarization thing, and we sent it off, and then we went back to our regular Monday things.
Except I couldn’t bounce back. Noland just bee-bopped over to the gym, no big deal, because guys have that switch in their brains where all the emotions just get stored somewhere else. Meanwhile I’m like open flood gates, all the time. So I went home and I wept.
This adoption thing is messy. I thought.
But isn’t that the gospel message?
That Jesus would enter into the mess on our behalf, feeling the weight and the grief and the uncertainty of it all, and say “Yes” anyway?
That a God would give up His only son in order for us to have life?
I don’t know what the rest of this road holds for us. I don’t know how many more scenarios I’ll find myself in that are borderline offensive to me because it seems like just anyone can have a baby but I’m over here getting FBI fingerprinted to get the stamp of approval. But I do know that it was never about us.
So come, Lord. Be glorified. Be honored in this process. Don’t let me for one second think that you owe me anything or that I am any more fit to parent the baby you’re going to entrust to us than the woman who’s carrying that baby.
I want to see this process in the spirit. Not for what it is at face value — a pen and paper, dollar signs and zeroes, calendars and checklists. I want to see Heaven opening and allowing our story to be woven together in the grace and mercy of a God who sees us, knows us and has only good things for us. No matter how much of a mess He leads us through to get to those good things.
22 We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. 23 Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. 24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.