The past 3 years have been filled with emotional ups-and-downs for my family. We decided 3 years ago to adopt–we knew there was a child missing from our family and we felt that adoption was the solution to filling that gap. Accordingly, we spent two years looking at profiles on adoption and foster web sites.
For the next two years, we made inquiries and even had children spend the weekend in our home. None of them worked out. As frustration mounted, we finally were contacted by someone who had knowledge of a little boy needing a home. My wife and I flew out to meet him and his family and realized this might be the right child for our family.
The next year was spent trying to work the details of a placement in our home. The courts were involved, multiple social service agencies were involved, and biological parents were involved. Needless to say, the administrivia and red tape was mind-boggling. At various times we were excited to press on and also ready to give up. At some point my prayers changed from “let this child be placed with us soon” to “if this child is supposed to come here, you need to remove the blocks we’re facing in the courts.”
Well, in June 2017, we finally had this young man join our family. We were all so very excited. A new son had come into our lives.
Our joy was short-lived.
Just a few short weeks after placement, we received some information that identified a need for services that my family was not ready or able to provide. We spent the next week or so talking with all of the social workers, with this child’s extended family, with our own family, with church leaders, with trusted friends, and most importantly, with God.
In the end, it was clear that this child needed to return to the custody of the state. It was with a very heavy heart that we made the phone call.
And so we willingly gave up our new son. Dreams were shattered on so many fronts. At the same time, I felt a peace I hadn’t felt in a while.
After this child returned to the State, the questions began…did we try hard enough? did we wait long enough? did we give up too soon?
The questions that hurt the most though were asked by the child’s extended family: “did we listen to the Spirit in making our decision” and “why would a loving Heavenly Father make a decision to place a child in our home only to turn around a month later and decide to remove him from our home.”
These questions have caused me to analyze my own life. They have led me to analyze if I was in tune with the Spirit. After much introspection, prayer, and fasting, I have come to the conclusion that I did make the right decision–a decision that was confirmed by the Spirit.
So why does Heavenly Father allow us to suffer? Allow me to share a few scriptures that bring comfort to my soul as I feel the pain of losing this son…
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord” Isaiah 55:8.
We may not understand everything that happens in our life. We won’t always know “why” things happen, but we can be sure that Heavenly Father knows.
If thou art called to pass through tribulation; if thou art in perils among false brethren; if thou art in perils among robbers; if thou art in perils by land or by sea; If thou art accused with all manner of false accusations; if thine enemies fall upon thee; if they tear thee from the society of thy father and mother and brethren and sisters; …And if thou shouldst be cast into the pit, or into the hands of murderers, and the sentence of death passed upon thee; if thou be cast into the deep; if the billowing surge conspire against thee; if fierce winds become thine enemy; if the heavens gather blackness, and all the elements combine to hedge up the way; and above all, if the very jaws of hell shall gape open the mouth wide after thee, know thou, my son, that all these things shall give thee experience, and shall be for thy good. The Son of Man hath descended below them all. Art thou greater than he?
There are many people who suffer greatly in the world today. In fact, it is a rare individual who, if they are being totally honest, aren’t suffering in some fashion. As the Lord said to Joseph, everything that happens to us can be for our good–everything that happens to us can give us experience. We must exercise faith in Jesus Christ.
I do not know for certain why God placed this child in my home only to have him leave 30 days later (I think it was so the need for this service could be identified). I do know that it was the right thing. I trust God to guide my life–to allow me the privilege of making my own decisions while confirming correct choices and lovingly warning against poor ones. I do know that we could not meet the needs this child had–he needed professional counseling that was incompatible with my family dynamics. To keep him in our home would have been detrimental to his growth and development and destructive to family relationships.
My daughter is currently serving a church mission in France. In her last letter home, she shared two short sentences that remind me what’s important:
“Heavenly Father likes us…Heavenly Father watches over us.”
Truly our God is a great God. Jesus Christ is our Savior. The Holy Spirit guides us. In the face of adversity, let us “gird up [our] loins; fresh courage take.”
Some paths I’ve taken in life with a confirmation that Heavenly Father supports me 🙂 and some of those paths have led to sorrow 😦 I experienced that recently in a way that made me ask… Did Heavenly Father guide me to suffering? As I’ve pondered on this question the past couple days (my recent HWN),…