My armpits were sweating to the point I felt the seam of my shirt begin to stick to my side each time I maneuvered the car seat around the big oval table under the judge’s chair. It wasn’t exactly the image I’d dreamed up as a child about the day I’d adopt a baby and become a mom – but then again as a child I wasn’t fully aware of underarm perspiration.
Beige, dinged up walls void of anything pretty or colorful surrounded us. They looked nothing like what I assumed an adoption courthouse would – no majestic stairways or velvet draped curtains to welcome the judges overseeing some of the county’s most important cases – child adoption and placements. What a bummer.
The fact I was standing in the courthouse in January, four months after the September we’d pulled the trigger and five months before the soonest we were told we’d have a baby, blew me away and caused a decent amount of anxiety and stress.
Nothing was happening the way I’d expected or planned.
When I’d signed on the line to kickstart the adoption process, I thought I’d gotten rid of my expectations. The agency made it clear the process was ambiguous, and each case was unique. But once I got thrown into the whirlwind of a fast placement and three weeks to parenthood, it appeared my open arms needed to open wider.
My hidden expectations were coming out.
I’d expected to adopt a newborn immediately after he/she was born at a hospital. I’d pictured swearing to love, protect and care for said baby under a lovely painting on regal courthouse walls. I figured I’d have time to prepare and pray once I got the “You’ve been selected by a birth mom!” phone call. But none of those things were my reality.
Total surrender meant I needed to let my plan go and be grateful for the steps in front of me.
With a four-month-old baby in my arms and a clueless look on my face, I did just that.
Seven years later, I’m so glad I did.
As we follow God (and especially if we’re called to adoption), we will often be faced with the challenge of opening our open arms even wider. Everything from the legal process, court system, lawyer meetings, birth family and blended family can go in many different directions.
In the midst of obedience, our surrender will be challenged and often ask for even more. In those moments, we have a choice.
Either we cling to what we want, expect and hope like a shirt drenched with sweat sticking to our armpits. Or, we trust God and open our hearts even wider. We go with His plan even if it doesn’t look like ours. We trust He will work all things out for our good.
(And then, if you’re like me, we quickly invest in a new deodorant.)
In their hearts humans plan their course, but the LORD establishes their steps. Proverbs 16:9
Are your open arms needing to open wider? Are you willing?