on grieving…

A year ago, about this time, we were meeting two children who we thought were going to become part of our family. As is typical in the social work world no one could give us any guarantees but we were assured that the plan was for the kids to become free for adoption and placed with us. I was a nervous wreck and filled with excitement all at the same time. But as soon as I met them my heart opened wide and I saw our family with them in it. I knew it would be tough and we honestly and realistically talked through the challenges but my heart had been freely given and I was ready. I started to dream and plan. Every time we visited with them my heart cracked open just a bit wider. It sounds silly but in the few visits we had with them I saw their little spirits and loved them completely.

I was in the library when I got a phone call from their foster mother. Through tears of frustration she told me that the plans had changed. And just like that 2 children who I loved, and saw as part of our family, were gone. I grieved deeply. Yet, I also felt guilty about grieving. Here is some of an email I wrote to my mom,

I had a good talk with [a friend] yesterday. After that conversation (as well as a conversation with [someone else] about a failed adoption that they had many years ago) I felt the permission to grieve as if I had miscarried 2 children. Even though we knew this wasn’t a sure thing and I tried to compartmentalize and be practical the truth is that I met the kids, and came to love them, and despite my best efforts had dreams about what our family would be like. I don’t need to feel guilty about that, all of it is healthy and normal and right. And the flip side of that is the sadness of the loss. It hurts, and it sucks, and there just is no way to get around it but to go through it. And the acknowledgement of the the fact that I will continue to feel as if 2 children are missing from our family. But again, that is okay.

I do not say this as a cliche, or in a trite manner, but I truly believe that God’s way is good and even though things seem unclear to me, they are crystal clear to Him and He has this whole thing mapped out. We met [the kids] for a reason. Maybe that reason is that I will pray for them for the rest of my life, even if I never see them again. Maybe my prayers for them will change my heart in ways I don’t know yet. And maybe those prayers will somehow shield and protect them as they grow. It hurts me to think of them being hurt. But none of my kids are really mine to control. And none of the outcomes of my kids lives are up to me anyway. I see that now very clearly.

I was unprepared for the depth of emotion I am feeling as this time of year rolls along. I have continued to pray for the kids almost daily this past year. But I just assumed, since our decision to not pursue permanent placement at this time, that I had “gotten over it.” So the jolting moments of sadness have taken me by surprise. I am surprised at how much I miss them.

Two weeks ago we were at youth conference. My husband was chaperoning and me and the kids were just along for the ride. It was exactly one year ago that week that I had first gotten the phone call about the kids. Memories of my emotions during that time were rushing back. During one of the evening worship sessions we began singing the song Forever Reign. Tears came fast and furious because this song was on repeat during that week, one year ago, when my fears were so strong. The words were so meaningful to me that week. It was so comforting to me to choke out the words to this song through my tears and fears and anxiety.

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

I miss the kids. I think about them every day and wish I could hold them, care for them, love on them. I pray desperately that they are being cared for. That they will come to know God and His great love for them. Sometimes I am so angry I can barely stand it. I rage against “the system” and against God. And yet…

Two weeks ago, I stood in the throng and just lifted my arms high. I couldn’t even sing the words, but I felt them deeply in my heart.  It is still true that God is good. It is still true that His love is enough. It is still true that He reigns. And it is still true that I can run to His arms to have my heart healed.

You are good, You are good
When there’s nothing good in me
You are love, You are love
On display for all to see
You are light, You are light
When the darkness closes in
You are hope, You are hope
You have covered all my sin

You are peace, You are peace
When my fear is crippling
You are true, You are true
Even in my wandering
You are joy, You are joy
You’re the reason that I sing
You are life, You are life,
In You death has lost its sting

Oh, I’m running to Your arms,
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

You are more, You are more
Than my words will ever say
You are Lord, You are Lord
All creation will proclaim
You are here, You are here
In Your presence I’m made whole
You are God, You are God
Of all else I’m letting go

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

My heart will sing
no other Name
Jesus, Jesus

Oh, I’m running to Your arms
I’m running to Your arms
The riches of Your love
Will always be enough
Nothing compares to Your embrace
Light of the world forever reign

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