|It was under the shade of this tree that my life changed forever.|
A phone call can change your life forever. Yet a phone call can be so simple. What can be as benign as calling my wife on a work break or calling home to remind me what exactly I was dispatched to the store to retrieve. A phone call can be as routine as catching up on the happenings of the week with a friend or calling to order a large pizza with mushrooms and pepperoni. Of the thousands of ordinary phone calls you receive in a lifetime there are some calls that have the power to change the trajectory of your life forever. Calls that leave you in stunned silence. Phone calls can shake you to your core and cause your world to stop turning. Alexander Graham Bell could have never imagined the power he unleashed when he called Mr. Watson to come see him. I have felt the power of a phone call at 4:00 one quiet Sunday morning as I realized Denise was telling me that her mother had passed away. I felt the air knocked from my lungs as I heard my mother tell me, "Dad has had a heart attack. However, a phone call is not just a grim messenger of tragedy. A phone call has brought me glad tidings of great joy. I will always remember the surreal joy upon hearing that Kayla was returning home to our family. I remember the words of my father confessing gratitude for his new understanding of God's sovereignty over his life with the words, "I got on my knees and thanked God for my heart attack". A phone call can change your direction, perspective, and outlook in an instant. The phone call I received on July 10th was one of those calls. It began with a quick text message from my friend Faithful* asking if I had a minute to talk. (*When I refer to a person in this blog I will not be using their actual name but an adjective that I believe describes their essence. Fake names are cold and sterile while adjectives are warm and communicate respect). Fortunately for me his conversation would grant me a temporary respite from watching my family shop at the outlets. Assuming that he wanted to talk theology or to ask a ministry question, I excused myself to find a quiet place in which to talk. We exchanged pleasantries and he inquired about the status of the adoption. Faithful is a friend who had walked with us through several miscarriages and has been a source of great encouragement toward pursuing adoption for our family and I was happy to share an update. Unfortunately, there was little development in our adoption since the last birth mother changed her mind post-delivery. I shared my frustration that month-after-month had gone by with little new prospects for birth mothers but our desire to adopt had not waned. It was at that moment my life was about to change. He explained that a mutual friend of his was seeking to find a Christian family to place a baby with. One family had already passed on the offer to adopt her baby but Faithful felt that our family would be an ideal place for the baby. I remember hearing these words and thinking to myself here we go again. I looked at Denise and said, "This is very good news." Immediately, I felt that I needed to ask a hundred questions but couldn't think of a single one to ask. I just stood there in the outlet mall parking lot thinking that I cannot allow myself to get too excited about this. With tempered enthusiasm, I expressed our interested in pursuing adoption with this birth mother. Faithful told me that he would pass this on to his friend Grace who would be contacting me shortly with more details about the birth mother. I gave Denise the run down and we agreed that no matter what happened over the next few days and weeks we promised not to let our horses out of the stable. Unfortunately, taming wild stallions is easier said than done.
Later in the day my phone rang with an unrecognized number which I knew to be Grace. I answered the phone wondering what impact of the next few minutes would have on the rest of my life. She introduced herself and told me the story how she came to know the birth mother, Charity. Grace already had a burning passion for adoption and the opportunity to walk Charity through the choice of life only fanned those flames. Charity felt that she could not give her baby the life that she wanted him to have due to the season of life she found herself and wanted to find a safe and loving home. She was working with an adoption agency and the families that she already met were simply not the right fit for her. Grace wanted to guide Charity to a Christian family and use this adoption as a chance to share the hope of the gospel. She had developed a special affection for Charity which was evident by how she spoke of her. I agreed that this sounded like a wonderful opportunity for us to pursue and could not help but wonder if this was the baby that we had been waiting for. I furiously called our social worker and scrambled to update our family's profile (a profile is a 6-8 page summary of pictures, blurbs, and a letter that give a birth mother a picture of what your family is like). Over the next few days calls were made, emails exchanged, and late nights spent wondering what Charity would think of our family. Our social worker printed our profile and mailed it to Charity in Ohio. The next few days were agony because I probably could have walked it to Ohio faster than the post office delivered it. We received news that she received the profile on Thursday July 26. Five agonizing days passed and we finally received news that Charity, "loved the family's profile and would like to continue her adoption journey by being this family's birth mother". The words couldn't be sweeter. After months of bitter disappointments these words were music to a weary soul. Just a few days ago (Sunday) my heart was heavy with doubt. We second guessed if adoption would become a reality and if we could stomach another year of waiting. Meanwhile, 895 miles away a mother feeling the pressure of the approaching labor, felt the burden lifted knowing that she had finally found the family that would raise her baby. Grace had told us that over the past few months Charity had begun to feel the pressure mounting to find a safe family for her baby. When she saw our profile she wept because she knew that our family was the perfect fit. When our social worker told Charity that she was giving our family a great gift she maturely countered that our family was the greatest gift she could give her baby. It is my prayer that we are faithful to fulfill her wish. By the grace of God we will. The baby is due at the end of August beginning of September. It is only a few short weeks before this elusive dream becomes a reality. There are still a multitude of details to work out. Applications to complete. A home study to renew. A nursery to prepare. The Lord will provide in His perfect timing. Today we rejoice.