As little kids, we hear fairy tales about princesses and dragon slayers who face insurmountable odds to overcome evil and live happily ever after. God designed us to live in paradise in perfect communion with him, but Satan used his cunning means to separate humans from God in the garden of Eden. So, nature and nurture designed us to believe all things turn out well in the end. Unfortunately growing up can be a harsh wake-up call. The truth is that this world here on earth is an ugly unfair place, filled with evil and injustice. Bad things happen to good people and sometimes bad people get everything they want. We learn over and over again that there will never be a “happily ever after” this side of God’s kingdom, yet when our hearts are broken again, and our arms remain empty; it feels like the final blow that leaves you hopeless.
It feels like ages ago, but it has only been a few months since we announced that we will be pursuing adoption. We only shared the bare details due to the whole process being extremely sensitive, riddled with uncertainties. The truth is, at the time, we had just been chosen by a birth mother who was due to give birth early in 2021. We were over the moon! The whole process of adoption had gone much faster than we ever anticipated and soon, very soon, we would be parents!
“Soon” came even earlier than we expected when she gave birth suddenly early one morning almost two months prematurely. We did not own any baby essentials yet, but our hearts were ready for the answer to years’ worth of prayers. We spent hours in the NICU, cuddling, cleaning, cooing, praying, singing, naming, and loving. It was not enough. After we fell head over heels in love in only a few days, we received a devastating diagnosis that forced us to make the impossible decision to stop all adoption proceedings.
We were devastated.
We are shattered.
The wrecking ball kept pounding on our hearts, crushing our spirits and our faith. The reality of never having baby cuddles, toddler giggles or proud concert moments sucked the life from the deepest recesses of our hearts – slowly and painfully.
It is over before it could begin.
After losing five children, my heart is done – my soul is shattered. I fear that another blow will leave me so broken that I will not be able to be put back together again.
I would love to give you a rosy lesson in faith and hope, but at this time I have no answers. I do not know why this situation turned out this way. I do not know why my Father in heaven did not give us our miracle after all these years. I do not know how this could be for my good. I do not know why God led us all the way through adoption, and to be chosen, to just snatch it away at the last moment. I do not know why he did not intervene to stop the suffering. I do not know how I am supposed to pray about my future.
I do not know what kind of a future to look forward to.
I do not know what my life will look like if I am not a mom. I don’t know if this is the final straw to show us to stop pursuing growing our family. I have no more options left and I can’t go through this again.
These days my prayers are simple and short, but continuous. I ask God to show me his presence every day. I ask him to help me heal from this devastating loss – of the babies I always thought I would raise and of the hope I have lost of ever holding my own children in my arms. I ask him to help me forgive the biggest injustice that was done to us with no fault of our own. I ask my Father to help me overcome this dark anger brewing in my heart.
Advent is the season of hope and throughout December I could feel Jesus holding me and whispering to my heart that he loves me and cares about me. This is a precious gift I cling to even today.
He whispers to me through scripture and in his presence in (virtual) service.
But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign Lord my refuge; I will tell of all your deeds.Psalm 73:28
I have found hope in the Advent teachings from The Village Church and Bridgetown Church in Portland, USA. Both of which took me on a journey of what Hope, Peace, Love and Joy really means according to our faith.
I battled so much at the beginning of this journey of being chosen as adoptive parents to surrender to the possibility of a happy ending, just to be devastated anyway. Love is the reason my heart is broken. I dared to love after overcoming paralyzing fear of the unknown so I wouldn’t miss out on the gift but was still left devastated. Joy feels impossible when my heart is drenched in sorrow. The wholeness that the Peace of God will bring (eventually) seems to be a distant beacon on the horizon.
Those who sow with tears will reap with songs of joy.Psalm 126:5
What I need to get through this horrific season is hope.
To say that this loss has left me hopeless is no understatement. But when my heart is the heaviest and the mourning sobs are unstoppable, I feel the Father pulling me closer and showing me gently that he still loves me, even if I can’t find him in the details.
I am learning from this Advent Bible Study by the Bible Project the true meaning of hope.
The world’s definition of hope is “to wish for, to expect, but without certainty of the fulfillment; to desire very much, but with no real assurance of getting your desire.” This is worldly optimism rather than biblical hope.
The Bible Project explains that “Biblical hope is different from optimism, enduring even in the most difficult of circumstances. While optimism is based on the belief that things will work out for the best, biblical hope is based on God’s unchanging character and promises.”
Biblical hope is a confident expectation and desire for something good to happen in the future. It is the confidence in a Person and not optimism based on evidence that things will work out. John Piper uses the example of a healthy marriage where both partners have the confident expectation to be married for life based on each other’s character and God’s promises.
What we hope for is what we live for. It motivates us to endure challenges. Our hope is disappointed when our circumstances turn out differently than what we expected, or people let us down. In our case, things turned out very differently than any worst-case-scenario planning could ever have predicted and those we trusted the most let us down badly.
During this whole journey, we expected great things from God. I believe he led us to adoption and through the process, sending us a miracle that astounded us and all those around us who prayed with us. Everything went so well, and then it was over before it began.
How do you look forward to great things in the future? How do you hope for prayers to be answered if you have been disappointed over and over and over again? How do you know God is listening? How do you trust that he cares?
As followers of Jesus, our hope is in the power of his resurrection and the salvation we have received and the future we look forward to because God is true to his word and his promises.
I am left with the words of David:
“Why my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, For I will yet praise him, My Saviour my God.” Psalm 42:5
I do not know if anything good will be in my future here on earth. I can only hope that I will again have reason to praise him one day. In the meantime, all I can do is trust that the future glory in his kingdom will more than make up for the heartache, sorrow, and disappointment here on this earth.
And then I will finally hold all my children in my arms.
This hymn was playing in our hearts throughout the whole ordeal, and I managed to hum it softly at the bedside in the NICU the day before we had to say goodbye. It will always have a special place in my heart.