As a person of faith, I have lived my entire adult life with this invisible, underlying guidance of God’s plan. However, the modern world is difficult and presents challenges very different from those of Biblical times.
Personal struggles. Struggles of friends and family. Even struggles of strangers or news stories. Often, I find myself asking, sometimes begging, God where are you? Please show some sign, something, on this twisted path of life.
Then it happened. God used me as a chosen vessel.
Let me be clear from the start. I skip church. A lot.
My kids are loud and rowdy and feed off one another’s behaviors, and as such church is embarrassing and hard. I didn’t even know what a chosen vessel was until I started to Google the term for what had happened. What I had experienced. This is not a blind story of God. This is a very in your face, I am here to literally show you I am here, story.
About a year ago, on Facebook, a local woman was selling really cute and higher-end, second-hand, little girls clothing for affordable prices. My daughter is the youngest of three. I was all over the ability to dress my child in amazing clothes at a price I could afford. I met this woman at her home and followed her into her basement (yes, I know—NOT safe) and walked into little girl clothing paradise. We became Facebook friends that night, so I could come back every season, as a store was no longer necessary. Ever. Seasons passed. More trips to pick up clothes were made. Sarah* was my daughter’s clothing dealer. The end.
Light years away from the end though. Little did any of us have ANY idea of what was coming.
I still do not know why I saw this particular post of Sarah’s about six months ago. Facebook rarely shows me posts in my feed. I miss many important posts if I do not actively go onto someone’s page. But, as I was scrolling, Sarah’s post was there. It was pictures of a nursery and a family photo of “we’re adopting baby number 2!”
Sadly, the story posted was very different than the pictures.
It was a story of a second failed adoption attempt. Sarah and her husband had spent two weeks a handful of states away waiting on the birth of what they thought was their baby. Only to, again, go home empty-handed because the family changed their mind. The post was real, raw, and heartbreaking. And it apparently, unknowingly to me, stuck in my mind.
I work in a cube farm where everyone hears what you say whether you whisper or scream. A few months back, I heard a coworker talking about a client Marissa* who was pregnant, homeless, and developmentally disabled. She was in crisis.
I was immediately drawn to this case. I have three children. Two out of three of my pregnancies were “crisis pregnancies.” For my first child, I was 18 and my then-boyfriend and I had no idea what we were doing or getting into. My second crisis pregnancy happened when I was 30 and that boyfriend (now husband) was walking away when I was 4-months pregnant with our third child. I was going to be a single mom to three children. One with Autism. One a newborn.
Hearing Marissa’s story I could feel every ounce of every emotion she was feeling.
I felt it in my soul and in my bones. Marissa made her way into every conversation and every thought—for months. My emotional investment was huge. I wanted Marissa to be able to keep and raise this child more than anything in life. Marissa would need lifelong support in helping her parent. It took a really long time for me to accept that no matter how long we (at this point there’s a team searching for an answer) all looked, no such program existed to help a mother parent indefinitely. Literally the moment I finally accepted, what my coworkers already knew, that Marissa was not going to be able to raise this baby—Sarah’s post popped into my head.
A Facebook message ensued because we did not even have phone numbers at this point:
“Uh, hi, this is really weird but I remember your post about adoption. Would you potentially be interested in adopting a baby from a developmentally disabled mom? Just know—the grandmother already tried to set up an adoption privately, and the family declined because somewhere in the prenatal record some doctor somewhere said there is a chance of developmental disability in the baby.”
Sarah’s family was currently on hold with her adoption agency as they healed from the last two failed adoptions. She agreed to be included as a prospective adoptive family for this mom and this case only.
What comes next is amazing.
Sarah had communicated to me that she (and her husband) wanted an exceptionally open adoption. They wanted the baby to always know his birth mom. They wanted the birth mom to name the baby. They wanted the birth mom to come visit as much as she wanted. I’m talking dressing up with the family for Halloween and flying with them to Disney. We walked a hard line the entire time because none of this could be shared with Marissa. There was zero exchanging of information. Everything had to go through the adoption agency.
However, we at work knew that this, Sarah and her family, was exactly what Marissa was looking for! Even though she was not able to raise her baby, she really, really wanted to be in his life, in some capacity, forever.
The baby was due in a few days. Literally two or three days. The grandmother, Marissa’s mom, had set up an appointment at an adoption agency. The same adoption agency Sarah was registered with. They had the same social worker.
Of all the families shown to Marissa (there were a ton), Marissa picked Sarah’s family.
As Marissa was in labor, Sarah received Marrisa’s prenatal records. They were full of red flags. I cried. My coworkers cried. We knew that because of those records, whether accurate or not, if Sarah and her husband declined to adopt, this baby would end up in foster care and Marissa being a part of her baby’s life would only be a dream.
Sarah and her husband thought long and hard. They knew this was their baby. Everyone knew this was their baby. It all just lined up too perfectly to not work out. This entire situation was God and God’s plan. They were going to accept the placement. They were going to adopt the baby.
As word spread around work everyone congratulated me as if I did something spectacular. My answer was and remains the same.
It was not me. It never was. It was God. I was just the messenger. Or, an imperfect vessel.
God is here. In this crazy modern world. He’s on Facebook connecting people months before the real purpose is known. He’s in the office of adoption agencies. He’s in the hospital as a young mom has to make the hardest choice of her hard life. He’s walking with each and every one of us. Through every good and bad situation. He hears our cries. He’s in our hearts telling us to be brave and trust and just follow His plan. And, when He knows we’re lost and losing faith, He shows us loudly and proudly: HERE. Here I am.