The Valleys & Mountaintops of Adoption
“But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope. The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases”.
I cannot recall the number of times I have written, said aloud or whispered in my soul this verse from Lamentations 3 over the last year.
The toll that infertility can have on a marriage, both individually and together, is hard to describe. The emptiness that is left inside a hole meant to be filled with children born out of love is vast, dark, and at times all-consuming. When Pradeep and I found out very early on in our marriage that we couldn’t have biological children, we almost immediately resolved to adopt. The thought of adoption and giving a child a loving home was a salve over our wounds that just wouldn’t seem to heal.
By March of 2020, our adoption profile was live and available for expecting mothers to review. We had decided to work with an agency that spent a significant number of resources advocating for pregnant women seeking alternative options to pregnancy termination. We wanted the woman who would give us the greatest gift we could receive on this earth to know how much we had prayed for her, cared for her, and wanted to help provide a future for her.
We wanted the woman who would give us the greatest gift we could receive on this earth to know how much we had prayed for her, cared for her, and wanted to help provide a future for her
But with March also came the pandemic. Being married to an Emergency Room resident meant that Pradeep was immediately thrown onto the frontlines dealing with COVID-19 positive patients daily. Like many other families, we began making decisions we hoped would keep us both safe. I moved into our guest room, and we remained quarantined in our own home from one another for nearly the next 120 days. There were many days that, quite honestly, we forgot to even pray about our future child as we did our best to survive each passing day of the pandemic in quarantine from our friends, family, and each other. I had given up hope that any time soon, we would receive a call about a baby. COVID-19 had interrupted everything in our lives, so it seemed only natural of me not to put my hope in the Lord but in the reality of the suffering world around me, right? In these darker days, I would read Lamentations 3 but couldn’t convince myself to move from verses 1–20 of lament to Solomon’s resolve that God was faithful. I sat in the muck and the mire of his declaration that God had indeed left him, that peace had fled his soul, and there was no more happiness to be found.
In the months that followed, we had a few opportunities for adoption that never worked out. We even had a perfect little one-year-old stay in our home that we were confident would be our son, but the birth mom changed her mind at the last minute. The highs and lows of learning potential opportunities and then having them slip away were like emotional and mental whiplash.
Do you ever look back at your life and see how little faith you had when God was in the middle of the very situations that you cursed Him for leaving you alone in?
The first week of October Pradeep and I were walking our new puppy Mose that I had finally convinced Pradeep to let me get. My phone rang, when I answered it without looking, and on the other end of the line, I heard our caseworker say a birth mom has chosen us and that she is due in two weeks. One of the reasons she chose us was because we had just gotten a puppy! However, she had one request, our caseworker said, “she wants to name him Elijah.” Pradeep and I just stood there and looked at each other. You see, back in August, when we thought that we were bringing a baby boy home, we had three names picked out, and Elijah was one of them. If not for the goodness of the Lord, how would that even be possible? Out of all the things she would want to name this baby, it would be one of the three we had already decided on.
So, there we stood with our puppy we had for three weeks, and our caseworker was waiting for us to give her an answer. Did we want to move forward with this adoption opportunity?
We didn’t even have to discuss whether or not we wanted to move forward. We immediately told our caseworker YES. The Lord had been preparing and leading us down a better path, unfolding a better plan. Each time we felt like He had failed us, He asked us to wait for something better.
Two weeks later, we made our way to Kansas, where our son was born on October 20th. Again, in God’s perfect timing, Pradeep was able to come as he had a prescheduled week off from working in the ICU and ER. It felt so perfect that he would be there when he was born, knowing he had no control over his schedule. But, when we arrived in Kansas, we were informed that the birth mother most likely would not deliver on the 20th and would be induced a week later. Pradeep was only able to stay until October 23rd, so I would have to be there alone. Disappointed, we resolved to make the most of our time while he was there. On the evening of October 19th, we hopped on FaceTime to spend some time in prayer with our Group. We pleaded as a group for the Lord to perform a miracle and allow Elijah to be born as planned on October 20th, that despite what medicine was saying, Pradeep would be present for the birth of our son. The Lord heard our prayers, and He answered them.
Elijah Raja Johns was born at 5:25pm on October 25th. Despite living in a COVID world, Pradeep and I could be at the hospital and see him one hour after he was born and were provided our very own room to stay with him until he was discharged.
There are countless details of God’s goodness and faithfulness concerning the birth and and adoption of our beautiful son that would take too long to share. I would share them all, but you’d get tired of reading, believe me.
Lamentations 3:21–26 have carried me through the valleys and to the mountaintops of adoption. To trust the Lord when all seems lost to trust in His faithfulness is a gift from the Spirit that comes through consistent communion with our Lord. I have felt the deepest pain and walked in the greatest joys of my life throughout this journey, but I have resolved that because the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, I would walk the same path a thousand times again.