How I met my favorite people…(part 3 of 3)

If I was just making her mad with my position, I probably would have kept my sleeves rolled up and my heels dug in but I wasn’t making her mad…I was making her sad…I was disappointing her. Rebecca has a bit of a short wick when it comes to general frustration but disappointment in me is something that only shows it’s face when I’m way off base with something so I respect it when I sense it. She kept asking me the same question in different ways. The general question was, “why is it that you think it’s better or more gratifying to have a child that we conceive naturally?” and I answered it in different ways but my general answer was “I DUNNO IT’S JUST BETTER OK!”  Eventually, as I began realizing that my reasoning wasn’t as compelling as her passion for the idea of adoption, I told her that instead of going round and round about it, I needed some time to process and think and pray about it. Over the next several days, we talked more openly about it and I really heard her and felt her heart on the issue. I  started thinking about it in a different light as the days went by.

Part 3 of 3…

As the chip began falling off my shoulder, Rebecca stopped tip-toeing around things and began really sharing with me. I had never likened adoption to the way God felt for me, but in listening to her..and to God, I began understanding. Finally I realized that not only was I warming up to the notion of adoption, but my heart was starting to break for children in need.

I’m not one to sit on things so I came home from work one day and and created an environment that invited straight talk. (In other words I came home from work and told Rebecca I needed to talk to her about something important.) I told her what was going on inside me. She was visibly elated and it didn’t take long at all for her to invite me into the world she had been living in…the world of adoption. We spent hours looking at websites and talking about things we hadn’t really talked about. Not only did we agree that we wanted to adopt, but we decided we wanted to adopt internationally. Not only that, but we decided we wanted to adopt from Ukraine. Before I knew it, we were off to the races and busy building our “dossier”. This is the stack of papers an adoptive family has to put together and send to the country they hope to adopt from. This process took flight sometime in June of 2007. For the next season, we worked with government agencies to get criminal clrearances, hired an “expert”, took classes, raised money, spent money, wrote essays about why we wanted to adopt, filled out paperwork,got documents notarized and authenticated, read about Ukraine, read international adoption blogs, talked endlessly, and prayed…

In January of 2008, we were finally finished with our dossier and sent it off to Ukraine…

A few short weeks later, we were informed by our “expert” that Ukraine had decided to close it’s doors to Americans for adoption. At the time, there was no reason given. As of Februaray 2008, we had lost nearly nine months and twenty thousand dollars and were faced with either starting over or giving up. We cried ourselves to sleep that night. Our adoption had taken on it’s own life. We prayed for our child often and grieved the fact that we were apart from one another. Our hearts were absolutely broken for our child that was withering away in an orphanage as we swam through red tape…now it was over. The only thing I can think of that resembles what we felt would be a miscarriage. Just like a pregnancy, our child was alive and waiting to be united with us and all of the sudden, it’s over and there is nothing we can do but grieve. We prayed out of a place of brokenness. We were mad, and sad, and confused. We begged God to reveal his plan for us and cried the question…WHY!

 

A few days later, Rebecca and I were volunteering at a fundraising dinner. We were serving dinner for people in our community who came out to eat spaghetti and give generously in order for students to be able to travel to New Orleans to help out with the post-Katrina re-building effort. At some point, a young lady that we knew well, approached Rebecca and asked if she had a minute to talk. The girl confided in Rebecca that she was pregnant and very scared. Rebecca consoled her and insisted that she had nothing to be frightened about, that her family loved her very much and everything would be ok. She even offered to join the girl when she shared with her mother. This happened on a Friday. On Monday, the young lady came to Campus Life (the youth program Rebecca and I served with for the eight years we lived in IL) and was excited to report that she had talked to her mother and Rebecca was right. She said her mom was very supportive and that they had talked it through and decided that the best thing to do was to place the baby for adoption. Since the moment Rebecca told me about what had happened at the spaghetti dinner, I was quietly wondering if this was all happening on purpose, if it was all part of God’s plan for how our family would grow. It was the sort of wondering that causes you to be ashamed to even wonder but I was wondering all the same. I saw the girl talking excitedly to Rebecca and decided to “overhear” what was going on. As I realized what was being talked about, I made my way over and interjected with a big hug for the girl and a simple “I’m so proud of you” ….followed by…”As you probably know, Rebecca and I have been working through the adoption process for about a year and we just found out that Ukraine closed it’s doors to Americans so we are wondering what to do next. If you think you might like to talk about what it wold look like for us to adopt that baby in your belly, don’t hesitate to call because we would love to talk about it with you.” She seemed taken back by my straightforwardness and simply said “ok?” As Rebecca and I laid in bed that night, I asked her  if I had “John’d” the situation to which she responded…”I don’t know” and then turned over and pretended to go to sleep. I fought the temptation to call the young lady on Tuesday…

On Wednesday, Rebecca answered her phone in the evening and I watched and listened to her side of the conversation. 2 minutes later, Rebecca reported that we were invited to dinner the next evening at the girls house in order to spend some time with her and her mother talking about what the adoption would look like. We had known the girl and her mother for several years so dinner was warm and intimate. We all talked openly and freely about what was in front of us. We left her home that evening pretty sure that we would be adopting the baby that was growing in this dear girl’s belly.

At this point, birth-mom was due in just a few months so we had to move fast in order to have all the paperwork completed in time. We stayed in touch with birth-mom and worked tirelessly to prepare the room, fill out the papers etc.

On May 4th, 2008…Elijah Truman Pack was born, 2 weeks early.

I can’t even describe what it was like to meet Elijah, my son for the 1st time. I had an immediate connection to him and it has only grown stronger in the last 2 and a half years. Just yesterday, someone stopped us at church to let us know how much we resembled one another.

So this is the story of how I met and fell in love with my other favorite person. This experience has taught me more about the way I am loved by God than anything else in my life. Even though Elijah doesn’t have my blood running through my veins, he is very much my son, and I couldn’t imagine my life without him.


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