Giving Thanks For My Portion

“You get what you get and you don’t throw a fit.” Are any of you familiar with that saying? I think I first heard it when my eldest child was in preschool – it was said by one of the preschool teachers, and pertained to snack or something equally as high currency, I’m guessing.

As I’ve grown into my forties faith, I’ve begun to realize that not only do I ‘get what I get and not throw a fit,’ but actually being grateful for my portion, whatever it is, brings me joy and peace, and even better, brings me closer to God. What’s more, I find when I lean into God, thanking Him, and trusting Him in the midst of getting what I don’t want brings immense comfort—the supernatural comfort only The Comforter could bring.

I have struggled with the idea of writing about my latest portion for which I give thanks, simply because I never want to be perceived as one who fishes for sympathy, or one who perceives herself as better, more noble, or more worthy than anyone else. But, this is part of my story – a significant part of the story Jesus has written in my life, and if it helps anyone or resonates with anyone, then I’m…grateful.

Just under three years ago, my husband and I were in the midst of attempting to adopt one or two children internationally. At first, we thought one child would be good. Then, nah, siblings would be better for us and for them, since our biological children were so much older. OK…let’s adopt two children! We saw and were matched with a couple of beautiful six- and seven-year old sibling girls.  Oh, the 6-9 month wait would seem interminable, we knew, but we had so much to do to prepare for these new daughters that we’d be busy! We needed visas for a court appearance, and updated passports, and millions of travel vaccines! We had to prepare the two older kids, who, amazingly gave their blessings and unconditional support throughout the process. There were parenting (kids from hard places) classes to take. We needed to buy gifts and acquire donations for the girls’ orphanage. From our match date in January, till our court date in May, we were busy bees, diligently addressing every detail required to bring our little girls home to the US.

At the beginning of May, 2013, we flew to their country and spent a week falling in love with these precious babes and hoping to pass court. We did pass, and were presented with an order of adoption– just a week later than we thought.  Phew! Following our return, commenced another flurry of activity and anticipation. It surely wouldn’t be long, now. Maybe they’d even be ready to start school in the fall. Could it be? Or, surely they’d be home by Halloween.  Sweet, “getting ready” showers were thrown by dear, supportive friends. Christmas dresses and night gowns were purchased, along with “coming home” clothes. I could not pass by the little girls’ section of Target without purchasing a little something, either for a care package to send them, or for use in their forever home. Matching quilts and American Girl dolls topped their sweet, newly painted twin beds, and books and toys filled their room. A couple of pink bikes, adorned with fluffy bows parked on the right side of the garage, next to a couple of brand new scooters, car booster seats, and a bucket filled with balls, jump ropes, sidewalk chalk, and of course, bubbles. We were as ready as we could be. Clear eyes, full hearts, and bursting with joy.

Now, nearly three years after being matched with our daughters from a faraway land, one would need to search our home pretty hard to find any significant traces of the girls we have loved and still love. Their room has been disassembled, with most things donated, sold, or given away to friends. The bikes have found new intrepid riders, as have the scooters. The books and toys have gone to other little curious eyes, minds, and hands to be well loved. This is good. I am grateful for this.

Our sweet friends who have asked and waited and prayed are asking no more. Because the final answer was and is no. No, they’re not coming. There will be no more children raised at this address. Due to a number of reasons related to worldly sin and God’s sovereign will, our adopted daughters will not be raised with us, and we will need to relinquish them.

Grief has found a place in our home, now, which is good. I’m grateful to have loved these little girls enough to mourn the loss of becoming their second mother. It’s a weird grief, to be sure—not a miscarriage (except of justice), and not a death (except of our dreams)—but it’s our grief. We get to have this. We get to know that we tried with everything in us to be a part of something—to do something wonderful, for all of the right reasons, but that it just wasn’t meant to be. We get a choice, too. I get a choice. I can bless my grief and release it to the One who gives and takes away and who is near to the broken-hearted, or I can clutch it in my controlling, tiresome grip. A grip which considers only MY pain and MY perspective, rather than the perspective of one who has been given so much more than she could ever deserve, and one who still gets to be a part of something wonderful.

It’s hard. And it’s not. Here’s the rest of the story Paul Harvey. You see…with our sponsorship, a family which should never have been torn apart is now being knit back together. Through this experience, and our (and the girls’) immeasurable pain, we’ve been able to learn about another’s wrong suffering, and take steps to make things right for her, which makes things right for them.  It won’t be an easy reunification, but that’s okay. Families are messy. And though there are so many days when I walk by a room which I jokingly call ‘the room of broken dreams’ and wish to hear little giggles and the sound of “Mom!” coming from there, I have peace, comfort, and joy in knowing that two little girls across the Atlantic are loved beyond comprehension by a God of second chances, a God of miracles, and a God of the impossible. And so am I. How could I be anything but grateful?  What a portion! Thank you, Jesus!

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit. ~ Psalm 34:18 (NIV)

Naked I came from my mother’s womb,
    and naked I will depart.[a]
The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away;
    may the name of the Lord be praised. ~ Job 1:21 (NIV)

Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Gretchen Hanna
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  1. Bev on November 6, 2015 at 9:14 AM

    This is so well written, because it is so deeply felt. And believed. As one who prayed to get these girls ‘home’, earthly me is sad that it didn’t end so; the ‘no’s’ are hard. My heart hurts for yours, to even imagine the day you disassembled beds, gave away dolls, watched bikes being loaded up and taken away. So I’ll pray that a yes that looks different than you hoped for will be a blessing to them, and to your family who loves them from far away. I’ll pray He continues to comfort as you all grow into this answer, and that someday you’ll be able to look back and – even if you never understand – you’ll at least be able to no longer feel shattered so by it.

    • Gretchen on November 6, 2015 at 11:08 AM

      Thank you, dear Bev. God is so gracious and giving, even when I can’t see it at the moment. So glad that He alone is my portion and deliverer.

  2. Jen on November 6, 2015 at 11:17 AM

    This post is as potent now as it was when I read it the first time a few weeks ago. To borrow a phrase, it’s “tragically beautiful”. Lurve you muchly.

  3. Gretchen on November 6, 2015 at 12:05 PM

    Thank you so much, Jen. Lurve you a million.

  4. Suzanne Lautaret on November 6, 2015 at 7:46 PM

    God bless you and your sweet family, including those beautiful girls.

    • Gretchen on November 6, 2015 at 8:24 PM

      Thank you, Suzanne. I’m so glad that even if it’s not the way we planned, we still get to be part of their lives.

  5. Terri on November 7, 2015 at 6:31 AM


    Thank you for sharing your journey. Your words bring me to tears on so many levels. It could be the three small words you wrote at the end, “families are messy.” Boy, that’s an understatement. You remind me that God walks with us through whatever we’re experiencing. He allows experiences that stretch, smooth, and deepen. Your post gave me an adjustment in perspective I needed :).


    • Gretchen on November 7, 2015 at 4:27 PM

      I’m so grateful you stopped by, Terri, and thank you for your kind words. “Stretch, smooth, and deepen.” That’s perfect.

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