When You’re Beloved, You Don’t Have To Know The Whys

When You're Beloved

I’m not sure if you all are familiar with the Time Hop app or the Facebook Memories notifications, but essentially, they do the same thing – they show a memory from ‘this day in history’. Lately, I’ve been seeing a lot of reminders of our (failed) adoption of two little girls from Ghana. About two years ago, our case was on vapors with the United States Customs and Immigration Services. To break it down in simplest terms, USCIS said we didn’t prove that the girls were (the legal definition of) orphans, while their home country and our lawyers and we said that we had–ad nauseum. But, USCIS prevailed, and we lost, and so it goes. After four plus years of trying to adopt, first from Ethiopia, which essentially closed its program when we got in, and then from Ghana, which was a nightmare, we, who wanted nothing more than to be an official family of six were back to the reality that our family would remain a four-pack.

We loved those girls so much, so hard, and I must say, so well for the 2 years that we fought for them. Anyone who has followed our story and knows my husband KNOWS how hard we fought for them, by going to their country several times, paying for their foster care as they “waited”, and providing legal fee after legal fee to get them home. In a way, we’re loving them still, by providing school. But that feels a little hollow. Just sayin’. Yes, I’m grateful that we can (hopefully) positively impact their lives by providing them an education, I would rather have them upstairs playing in their room in my house, giggling at weekly soccer games, and dressing in little plaid nightgowns on Christmas Eve.

We love them, still, but have preferred NOT to pursue a relationship with them at this time, except for receiving the “sponsorship” pictures we get from the social worker we’ve hired to make sure they’re doing okay in school.  We love them so much that we want them to forget about us a little bit, and focus upon and deepen the relationships with those whom they have around them without pining away for us. Who knows? They might even be so angry at us for leaving them behind after the courts gave them our name and we told them they’d be living in America. And perhaps…one day…one day when they are grown they might visit us. That’s up to them.

It was very tempting to be super mad at God for how all this panned out. I mean, doesn’t he love the orphan and call us to do likewise? Doesn’t He want us to love others?

Yeah. He does.

I’ll admit that while I never got mad at God, my feelings were crushed that He allowed this adoption to fail. How could He? I believe that He could because even if I can’t see it, He’s working ALL things out for the good of the people who love Him. I know that His ways are not my ways, and His thoughts are not my thoughts. And even though I thought my husband and I were doing the right thing and walking in His will, and maybe we were, He still gets to choose how things work for his glory.

I know this, though. If I hadn’t been secure in the fact that I am indeed His beloved child, a) I never would have attempted this wild ride called intercountry adoption, and b) I never would have healed after it failed.

Maybe you’ve experienced a situation where you were all in. You knew that you were listening for God’s heart and doing all you could to walk in His will and things just went to crap. Or at least it seems that way.

My friend, let me encourage you that if you believe that God chose his one and only begotten BELOVED son to pay the price for your sin, if you believe that Jesus died and rose again to reconcile us to the Father, and he sent Holy Spirit to indwell us until we get to heaven, then you know that you know that you know that you are BELOVED. It may not feel that way emotionally, but you know it. God loves you.

Your name is etched on the palms of His hands.

The good father who risks hurting his children in one circumstance to help them avoid harm in the long run is but a reflection of THE good, good Father who loves with abandon and allows us to hurt in the short run to make us more like Himself. The Father who sent his son to die a criminal’s death upon a cross calls you beloved. He calls you child. He calls you His. And one day, your tears will be dry and you will know no more pain.

How powerful that knowledge is when fully embraced, friends. It’s been nearly two years since I thought I might not be able to breathe right again, without the catch of tears in my throat. Today, I can breathe. I’m not angry, beaten down, or sitting here with heart cracked open wide and bleeding. Do I still feel sad about our adoption? Yes, mostly because I see the sin which is so overwhelming and hard to avoid in intercountry adoptions, but God has healed my heart so well that I see this as yet another puzzle I will never know the answer to until I get to heaven. What’s more, because of His peace which has surpassed understanding, I’m at the place where I don’t need to know the answer to why. I just don’t, because I trust my Dad. I’m His beloved. My family is beloved through my belief. The girls, living close to my heart, but so far away, love Him and are beloved. That’s healing.

Thank you, Abba Father for loving me so much that you would heal my heart after it was broken. I don’t know why we had to endure what we did, but You do, and that’s enough. Why do some people get cancer and others not? Why do good people die young? These are mysteries only You know the answer to, but my job is to trust You–to trust that Your Word is inerrant, says you love me, and is living and breathing and relevant even today.  Thank you for sending Your Son to reconcile us, and Your Holy Spirit to indwell me until I get to see you face to face. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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. Rebecca Preston on December 5, 2016 at 7:38 AM

    My husband and I lived a very similar story. Try as I might, I can’t figure it out. But I know this is all a matter of the journey of trusting God and His love for me. Doesn’t always make things markedly better, but it does help in understanding the purposes. We’ll see it all clearly when we are in heaven.

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 9:19 AM

      Hugs, Becky. Trusting and living expectantly with you. ❤️

  2. Amber on December 5, 2016 at 9:03 AM

    Aw, even though I watched this unfold in real time, I’m still struck by the retelljng of the story. Thank you for loving it so authentically- your faith has changed mine forever. Xo

    • Jen on December 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

      Yes. Everything you said, Amber.

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 9:20 AM

      As your faith has changed mine. Because of you, I have been changed for good. ?

  3. Jen on December 5, 2016 at 9:19 AM

    This post is so, so beautiful. Heartbreaking and hopeful all at once.

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 9:21 AM

      Thank you, Jen. Thank you for a place to land with my stories. Xxxooo

  4. Libby Bray on December 5, 2016 at 9:37 AM

    Thank you for that article. I needed it, really needed the reminder.

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 9:47 AM

      Hi Libby! Thanks for stopping by. Hugs to you. I need this reminder as often as every day–see often I write for/to the gal in the mirror. ❤️

  5. Jean on December 5, 2016 at 9:45 AM

    Beautiful reminder. So hard to understand, or accept, the upside-down way God often works. But He DOES work, and like you say, we’ll see it all clearly in heaven. ❤️❤️❤️

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 10:10 AM

      I love my life, but I can’t wait for heaven!!!

  6. Susan Mcmillan on December 5, 2016 at 9:56 AM

    In my early years, when I was still struggling to understand scripture I would often wonder why God would have to break me(me who seemed ” broken”) from different circumstances in life. I know now that He is God and not Human, He is gracious in all circumstances, He is loving, faithful and even at my limited knowledge, He knows that He created me not for my pleasure but to glorify Him alone!. Thank you for the beautiful article!

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 10:14 AM

      Hi Susan! Thanks for commenting. Yes, sometimes we feel so broken and then wonder why this is. And, one of the mysteries of God is that he says that He is our friend, but he’s also our Lord and Father, and just as we don’t understand why our parents do the things they do until we’re older and wiser, we won’t understand God until we’re with Him in Heaven. ❤️

  7. Susan Mcmillan on December 5, 2016 at 10:48 AM

    Hi Gretchen, I have that beautiful woman( aunt Jen) to thank for leading me to Grace and such. So much wisdom from women like you. Y’all are a blessing!. And yes we will never truly understand His way until we are finally in His presence.

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 11:43 AM

      Aww…Hugging you from the Upper Left USA this morning. ❤️

      • susan McMillan on December 8, 2016 at 5:03 PM

        Hugs from Texas!. Born and raised in Uganda, hugs are one of my weaknesses.

    • Jen on December 5, 2016 at 11:45 AM

      Love you and your heart, Susan!

      • susan McMillan on December 8, 2016 at 5:04 PM

        Love you too aunt Jenni!!

  8. Diane on December 5, 2016 at 12:48 PM

    Our small group knew of this, and we prayed through by your side for much of those last months. But the telling of the story fills in all the heart impacts. So touching. And it is our role to trust. Even when the visuals tell us the opposite! Thank you for sharing your heart!

    • Gretchen on December 5, 2016 at 4:11 PM

      Thank you so much for praying. I know God used folks to lift us. We felt that peace.

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