Grieving for a child I never met

grieving
You might wonder how it’s possible. I didn’t used to think it was until it happened to me. I was recently sent a referral for a child, asking us to consider whether or not we would be interested in adopting her. Our licensing worker thought she would be a great match for our family and the odd thing is, she is the perfect match I used to joke about.

When we felt led to adopt again, I used to laughingly tell friends that the perfect child for our family would be an African-American deaf girl. That way Micheline could have the black sister she has always wanted and Ben could have a deaf sibling as well. I never really even considered the possibility that a child that met both of those parameters would be offered to us.

When I opened up the referral in my email, I gasped audibly. That is how beautiful she is. She’s just a young one–in preschool–and has a face that could be a child model. Her referral makes her sound like a dream child: loves to snuggle, likes to climb into your lap, mostly always happy, gets along with other children, etc. How could I possibly turn down a child with her description? There must be something they are hiding, I thought to myself so I contacted the director of her preschool since it is the same school that Ben
attended when he first arrived home from China. I asked for her opinion on this child. Same glowing reports, but with the added phrase, “She would be perfect for your family.”

So why does my gut tell me “no”, and why did I with much sadness turn down her referral and tell our licensing worker today “I don’t think she is meant to be ours” ? For me, it all comes down to following God’s plan for my life and when I prayed about her—and boy did I pray about her–the answer came more than once, “not this one.” Three times since last week I tried to turn down her referral and before I hit send, three times I saved my email as a draft because I just couldn’t do it.

Maybe I just needed to meet her in person to decide, I thought.
After all, the director welcomed me to drop by and observe her while she was at school, and her foster mother was totally open to the suggestion. And yet, every time I thought of going ahead and forwarding our homestudy to be considered as a possible family, I felt a gnawing uneasiness; every time I asked the Lord to confirm that I should indeed pass on this child, I felt peace.

But she’s gorgeous, I would rationalize…and smart, and emotionally intact and picking up sign language rapidly. All of that was told to me by the director, including the “she would be perfect for your family.”

And then I had to stop…and listen. Does the director know the end from the beginning? Does she know all of the ins and outs of my family and what this child will be someday? No, but God does. And He is telling me, “not this one.”

So today as I showered after sending my regrets to our licensing worker, the tears flowed easily. I don’t know why I do so much pondering and praying in the shower. Perhaps because the water can wash away tears easily, or perhaps because the warm water is a healing balm for both body and soul. All I know is that I am grieving deeply today for a child I have never met.

Maybe God knows this child’s needs at some point would be more than we could handle or maybe to fulfill her destiny she is meant to join a different family. I will probably never know. I could love this child. I could love this child easily, but as I look at her sweet photo, the answer comes to my heart that she is meant for someone else. Knowing it didn’t take the sadness out of my decision, but once the email was sent, I did have an inner calm and peace that
was not present before… and that is all that I can ask for.

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1 Comment

Filed under Foster Care

One response to “Grieving for a child I never met

  1. Pingback: The work God gives you « Seven angels, four kids, one family

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