The man with the long silver hair leaned over and speaking low and husky he said, “I dunno, but I think she” jabbing his thumb in my direction, “I think she is gonna have a real hard time when she has to give that baby back to you.”
Just this weekend, I walked into the lobby of the state prison, carrying our baby girl in the car seat, and the bottle and Ziplock bag with diapers and my wallet and the money for the vending machines. I knew I would probably get news, but it didn’t sink in until she was sitting there next to me in the hard plastic, red chairs in one overcrowded and chaotic visiting room, and she said: “I got a bed date!” with such joy and relief her eyes shone.
Her eyes shone while a heavy lump formed in my throat. “Oh, you did?!” I croaked, trying to muster up some feelings of excitement.
Just two-and-a-half weeks to be a family.
We talked about her plans and as soon as it felt appropriate, I excused myself to go to the bathroom. I stood at the bathroom sink and took deep breaths and stared into the mirror, the same mirror I’d stared into with happy disbelief the day we heard that we would get to adopt our son.
I knew this day would come. I knew it the very moment we said yes, we’ll take the baby girl and I knew that any other outcome was a very, very slight possibility.
But nothing can prepare you for the day you get your timeframe. Nothing. All the pep talks and self-help advice and prayers swirl down the drain, the moment you hear the news that you have this many days.
And whether it’s stage four cancer or giving back your foster child, your timeframe is never long enough.
My mind went blank and my stomach felt pinched tight, like someone had punched me and I just couldn’t get my breath. When the man in the visiting room jabbed his thumb at me and said that business about me having a real hard time, all I could do was just nod and smile sadly.
I hold my girl tighter and longer and kiss her little cheeks more than ever. I want to freeze time. And someone tell me, how do you cram a lifetime of love and being a family into two-and-a-half weeks?
There are moments I feel so mad, because this world is really stupid and smashed up and splintering and doggone it, why do the children always pay?
And I ask God, how can you, how CAN you let this happen and what in tarnation was all of this for?
And shoot, but there aren’t ANY nicely packaged up answers for bleeding hearts.
But there IS JESUS, and I am telling YOU, YOU – whoever YOU are, I am telling you today, through my tears and from my shattered heart, that JESUS is MORE than enough.
I don’t know what your timeframe is or your heartbreak or your God-forsaken, this-can’t-be-happening-to-me nightmare – but I know that there is a REAL and LIVING God who has numbered the hairs on your head, who came for the broken and the shattered and the messed-up, and said: “I am come that they may have life, AND that they may have life more abundantly.”
And when I stare through my tears, into the face of my baby girl, I know it deep in the fiber of my one heart, one soul and one being – that the Good Shepherd who cares for His sheep will take care of my little lamb.
When I start to worry over statistics that project sadness over my little girl’s life, I tell the Enemy, “No. No, no, no.” Because I believe that there is one GREATER than he that is in the world and you can tell me all the numbers and percentages and I will tell you that the God of this world is BIGGER than your numbers and percentages.
And I will choose to stare the odds in the face, because I believe that Jesus came to give us abundant life and I believe that no matter where you are or what you face, JESUS SAVES.
So when that fateful day comes, that day my heart will burst wide open into a thousand pieces, I will lay my hands on my little girl and I will say two things.
Baby Vaeh, you are beautiful. You are strong. And you are so, so loved.
Baby Vaeh, no matter what you face – Jesus came for you.
And you, friend. So close your eyes and take a deep breath and begin again.
You can, because Jesus saves.