One verse keeps running through my head as I think about announcing our current pregnancy, “You can make many plans, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” Proverbs 19:21 (NLT).
While only half of American pregnancies are intentional, virtually all adoptions are the product of a long planning processes. We managed to unintentionally buck the trend and have done it all backwards: we planned the pregnancy and were surprised by the opportunity to adopt Matt into our family. Matt’s adoption could hardly be planned as no one but his mother even knew he existed until the day of his birth, and he did not become “unadoptable” via agency placement until his terminal diagnosis was made, 24 hours after his birth. While we had long talked of adopting at some point, we certainly had not foreseen imminent adoption in our future on the morning of January 13th.
In fact, up until we learned that Matt had been born, we had been pursuing our goal of a biological third child. Of course, all such plans were necessarily abandoned when we learned of Matt. The stakes for our children, for our hearts, for Matt, and for God's glory were so high, we had a hard time doing anything but praying and seeking counsel. In fact, we have never been more blindsided or desperate for wisdom than we found ourselves to be when Matt was born and his horrific illness became apparent. All of the sudden, wisdom truly became more precious than gold. On the one hand, we knew if we didn't take Matt home with us, he would be institutionalized and likely neglected. On the other hand, we had been clearly warned by a number of experienced counselors that if we brought Matt home, our children would suffer neglect of a different but perhaps more mindful sort. Torn between our already existent children, any thoughts of introducing further complications to our tortured tale were happily discarded.
In the end, our counselors agreed with us that bringing Matt into our home within a strict system of accountability was in line with the scriptural "purposes" God has laid on our hearts. At the time, we informed our social worker and others that there was a possibility that we had become pregnant prior to Matt's birth, and they all agreed that bringing Matt home was purposed despite the complexities that pregnancy would present.
Two weeks after we brought Matt home, we found out that I was pregnant. Not long after that, Matt was admitted to the hospital for a possible "miracle cure," which turned out to be something less than miraculous. In fact driving to the hospital the morning of Matt's hospitalization, I was wondering how we would fit four children into the backseat of our tiny Corolla. On the way home from the hospital--with Matt's terminal diagnosis apparently solidified and strong evidence that I was losing the pregnancy--the backseat looked far too big. Two children apparently lost in a matter of hours.
Today, both Matt and the pregnancy are progressing nicely. We haven't actually lost either of them yet. I honestly have no idea what that means except that they both have heart beats and are both growing as expected. We have no idea how all of this will end or even what tomorrow will look like. Questions such as, "Do we need a bigger car? If I buy a stroller, should I get one to accommodate twins? Will we need two infant car seats? Will we have two special needs children and for how long? Was it really a TORCH infection?" roll around in my head with no ready answers. We just don't know what tomorrow will bring. We do know, however, that God is sovereign over all things including Matt and the baby fluttering around inside.
God is sovereign over life and death, which is why "planned parenthood," just like planned anything else ultimately implies an element of human control which does not jive well with the truth of God's sovereignty as portrayed in scripture. It is error to take life when it has been given, and it is equal error to demand life when it is taken. God gives and He takes away, blessed be His name because He knows better than we do what we really need. He knows and directs what is best for us, which can sometimes be very difficult for us planners to accept.
In short, we are somewhere between 12 and 13 weeks gestation, having conceived this little one just two days before Matt's introduction to the world. Nothing has ever been more physically demanding than the last three months have been on our bodies. Why God would allow events to transpire as they have I cannot tell you. I can assure you that despite the ridiculousness of our situation, God has clearly brought us to this place through a number of wise counselors and constant and desperate pleas for wisdom, which according to James 1:5 he has promised to answer affirmatively. This situation was not planned, but it has been directed from the outset:
This is what the LORD says-- your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "I am the LORD your God, who teaches you what is best for you, who directs you in the way you should go." Isaiah 48:17 (NLT).
Praise God that He knows where we are going. I am confident that wherever we go, we will be humbled by God's sovereignty over all things, including parenthood, and encouraged by our ongoing need for the gospel of grace as we raise our now three and soon--if God wills it--four children.