We made it very clear from the get go that we would not be sharing our child’s story with anyone. How he came to be adoptable was not anyone’s business but his and ours. We always said that if one day he chose to share his story with others that would be his decision and we would support that. We would never share it for him. His story was never ours to tell. His story is still not ours to tell. I will go to my grave fiercely protecting that sweet little boy’s story.
But the details.
The details of his story broke me. They still break me. The details are what sent me to the trenches. They kept me up at night for months. They turned into nightmares and waking up in cold sweats. They looked like chest pains and stomach aches. The details turned into crazy anxiety. The details made me angry, so angry I could feel it in my jaw which remained clenched more than it did not. They made me say things out loud I could never take back. The details looked like overwhelming sadness. Just sadness for what his story is. Like, heartbroken sounds so cheesy, but heartbroken is what I feel for him.
The details made me just want to stay home because otherwise I wanted to scream at people who said all the wrong things because they didn’t know the details. Those stupid details we were protecting. The details made me drive our agency director insane with questions. They made me email what felt like every person and every organization on the continent of Africa seeing if they could help. The details made us seriously talk for a whole minute about moving to Africa and fighting off the people who were on the other side of this story. The word all-consuming comes to mind to describe what the details of his story did to me.
And then out of nowhere, I felt God whisper over and over to me, “Let it go. It’s okay. You can set it down, in my name, and keep walking. I will take care of him. He is mine. He’s always been mine. I called you by faith to start something and you did. That’s all I asked you to do. I’ve got him.”
And I wanted to throw up because no. Just no.
I spent the months of July and August wresting with peace. I wrestled with it because I thought for a really long time that peace meant acceptance. I thought that if I felt peace about his story that meant I accepted what his story is, and I don’t think I will ever accept his story. His story is pure evil. His story reeks of abandonment over and over and over again. His story is one of broken systems and broken families. His story is one where unwanted describes him but so does not adoptable. His story has royally messed me up. His story makes me officially ready for Jesus to come back. His story is not one you just accept as is and merrily move about your day. Those details again. Those details can destroy you. Sharing a story with someone else is hard business.
But that whisper. It was so real and so constant. Like God was chanting in my ear, “I’ve got him. He is mine. I will take care of him. I will finish this.” BUT NO. And so I wrestled.
God and I spent some major time together. I yelled at him all over again. I cried as I prayed big prayers for a tiny voiceless human being who didn’t ask for this story. I read stories in the Bible about people who were called to start things but did not see them to completion. I pushed back. I begged him to open doors and move on behalf of one little boy. I tried to explain that if he would just make something happen, anything, we would tell the story and it would reek of Jesus. I read through Isaiah and read about how God is a God of justice. He is a God who desperately cares about the lost. His heart is for the orphan and the oppressed. I pushed back. I questioned who he was because we were now a part of a story that did not seem just. We were now a part of a story that felt like the exact opposite of caring for the orphan. I heard people talk about how God doesn’t have to make a lick of sense in order for him to be sovereign. I pushed back.
But that whisper. “Courtney, I will protect him. He IS loved. He IS wanted. He IS a son. He is mine. I’ve got him. You are a part of something that only I will finish. Keep walking by faith.”
I can’t tell you how it happened. All I know is that eventually that whisper won. Very slowly that whisper became louder in my heart than the details on paper. Over time, that whisper redefined for me the words used to describe my buddy.
Do I still want big things for him? Yes. Will I pray bold, mighty prayers on behalf of him forever? Yes. Does his story make sense to me? No. Do I think it will ever not hurt to think about him? No.
But that whisper.