When two young, married kids learned the hard way that starting a family wasn’t an automatic given, life turned harder than either of them had imagined possible. Through miscarriage, bouts of infertility and a traumatically failed foster care adoption, hope became this certain thing they each believed did not belong to them…

Anyone who knows me, or us, knows that this is our story. This is also the story of so many other couples. Maybe a few details would be different but the key elements- the vital heartbreak and hopelessness- that is the same… It was that journey, the one which felt the length of centuries, but was really only the length of seven years, which set the stage for our actual parenthood. When the foster babies we’d believed were the answer to so many Please, God, give us a family prayers were taken, my husband emphatically and protectively decided that enough was enough. He was done, we were done. No more hopes mutilated, no more trying to have faith that my achingly empty arms would soon be full… No more.

And so, fast forward about five years. We had very hesitantly signed with an adoption agency. It was all an awkward and cautious dance, really… Within ourselves, with those around us, with dreams and ideas, prayers, and especially with each other. It is often talked about how the loss of a child is seldom something a marriage survives and I am here to say that infertility treats a marriage the very same way. There are just genetic ways that women tend to process, cope and grieve which often seem foreign to a man. This is also true from men to women.Those times when a couple need to draw together, often leads to them pulling far apart. Immersing ourselves back into the family journey, no matter how delicately we tiptoed, was a terrifying attempt. We were each so jaded and scarred from the time before. Just as we were both settling in to that same-page way of things, and trying to move towards whatever path this adoptive journey led us- a call comes asking us to consider taking a four-year old little girl. She’s unsafe for other young children to be around. She’s been hurt. She’s aggressive and reactive. She’s coming from every imaginable trauma. Please, please take her. Now.

The past bites us viciously when we least expect it. Carnal instincts are there, within us, no matter how hard we suppress them. When you unite a mother with a child who is a viciously shattered, wounded little bird- something happens. I never knew how protective I could be. Would be…

Our adoption of that little girl took far too long. With every investment of thousands of dollars, the path would only lead to an unscalable brick wall, closed-door and the urgings of another avenue followed by double the dollar signs. She was four when she came home to us, and thirteen when a judge finally made us a legal family. For nine years we were bled dry, gave birth to debt and lived in a constant state of fear. Hope sometimes speckled our lifelines, but mostly we waited for the big-bad-whatever to ruin everything we were fighting for. With each closed-door, we would have the talk…

What if it doesn’t work out. What if someone takes her. What if we never get to adopt her. What if? What if? What if? The seeds which had been planted when those twin foster babies were taken, as I lay a mangled mess of salty tears and agony on the floor bloomed, and they bloomed vibrantly. We’d flee. We’d run. We would protect her at all cost, no matter what came her way. We’d face prison. We’d find the money and hire someone to make sure no one from those who had hurt her would ever have the chance again.

There were a lot of frustrations. There were season upon season of sleepless nights. There were a lot of Oh gosh, it’s happening- this is it, type scares. I grew far too familiar with the feeling of blood running cold. I grew far too comfortable with the idea of doing what I “had to”, even if what I had to might be wrong. My ethical compass, typically solid, grew blurred when it came to our little girl.

Thankfully, I never actually had to make the decision. Even now, years later, when I look back I realize I have absolutely no idea if I really could have gone to such extents… What I am certain of is that I gave up everything and devoted my life to give her love and keep her safe. I also know that there is no way I could have made it through even a month of that journey, much less nearly a decade, without a solid faith. God has never promised me that he’d hand over anything and everything I asked for, but what He has given me is a peace when peace seems impossible, and a quiet security and strength when the world around me raged in uncontrollable stormy chaos.

I shared this story as an experience about a relevant time, in my life, when I struggled with my moral boundaries and what I knew was right or wrong, for me. This post is in partnership with the film Wraith from writer-director Michael O. Sajbel (One Night With the King).

Wraith (rāth) noun: a ghost or ghostlike image of someone, especially one seen
after, or shortly before, their death
Something’s very wrong in the Lukens’ house. After living uneventfully for years in their historic home, the Lukens family have
somehow awakened a ghostly presence. Who is this frightening spirit and why won’t leave their 14 year-old daughter, Lucy, alone? Everything changed when Dennis and Katie Lukens discovered they were pregnant
again. Expecting in your 40’s is always high-risk and dangerous, so when the Lukens
decide all options are on the table – including termination – the unexpected starts to
happen. Sinister forces are now conspiring against the family. But is this eerie,
wraith-like spirit actually trying to haunt them…or help them?
Wraith is available on all VOD platforms and Blu-ray/DVD May 8

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