Adoption, Faith, Life

My Not So Empty Nest

It was a beautiful spring night in Houston, uncharacteristically cool and breezy, lacking the brutal humidity we often felt that time of year. I was out to dinner with a group of friends when we ran into a friend of ours from church. She was headed off to the hospital to pick up twin, nineteen-month-old girls and joked that Mike and I would be a perfect family for them. I laughed and said to her, “Girl, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and it is not a train. It’s freedom.” Mike and I were counting the days until our nest would be empty, and we most certainly had no plans to refill it.


We had no plans.

But God did.


That night, Mike and I talked about the little girls who were being rescued from a life of hell, and we prayed for the people who would someday be their forever family. Ten days later our home and our hearts were invaded by two precious, but very broken baby girls.


And oh how we loved them. We loved them fiercely and unconditionally. And some days, we thought we might not survive. We braved their brutal meltdowns. We lost sleep with them through their torturous nightmares. We saw one pediatric specialist after another to try to overcome their health and mental distress. And it took all of us, Mike and I, and Zack and Jacob to make that happen. We hired someone to keep the girls during the day while we worked, then the boys and Mike and I tag teamed the rest. We loved those babies with everything we had to give them, all the while knowing they would someday leave us to live with their forever family. And that was as it should be. Our nest was empty, and we had no plans to change that.


We had no plans.

But God did.


On Fathers’ Day 2010, we relinquished custody of our sweet little Baby S and Baby N to their forever family. We spent the day with them, trying to forever imprint our family into their hearts. We feared they would forget us, or worse yet they would think we, too, had abandoned them. Even now as I think about that day, and write these words, I struggle with feelings of guilt over leaving them. Not because we didn’t love and trust the family they were going to, but because those girls loved and trusted us, and we left them.

It was so much harder than I ever expected it to be, but as difficult as it was on me, it was inexplicably harder on Mike. He cried himself to sleep for so many nights in a row. I had only ever heard him cry like that one other time in our life, and that was when his dad died. I cannot adequately express to you just how broken his heart was.

Though we’d had no plans to refill our nest, once it was empty, really empty . . . I truly have no words to express the depths of the sorrow we felt.


We had no plans.

But God did.


As the Lord would have it, the girls ended up back in the home of their biological mom, and on September 15, 2010, she called me in the middle of the night during a domestic dispute and yelled at me to come and get them.

We have had them ever since that day.

Though the months and years that followed were tumultuous, even torturous at times, and though we lived in constant fear they would someday leave our home again, we held fast to a faith that told us God had a plan for our lives and the lives of Baby S. and Baby N., and His plans would not be undone.


On June 15, 2012, WE became their forever family and they became forever ours.


Like I said, We had no plans to change the course of our life.  But God did.

All that to say, my not-so-empty nest was never designed to be empty. From the very beginning of our lives and theirs, He created us to be a family. I have made a million plans in my life, including how I would spend my empty nest years, and trust me, the plans I made look nothing like the ones God mapped out for me. Sometimes I think we look so hard for our purpose, and we get so busy making plans to live out what we believe our purpose is, that we overlook the fact that our purpose is not what really matters.  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the LORD’s purpose that prevails. – Proverbs 19:21




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