Good Grief

We could not believe that we had been so deceived.

After months of preparation for adoption, first through foster care, and then from a birth mother who had approached us at church, we were within days of our twins being born. Only there were no twins. There were no babies at all. The birth mother was not even pregnant. We had been robbed, deceived, heartbroken.

Grief. The dark hole of the soul that seems to have no limits to its depth. My plans, my dreams, my joys, were ripped out from under me and my heart tumbled in a free fall into the murky pit of grief.

I mourned the children that never were. Though they had names, they had never existed. How do you grieve someone who never existed?

I grieved motherhood. For years, I had prayed that God would make me a mother, and I had believed that I was at last realizing that dream, only to have that dream snatched away.

I mourned my plans. My plans were to spend the first half of the summer devoted to being home. Though I knew the crazy schedules and sleeplessness would be exhausting, those disruptions were desired and loved. Now, I would have to take on a tremendous load of work — my regular course load, plus my course load that was meant for me when I worked my way back from maternity leave.

I grieved all the baby things waiting in new packaging that we would never open. The letters spelling Palmer and Emelia crafted with such love that would never be hung on the wall. The mural that would never light up two pairs of tiny eyes. The matching outfits that would never elicit the question from strangers: Are they twins?

I mourned the excitement of others, who were also waiting with bated breath for the twins’ arrival as they asked, “Any news about the babies?” Their hopes would be dashed as well, as soon as I could choke out the words to tell them.

But, in the suffocating downward spiral of grief, we were not alone. In the midst of the mourning, there was never a moment in which I felt that God was anywhere but right there in that endless pit of grief with me. In the darkest nights of sorrow, there was never an hour that I doubted that we were exactly where God wanted us to be.

For a while, I pondered what purpose God had behind the situation. Perhaps we would be able to prevent the “birth mother” from defrauding someone else. Perhaps our story would serve as a warning to others who were considering independent adoption. Maybe God was delaying our adoption until our actual children were ready. Perhaps God was increasing our dependence on Him.

Any of these were possible, but the truth is that God does not answer to me. The point of surrendering my life to God is not so that He can help me fulfill my dreams, or achieve my goals, or even make me a mother. The point of surrendering my life is to glorify God, even if I must glorify Him in the midst of mourning.

I would rather be falling into a dark pit of grief, knowing that I am in the center of God’s will, than be living my dreams without God as the center of it all.

Even in grief, God is good.

Good grief.

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Robin Jewett

Robin and Ken have been married for 15 years and reside in Nashville, Tennessee, where Robin is a professor and Ken is a pastor. They enjoy ice hockey, people watching, food trucks, and taking advantage of the free and fun community activities Nashville has to offer. After a series of adoption disappointments and failures, they are now in the process of adopting two children from the Democratic Republic of Congo. You can follow their adoption story here.

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5 Responses to Good Grief

  • LauraT says:

    He is good… all the time. I experienced some of the emotions you’ve expressed so well here when we sufferend through two miscarriages and more recently, heartbreaking deception that led to a failed adoption in Malawi this December. Through it all, we came to know God’s grace and care for us in new and greatly encouraging ways. I pray that I’ll always be able to echo your words: “I would rather be falling into a dark pit of grief, knowing that I am in the center of God’s will, than be living my dreams without God as the center of it all.” Thanks for sharing!

  • Karin says:

    Your story is heartbreaking. But you must take action so this never happens to another family. This requires legal action. Seriously. This must not be allowed to continue. Remember, your hearts are full of love for those children, those children DO exist, just in other bodies, from other mothers, but there ARE children out there God has chosen for you. This is only my view and feelings after a last minute failed adoption attempt, but within weeks, it became clear God had more special, better plans for us. There was another most precious child intended for us, that needed US, and we were all ready. God moves in mysterious ways. With love, Karin

  • Robin says:

    Thank you for your comments. We did file a police report, but they were not interested in even investigating. I had kept hundreds of pages of paperwork, but they’ve never even looked at it. That’s when I realized that this was not about her, or about what was around the corner, but about God’s goodness in the midst of dark places. In trying to justify the experience, I was not trusting in His Providence, no matter what that may bring. If He wants criminal prosecution, it will come. If He wants us to adopt other children, it will happen. But even if those things never happen, God is worthy of our praise. I cannot try to fit God into my plans, or justify His actions, and still call Him God. And I’m blessed to be a part of His plan, whatever that may bring.

  • Stacy says:

    “The point of surrendering my life to God is not so that He can help me fulfill my dreams… The point of surrendering my life is to glorify God, even if I must glorify Him in the midst of mourning.” These words really spoke to me. Thank you for sharing them. I remember a time when I was struggling with my hearing loss and someone shared a quote with me by Spurgeon “We will only regret that we did not suffer more.” I didn’t understand that then. But as the Lord reveals Himself to us He gives us a greater understanding of how “His strength is made perfect in our weakness.” His light shines so much brighter against the contrast of those dark places. I am praying for you… that in your weakness He will show Himself strong… and in your dark place, His glory will shine bright. Much love sweet sister in Christ.

  • Robin says:

    Thank you Stacy. How I wish we could understand God just as clearly without suffering, but you’re right, we only truly understand His strength in our weakness. Fortunately, our story does not end there, and we have continued to pursue His plan for adoption, and we are excited about what God has in store! Thank you for your love and prayers! We need them both!

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