Tender Mercies

It was difficult, as we were finalizing our book’s contents, to choose which of the many wonderful spiritual stories we had received would be included. We consoled ourselves, as we made those difficult decisions, with the intention to post the extra stories here on our website. The following is one of those tender stories.

Giving the gift of life is sometimes a partnership between two mother hearts—a birth mother yearning for a loving home for the child in her womb and another mother eagerly awaiting the child she has “grown” within her heart. I hope you enjoy Judith’s story of the adoption of her second son as much as I did.  —Lani

Tender Mercies

Even though only a brief time had passed since the adoption journey with our first son, we began the conversation again. It had taken two and a half years to find our wonderful boy, and it seemed clear that seeking his sibling was the next step. I just didn’t know how.  Prayer is the answer for me. However, in my experience, the answers to prayer can be very long in coming. So the search began but went slow-w-wly.

After many months, I was feeling particularly discouraged about the fruitlessness of the process and asked to meet with the Bishop. Compassionately, he listened to my grief.  When all was said, the Bishop replied encouragingly, saying that he knew several wealthy people and believed that one of them would be willing to give us the $25,000 to $30,000 we needed. My job, he said, was to find our baby.  An unbelievable offer of mercy shown.

Several adventures followed, but nothing came together. While we were in Utah for our summer trip with the family (almost two years after our son’s birth), we connected with an adoption agency there at the encouragement of friends. We were given a packet to complete and return. Once home, it only took moments to become lost in the activities of family, as well as work, friends, neighborhood, and garden, to forget all about the paperwork.

In December, we unexpectedly got a call from the agency, asking about the packet and saying that they had some new birth mothers who were going to review the letters they’d received. We were strongly encouraged to complete the packet and send it along with some other essential material within the next two days. Unfortunately, some of the necessary information, used in our first adoption, was nowhere to be found.

I began looking in all the usual squirrel-away-papers spots with no success and felt stuck and frantic. Then I knelt in my room and asked to be directed to the papers.  [Here I acknowledge that some people hate hearing stories about praying for lost keys, but there was nothing in this moment that was mundane to me.] I knew I had to find the paperwork quickly and the seemingly simple task of looking everywhere could take weeks in the in-between-moments of life.

After my prayer, I got up, walked to the basement storage room, and stood in front of two cardboard file boxes in the midst of a pile of other boxes. I took off the top box and looked into the second. There on top were the papers I was seeking. At that moment I could only drop to the floor in gratitude to a compassionate, attentive, and merciful God.

Swiftly completed, the packet and papers were sent overnight to the agency. All the rest of December and January there was no word.  Just waiting.

One Saturday in February, the phone rang, and I happened to answer it. The girl on the other end said something quickly, but I couldn’t understand her. I asked her to repeat it. She said, “I’ve picked you, and I was wondering what you believe about disciplining?” I said, “I’m sorry. Who is this?”

She responded, “I’m H. at the _____Adoption Agency, and I’ve picked you to be the parents of my baby. I’m wondering what you believe about disciplining children.”

Surprised and breathless, I responded, “Yes, it’s so wonderful to talk to you, H.  I’m Judy. Well, here’s what we believe about discipline….” Breathe, answer, smile, listen, breathe, talk. “Would you like to speak to my husband, Martin? He’s right here.” Jump wildly.

When my husband handed the phone back to me, she said, “I’d like you to come out to Utah this week. Could you do that? I’d like to meet you in person right away and get everything arranged.” I replied, “Of course, I can do that” (not having any idea how I would do that). With tentative arrangements made, we hung up. Stunned and exuberant, Martin and I held each other and cried and laughed.  Then I started making phone calls.

Using the ever-so-generous bishop’s frequent flyer miles, I arrived a few days later to meet H.  Excited and anxious, I met first with her social worker.  Then H. walked in bubbly and eager and hugged me! She animatedly shared the ultrasound pictures she’d just gotten. There he was—feet, head, all of him. The meeting could not have been warmer or friendlier. At lunch with the three of us, dozens of questions were asked. In that conversation H. said that she was from another state, and her mother had discovered this adoption agency, believing strongly that it was the right place for her to go, even though—or perhaps because—they had no association at all with Utah.  [What a blessing for us.] When asked why she’d picked us out of all the hopefuls, H. said that it was because we already had one adopted child (our first miracle, Jesse) and wanted her son to have an adopted brother and companion. H. talked about why she was giving up the baby for adoption and how clearly she felt that it was the right thing to do. This led, inevitably, to her description of the sadness she felt in doing so.  And so we spoke openly and tenderly and cried, as well.

Within three weeks at 9:30 a.m., H. called to say that the baby had been born—on the day she, not the doctor, had predicted. As hurriedly as able, I flew out that day.  In the evening my close friend picked me up at the airport and drove the hour to reach him. What we found at the hospital was a thin, little, blond, blue-eyed fellow whom I loved instantly.  It was real, but not real, that I could see, hear, smell, and touch him after all this time. Hello, Will. Thank you, kind and merciful God. Thank you, H.

The next morning I saw H. before we left the hospital.  She’d bought a blanket for him, and asked which name we’d chosen. Tender hugs were shared, and we said we’d meet again in 18 years.  In those moments was a mix of joy and sorrow, pain and relief, and, still, so much more I can neither fathom nor explain. But this I know: Prayers were answered many times and repeated mercies shown on our behalf.  As a result, an immeasurable gift of a beloved baby boy was bestowed upon us that day, for whom we will be grateful evermore.

1 thought on “Tender Mercies”

  1. Tender mercies indeed *sniff, sniff* That brought me to tears. What a shame it did not make it to the book but I’m glad it is here for more people to benefit from.

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