We had been waiting for our LOA (Letter of Acceptance)...the next step in our adoption process. Once the LOA came we could pretty safely assume we'd be traveling in around 3 months.
We were on day 97 of our wait for LOA.
And there was a message on our answering machine to call our agency!
At first I was sure that our LOA had arrived! But then I started thinking about it...
Usually that kind of info, as exciting as it is for us, comes in an email.
And the phone message didn't say anything about LOA.
What could it be?
I was getting a little worried, but remained hopeful.
So when I finally connected with our agency by phone, I said something like..."So, is our LOA here?"
Only to hear, "No, Mandy, I don't have good news."
And in the seconds that followed, I realized I was in the middle of a phone call that no one ever wants to get. One I would never forget. One in which I could do nothing but sob and sob and sob.
The sweet lady from the Waiting Child department of our agency said, "Mandy, Luke died." And then she explained that they had received news that he had been fine on Christmas and then fell ill and died the next day. She said they had waited to call us so that they could verify the information and ensure that there was no mix-up. She said there had not been.
I remember her saying over and over "I am so sorry" as I just sat and cried.
The only words I remember uttering were Job's...the Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
I barely remember calling Kevin and telling him. He immediately left work.
I spent the next hour by myself in my bedroom before the Lord.
Then I told my parents who were visiting. They had been slated to leave a day or two earlier, but as God is sovereign, He had them stay longer.
That evening Kevin gathered all of the kids to tell them. Even as I type this I cry. I think that was as hard as receiving the phone call. How do you sit your children down and tell them news that you know will break their hearts?
Yet, there was a presence, peace, and shreds of joy that only believers in Christ can know in that moment as we grieved together. Everyone cried tears of love for Luke...as we each realized that Luke was with our God and King, our Abba...and that he is whole. We grieved as a family as we each processed the reality that we would not be bringing Luke to our house, that we would not hold Luke's hand, we would not get to talk with him, laugh with him, get to teach him our family games and jokes. We would not get to have our son and brother with us...yet. One day we will be with him.
It was such a gift for me personally to see my oldest son cry openly over the brother he so wanted and for us all to pray to God together. The blessing of believing grandparents to help hold hurting hearts and speak Truth when neither Kevin nor I could speak goes beyond what I can type.
I must say this has been the hardest post for me to type yet, but as I reflect on that day, I rejoice in how much healing I see the Lord has done in these last 2 months. I rejoice that even the hardest of days are only days...and that the Lord brings growth from the storms, He brings beauty from ashes, He teaches so much from the hurts.
As my devotion this morning said...Every difficulty that presents itself to us, if we receive it in the right way, is God’s opportunity...When the “lion” comes, recognize it as God’s opportunity no matter how rough the exterior. The very tabernacle of God was covered with badgers’ skins and goats’ hair; one would not think there would be any glory there. The Shekinah of God was manifest under that kind of covering. May God open our eyes to see Him, whether in temptations, trials, dangers, or misfortunes.