Sunday, April 28, 2013

hard things

When I was younger, in middle school, my cousin came to live with us. She had just graduated from college, had found a job, and needed to save up some money for a while to get her life off to a good start. My family lived in town; her family lived an hour or so farther away. Cousin was everything anyone would want for a role model -- pretty, kind, involved in her church, motivated, funny, and on and on. She lived with us for about half of a school year, when she decided that she had saved up enough money and was ready to find a place of her own.

This is the cousin I've always felt closest to, simply because she shared the experience, albeit briefly, of living in the same house I did, with my parents worrying about her comings and goings (no matter that she had lived on her own in college!), watching tv with us at night, grading papers, taking us with her to fun events at her church.

She waited and waited and waited to meet the right man for her -- an excellent example of not compromising her beliefs and trusting in God to provide for her, even though she was 35 before meeting the man of her dreams. They dated for a while, he went away to war, he came back, they were married. A couple years later, she was pregnant with their first baby, one of the cutest I've ever seen. He is healthy, currently about 2 years old, and surely the joy of their family.

Cousin and husband want their family to grow, but after miscarriages and I'm sure other interventions, have decided that their family is only going to grow through adoption. They made the announcement to family and friends, asked for prayers, and set about waiting through the process.

Then comes tax day (this year -- only a week or so ago) and the exciting phone call that a young pregnant woman, expecting twins, has chosen Cousin as the adoptive mom. Twin girls, due date in June, expected mid May -- more or less a month to prepare for this addition to their family. Celebration and hope and joy and relief at prayers answered for this family, this excellent example of God's good work and God's provision. More prayers, too, that the adoption will go as planned, that the birth mother won't change her mind, that the two girls will be healthy.

And my own selfish concern, mixed in, that Cousin will choose the same name I've chosen for my baby girl, due in August. We are traditional enough in our family that we like family names, but not traditional enough to have juniors, thirds, fourths (any more). My own concern, at Easter (before tax day, by a couple weeks this year), of how Cousin would feel seeing my pregnant belly for the first time (though she had known for a little while I was expecting), knowing how hard it was for me to find out and see other people's bellies when I was in the midst of wanting but not being able to have a baby of my own. (Believe it or not, this is not something that we shared with family -- lots of friends, yes, but not family.) My own relief, at finding out her girls would arrive before mine, that something good was happening for her, that my little girl wouldn't be separated from the cousins by so great an age gap as my siblings and I from our cousins. And excitement -- babies are exciting!

So it is with great sadness, my jaw dropped, that I received an email from Cousin this morning, addressed to the same great list of friends and family who had received the exciting news only a week ago, that the birth mother was lying, there are no babies being born to be adopted by my Cousin, the lawyer and social worker were both fooled, and the prayer thought to be answered has, indeed, simply left more questions.

I find myself grieving this loss for my Cousin, yet at the same time wondering if there is any comfort at all that I can offer her, in my present state of having what she so desires. I pray for her, that she truly, as she states, believes that this is part of God's great plan, that this is not the end, that God will provide, that in due time, all will be revealed.

I pray also, though she didn't ask for it, that her heart will be healed.

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