Surprised by Loss

pexels-photo-110874The past weeks have been surprisingly rough for me. A little back story…

A few hours after my last blog post, we received a second email about another expectant mom looking to place her baby. It looked like a really great situation – no drug or alcohol use or mental health issues – which is not always the case. The wild thing about this match was that the baby boy was due by c-section in two weeks – and Mom/Baby were in Nevada. This would mean if she chose us, we would be traveling to Nevada in 10 days for the birth and would spend two weeks in Nevada while we awaited paperwork to be completed called an Interstate Compact. We had to choose between the two situations so decided to allow our profile to be shown to the Nevada Expectant Mom rather than Texas.

I started to feel things I had not allowed myself to feel in years – Hope, Expectation, Dreams. My planning side went into action and I started making lists (“what do we absolutely need to have for Baby if we are chosen?”); we attacked our office turned nursery with gusto (“just in case, I’d like to have the room ready”); and I pulled out all of the newborn books I had been ignoring for about five years (“maybe we’ll actually need these now”). I went into full-blown nesting mode for a week. All of the Mommy Emotions that had lay dormant for years, suddenly reawakened. I started dreaming and hoping – imagining myself staring into his sweet face for hours, holding, and caressing him. I began to wonder about his life – what he would do in the future. Would he be safe? Would I be a good Mother? Without my knowing it, I was in love with the little guy from Nevada, not yet born.

So many emotions in that short week. All the while I kept telling myself – the chances of being chosen are slim. You need to hold this Baby loosely. He is not yours until his Mom chooses to go through with her plan. But those Mommy Emotions were too strong. The ‘What If” of possibilities, the desire to be prepared if she just happened to chose us – they overshadowed the reality that we very well may not be chosen. And so when I received the call from our Agency that we were not chosen, I found myself very numb.

It took a few days for my heart to catch up with the news. And when it did, I found a place of grief that I had not experienced before. I felt a deep loss and barrenness. I also felt very silly. I kicked myself for allowing my emotions and dreams to go so far. To think that this baby was finally the fulfillment of the goal we have been working towards for six years when nothing was promised. It was a pretty confusing place to be in. I could not figure out what was going on – how could I be feeling THIS level of grief when I didn’t even know this baby existed until a week ago? Then I met with my counselor. She helped me make sense of it the overwhelming emotions. I was experiencing emotions very much like a woman who has experienced a miscarriage. In my heart, I had lost a baby and I must grieve this loss.

This process was so painful. I walked through three very dark weeks. I had to go through a significant process with the Lord of releasing Baby into His hands and blessing him and his new family. The biggest recovery step the Lord graciously led me to was one of Surrender. It’s a concept I’ve clasped onto at various times in my walk with God – surrender your rights, surrender your possessions, surrender your desire to be married. But this felt different. I could tell God was asking me to surrender the all-consuming hunger to become a Mother. I didn’t want to.

I had one evening when I first heard that still, small Voice asking me to release this hunger into His hands. I lamely attempted to let go but knew, in my heart, I was holding fast. Then I totally forgot about that moment and moved on with my grieving. A few days later, I had a friend tell me she had been regularly praying for me (I had never really told her what I was going through). Out of ‘nowhere’ she said something to the effect of, “God often wants us to Surrender to Him because He knows what we don’t know.” Ouch. This was NOT music to my ears. It struck me to the heart to realize that God is asking me to do the very thing I did not want to do – give Him my hunger for Motherhood. And to say those difficult words, “Your Will be done – Not mine.” I struggled with this all day. I saw my counselor again that evening and wrestled with it some more. So much wrestling in my heart. It felt like a battle for my very soul.

Then another strange thing happened. After my appointment, I got into my car and the radio just happened to be on and tuned into my Christian station rather than Public Radio (where it often sits). The speaker on the station was talking about Thankfulness. Oh no, I thought. And I had one of those moments where the Lord Himself seemed to say, “Listen up, this is important.” The preacher quoted a verse I’ve heard 100 times – “Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you” (1 Thess. 5:18, ESV). And that was it. I knew my wrestling was over. Despite my lack of emotions to go along with the action, I started naming off, out loud, by myself in my car all of the things I am thankful for. Anything I could possibly think of was named. Then I got to infertility. And after a pause and a few tears on the cheek, I even thanked God for this path He has allowed in our lives. Knowing He knows what I don’t know. He sees what I don’t see. He is able to bring about what I cannot even begin to imagine right now. And it was in the context of Thankfulness that I was able to really Surrender this insatiable desire to become Mom. Oh the release. The joy. The peace.

The sadness remained but somehow it was bearable. It was hope-filled sadness rather than pointless, dark sadness. I had joy. I was legitimately laughing at work once again. I was engaging with the world.

Today, I’m in no way “over” the grief. I’m still working through it. I have to remember every day to once again Surrender what I want and to open the hand – and receive whatever God wants. I’m seeking to remember to thank God for each day – for who He is and all He has given. That He is good. He is faithful. He is writing a story and I cannot even begin to imagine. He is worthy of my trust, of my surrender, of my thanks.

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog. Thanks for sticking with me. It helps me so much to be able to process this adoption journey with you. Thank you for being with us, friends, in the midst of this process when we don’t know the ending yet. We are so incredibly Thankful for YOU!

27 thoughts on “Surprised by Loss

  1. Megan Wright says:

    Thank you for sharing you heart… The joy and the pain. Your testimony is inspiring! Indeed, we do serve a good and faithful God… So with that being said, praying for you and with you as you continue to walk in this process! In those moments of doubt and unbelief, I pray He gives you the strength and endurance to carry on and through.

  2. Cara says:

    God is doing an amazing work in you. Being able to surrender in both the highs and lows of adoption is nothing short of an amazing testimony. Thank you for sharing your journey. And as always, I’m praying for you & Ben! Sending hugs! Xoxo!

    • Liz Udall says:

      Thank you so much, Cous!! I SO appreciate your support and prayers through this process. Ben and I are so blessed by you and Seth! Much love!

  3. Julie Connon says:

    You shared this beautifully, Liz. I remember very vividly going through many of these same emotions when we found out our wait for a baby had gone from 6 months to two years. I remember the day that I walked out of our office-turned-nursery, with a half painted lavender wall, and shut the door and didn’t open it again for over a year. The sense of grief was overwhelming. I remember so clearly that I have tears in my eyes for you as I type. Yet, I didn’t feel like I was allowed to have those feelings of grief because what had I really lost? I couldn’t explain it to someone who hadn’t been there and didn’t feel like trying to. After a few rough weeks our pastor approached me out of the blue and told me that he was praying for me because I basically went through an emotional miscarriage. I lost it right there because someone gave me permission to feel it. God met me in that moment as I know He meets you and started to help me heal. Prayers for you and your sweet family Liz!

    • Liz Udall says:

      Wow – so similar. Thank you SO much for sharing this part of your story! It’s comforting to hear that I’m not alone in these emotions relating to adoption.

  4. Kristin says:

    Thank you. I am walking a similar journey a few steps behind you. The Lord’s strength in you gives me comfort and courage to face the painful path I’m on.

  5. Tamara says:

    Thanks for sharing your heart and your journey. It makes me think of that fairly new song by Hillary Scott “Thy Will Be Done”, come to find out, that she wrote on the heels of a miscarriage. I am praying for you and love how your heart is open to what He has to say to you in the face of deep disappointment and grief.

    • Liz Udall says:

      That is SUCH a great song! I’ve heard it before but never knew the context or paid close attention to the words. I’ll be going back to that song over the coming months/years. Thank you Tamara!!

  6. Tricia says:

    We love you so very much. We are proud of your sharing your heart. Love deeply: faith hope and love the greatest is love. You have a big heart and God knows your desires. We join you in pray for God’s perfect timing for you and Ben.

  7. Joan Phillips says:

    My heart goes out to you! Thank you for sharing. Although I don’t know loss throu an adoption process, I do know the depths of grief from loss. My thoughts turn to Deuteronomy 33:27. I’m praying for you. Much love, Joanie

    • Liz Udall says:

      Oh that is a super strong verse. Thank you so much for sharing it! God as our Refuge and our Defense is so heartening. Thank you Joanie!!! <3

    • Liz Udall says:

      Amen sister! I’m so thankful that the Lord allows us room to grieve all kinds of losses. He truly is the Wonderful Counselor. Thank you so much, Chelsea!

  8. Pam says:

    Your beautiful heart–I soaked up every word. You amaze me Liz with your honesty. How I wish more could bare their feelings like this. You are ministring to many who are going through their own stories. You are amazing and I can’t wait to see this beautiful story play out! Hugs…❤️

  9. Connie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss and the pain you have been walking through! The further I get into my life, the more convinced I become that how we grieve loss (of whatever sort) is key to how (or if) we move forward in our relationship with the Lord. Praying that in these hard days you’ll continue to carry your pain to Him and allow Him to meet you there!

  10. Dianna Salciccioli says:

    Precious Liz~ I remember all of your conversations a few years ago and I have to believe that God is in this journey with you and that the story is nowhere near complete….I continue to pray and anticipate for you outcomes beyond your imagination as God’s great faithfulness –his creative and surprizing faithfulness–shines through…..Praying for your heart today.

    • Liz Udall says:

      Thank you so much, Dianna! Thanks for being a huge part of my being able to walk through the grief in a healthy way. Your direction and encouragement were invaluable!! Thank you for your prayers!!

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