March 9, 2011

In God's Time

When the social worker called my sister and her brother-in-law 2 ½ years ago, she needed an emergency foster care placement for two children.

My sister and her husband had just entered into the foster-to-adopt program in the state of Kentucky. They were hoping for long-term placements, children much further through the system who would be eligible for adoption. A short-term placement of a brother and sister, ages 1 and 2, wasn’t part of their plan.

But, they told the social worker, they would give the children a home for the weekend.

I think my sister fell in love with these children even before she tucked them in to bed that first night.

Over the next 915 days, my sister prayed every night that these two children would become a permanent part of her family. The tug on her heart is more than I can imagine bearing: Visitations with the birth mother, claims by various distant relatives, endless bureaucracy, a last-ditch effort for custody by an imprisoned father.

And yet through it all, my sister believed that God planned for her to mother these children, just as surely as I knew when I held my babies, fresh from my own womb.

Today a judge finally signed off on the adoption, making official what we’ve believed for a long time: These two children, now 4 and 3, are family.

It’s no coincidence to me that this happened on Ash Wednesday. These next 40 days are about slowing down, allowing space for reflection, about understanding in a deep and powerful way that God’s time is not always our time.

It is about asking for forgiveness, about letting go of a need for control, and remembering that God works in mysterious and wonderful ways.

Thanks be to God.