A year ago, I was feeling low. A sadness permeated my days. The first half of 2016 had been really difficult. In April, my husband’s aunt passed away. We had no way of knowing at the time, but the time we spent in Kansas for Aunt Betty’s funeral was also the last time we would spend with our niece, Alle. A few weeks later, on Mother’s Day, Alle died by suicide.
Alle was 17 years old. An honors student who was a couple of weeks from finishing her junior year of high school. Our last conversation was about prom (“it was awesome”), the county-wide art show where she’d just been awarded best in show, and the colleges she was planning to visit. Our last conversation didn’t touch the hard topics. The eating disorder that had plagued her for years, the depression she couldn’t escape, or the feeling that she’d never be good enough.
The support we received and the love we felt from our community were amazing, but the time we spent in Kansas for Alle’s funeral was the longest, hardest week of my life. We returned to Indiana and fell back into our routine. I was in a rut at work, just going through the motions. And my husband and I were having serious discussions about if/when we should abandon our plan to have a family. We’d been going through the adoption process for two and half years and were beginning to think we’d never be chosen by birthparents to parent their child.
So, yes. A year ago, I was feeling low. But then on June 22, everything changed. June 22, 2016 was the best day of my life. A day that began with a phone call from our adoption agency to say, “A little girl was born yesterday at midnight. She’s perfect. Her parents have chosen you. They don’t have a second choice.” By the afternoon, we were parents and the last year has been the happiest year of my life.
I’m reminded of John 16:20-22 , when Jesus was preparing the disciples for his imminent crucifixion and resurrection. “…You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman has pain in childbirth because her time has come; but when she brings forth her child, she forgets her anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.”
The context is slightly different, but the end result is similar. I will always miss Alle. Aunt Betty too. But my grief has turned to joy.
A year ago, when friends or family would ask about our adoption process, I’d often reply “I know we’ll have a great story to tell someday. We just haven’t made it to our happily ever after yet.” And I’d be lying if I told you I always believed myself. Believed that our happily ever after was just around the corner. What I do know, what I knew then, and what I would encourage others who are experiencing periods of sadness, is that God’s mysterious ways and His timing are more perfect than mine.
~ Beth Hess