The past Fall and even early Winter have been a very difficult and trying season for my wife and me. Early in the Fall, we were asked if we would be willing to adopt a child. Of the two times, we’ve been asked to adopt a child; this past one hurt the most as we were the most committed to it. At the very last week before the baby was born, the mother pulled out of the adoption. The pain we felt because of this has hurt so bad it’s taken me months to get over it. That I’m writing about it now is an act of God’s grace.
In the process of grieving the adoption, the Lord also put a spotlight on several other areas of my life including how I take care of myself. See I’m really good at talking, producing, and writing new content. The Lord has given me a gift for ministry, and I truly do love using it to further His Kingdom. With that said the Lord, especially over the past few years, has been addressing issues in my life related to how I communicate with others, how I handle a variety of situations and more. I’m in an incredible position where I have a great deal of accountability at my local church and outside of my local church. I have a lot of people who speak into my life and into the work I do, a fact of which, I am tremendously blessed by.
The failed adoption was one of the most hurtful events of my life. It hurt just as bad as my parents’ divorce as a teenager. There were times when I would go into my buddy’s office at my local church. He happens to be the associate pastor at my local church. Since my buddy knows me so well after sharing about my hurt, he came over put his hand on my shoulder and gave me a hug. We then prayed. This repeated several times over this past Fall.
You see the pain of a failed adoption is a very real pain. Many people around our country and our world can’t have children. Children are a blessing from the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5). There is nothing wrong or sinful with ever wanting to love and care for children, for such a desire comes from the Lord. With that said there are many people who cannot have children or who have been delayed by having children due to a variety of circumstances such as not being married or being infertile or others. Thankfully in my wife and I case we can have children, but the Lord has chosen not to give us them at this time either naturally or through adoption. I write this article as one who grieves with those who grieve and hurts for those who do not have children yet
The gospel meets us right here. God is not looking down at us and laughing at us who don’t have children. He isn’t disinterested in our very real hurt and pain. Instead, the Bible clearly teaches that the Lord is near to the broken-hearted (Psalm 34:18). He is near to those who are in pain. God’s grace is sufficient in the midst of pain.
I would have been able to write that last sentence with no problem several years ago, but now I can honestly write it. I write it not only as a seminary educated theologian and as one who is in ministry, but I also write it as someone who has lived it. I write it as someone whose father went away for six and a half years and came back into his life. I write it as someone who’s experienced two failed adoptions. I write it as someone who earnestly desires to be a father and whose wife desires to be a mother and yet we don’t have children.
I write this article as someone who loves the sovereignty of God but doesn’t blame God for his circumstances. Instead, I can say after a season of prayer and earnest reflection; I know God’s ways are higher than my own. All of the ways of the Lord are perfect, good, holy, and just. While I may not like the circumstances that life often throws my way, I do rejoice that the Lord puts them in my life (Phil 4:4). I rejoice not because of going through difficulty. Heck, nobody likes hard times. They are hard and try us to the fabric of our being. Who likes that? No one! The Lord uses these times to shape us and mold us into the image of Jesus. He is building godly character in us by His grace. God hand tailors the various circumstances of our lives, so we will grow up and into who we are already now in Christ.
Maybe today you are hurting. Perhaps you’ve had a failed pregnancy or adoption. Maybe your marriage is on the rocks, or perhaps you are struggling with pornography. I don’t know where you are at today. I do know one thing. I know the Lord is near to the brokenhearted. I know the Lord resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (James 4:6). I’m so thankful that as this season has ended along with the difficulty of it that God has seen fit by His grace to help me understand even more that the pain of a failed adoption is not greater than His grace. Instead in the midst of what I’ve gone through God’s grace is sufficient before it, through it, and after it.
Wherever you are today and whatever you are going through, I urge you today to look to Jesus. He is enough for you. He knows your tears. He sees your broken heart. Take that broken heart to Jesus. Get in a good Bible believing and practicing church where you can be cared for. And if you’re already in a Bible believing and practicing church it’s time to stop being on the sidelines. It’s time to jump in, get involved, and start sharing your life with others.
You see if there’s anything I’m continuing to be reminded of it’s our great need of God’s grace and for one another. Rather than faking it around church let’s get real for one another. There are countless people who are struggling with addictions, real issues in their marriages, being apathetic in their walk with God and more. And yet, God’s grace is real and sufficient. Let’s get real with God; then we can get real with one another. Then we’ll be able to help others bear their burdens by God’s grace.
I say this following sentence as one who has experienced a failed adoption twice now that a failed adoption is nothing compared to the glories of God’s grace. Without Jesus, I would not be able to say that. Without His all sufficient grace and the love of God’s people, let me just be honest, I wouldn’t be writing this article and likely not any future articles. I’m so thankful and even more amazed at the God of all grace than I ever have in over thirty years of walking with Jesus, including sixteen years in ministry. Thank You Lord for Your all-sufficient and amazing grace and helping me to see it, know it, savor it, and delight all the more in You through the pain of a failed adoption, Amen.
Dave Jenkins is happily married to Sarah Jenkins. He is a writer, editor, and speaker living in beautiful Southern Oregon. Dave is a lover of Christ, His people, the Church, and sound theology. He serves as the Executive Director of Servants of Grace Ministries, the Executive Editor of Theology for Life Magazine, and is the Host for the Equipping You in Grace Podcast. He is the author of The Word Explored: The Problem of Biblical Illiteracy and What To Do About It (House to House, 2021). You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Parler, Youtube, or read his newsletter. Dave loves to spend time with his wife, going to movies, eating at a nice restaurant, or going out for a round of golf with a good friend. He is also a voracious reader, in particular of Reformed theology, and the Puritans. You will often find him when he’s not busy with ministry reading a pile of the latest books from a wide variety of Christian publishers. Dave received his M.A.R. and M.Div through Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary.