A Change of Heart – Part 2

A continuation of A Change of Heart – Part 1

“I think we should call her,” Ben said as we stood in the kitchen that evening, going over the unbelievable events of the day. I had fumbled through the rest of the phone call with Keisha, eventually encouraging her to contact the agency we were already working with. I knew that they could provide her with some resources she might need, as well as be a facilitator between us if she was really serious about wanting to pursue adoption.

Ben continued, “If we are really open to this then we need to find out more about her and the birthfather and her situation so we can know all the facts. What if she decides not to contact the agency for some reason? We might never hear from her again.”

His sentiments both surprised and touched me. He was suggesting a much more aggressive approach than I would have considered and it reminded me that although he did not often express  his frustrations with this long wait for a second child, his desire to have a baby was just as strong as my own.

So I called Keisha. She was excited to hear from me again and heartily agreed to come over that very evening to meet Ben and continue our discussion. When she arrived she seemed a bit more timid in Ben’s presence, but still willingly answered the countless number of questions we threw at her.

During the conversation that evening and over the course of the next few months we obtained a picture of this woman and her life, both past and present, that brought to light the realities of what life is like for so many girls who grow up in a culture of poverty. Her father was never in the picture. Her mother was verbally abusive and their relationship now was strained and sporadic. The birthfather–her first and only boyfriend–was repeatedly unfaithful but yet the connection to his family provided her with a place to live, a family support system, and a father to the other three children they had had together. She felt trapped, without any real options in front of her for making a better life.

As she and I visited with each other during this time I couldn’t help but look at my own past and all the privileges I had had: married parents who loved me, moral guidance, boundaries, pastors, a Christian education, a selfless and faithful spouse…too many to count. And I looked at Keisha’s life and felt again a sense of injustice, but this time it wasn’t for me, it was for her.

We eventually had the opportunity to meet Keisha’s other children, whom she obviously loved dearly. Despite the fact that she had experienced very few healthy relationships in her own life, she was a gentle and attentive mother to these little ones who seemed to adore her. These children showered her with the love and affection that she had not received from anyone else in her life. Could it be that perhaps, despite her poor choices, these children were God’s gifts to her  to fill a need that no else had even tried to fill? She loved these children, but she felt that a fourth one would be more than she could handle  in her current living situation. Family members suggested abortion but this was not an option for her.

For four months we spoke with Keisha and the boyfriend, encouraging them to work with our adoption agency. While both of them seemed adamant that they could not raise this child and that we were the right family to do so, they were reluctant to follow through with visits to and from the agency social workers. “Why?” we kept wondering. “What was preventing them from making that next step?” This was not the only red flag that had emerged. There were others as well. Ben and I knew we needed to proceed with great caution. We prayed, we asked for advice, and we waited, all the while wondering if it was realistic to think that this baby would really be our own someday.

To be continued (and concluded)…