This was one of the days I had been looking forward to since we first held Isaiah in our arms. Now that it’s here, my feelings are surprisingly mixed. What made today so significant? Today was the hearing to terminate the parental rights (TPR) of Isaiah’s birth father. Since his birth mother’s rights have already been terminated, the fact that his birth father did not sign relinquishment paperwork was the main potential obstacle on our road to adopting Isaiah.
Our agency assured us as much as they possibly could that they did not think the birth father would seek to assert his rights. Such assurance offered comfort and for the past two months, the Lord has given me peace so as not to obsess over the matter. However, I will admit I marked this date on the calendar with great anticipation.
Over the past few days, I’ve noted a shift in my feelings. I’m no longer giddy with excitement over the birth father’s TPR hearing, but rather I feel a great, unexpected sadness. So much about adoption is bittersweet -- Isaiah is experiencing loss and gain simultaneously. The Lord is helping me understand that particular dichotomy more and more. I feel a sense of loss for what Isaiah is losing – the last legal link to his birth family – permanently. This precious baby boy is oblivious to the fact that he will no longer be legally tied to the people the Lord used to give him life… the people who, despite whatever circumstances they were facing, chose life for Isaiah and cared enough to make an adoption plan for him.
I pray that the Lord uses this bittersweet feeling to help me be more sensitive to Isaiah’s feelings during the years ahead. I hope I will understand the conflicted moments he may have. I pray we are able to answer his questions truthfully in a manner that brings the Lord glory. I pray I always remember that Isaiah is not mine, nor is he ours, but he is the Lord’s. Because he belongs to God, we are mere stewards over him and have been charged with bringing him up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4b). We know we are not his only family and we honestly love his birth family though we’ve never met them. We want Isaiah to love them, too.
Isaiah means “the salvation of the Lord” and Stephen means “crowned”. Our hope is that Isaiah is indeed one day “crowned with the salvation of the Lord” and that he is able to share the love of Christ with his birth family. I don’t know if the order to terminate Isaiah’s birth father’s rights was actually signed today. I didn’t hear anything… I guess no news is good news. But I’m not rejoicing, I’m feeling a bit sad. In Christ, Talya