Finding Ezra

Suddenly we have thirteen grandchildren. Our kids are exhausted. They wander about the house saying, “Why is it that the people who want to go to bed have to put the people to bed who don’t want to go to bed?”

In July of 2019, our farmer son Jeff and his wife Raelyn drove 3 hours to a restaurant, anxious to meet an adoption worker and the very pregnant mother, Anna, who was hoping they’d adopt her baby. Red flags popped up. Drug abuse. Unsavory friends. Impending prison. Jeff and Rae believe that a love that doesn’t make you just a little bit crazy is no love at all, so they said yes.

They already have three biological kids. But Rae’s sister was adopted from China. They wanted to offer a young mom the same chance her mother had.

So they signed papers and asked questions. Where is the father? Will there be fetal alcohol issues? “I haven’t had a drink in months,” said Anna. “And no drugs.” She asked Raelyn to attend the birth. When the little guy finally arrived, Jeff held him every chance he got. They sent photos to their team of cheerleaders and babysitters. “Pray,” Raelyn begged us. “The mother yells a lot. He’s the most addicted baby we’ve ever seen in the NICU,” said a nurse. They stayed at a nearby hotel and learned how to administer doses of morphine every four hours. Though Anna was headed for jail, she had ten days to revoke her consent. And on day eight she did.

Devastated and numb, Jeff and Raelyn returned home. Two days later, Anna called. Sobbing. Apologizing. “I’m so sorry. Will you take him back?” Of course, they would.

Ten days later she reneged again, capping months of whiplash turns.

We stood in a parking lot, arms around our dazed and heartbroken children, crying, and me praying my favorite prayer: “Help!” The social worker fought tears as they handed him to her. Hours later, Anna sent Raelyn a final text: “This was my plan all along.”

You try to shield your kids from unbearable heartache. But sometimes you’re surprised at their resilience. Jeff and Rae responded gently. “We’re praying for you. That you’ll know God loves you. He sent his son Jesus to die for you. He alone can forgive you and set you free.”

Next week, I’ll tell the rest of this story.

But for now, that’s life, isn’t it? Perhaps today you are devastated. May I encourage you not to lash out, but to look up. Jesus said from the cross, “Father forgive them. They don’t know what they do.” Hang onto him today.

Phil Callaway

Phil Callaway, the host of Laugh Again, is an award-winning author and speaker, known worldwide for his humorous yet perceptive look at life.

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