PHOTOS BY TERRY WILD STUDIOS
Snow fell lightly. Myra stared through the picture window, watching it
blanket a frozen earth. It's not fair! Why? I was careful... I was on the pill...
This wasn't supposed to happen. She couldn't quiet her thoughts.
Do Mario and Josie really want him? What if they are cruel? God, please make it all work out. And, as though seeking for some warmth to soothe the gnawing ache in her heart, Myra scooted towards the fireplace. She sat — cradling Joshua in her arms, waiting. Sixty minutes was all she had left.
"Dear God, I wanna keep him. How can I? Can't take care of him. If only Brent and I hadn't... Sure was dumb... He said he loved me. Where is he now?" Her heart screamed — it hurts! Can't take it!
"Love you," Myra whispered as she stroked Joshua's forehead.
Every feeling she could possibly
imagine raged daily through
her soul. She was angry with
God for allowing this pregnancy,
with Brent and herself for
having sex, with her parents
for refusing to help bring
order back into her life.
She listened to his breathing. She watched him sleep. Her eyes welled up with tears. "Love you," she said again. "Can't let him go..." She sobbed.
Startled, Joshua woke up crying.
"Sh-h-h..." Myra rocked him back to sleep. He poked her lips with his finger. She kissed it. The snow fell heavier. Somehow, the heavens seemed to echo Myra's sorrow.
Myra struggled with the options of keeping Joshua or placing him for adoption. Her desire to do what was best for him became obvious as she told her story. Even more obvious was the pain of her aloneness. Brent broke up with her when she told him she was pregnant. Her parents just wouldn't talk about it. Kids in her youth group kept their distance. Myra described this as the darkest time of her life.
Often, she wanted to drop into a hole and disappear. And she might have — had it not been for wanting to do what was best for Joshua.
Every feeling she could possibly imagine raged daily through her soul. She was angry with God for allowing this pregnancy, with Brent and herself for having sex, with her parents for refusing to help bring order back into her life. She felt betrayed by Brent, by her friends. She grieved losing them. Most of all, she worried about Joshua, about how her pregnancy would affect him.
The healing of Myra's pain took a long time. It began when she accepted her responsibility for having sex before marriage.
"I thought our love for each other made it right," she said. "We should've waited. But, I can't change that now. I have to work it out — for Joshua's sake."
Myra's decision to place Joshua for adoption didn't come easily. The grief it brought was more than she expected. But, she persisted. She worked with a local adoption agency. She chose a childless couple who, like her, wanted the adoption to remain open so she could see Joshua grow up.
"I wanna be part of Joshua's life," she told Mario and Josie.
"We wouldn't want it any other way," they said.
Mario and Josie met Brent and Myra before agreeing to adopt Joshua. During this meeting, Brent realized that breaking up with Myra didn't mean he could deny Joshua's existence too. He chose to become involved with Joshua's life then. Myra was thankful.
In time, Myra recognized her need for the church's support. Though nervous, she asked her pastor to facilitate an adoption ceremony. Initially, he was uncomfortable with her request. But this didn't stop Myra.
She continued to talk with him and with the church's leaders until they heard her grief, until they saw the need for reconciliation — between both teens, between them and their parents as well as between both families. They recognized that their desire to confront Brent's and Myra's sin didn't relieve their responsibility to provide a healing environment for them. In time, church members rallied around them as they grieved losing each other and eventually losing Joshua.
"God, please forgive us..." Brent and Myra began the adoption ceremony.
Then, they turned to each other, "Please forgive me..."
Members of both families held each other as they fought back tears.
Myra read the letter she wrote Joshua the day he was born. Brent sang a song he wrote for him. Family and friends prayed for Brent's and Myra's healing. And, as in funerals, they spoke of their memories of Joshua. They prayed that this adoption would strengthen rather than scar him.
"Joshua, I give you to Mario and Josie ," Myra sobbed as she passed him over to Brent.
"Me, too," whispered Brent as he handed Joshua to Mario and Josie.
Everyone cried...hugged...said "Good-bye" to this child who had touched their lives so deeply. Though awkward, the silence that followed seemed comforting.
Mario and Josie spoke next — of the pain of their infertility, of the deep longing they had for a child. Family and friends asked God to give them the wisdom to raise Joshua well. They shared how they had prayed on their own behalf for the gift of a child — long before they even knew Joshua's name.
"God, You created Joshua...You formed him in Myra's womb... We praise You..." When the pastor prayed, grief danced with joy.
"His name means 'Jesus — Yahweh's salvation'. As Mary's love for Jesus freed her up to release Him to do Your will at Calvary, please let Myra's and Brent's love for Joshua free them up to release him to the care of Mario and Josie. May Joshua grow up to do Your will." Everyone welcomed Joshua. Many showered him with gifts.
Then, in the spirit of a wedding, the adoption ceremony celebrated the union of four families' lives. Myra's, Brent's, Mario's and Josie's families pledged to work together to support Mario and Josie in their primary role of raising Joshua.
They committed themselves to encourage Myra and Brent to remain as involved as possible in Joshua's life. They all expressed a desire to help raise Joshua to love God and the church, as grandparents, aunts, and uncles should. Church members affirmed these families and agreed to support them in this task.
The evening ended with a light supper. And the saints who witnessed this ceremony rejoiced over the forgiveness of sin, the healing of hearts, the gift of Joshua's new life.
"I love Joshua even more," Myra said. The beauty of this love seemed to shine through her pain. It overwhelmed her with a deep sense of joy that must have come from letting go of that which she most wished to keep.
[The names of people referred to in this article as well as any information that might identify them have been changed to protect their anonymity.]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Marisol Achanzar McRae, MA, RMFT, RCC has helped individuals and families deal with issues related to the adoption process. She is a registered marriage and family therapist as well as a registered clinical counselor who practices in Surrey and Langley, British Columbia.