Unexpected

Jan Coplan, Board Member

“And it’s a boy!”

These words warmed me to my core as I stood outside on that cold, raw and rainy November afternoon. If you live in New England, you know the kind of day and how bleak it can be. The weather personified my weary soul that had been struggling through three years of infertility and coming to terms with what it means to surrender your plans to God’s will. My husband’s voice full of excitement, spilled out the details about the young birthmother who had chosen our profile (a lengthy personal story of our lives required as part of the adoption process). This young woman, just twenty two years old, wanted to meet us and see if we were a match for the baby in her womb due in just two weeks.

As my husband shared the “too good to be true” details I felt myself stiffen and put up a wall of protection. Would this, like infertility, be yet another shattered dream? But, when he said, “and it’s a boy”, that wall crumbled down like a crashing wave. His words were the answer to the quiet wish of my heart to parent a boy.

When my husband and I joined the ranks of numerous couples seeking to adopt I acutely became aware of folks like us who longed to be parents. They too were living with a void in their hearts and homes. Many of them had been waiting for years to have their profile chosen, to feel worthy and capable. My heart ached for these people, and I began to wonder, “Do mothers with unplanned pregnancies know about them?” It was here I began to see the answer to my cry that my suffering not be in vain but for God’s glory. My pro-life beliefs began to take root.

The next chapter in our story of becoming parents was a roller coaster ride of emotions, as many adoption processes can be. Four days after his birth we brought our son, who we named Eldie Isaac, home to live with us. Our Coplan family was complete. As portrayed in the Old Testament account of Abraham’s faith demonstrated when asked to sacrifice his son Isaac, our faith in the Lord required a similar surrender (although not as extreme). From the day we left the hospital to the finalization of our adoption we were called to relinquish our cherished dreams of parenting Eldie to God’s will for him and for our newly bonded family.

I’d like to explore the notion of the ~unexpected~. If we believe God ordains our lives and knows every detail, what does unexpected mean to the believer? How do we come alongside people in our lives when things happen that they did not expect or plan? Do we courageously claim Jeremiah 29:11 that our sovereign God knows the plan He has for his children, and it is not disaster?

Let’s consider Jeremiah 17:7-8.

“But blessed is the one who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him.
They will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit.”

How do we relinquish control to God and trust in Him even when our circumstances do not make sense to us? I clung to Jeremiah 17:7 when I grappled with this question. I longed from childhood to be married and have a family yet did not meet my husband until my forties and did not became a mom until I was 45. However, I now sing to the Lord a new song (Psalm 96:1) of his abundant blessings and acknowledge that His ways are higher than my ways (Isiah 55:8-9).

I prayed in my time of suffering that it would be used for the benefit of building God’s kingdom and comforting others. After seven months of clinging to the Lord our adoption was finalized. Eldie will be ten on December 1st. God has used our story to witness to both Christians and Non-Christians.

As a newly elected member of the Branches Board of Directors my latest prayer is that my experience in becoming an adoptive mother may be used to minister to an overwhelmed pregnant mom or a couple that faces a pregnancy they did not plan. If a couple is considering placing their baby up for adoption, might I be given the chance to share how choosing adoption, making that selfless choice, has brought abundant joy into my life? And the lives of many adoptive parents?

Our omnipotent Lord knows how He will use me. As David proclaims in Psalm 40 – God has given me an open ear, put His law within my heart and a delight to do His will. I now speak of his faithfulness. When we embrace the unexpected in our life, we enable Him to shower us with gifts.

As we enter this sacred Christmas season of giving and boldly celebrate November as Adoption Awareness Month I ask you to prayerfully consider how can you prepare your heart for the unexpected gifts that may appear as a trial. Can you share this perspective with a troubled friend?

Eldie Isaac is a thriving fourth grader. His warm spirit and dimpled smile continue to break down walls of protection in my heart. He loves basketball, baseball, and golf. More importantly, he can confidently speak about how God chose him to be our son and the selfless decision of his birth mom. He was born just eight days after my birthday and twenty-four days before Christmas. His birth was the best gift I have ever received, coming into my life for the first time on a cold, raw and rainy day, completely unexpected.


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