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Praying for God to Close the Door

On this blog, I’ve chronicled the story of how God miraculously enabled my family to adopt a child from Ethiopia (which you can read about here and here). I described how harrowing the process was, as it dragged on for several years while my wife was struggling with her health and we ultimately had no idea how we were going to pay for it (we had little savings left and I was being laid off of my job of fourteen years). Most people who would voice an opinion told us it was time to give up, as it was draining us emotionally and financially. Despite everything appearing to be aligned against us, though, my wife and I still believed we were called to continue forward.

But we didn’t want to make a colossal mistake, if we weren’t truly called to adopt. So, I began regularly praying:

God, if it’s not your will for us to adopt this child, please close the door.

He never did, so we walked through that door, hearts pounding, and then watched as God miraculously tossed every mountain in our way—financial and otherwise—into the sea, allowing us to bring home our precious boy, Amare.

There is sequel to that story, though. I mentioned in one of my previous posts how we had been matched with a beautiful little girl before being matched with our current (and awesome) boy, but that the first match had fallen through four days before we were to travel to adopt her (her birth mother was taking her back). Even after it fell through, though, and we adopted exactly the child we were always supposed to, that sweet little girl we had come so close to adopting was still on our hearts.

Not long after we arrived home with Amare, we received word that the girl’s mother had never picked her up and that the agency couldn’t even locate her. It had been long enough that they decided they were going to move her through the adoption process again. And they wanted us to adopt her.

Wow. We had just finished a three-year adoption process that nearly destroyed us, we had no money, and we were considering a move across the state. I sometimes fancy myself a writer, but I don’t even have the words to capture how ill-equipped we were to start all over again with another adoption. Going forward would have been wrong in every way—even more so than with the previous adoption. But, how could we say no, if God was bringing this special girl back into our lives?

Simple: we couldn’t. We just had to trust (again) that if God wanted us to adopt her, he would somehow miraculously (and I mean on the level of raising Lazarus from the dead miraculous) make a way.

So we started the paperwork—which we’re terrible at—knowing that we were in for a long, grueling, expensive process. That’s when I began to pray the same prayer I had with the first adoption:

God, if it’s not your will for us to adopt this child, please close the door.

And guess what. This time, he did.

Shortly into the process, we received word that the adoption agency was finally able to locate the girl’s mother and she had picked up her daughter. She had gone home to where she was meant to be. And despite all the tears we had shed over this girl and the hole that had been in our hearts when it had originally fallen through, my wife and I felt nothing but relief at the news. All our grief had evaporated and was replaced with joy that that girl had been reunited with her mother. God did not intend for us to adopt this girl. He never had. So he shut the door.

These experiences—among others—have taught me that praying for God to close the door is powerful. It removes the guesswork from any large decision I face. Which is nice. I don’t trust myself to make these types of hard decisions; I’m not that smart. But God, of course, is, and I can depend on him every time to answer my prayer in exactly the right way. Now I simply move forward in a given situation—whatever my doubts—praying the prayer to close the door if it’s not his will, and wait for him to either close it—or not.

And ultimately his will—not mine—is always done.