Why do faithful believers endure hardship? What can tough times teach us about God? In this video, Pastor David Platt marvels at the sovereignty of God by telling the story of his daughter’s adoption. Even though they had a good desire for children, Pastor Platt and his wife experienced years of infertility. In this hardship, they reached out to adopt children and experienced what it meant to be led by Christ. Even though the adoption process involves heartache and waiting, it can point to the sovereignty and mercy of God.
- Praying For an Answer
- The Idea of Adoption
- The House of the Lord
The Story of Mercy’s Adoption
Many of you know the story of my family, how Heather and I struggled and agonized through years of infertility, desiring to build a home but God not blessing in the way we desired. And how the Lord used that journey to open our eyes to adoption. And we adopted our first son, Caleb, from Kazakhstan. After which Heather, to our complete surprise became pregnant with our second son, Joshua. That then led to a failed adoption process in Nepal, that redirected us to China where we adopted our daughter Mara, after which Heather surprisingly became pregnant with Isaiah. And at that point we were joyfully content. And to be perfectly vulnerable, I think I saw additional children as too much, as preventing us from doing some things we would like to do.
Until a date night years later when the subject of adoption came up at dinner in a way we had not planned. The only way I can describe it is God met us at the table that night. And by the time we paid the check we were ready to start the adoption process again. So we did. Again from China and we were matched with a son, three and a half at the time named J.D. We were three days away from going to pick him up in January 2020 when we received word that China was closing down because of a virus. The initial word is that they’d be open again soon. And that began a process of waiting for now two and a half years, especially in line of all that’s going on on that part of the world not knowing when we can bring our son home.
The Blessing of Children
I’ve shared all that before in the church. What I haven’t shared is what happened next. A few months later we were in Psalms in our church Bible reading plan, much like we are right now. On the day we came to Psalm 127, I read this Psalm. As I was meditating and praying about how children are a blessing, specifically a quiver full of children are a blessing, I began to think, “If that’s true, I believe this. Then why would I not want more blessings?” The more I asked that question in prayer the more I began to sense, “Maybe our quiver won’t even be full with J.D.” So I wrote all that down in my journal, but obviously I needed to talk with Heather about this.
And as we began to talk we both realized, well, we’d read the same Psalm and we were thinking and praying the same thing. Thus began a journey where it became clear that the chances of having another child biologically were small, but adoption was definitely a possibility. So we prayed and explored and began a parallel adoption process domestically here in the US through Lifeline. It’s a great Gospel centered ministry that among other things, works with birth moms and dads when possible, who desire to put together an adoption plan.
Fast forward to the end of last year in December, Heather and I received notice that a birth mom was set to deliver in about a month and she desired a home for her baby girl. But in the notice we received we heard that this birth mom already had a name picked out for her baby girl. And when Heather and I saw that, we looked at each other and said, “That’s kind of a bummer.”
Because many years ago we had said that if God ever gave us another girl we would love to name her Mercy. And we know that’s not the most common name. But Heather and I looked at each other and said, “Of course, that’s not a dealbreaker.” We read this profile that this birth mom had put together about herself and her desires for her child. We got to the end of the profile, she said, “I have a name already picked out from my daughter.” And we read the words, “I want her name to be Mercy.”
The Image Bearer of God
Believing this was not a coincidence, tears began to flow and we began to pray. “God, we don’t know if this is all going to go through, but we’re trusting in you to lead in this.” And about a month later for the first time we met Mercy’s birth mom via Zoom. I think she may listen to this. Regardless, I want to say to all of you that Heather and I fell in love with this birth mom who was making a hard, brave, sacrificial decision to do what she believed was best for her beautiful baby girl, and we honor her. We honor her trust in the Lord and her desire for Mercy’s good throughout this process. There is no question, there will never be a question about how much Mercy is loved by her birth mom. And we also honor her dad as an image bearer of God.
Well about a week later, Mercy was born, and here’s a picture of Mercy happily being held in her first mom’s arms. A couple of days later we met them both. This mom entrusted Heather and me to be mom and dad to Mercy. And the reason I haven’t shared any of this publicly is because anyone who’s been through an adoption process knows that a variety of complications can arise along the way. You want to be wise, and careful, and honoring everyone involved to wait until things are final.
The last six months have involved a lot of ups and downs and emotions that I’ve actually alluded to at different points. I’ve said at a couple of points, Lord willing, I’ll be able to share more about this one day. Well, all of that led to two weeks ago when Heather and I had the opportunity via Zoom to be in a courtroom, and to tell the story of God’s clear love for this little girl, her birth mom’s love for her, our love for her, and specifically share the story of her name. By the end, the judge said the courtroom was in tears as she pronounced that Mercy was a member of the Platt family. Here’s one of my favorite pictures of Mercy. I have about 5,000 others on my phone if you would like to see them, but I’ll spare you today.
God’s Perfectly Orchestrated Plan
And just to give you a picture of the chaos in our family. I was alone at the house this week one night giving Mercy a bottle and just singing over her. She looked up peacefully at me. So here’s the picture of her just looking up peacefully at me. Then the rest of the family I hear them come in the house and they all come barging into her room. They’re kissing all over her, playing with her, which led to this picture. There we go. Well look at her, she’s like, “Just put me in the bed. I was so peaceful.” But even that picture is bittersweet. We are obviously so, so, so thankful for this journey that God has orchestrated and this baby girl He’s entrusted to our care in a way we never could have imagined.
At the same time, we have a son who’s waiting for this to happen to him, to be a part of that picture. His birthday is actually tomorrow. We had a call with him this week just to wish him a happy birthday, to introduce him to his new sister. And we got off that call and prayed again, especially in line of all that’s going on in that part of the world, “God, please open the door for us to go and hand him to us.”
The bittersweetness for me actually goes one layer deeper because Tuesday, so two days from now is the anniversary of the day when my dad suddenly died of a heart attack. And it makes me really sad that he never got to see that picture, none of my kids, actually. He never got to see me as a dad. All of them have only heard about him. But that’s the beauty of Psalm 127. Because when the Lord builds the house, it’s not in vain. It’s not empty, it’s not pointless. My dad pointed me to the Lord in a way that I’m doing everything I can to point my kids to the Lord and for all who trust in Him. One day we’re going to be with the Lord together in a house that will last forever. That’s a valuable, meaningful, peace filled life that counts. And I want to exhort you to live it.