Today’s Truth

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.

John 3:16

Friend to Friend

“You will never be able to have biological children,” the doctor said. After years of painful tests, expensive treatments, frustrating procedures and desperate pleas and prayers, our hopes of having children were shattered by his harsh diagnosis. “Then we will adopt,” my husband immediately replied. I wasn’t so sure. Could I love another woman’s baby as much as a child I would give birth to? I just didn’t know.

Months later, God called Dan to be the Youth Pastor of a church where we met a Christian attorney. “We’d like to talk with you about adoption,” Dan told the attorney. His response wasn’t encouraging. “I rarely do adoptions but come by my office and fill out the papers – just in case.” The following week, the attorney called. “This is the stork,” he said. I laughed. “I have a baby for you,” he continued. I stopped laughing. “A young woman came into my office today. She’s seven months pregnant and wants to give her baby up for adoption,” he explained. I knew! Every doubt disappeared. Every fear faded into the certainty that this was God’s plan for us. Six weeks later, our son, Jered Daniel Southerland, was born and three years later, his beautiful sister, Danna Marie, completed our family. Life was unbelievably sweet. We daily celebrated the fact that Jered and Danna were our chosen babies and wanted them to understand just how special they were. I knew the day would come when both children would have questions about their birth and adoption. I just thought I had a little more time.

One night, our young son climbed into my arms for our daily “snuggle and prayer” time before bed. His question ripped through the darkness and my heart. “Why didn’t she want me?” Jered softly asked. I cried out to God for just the right words – for Jered – and for me. Instantly, it came. Bruno!

When Jered was four-years-old, we were given a chocolate Labrador puppy that quickly outgrew our small yard, our not-so-understanding neighbors and our apprehensive children. We named this gentle giant Bruno. But it soon became clear to all of us that we were not the right family for Bruno. After an intensive search, we discovered “Adopt a Pet,” a remarkable organization that finds homes for animals whose owners, for one reason or another, cannot keep them. We were promised that Bruno would be placed in a home where he would be loved and well cared for. We talked and explained, struggling our way to the difficult decision that it was time to put Bruno up for adoption. Still, when they came to pick up Bruno, we all cried. We knew it was the best plan for Bruno – for us – and for a very excited family that wanted and had the room for a Labrador. But it still hurt. Sometimes, doing the right thing – the best thing – the highest thing – is also the most painful thing.

As I looked into the beautiful, blue eyes of the little boy I loved more than life itself, I prayed for wisdom. “Jered, do you remember Bruno?” At the memory of the dog, Jered smiled and sadly whispered, “I still miss him.” I nodded in agreement, “I know, son. I know you loved Bruno and are sad that we had to give him away, but do you remember why we gave Bruno away?” Jered thought for a moment, “Because we loved him so much and we knew we couldn’t take care of him right … and because he wasn’t very happy ‘cause he was so big here … and because we wanted the best home in the whole wide world for him.”

I paused for a moment, basking in the simple wisdom of my Father, spoken through the heart of my only son. “She did want you, honey. And she did love you … so much, in fact, that she was willing to give you away, just like we gave Bruno away. Just like we wanted what was best for Bruno, your birth mother wanted what she thought was best for you.” I fully recognize that it was an extremely simple illustration for a profoundly complex life circumstance – but it was enough.

As Jered drifted off to sleep, tears of gratitude spilled down my face, and I thanked God for two courageous young birth mothers and for His extraordinary plan of adoption that linked our four chosen lives and hearts in love.

Let’s Pray

Father, I am amazed by the truth that You love and chose me to be Your very own. I don’t understand such love, but I embrace it as the precious gift that it is. Help me to remember that in Your eyes, I am planned, wanted, loved and chosen.

In Jesus’ Name,


Now It’s Your Turn

Do you battle feelings of insecurity? Read Psalm 139 once each day for a month and see how God changes your perspective.

Is your mind often filled with negative thoughts about who you are and what you do? Read and memorize 2 Corinthians 10:5. When those negative thoughts come, reject them with this truth

Do you find it hard to believe that God has a special plan and purpose for your life?

Read and memorize Ephesians 2:10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”

More from the Girlfriends

Need help learning how to trust God? Get Mary’s book, 10-Day Trust Adventure. What would your life look like if you truly learned to trust God in every area of life? Mary calls this a spiritual detox. Check it out!

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6 Responses to “Wanted, Loved, and Chosen”

  1. Linda Sue says:

    This is a touching story and great example of adoption. I got tears at you groping for just the right answer and God gave you the perfect words for a four year old to understand.

  2. Terri says:

    I waited 10 long years before God blessed me with my first son! I had given up hope but still prayed every day for a baby if it was God’s will. I cried when I read this because it brought up so many memories of wanting children and thinking it was not going to be in the plans for my life. I ended up being blessed with two sons and both got married this year! What a wonderful blessing children are, and I am so thankful God chose me to be their Mother!

    It’s amazing that God gave up his only son so that we can be his children! Hard to comprehend sometimes but I am so very thankful that he did!
    Thank you for your wonderful devotion today! I know God has a plan for the rest of my life now that my boys are out of the house. I just needed to be reminded that he isn’t through with me yet!

  3. Andrea says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story from the other side. What you shared with your son about Bruno is the absolute truth. I at 18 had to give my child up for adoption. All you want is for your child to have the absolute best. It is the single hardest decision I ever had to make. You wonder about your child all the time. She and I have been reunited after 20 plus years and I am so thankful she had a mother and a father with a wonderful family to grow up in. She is so incredibly blessed. She has the best parents. And to you, thank you for your willing heart to adopt.

  4. julie says:

    ty needed to read this and be reminded….. seems like forever ( me-health 2011? cant remember the year found out we cant have kids naturally) but still in the season of waiting….. seems like forever for our forever child. (in early stages of switching agencies we are foster/foster to adopt parents). been since aug 2018 that our 2 tg went to other homes after us and not placed since for dif. reasons. (health/break/didn’t think they would be a good fit for us) ….I honestly don’t know if we ever will be placed with our “forever child” but trying to keep this in mind. and that God has that special one for us in His timing…..just tired of the waiting. tired of the stuff basically PLASTERED on facebook with “perfect families”. tired of hearing on the news kids getting killed/abused/ kidnapped/the mom or/and dad don’t want them but the mom keeps having more anyway.. … tired of the morgue house. tired of the “empty” Christmas’s/”empty” holidays…tired of not being able to raise a kiddo with Christian values (we are far far from perfect, but teach the kid right from wrong bring them up the right way) , like/play sports/ do plays or activities in school/youth group.. miss having the house filled with love and laughter..….when or if will it ever be that my hubby and I will ever get that call? is there even a kid out there for us that we can love and call our own???….idk…just tired……

  5. julie says:

    meant aug of 2017

  6. Angela Vance says:

    Desperately, desperately, DESPERATELY needed this tonight. I was sorting unread emails in my inbox and found this. Crying my eyes and heart out over the things in our lives that are happening and affecting my adopted daughter. I’m going to read those three sections of scripture because all three topics are on my mind and heart tonight.

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"We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…" 1 Thessalonians 2:8