Unexpected and blessed: Surprises in Scripture and life

Written by Paula McDonald
Published on April 27, 2021

Nine years ago, my husband and I welcomed into our lives an unexpected blessing that has forever changed our lives. 

Our daughter found her circumstances such that she was unable to care for her newborn son. At the ripe age of fifty, we found our lives were about to change radically. 

The surprise 

As we grappled with the reality of raising another child, the range of emotions we experienced was varied. One moment we were marveling at this precious baby boy while the next moment grieving for our adult child who was going down a dark path. 

In addition, we were scrambling to adjust our lives with an infant now in the mix. 

Initially, we prayed that our daughter would get her life in order and take her rightful position as her child’s mother. After three years, it was evident this was not going to occur. 

Then, when our grandson was three, life’s realities caused us to decide to pursue adoption. We discovered that grandparents in Texas, and most likely many other states, have minimal legal rights. We were propelled forward with our decision to become his legal parents. 

One of the primary realities was being able to have him placed on our insurance. Until he was adopted, we were unable to have him covered under our policy. 

Even though we were radically surprised by this course change, God revealed there are many examples of people being surprised in the Bible. 

Sarah, at the age of ninety, was surprised to find herself pregnant. Mary’s life was altered forever when she was surprised by her pregnancy. Unexpected blessings are a part of life. 

The stress 

Additionally, enrolling him in a preschool was difficult because we were not his legal parents. As we recognized our limitations legally, the choice became very clear of what we needed to do. 

However, as we began seeking advice and guidance, there were very few resources as grandparents in this area. We learned very quickly that the legal process was going to be lengthy and expensive. Due to the family dynamic of adopting a grandchild, the added stress created emotional roadblocks in many ways. 

By far, this reality was the most difficult to traverse. Desperate to find resources to help us navigate this difficult journey, we sought out Christian counselors, our pastor, the legal system, and, of course, God’s Word. 

Thankfully, we were surrounded by a beautiful support group that encouraged us every step of the way. 

The setbacks 

Those of you who have been involved in any legal process understand the reality of setbacks. We discovered that our biggest challenge had to do with our daughter. 

Although she was unable to care for her child with stability, financially or emotionally, she battled us every step of the way. As her parents, this dynamic tugged deeply at our heartstrings. 

As much as we wanted her to step up, it was evident this was not going to happen. In our situation, we did not have any knowledge of the biological father. For us, this was a blessing and created a much less complicated case. 

However, there was always the nagging fear of a father entering the picture at any moment. Having raised this little boy for three years, we were fully invested in his life, and we were all he knew. 

It was imperative to continue to seek adoption to preserve stability in his life. Despite the battle with our daughter, we had to put his best interest ahead of anyone else. Setbacks are to be expected during the process of adoption. 

Reflecting on Joseph in the Bible, his brothers sold him into slavery. Imagine the stress of this setback in his life. Thankfully, Joseph was able to turn a setback into a success story. He says to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives” (Genesis 50:20 NIV). 

The success 

After a full year, we successfully adopted our grandson. 

Now at four years of age, this sweet boy stepped forward toward the judge and the judge hit the gavel. He was pronounced officially adopted, and we wept with joy. 

Today we have a thriving little boy who is nine years old. He naturally began calling us Mom and Dad, which we allowed to develop naturally. He has our last name, knows he was adopted, is well-adjusted, and is a very happy child. 

We are sharing his story with him as he is emotionally ready. The best lesson has been teaching him the biblical concept of adoption. “For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship” (Romans 8:14–15 NIV). 

Being able to share the many examples in the Bible regarding adoption honestly helps when we discuss the fact that we chose our little guy and that no man can ever reverse this decision. 

In the same way, our Lord and Savior chose each of us as believers, and no one can ever take this from us. 

The ultimate stability

I encourage any family facing the possibility of raising a grandchild, nephew, or niece to stay the course. You are providing a child with the chance of a stable and loving home. 

No matter how difficult things may become, with God as your guide, persevere and stay the course. 

He will be with you every step of the way. 

Live perfectly imperfect

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Paula McDonald

Despite incredible health challenges, Dr. Paula McDonald is an overcomer who inspires and encourages others. A former collegiate athlete and lifelong health nut, at age 43, she was diagnosed with a massive spinal tumor and told she had only a minor chance of surviving the surgery. Within a decade, yet another tumor was found. This time it was in her left lung and removing the lung was her only option. With a Bachelor of Science in Biology and a firm belief in God, Paula became impassioned to find answers. She later obtained a master’s degree and a PhD in Theology. Having studied both science and scripture in depth, she discovered the keys to balance and wellness. The combination of the Bible and science became her focus.

Recently Dr. Paula McDonald released her book, “LIV2DAY, Abundantly Connecting to God”. She and her husband and their beautiful bonus boy live in Texas. Visit drpaulamcdonald.com to learn more: order her LIV2DAY book and connect to additional resources. To contact her directly, email drpaulamcdonald@gmail.com. 

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