For When Your Story Is Broken

unresolved story

A note to my readers:

I wrote this piece for a link-up with a writers’ group I’m a part of (of which I’m a part?).  The prompt was Story and this was what came out in response.  I guess, after years, I’m still processing.  And I think, probably, I always will be.  And I also think–that it’s okay.

Because He’s enough to cover the unresolved-ness of my story.

Of all our stories.


If you rewound my life 5 years, you’d find Stan and me, married just over a year, beginning our foster care journey.

Were we nuts to start out on such a crazy-intense road?

Yes.  Certifiably.  But thank God–He protects and redeems.

Our first placement was all it took.  Our hearts were mush.

A stunningly beautiful baby girl.  2 days old, straight from the hospital.

Tali.  Our Baby Bug.

Her birth mother had lost custody of a [large] number of other children.  In light of that, our desire was to adopt our “Bug” and at first, it looked like a good possibility.


Enter: the Kansas foster care system.  Swooped right in, felt the need to give our girl’s mother yet another chance.

For 21 months, we went to court, took our girl to required visits, endured the gut-wrenching roller coaster of “we’re going to be able to adopt her–oh, no, we’re not.”

We gave our hearts to her with abandon.  Trusted Jesus to catch us if it all fell apart.

Which it did.

Birth mom jumped through the required hoops, did what she needed to do.

On August 30th, 2010, we moved our beautiful, confident, cute-beyond-words, well-adjusted almost-2-year-old in with her birth mom.

Her world was ripped out from under her, and we were heartbroken.

Do You Trust Me?

For the last 3 years, we’ve witnessed what has seemed to be the undoing of all our investing in her life.  Her heart.  Her emotional stability.  We’ve remained in touch with her family on and off and I’ve questioned whether it’d be better for her if we just…faded…out.

The tearing of her heart has been agonizing to watch.

And while I don’t pretend to be God, and I know He has a perspective and a plan I can’t yet see, I have honestly questioned His goodness to her.  Right now.  In this season of–I don’t even want to describe the brokenness that is her life right now.

But y’all?  Here’s what I know.  In the midst of–in the face of–everything:

  • God is good, even when I can’t see how He’s demonstrating His goodness in Tali’s life.
  • His heart toward her, His plans for her–they’re trustworthy.
  • He’s pursuing her heart, even now.
  • He’s committed to her wholeness.
  • He’s committed to her knowing Him.  Committed to redemption.

I’ve driven down the road–even just in the last few months–and wept for her.

Wept because she’s not our daughter anymore and she’s not Isaac’s big sister and she’s in a home situation that is heartbreakingly dysfunctional and just–oh–so sad.  

I’ve prayed and groaned my Why God?!?! prayers and been met with silence.

Followed by His whisper: “Dana, do you trust Me?”

“Yes Lord, BUT….”

A million but‘s.  A million unanswered questions.  This is my unresolved story.  The greatest “God, how could you let this happen?!” of my life.

And tonight as I sit with my husband listening to the hum of our baby monitors and I’m so thankful for the blessing of our 2 children?

I also need to acknowledge this hugely unresolved piece of my history.  I don’t have answers.  I can’t look back now, years later, and say, “Oh, now I see–” like I can with so many other portions of my journey.

This one piece of my story just hangs there.  Broken.  No repair in sight.

But really, God is about redemption and as I acknowledge the brokenness of my story, of Tali’s story, I just need to speak this out over her heart, her life, her future.

And over my own.

To believe it harder and louder than all the non-answers, the trauma, the heart-agony:

That HE. IS. GOOD.  And He is GOD.  God over all the unresolved-ness of all of it.  God over my questions, my anger, my grief.  Over Tali’s broken life, over her family.

And whether I understand His ways or not, He’s worthy of my worship, of my trust.  

And it’s to worship and trust I return, over and over again, because whom have I but Him when it all comes down, anyway?

Where else would I go, Lord?

So I learn ruthless trust over and over, and I remind my heart yet again–she’s His.  And circumstances can’t shake the tenderness or fierceness of His commitment to her life.

Or to my heart.

And in the agony of the unresolved, His nearness is acute.  He covers over the ache of the non-answers.

And after all, He’s somehow enough.



This entry was posted in adoption, Encountering God in the Messy, Grief and Loss, Learning Authenticity, misc. walking with Jesus, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to For When Your Story Is Broken

  1. Oh Dana im so sorry. I cant imagine the hurt, and the continued hurt. I want to dare you to hang in there. Cover her life with prayer all the way through, because you are still in it. Oh the miracles and barriers He can break in her own broken world through the influence of you. I’ve got tears for you and for her and for these questions of yours. Thank you for letting us into this painful place.
    A retired pastor we went to church with had only one son. Who was killed in a car accident when he was 20. He said the only thing that got Him through is believing there is a God, and He’s a good God, and He loves us. This post so reminded me of that. Hold on dear Dana, He truly IS a good God.
    Heather McCool recently posted…And Laundry, Always Laundry – Five Minute FridayMy Profile

  2. Barbie says:

    Oh Dana, this just breaks my heart. I cannot imagine all that you have gone through, or Tali, but I know that God holds you, your husband and Tali in the palm of His hand. He will keep His hand upon her. He will keep her save. He will reveal His love to Tali. This unresolved story is a part of your story, and yes I believe God will bring healing and redemption. I don’t know how. But I have to believe that He will. Hugs!
    Barbie recently posted…Day 18: Rain Down RighteousnessMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Barbie, I’m so thankful for the faith of others–YOUR faith–for Tali’s future, for redemption. It’s amazing and humbling to be able to lean on others’ faith for her when my own heart is too devastated over her current circumstances to see impending redemption. But YES–it is Who He is. He redeems. And He’s committed to her life. Anyway–so appreciate your heart, friend.

  3. Dana, oh, this mama heart breaks with yours. I cannot even imagine this horrendous loss and undone in your life, but your faith speaking through the middle of it is redemptive in itself. Yes, God has Tali, and he will shine full glory through broken places, and you crying out for her and loving this girl in the midst of mess, this is so beautiful and so like Jesus. I have a heart to foster — after years in social work and with three girls of my own — and I have wondered if my heart could take it. Your story gives me hope that even in the worst, he is good. And this love poured out for a beautiful little girl…oh mercy, that can never be a waste, never in vein. Bless you and your dear family and precious Tali. So glad to connect with you through (in)couraging writers.
    Ashley Larkin @ Draw Near recently posted…Five Minute Friday: Laundry (31 Days of Right Here: Day 18)My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Hey Ashley, thanks for your words–they bless me so much. God WILL glorify Himself in her life and AMEN to His glory shining through her broken places. I know He’s pursuing her heart and that her brokenness will become opportunity to know Him intimately. YES–He is good, even in the worst. I pray Jesus leads you and your hubby in the timing and other details of fostering. Caring for these precious ones is so huge in His heart. Bless YOU, friend. Thrilled to connect with you too. :) xo

  4. Laurie says:

    Oh how my heart breaks for you and Tali! Your continued love and prayers for her will definitely make a difference in her life. I watched a show on TV about a man who had been in foster care until he was four, and the only thing he had was a picture of himself as a happy toddler with a large family. He said that even though his childhood was dark and sad, knowing that he had been loved, and that maybe they still thought of him and loved him, got him through it. The show was able to track down the foster mom and they had a beautiful reunion. She said she had been praying for him everyday. I know that God put you in Tali’s life for a reason, and he will give Tali beauty for ashes.

    • danalynnb says:

      Laurie, thanks for this. I think I saw a little blurb about that show–how incredibly amazing and cool and just like the Lord. Wow. Thank you for this reminder–He DOES give beauty for ashes. YES. Amen. :)

  5. Casey says:

    Oh girl, I can’t imagine how hard that must be for you all. Hugs!!

  6. Lori Harris says:

    wow. I’m so glad you chose to share this part of your story. And yes- He does cover the aches, even when He chooses to be silent on the why or how or what-ifs.
    love you friend.
    Lori Harris recently posted…How to Change Your World {31 Days to Simply Be}My Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Lori, thanks my friend. And thank you for reading. It means so much when a vulnerable piece of our history is heard and held with grace. Love you too.

  7. Beautiful post. The unresolved-ness and brokenness of life-so difficult to understand or figure out why. Thankful to know He is good anyway, no matter what. Abba, bless Tali tonight with Your great affections for her.
    Shalom Shannon recently posted…one with G-dMy Profile

    • danalynnb says:

      Hey my friend, sorry I never responded to this comment! He IS good. No matter what. Thankful for your friendship through all of this, Shannon. xo

  8. Thank you so much for sharing. I didn’t know this part of your story and I’m glad to read it in all of its brokenness.
    Aprille recently posted…Three and a half daysMy Profile

  9. Erica says:

    I cry as I read your post. My husband and I fostered two little sisters from the ages of 11 months and 18 months until they were three and four. We lost them to the broke system that Arkansas has in place to a mother who had custody of two other children previously taken away and a father in prison. Two years later my heart breaks on the same way. It breaks for you, too. I hope that in time, comes peace.

    • danalynnb says:

      Erica, thank you so much for reading and for sharing a piece of your journey here. I’m so sorry for what you’ve walked through. And sorry for those 2 precious girls, for their loss of the stability and love you and your husband gave them for so long. This stuff is just so heartbreaking. May you and your husband sense God’s peace and healing and find comfort in the commitment of God’s heart to those girls. To their futures, to sustaining and protecting their hearts. To revealing Himself to them. May you know Him intimately in the midst of the grief that still lingers. Grace and peace to you, friend. I’m so, so blessed that you took a minute to share your heart. I’m right there with you.

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