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Can’t Help Falling in Love

by | Sep 21, 2018

I’ll fully admit… I never expected to be crying to an Elvis song in my car at 7 in the morning.

(For the record: This is Jake writing this.)

About this same time three days ago Katie and I were re-thinking our entire lives.

By that, I mean we had just received an email containing 20 years’-worth of details about an expectant mom wanting to place her child for adoption. Page after page of important, interesting, and intimate details about someone making one of the biggest decisions of her life. And also ours.

In the US adoption system, it is often the case for several families to receive a file full of information about a mom or family wanting to place their child with another family. It’s called a “situation.” In most situations, you learn everything possible about that person in a short time. (For us, it was 13 hours and 48 minutes.) Then you have to decide if you’d like to proceed by presenting your family’s equally-detailed file to the expectant mom.

If you say, “Yes,” you are saying that you will see this completely through until the last paper is signed. Then, to forever. Every nervous, awkward conversation. Every letter and picture sent. Every moment and milestone. You say yes to everything.

And so we said, “Yes.” Yes to raising a daughter to someone we had never known except ”on paper.” Yes to completely opening up our home and hearts to a brand new tiny person. Yes to an entirely new future.

Here’s the thing about adoption, though. Just saying yes doesn’t mean the reply isn’t no.


“[She] chose another family.”


The actual email was several paragraphs long, but my eyes could only focus on those words. That was all I needed to know.

Our lives were not about to change. The future didn’t really look that different than it did three days ago before opening the email. The entire reality we had to envision before our decision was just an imaginary one.

Yet somehow, very deep down, I understand.

I understand this is a completely normal part of the adoption process. I understand God has a plan, that He has good timing, that He knows best, that this was not “meant to be.” I understand that an expectant mom is choosing to bring life into the world and has now hand-picked a family for that long journey. I really do.

But that doesn’t mean it hurts any less. It just means that there’s some hope in the middle of the hurt. And it hurts because allowing yourself to truly love another person hurts. Sometimes you can’t help that.

So I drove to work today—just me and Elvis—and I let it hurt. There is still hope and a future (and plenty of love) for our expectant mom and baby and for our family, but I’m trying to learn to accept that these things are not always how I get to decide them.

Wise men say

Only fools rush in

But I can’t help falling in love with you

. . .

Like a river flows

Surely to the sea

Darling, so it goes

Some things are meant to be


Take my hand

Take my whole life too

For I can’t help falling in love with you


—Elvis Presley