Three years ago,  a girl in our church had gone to camp and met a girl named Britt’knee.  We received a call from leaders in our church, that Britt’knee had a little girl that she was looking to have adopted .  After 5 years of infertility and 2 miscarriages, we jumped at the chance.  We instantly thought that maybe this little girl was the reason that we had gone through the struggle of infertility.

We called Britt’knee and after gathering as much information as we could, we began the adoption process of a 2 year old girl named Elizabeth.  Britt’knee was a teenager herself, and said that she was diagnosed with leukemia.  This is why she said she needed to find a permanent home for her daughter.  We completed our home study, we talked with lawyers, and in the meantime decided that we would try one more infertility treatment.  Thankfully we got pregnant with our miracle Savannah.  But we still held out hope for Elizabeth.   We went and visited Britt’knee twice.  Each time we asked to meet Elizabeth, but for various reasons we were never able to meet her.  I held onto the pictures that I was given, and my heart ached for this little girl. Through MANY conversations with Britt’knee, it seemed apparent that both Britt’knee and Elizabeth needed stability.  We offered our home, and prepared it for their arrival.  I bought clothes, bedding, toys…I wanted to be as ready as I could be for an almost 3 year old.  Britt’knee said she would move here, and then last minute, she decided to go live with her sister instead.  It was then that I began to accept the fact that Britt’knee didn’t really want to give her daughter up.  I accepted it and moved on.

By this time, Savannah was in my arms, so it was a little easier to accept that Elizabeth wasn’t meant to be part of our family. It was still difficult though.  I had fallen in love with this little girl, but I trusted that God had a plan for her as well.

Britt’knee’s story sounded like a stretch and never really lined up.  I had confronted her several times, but it always ended with her shutting down.  I knew that Britt’knee wasn’t telling the whole truth, but I held onto the fact that no matter what reasons Britt’knee would give, if she had a daughter that needed a home, then I was willing to put faith in the situation for Elizabeth’s sake. Britt’knee never asked us for anything, so it was hard to believe that she had anything to gain from the situation except a home for her daughter.

Fast forward 3 years, and Britt’knee comes back in the picture.  Again, she is asking us to adopt her daughter.  We were much more cautious this time around.  I asked for a birth certificate before we proceeded with anything.  We contacted a lawyer in her hometown to help facilitate the situation as a third party.   Then an angel came into the picture.  For the first time in three years I had contact with someone who interacted with Britt’knee in person.  As Elisa and I continued to ask questions, we found ourselves with fewer and fewer answers.  We determined that together we needed to get to the bottom of this.

Elisa was on the frontline with Britt’knee, and I was behind the scenes researching and gathering information.  We determined that we had to have a birth certificate to verify that Britt’knee actually had a daughter.  We had the form ready and filled out for Britt’knee to request an official birth certificate.  Britt’knee insisted that she already had one that would work.  Then I decided to call the school that Britt’knee had told me Elizabeth was attending.  I spoke with the guidance counselor, who obviously wasn’t allowed to give me information about kids attending her school.  When she heard my story, she was able to verify that there was no child with that name in the entire school district.  Then I called the state birth certificate office and spoke with the adoption specialist.  She also couldn’t give out information, however, she was able to confirm that there wasn’t a child named Elizabeth born on the birthdate we were given.

The story gets much more sorted and unbelievable, but I was determined to get the proof I needed to confront Britt’knee.  After further investigation and random calls and e-mails to strangers, I finally found the truth I had been looking for. Britt’knee was lying about everything.  By now, her church was involved, so I passed the information I had found, so that they could deal with it appropriately.

The church leadership had asked Britt’knee to make a public apology, and coincidentally, we were going to be vacationing just an hour away the same week.  So I left Kyle and the kids and drove an hour away to come face to face with Britt’knee.  The drive to this small town was a divine appointment.  As I drove, I remembered it all-the conversations, the trips, the gifts, the hopes, the tears, and ultimately the dream that Elizabeth would be part of our family. I realized that I wasn’t just lied to, I was conned. Once I accepted that, I began the process of letting it all go.

I arrived at the church and tried to not see Britt’knee.  Ironically, I didn’t want to make things harder for her while she was preparing to make a public apology. She stood up in front of the congregation and apologized for lying to everyone.  The pastor had several women pray with Britt’knee afterwards, and it was then that I felt the Holy Spirit tell me it was time to make my presence known.  I walked to the front of the church and waited until Britt’knee opened her eyes.  Needless to say, I think she was surprised to see me there.  She told me she was sorry. God gave me a chance to face the situation.  I had a choice to either confront her or forgive her.  I could have vented my feelings, frustrations, and opinions and then judged whether or not Britt’knee was truly repentant or not, but that wasn’t why God had brought me to this point.   I hugged her and told her that I hoped that she meant it and then I then forgave her.

I was able to talk with her after the service, but by then, I knew my purpose for coming was completed.   I have learned a lot through all of this, and my journey to confront Britt’knee was no different.  Forgiveness is a choice and it isn’t dependent on how sorry or repentant a person is.  God calls us to forgive because we have been forgiven, not because someone is repentant.  Granted if someone isn’t repentant, then that may come with new boundaries in the relationship, but all in all, forgiveness is our choice to give.  It really is true…the truth sets us free!  Now I’m truly free from the entire situation.  I may never know why God had us walk through all of that, or why I didn’t discover the truth earlier, but I do know this–God had my back through it all.