The Exercise of Faith

Recently I told this story to a friend facing loss–

It was a beautiful, uncharacteristically sunny day in Beaver, PA. There was a cop car parked a block from us, I suspected they suspected I might run to Canada with you. You had a cute Sesame Street ensemble on, replete with orange coat. Our church friends were there to help us through.

Your dad wept. He is not usually a crier. I did not. I did not believe at that time that you were going to be away more than a long weekend.

I knew God was gonna bring you back.

The pain that followed was truly unspeakable. I questioned my faith. How could I have been so sure that I would get you back?

I asked God

And He said

“You were not wrong to believe you would get her back, it was just your timeline was off a bit.”

I know you will always be God’s baby girl, because you have always been mine💗

Jennifer the Beautiful

I miss you girl

Miss your sister

Your nieces, nephews, cousins, children

Used to sing

Break-up songs for lullabies

Wish I could write you and me

A happy kind of story instead

No lost loves, no broken promises

Hope changed into

The steady gaze of a man who can build with his own two hands

Homecoming tabernacle

For all us, broken

Dearest Little One

I believe in regrief. I believe you and I will continue to regrieve the death of your mother. Recently we lost all four of our kittens to a fast moving, devastating affliction. In a week we went from joyful to devastated.

And I regrieved, the way I lost them reminding me of the way I lost you. The pain of one overshadowed by the pain of the other–even after 20 years.

Both griefs were characterized by my naive belief in the authorities in each case–the judge, the caseworkers, the lawyers for the lost daughters, the veterinarians for the kittens.

In your case I discovered that the entire system all the way to the state regulators was riddled with greed, prejudice, and corruption. You and your siblings were sold or bartered in exchange for federal subsidies for your care. Your adopted father had not only abandoned his first family, he had placed all of his assets in your adopted mother’s name to dodge child support. At one point he faced a jail sentence for failure to pay child support for his children. Things which should have hindered his ability to adopt you.

And the kittens?

Their veterinary clinic was indifferent, too busy. They were not seen in time. I could not get them any help until I found another vet, and by that time it was too late.

So in the midst of grieving for the lost kittens, I grieve for you as well–you and your siblings, you and your beautiful mother.

She had no chance in the rigged system. She had no chance but me.

And I was not nearly enough.

Tara Lynn Badamo

Whether you cast back all the way to their respective birth announcements or race forward to their untimely deaths, my two friends share bits of biography, outsiders in a world full of the ambivalent. So it surprises me that it took so long to realize the next step in my own apparitional grief was to see them together at the table I told you about before…

In the unassuming kitchen of God


someone is in the kitchen with Dinah, someone is in thekitchen I kno-ooow!

“Tara” for “Dinah” and capitalize the “Someone” and you get the picture-

He talks beauty and parable

All tears wiped away.

Prettier than me

When I met Tara she was prettier than me, younger than me, and in most ways far more disenfranchised than me.  In fact there was just one area of our briefly conjoined Venn diagram connectedness where the power was ostensibly hers and definitely not mine: she was the real mom to a baby I loved very much.  In that (I had been told by at least 2 lawyers) she had the legal edge.  She should have been able to designate a capable guardian for her children.  The law favored the biological mother.  And at that time, at the end of 1998, it gave no credence to the foster mother.

A fact I can accept now, after most of the unbearable losing of Tara’s beautiful child has scarred over.

What I can’t accept is losing Tara 


God of the Impossible

John 11:4 NIV[4] When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

What is impossible?  Is gravity?  The suspension of gravity?  Space flight? Sea urchins?

We live in a world filled with wonder and darkness.  The wonder feels improbably miraculous until the darkness throws an extreme curve ball and bam!

Death takes all.

Or so it seems.

When Jesus says this sickness will not end in death it seems like he knows what he is talking about.

Several days later when he weeps with the mourners he seems like a total nut job.  Until…

I am going to hold that until–single note sung in the dark.

Some of the untils we weep through are excoriating, catastrophic…terminal.

It is important to pause at Jesus’ pronouncement.  If you know the story you might be tempted to breeze through to “the good stuff,” but in this case time takes the stage–time for Lazarus to go from well to unwell, time for Lazarus to go from unwell to fatally ill.  Time for Lazarus to die.  Time for Lazarus to be prepared for the grave.  Time for grief.  Disbelief.  Sorrow. Anger. 

And the apparent  absence of Jesus.


He is not absent.  He is impossible.  He is the God of the impossible.

Wait.  Impossible means powerless, the opposite of able.  

How can God, by his very nature omnipotent, be defined as not able.

Deliberately. He was intentionally…

“not able” in death.

“not able” on the Cross.

“not able” for us.

Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave in preparation for his own death.  He gave his followers an impossible four day route through death and burial so that when it was his death they would only have to wait three days.

The three darkest days of history.  Three impossible days.


Sunday morning and the God of impossible things walks back in.

When you were little your foster father would throw you in the air above him.  Within one second your face would register fear, exhilaration,  joy, laughter.

It has always been a picture in my head–this God of sea urchins and dwarf stars throws us high up in the air for each single looped thread in the seam of  all eternity.  

The fear and uncertainty only bearable when we know, know, know…

He will catch us in His arms.

As He has already caught your beautiful mama, let Him catch us too…


Safe in the outstretched arms 

of Love.

Luke 18:27 NIV

[27] Jesus replied, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.”

Baby Veronica

I feel like being snarky about SCOTUS not hearing the baby Veronica case and not intervening to prevent thousands of prisoners’ premature release from prisons in California.

But mostly I have to acknowledge the heartbreaking truth–children are treated like chattel and our system does not care enough to protect them.

I know this because I too lost my baby Veronica. Hurts. Hurts the children.