As I sit here having enjoyed a lovely rainy (my favorite) Mother’s Day, I can’t help but think of two groups of people...the first, the women who want so desperately to have a child, but haven’t been able to.
I understand the desire to have a child and not be able to. It took almost five years to get pregnant with Cooper. I was lapped twice by both my sisters and attended countless baby showers for close friends. It was a difficult season. I cried out to God so many times, pleading with Him to let me be pregnant, but the little stick said, “no”, month after month, year after year. In 1992, I wrote the words to a song called, “When I Let It Go” about my experience with infertility. I had to ask myself the question, “Do I trust God, and do I believe that He loves me, if I never have a child?” My answer was, “yes”, but it wasn’t an easy answer. My heart broke over the thought of not ever being pregnant and having a baby. Writing these words proved to be cathartic.
This time I've got to trust You
I've got to accept Your plan
I have tried to guide my circumstance
But there's just no way I can
When will I learn this lesson
Your ways are not like mine
Lord, help me to surrender
The control I try to have on my life
When I let it go
You take my hand and gently lead me
Then You let me know
Just how peaceful my life can be
When I let it go
Your never-ending blessings like a river
start to flow
When I let it go
Too many times I'm searching
For the things I think I need
But when I try to look for more
I always seem to give You less of me
Lord, help me gain the wisdom
My foolish mind still lacks
Til I find a way to let go
Of the part of me I'm holding back
In 1993, a song-writer that I was introduced to, Connie Harrington, helped me put those words to music and my singing group, “Sierra”, recorded the song on our debut album that year. And by God’s grace He allowed me to get pregnant and, ironically, hear that song on the radio for the very first time as I was driving to the hospital in labor (which is a long and funny story!).
I will never forget giving birth to Cooper, or the moments that followed when he wasn’t breathing and had to be rushed out of my room to the NICU. I couldn’t imagine losing him, and I’m beyond grateful that I didn’t. I thank God for my precious son and I couldn’t love him more than I do.
Two years later, I was happily surprised that I was pregnant with Gatlin after having been told that I’d never be able to get pregnant on my own. We had no maternity insurance and, therefore, have always called Cooper and Gatlin our ten thousand dollar babies!! (Cooper, because the fertility treatments were so expensive, and Gatlin, because of no insurance.) Gatlin was born in July of 1997, beautiful and healthy. And our family was complete. Or so we thought.
The second group that I’ve thought about today are those sweet mommas who have had to give up their babies, and the babies who were given up, or whose mommas died. I just can’t imagine...and I realize that God doesn’t give us grace for our imaginations, but, wow, how someone has the strength to hand their child to someone else, even when she knows it is her only option in order for that child to survive (or have a better life than she can provide), is just beyond me. I can’t even comprehend that. So amazed by the strength of those precious women.
We were not drawn to adoption because we wanted to increase the size of our family. We were perfectly happy with our two children, but there was a calling on my life, a voice in my head that wouldn’t go away that kept reminding me of the verse that says we are to, “care for the orphans”. I wanted to be open to that if God ever put it in my path. And He did. But, it wasn’t without heartache and disappointment.
In 2008, we tried to adopt twice, and both attempts failed. The first was not as painful because we were next on the list for a referral, so we hadn’t yet seen a face. But, the second child had a name and a face, and we had his picture up in our home and spoke of him and prayed for him daily. When the phone call came that ended that journey, our hearts were broken. Gatlin and I laid on her closet floor bawling our eyes out. And then I said to Gatlin, “Did we love God and trust Him before this happened?” Through her tears she answered, “Yes, Momma”. “Do we still love Him and trust Him now?”, I asked her through my own tears. And again, she said, “Yes”. And then we just cried. And I decided that we were not meant to adopt.
It’s funny how we decide things, isn’t it?
Right at the time I decided that, a man named, Aleymu, died in Ethiopia, leaving three children behind without parents, because their mother died three years prior to that. Little did I know then, that his children would become my children. Our children. I’m so very grateful to that man. He was a very good man, and his beautiful wife was a wonderful mother prior to her death. They deeply loved their children. They protected their children. They taught their children about God. Because of the way that they loved their children, their children know how to love now! Because of the way that they protected their children, their children don’t have serious physical and/or emotional scars that many others have. Because of the way they loved life, and played, and laughed, these three precious children know how to enjoy life, and play, and laugh. A LOT!
So, today I’m a grateful Mom. Grateful to have given birth to two amazing children. Grateful to a beautiful mother in Ethiopia who gave birth to, and loved so well, three amazing children there, that I now have the privilege to mother. And mostly, grateful to Father God Who kept His promise to “work all things together for good for those who love Him and are called according to HIS purpose”. Romans 8:28