I am reposting this post I put on our blog at work recently! Enjoy!
I am reposting this post I put on our blog at work recently! Enjoy!
We were finally at peace with our decision not to have more children, either by our own efforts or through adoption. We were tired, hurt, depressed, and frustrated. It was time to let it go. We did take measures to insure that there would not be another pregnancy…Dave took care of that. Though it was a tough decision to make, we were glad that there were no more worries about ectopic pregnancies or miscarriages. It was time to sit back and just enjoy our lives and our daughter, Katie.
I learned that our “son”, Evan was still in his mother’s care and doing well. A former coworker discovered this as she used the same day care that Jenny did. She told me, “She kept his name. He’s still Evan Matthew.” I felt as though I had been given a gift. Though Jenny changed her mind, she didn’t change the name we had given him. She cared enough about us to keep his name. It took some time, but the bitterness I felt toward her began to fade. After all, any parent’s desire for their child is that they are happy, loved, and well-cared for. He had this, though not with us, and so how could I be angry?
Three years after Evan came into our lives, I had my yearly check up. My midwife recommended an ultrasound because I was (to make this as generic as possible) having “women’s issues.” To my surprise, the ultrasound came back showing a rather large ovarian cyst. I had no symptoms whatsoever. Surgery was warranted and it was decided that I would have a total abdominal hysterectomy. The cyst was too large to remove other than through an abdominal incision, and a hysterectomy would take care of those “women’s issues” once and for all.
Now it would be impossible for us to have children. That was okay. I was 40 years old by this time. However, those familiar pangs of want would surface each time I held a little one in my arms.
During this time period, my best friend, Becca became pregnant with her first child. In a way, I was jealous. But, that feeling faded quickly when I felt the excitement she was feeling as the due date came closer and closer. Finally, Annamarie was here. We were one of the first ones, other than her family, that she called. Annamarie was a such a precious bundle of joy! I was so happy that my best friend could experience the joy of motherhood!
Becca had shared with me long ago that she had a desire to adopt. Even with the arrival of Annamarie, this desire didn’t leave. So, not long after Annamarie arrived, she and Nathan began the process to adopt from overseas.
They hit many hurdles in their journey. One door would open only to have another one close in their face. In July of 2011, Becca and I met for breakfast. We were planning a couponing class at our church and wanted to finalize some of the preparations. We talked a bit about the adoption process. She was frustrated. I told her I’d pray.
By the end of July, things began to progress faster than we could keep up with things! It was almost time for our couponing class to take place and Becca and I were in contact on an almost daily basis. “We passed our home study!!!” she emailed me. This was a much-needed step to start the final adoption process. By the following Sunday, she had more news for me. She met me at the door at church with a paper in hand. “I could hardly wait till you got here this morning!” Wow, she was a little too excited about the coupon class flyer, I thought. I quickly realized that I was wrong as she turned the paper around. “Meet my son!!! We have a boy!!!”
We started jumping up and down, laughing and crying all at the same time. People thought we had lost it. But soon, everyone realized what the commotion was about and began rejoicing with us.
Just a few days later, I was sitting at my desk at work when an email came from Becca. “Please pray now!” She had an urgent request about the adoption and needed reassurance. I did what I knew I had to do. I went to the quietest place in the office (the bathroom) and prayed. I felt God was speaking to me in those moments. I felt He was telling me that everything was going to work out in a miraculous way. And somehow, I felt I was being healed. I could help Becca through her adoption, and in turn it was going to help me let go of mine.
The days went by so quickly. Email after email, phone call after phone call came, each one with a new prayer request. What was to take months to accomplish took mere days and soon Nathan and Becca were flying to Ethiopia to meet their son! Becca went knowing that they were most likely not going to come home with him on this trip unless a miracle occurred. I was still praying hard. I wanted so badly for Becca to be able to bring “Z” home this trip.
God listened! He answered!! And soon, they were on their way home! I was overjoyed and overwhelmed at how God had answered my prayers. I had never felt closer to Him and had never felt He had heard my prayers quite the way He did during this time. It was truly a humbling experience! So many things occurred during Nathan and Bec’s time in Ethiopia! It would take another blog to tell all that happened! (Actually, Becca does blog….so her story can be read!!)
I felt strongly that I had to do something special for my bestie, my sister, Becca. So, quickly, I wrote her a book that contained all those emails we had exchanged. I had even written down phone messages word for word and included them in the book. Seventy pages later, the book was finished and I had my gift for her.
They arrived home from Ethiopia and a couple of days later she called and asked us to come and meet “Z”! I quickly assembled the book I had written and placed it in a box for her. While David showered, I pulled down a box from my closet. There was something else that needed to go in with that book.
The van couldn’t go quick enough to get there! I nearly ran to Becca’s door! I wanted to see her so badly and hold this dear little child that was now her son. She met me at the door and we embraced and cried. Then she handed me her new son. I was overcome with emotion. He smiled and laughed as she said, “This is Aunt Miriam, Bid (his nickname)!” I wanted to hold him forever! He was truly an answer to prayer!
I wanted her to open my gift. I knew she was going to love it! Dave took “Z” and she and I sat down. She opened the gift and removed the book. Tears filled her eyes as she removed the other contents of the box. I had placed Evan’s little blue monkey and teddy bear in with the book. She knew instantly who’s they had been. “Oh, Mim, this means so much! You’ve given me something so precious! I was so worried about you as we went through this adoption, but I realize now that it has helped you heal, hasn’t it.”
“Yes, Bec, it has.”
She clutched the book and stuffed toys as we held each other and cried. I WAS healed. The pain was gone. It took the adoption of a little needy baby from Ethiopia to bring me out of my hurt and back into the loving arms of God.
Soon, I would be asked to share at work about pregnancy loss and how to approach these patients…sort of a do and don’t sort of approach. As I shared my struggles with my coworkers, some of which had never heard the story, there were many who cried. This was the beginning of the rest of my healing…being able to share with others so that they can learn and be encouraged.
And now, my story has been shared with all of you! Are there times when I wish we had more children? Oh, yes! But then I recall how God wants us to be content in whatever circumstances we’re in (Philippians 4:11). All I have to do is look at Katie and realize how blessed I really am.
So, I’ve been “cured” in a sense from my terminal case of baby envy. It’s only through God’s grace that He helped me through it and now helps me as I minister to others in similar circumstances. I believe He gave me this story for a reason, and I hope it has touched your heart.
We thought (well, at least David thought) we were done wanting a baby. I wasn’t yet. I’d fairly drool each time I passed a baby in the grocery store. I fully understood why people posed as nurses and stole babies from nurseries. (I’d never do that…honestly!!) People all around me were having babies and I was insanely jealous. Everyone would want me to hold their new bundle of joy, and I would, but inwardly, I just wanted to die. If they only knew how much I just wanted to take that baby with me and not give it back. Working for an OB/GYN didn’t help this one bit. I found myself saying things to patients like, “If you ever decide you don’t want this precious little baby, let me know. I’d take him/her in a heartbeat.” They would look at me like I was a stalker or something and I hand the baby back to them realizing that I must appear crazy or something. They didn’t know. They just thought I was a weird nurse.
We continued to “try” for pregnancy. Nothing every month. It was so frustrating. Finally, we reached a point where we decided it just wasn’t fun anymore. We hated planning our intimate times to occur at just the right fertile moment. There was no spontaneous moments. We were beginning to loathe the bedroom. (Again, feel free to stop reading if this is too much for you!) We were ready to give it all up and take measures so that pregnancy did not occur. Besides, I had health issues. My blood pressure never did return to normal after I had Katie. It was, and still is, a constant battle to get just the right medication to control my hypertension. We talked about our options. The plan had been all along that when I had another baby, it would most likely be a repeat c-section and I’d have my tubes tied. Since that had never happened, Dave wasn’t willing to let me go through a surgery for a tubal ligation. “You’ve been through enough.” Dave stepped up to the plate and decided he’d go under the knife instead.
Plans were made to proceed. We would be done. There would be no more children for us, and we thought we were okay with this decision. But, the day came when we were offered another wonderful gift.
My co-worker and friend, Carol, came to my desk. “I need to talk to you.” She took me to a private area to talk. “There is a girl in the prenatal history office right now whose pregnancy is a result of rape. She wants to give up the baby for adoption. I know you said you’re done, but would you consider it? She’d like to meet you. I already told her about you.”
I agreed to meet *Jenny (not her real name), but made no guarantee that I’d want to adopt her child. I walked into the office and there sat a beautiful young lady, eyes cast down, looking sad. She was heavy set like me with dark eyes and black hair. Based on her looks alone, I knew she was someone I’d relate to. Carol introduced us. Jenny says, “Would you like to adopt my baby?”
I was taken aback. She didn’t know me at all. She had no idea what I was like. She hadn’t asked me a single question other than would I like to adopt her baby. I responded, “Before I say yes or no, can we talk a little?”
“Sure,” she replied. Carol slipped from the room so we could have some privacy. Jenny told me the story of her pregnancy. She was embarrassed and humiliated I’m sure to have to repeat it again. “I have an 8-year-old daughter and I can’t tell her about this. I plan to just go to the hospital when it’s time and come home a day or so later and just tell her I had surgery on my belly. She doesn’t need to know anything else. I just need to find someone to adopt my baby boy.”
So, it was a boy. Dave sure would love a hunting buddy! She seemed sincere and I had a good feeling about the whole situation. We exchanged names and phone numbers and I went home to talk to Dave.
When I told Dave about Jenny, he just smiled. “Maybe this is why we didn’t get the last adoption,” he said. “Maybe this is the baby we were to have. We can do it if you want to.”
I was so excited to call Jenny and tell her. “Wonderful!” she said. “My next appointment is in 2 weeks. You can come along with me if you want and hear his hearbeat.” We talked for about an hour about the pregnancy and each other. Once again, I had found a young lady with a love of music and a love of God. Certainly, God had brought us together. As I hung up the phone with her, I looked at the calendar, it was “Maggie’s” due date. What timing God has!
I went to each visit with Jenny with the excitement an expectant mother has. I cried when I’d hear his heartbeat. I met Jenny’s mother who hugged me and thanked me for being the one who would raise her grandson. Everything was just perfect. Jenny and I were becoming really good friends. We’d talk every night on the phone after her daughter went to bed. Not only was she giving me the gift of a son, she was giving me the gift of friendship as well. I was floating on cloud nine!!
Once again, I began doing research for just the right name for our son. I asked Jenny to be a part of naming him. She was excited and was thrilled to find out we wanted to name him Evan Matthew, (which means God is gracious, gift of God….or gracious gift of God).
Finally, the moment came when Jenny was to be induced. For 2 days, I waited at the hospital until my friend, Darlanna, a midwife at my office, came to waiting area and told Dave and I that Evan had been born. Moments later, we were taken to Jenny’s room and got to hold Evan for the first time. We were given our own room where we boarded with Evan. Jenny was discharged a few hours later and brought Evan to us. She hugged us both and we all cried as she said goodbye to her newborn son. Jenny’s mom hugged us too and told us to take good care of Evan. Then they were gone, and it was just the three of us. I looked at Dave as I held Evan in my arms and remember saying, “We don’t deserve him. He’s just too wonderful.”
David said, “Yes, we do deserve him. We’ll love him and care for him like no one else can.”
I went to sleep happy that night, the first time in months I was truly happy. I felt complete. While I slept, a terrible snowstorm came up. Dave called the next morning; it was Valentine’s Day. “I’m on my way in to get you! Your mom is with me and Katie. We’ll be there as soon as we can.”
I was excited! We were on our way home! Our family would be complete! The nurses at the hospital all fused over us as we left. There were congratulations all around as we left. We drove over some rather trecherous roads to take my mother home and for my dad to see Evan for the first time. We finally arrived at my parents. Dad was overcome with joy as he held his grandson for the first time. After mom and dad had held him for a while, we decided to head home.
Home, as a new family. It was wonderful! The first night was sleepless. Evan cried every time I left the room, so I spent the night sleeping in the rocking chair just so he knew I was with him. Dave went back to work the next morning and Katie and I were left to care for Evan. Katie loved running to get things for me and just fawned over her new baby brother. She was so happy to be the big sister!
In Pennsylvania, a birth mother has 72 hours to go to the lawyer’s office and sign over her rights to the baby. 72 hours after Evan was born, we had just said goodbye to Dave’s mom who had come to meet Evan for the first time. Dave was getting ready to shower from a long day of work. The phone rang. I was feeding Evan, so Dave answered it. “What? You’re serious. Okay, fine. What time do you close? We’ll be there as soon as we can, but this is going to happen tonight, or she’ll just have to wait until we can get there tomorrow.”
Dave walked into the living room where Katie and I were taking turns giving Evan his bottle. “We have to take him back.”
“David, stop it! That’s not funny!”
“I’m not making it up. That was the lawyer’s office. Jenny changed her mind. She wants him back.”
“NO!! NO!!!! I won’t give him back!! He’s ours!”
“No, honey, he’s Jenny’s and she has a right to him.”
“But she promised! She said there was no way she’d change her mind! How could she do this?”
“We have to go honey. Get him dressed to go.”
I knew he was serious. Dave didn’t joke about things like this. Katie began screaming and bawling. “You can’t take my baby brudder! He’s mine!” Her words just tore at my heart. She was only 4, how could she even begin to understand what was happening here? We quickly called my parents and Dave’s mom. We called our babysitter to see if she could watch Katie while we took care of things. We all were crying hysterically, including Evan, the whole way to town. We dropped Katie off at the sitter’s house. Nancy, our sitter, hugged me tight and said she was praying for us. My mom called our church’s prayer chain while we were gone. Prayers began going up all over the place.
The exchange was made at the lawyer’s office. Jenny was in one room, we were in the other. The lawyer carried Evan to Jenny. We were to wait until Jenny left with him before we were allowed to leave. The lawyer kept watch that we wouldn’t have to cross paths. Jenny and a friend waited and waited outside the office, we think waiting on us. An hour went by. Finally, our lawyer said, “I don’t know why she isn’t leaving, but I’m sure you’d like to leave. I’ll walk you to your car. You don’t have to talk to her. We’ll just keep moving past her vehicle.”
As the lawyer walked us out, I made eye contact with Jenny. Her expression seemed to say, “I’m sorry.” She seemed like she wanted to tell me something. I, however, had nothing to say to her. I counted her as a good friend. We’d become close over the weeks we spent together. I felt betrayed.
I cried the whole way home. We picked up Katie, who by this time, had cried herself to sleep. We’d explain things better to her later.
When we arrived home, my best friend, Becca called. “We’re coming over.” I wasn’t sure I wanted company, but it was the best thing that could have happened. Becca and Nathan arrived and just sat with us. Becca kept her arm around me as I cried, yelled, tried to ration what had just happened. Neither she or Nathan said a word, they just listened and grieved with us. They left us talk without answering or offering any reasoning or speculation why things hadn’t worked out. They were just there for us, a gift that was truly priceless to us.
We were finished. There would be no more children for us….natural or adopted. We’d been hurt too badly.
The next two weeks, I stayed home with Katie and just enjoyed every moment of her. I wasn’t sure I could go back to work. I finally did though. My coworkers greeted me with love and concern. Some just hugged me because they didn’t know what to say. Others sat and cried with me. Carol felt awful as though it were her fault. I reassured her it wasn’t.
The door to Evan’s room remained shut for 6 months before I’d even consider going in to package the clothing and items we had in there for him. I kept the outfit we brought him home in as well as a blue monkey and teddy bear we’d gotten for him. It’s all I had left. I packaged the clothes and gave them to a couple at church who had just had a baby boy. It was time to let go and move on.
We grieved a long time. It was like there was a death in our family. Though we had him just 2 short days, we loved him so much. He was and still is “our son”. That was 6 years ago.
We decided our “baby days” were over. But I still wasn’t cured of my terminal case of “baby envy”. There would be one more chapter yet.
(To be continued….)
We are seeing many signs of Spring. I saw a bluebird this week and to me that means Spring more than seeing robins. Today was as good as any to start Spring housecleaning! That’s what we did for most of the day!
I started in my bedroom. Now, I’m not a typical cleaner. I’m sort of an obsessive cleaner (once I get started). To me, cleaning is not just getting rid of the dust and dirt, but it’s also organizing and thinning out things you don’t want or need any longer. I spent quite a bit of time just on my nightstand, which seems to collect multiple items that I don’t have any other place for. Everyone has one of those “junk drawers” in their house (admit it, you do!). My top nightstand drawer happens to be one of three (yes, three!) junk drawers in my house. But it is a junk drawer no longer!! I’m happy to say that it now houses things that I use on a regular basis! Some of the junk found new homes (some of it in other junk drawers) and some it made a journey to the trash. I straightened out my closet, cleaned out dresser drawers and put fresh linens on the bed. Then I tackled a real mess….the computer and it’s desk.
Katie is the main user of this computer. Lately, when she’s on this computer and I’m on my laptop, both computers run so slowly that it’s about pointless to even try. This afternoon, I spent 4 hours cleaning the computer itself. I pulled off literally thousands of photos and put them on discs, I removed programs we no longer used, and I cleaned out “cookies” and temporary files. I ran an in-depth virus scan and “defragmented” the computer. It runs like lightning now!! Another afternoon, I’ll do the same with my laptop, but 4 hours of computer clean-up today was more than enough for one week!
I was rather excited as well to complete a task I’d been wanting to do for some time as well. I cataloged all of my accompaniment CD’s and organized them in a CD wallet, eliminating dozens of jewel cases that really take up space. I even created a file to keep track of what songs I’ve sung and where I sang them at. I feel a great sense of accomplishment for getting that done!
The bedroom looks good….at least my side of the room does (Dave still has some cleaning to do of his dresser). It still needs swept and the curtains washed, but other than that….immaculate! Katie even worked on her bedroom today and also tackled her nightstand drawer!
Spring cleaning has never been my favorite thing. I really don’t like to clean….I have to be “in the mood” to do it. But, once I get started, I sometimes have trouble stopping. I didn’t have trouble stopping today….my brain was a bit fried after messing with cleaning up the computer all afternoon.
I did get to walk around outside for a while today. The signs of Spring are definitely there! The first thing I noticed was the hyacinths at my back door. The leaves are up and they’re in bud! I love the sweet smell they give when they bloom (that’s why they’re at my back door….so I smell them first when I go outside). We’re starting to see buds on the trees. Birds are gathering things to make nests. I saw a wren checking out our birdhouse this week too (I love the wrens that visit our house…they like to perch and hop around on our porch!).
As I see the signs of Spring and begin my Spring housecleaning, I can’t help but think that this would be a good time to do some personal “cleansing” as well. In Psalm 51:10, David writes, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” That is my prayer as we go into this season of the year. I want all those “cobwebs” in my soul to be swept out and God’s love to “cleanse” my spirit. Spring is a time for beginnings and renewal. Our desire should be to be renewed and revived with God as the focus of our lives.
I’m sitting beside a new person in choir this year. I don’t know her well, but I can tell that she is really enjoying the fellowship that choir offers. I’ve also sensed that she’s lonely. We have very little in common, other than we both like to sing and we both suffer with arthritis. She has freely shared about her life with me. She’s suffered through 8 surgeries mainly replacing major joints like her knees and hips. She lost her husband about 3 years ago, and then nearly died herself just 4 months later during a surgery. She’s had a bad time of it the past few years.
Tonight, when I went to choir and walked in, I was in an awesome mood! I was at my favorite place to be on a Thursday night! I stopped and chatted with some friends before I went to my seat. When I arrived at my seat, there she sat, crying. I quietly took my seat, not sure what to say or do.
“I’m not having a very good day today,” she sobbed.
Thinking of the things I’ve been learning as I develop my gift of encouragement, I answered, “What’s happening?”
“They moved my mom to a different nursing home today, and it’s terrible. I don’t understand why they felt they needed to move her. The place she’s at is dreadful. I don’t really want her there, and she’s blaming me for letting it happen. It wasn’t up to me, but she’s not understanding that,” she said, as a tear trickled down her cheek.
“Oh my, that’s sad,” I replied. The nurse in me started asking questions about her general health, where they had taken her, trying to assess what type of care the woman might get. It didn’t sound promising the way she described it.
“I want to take her somewhere else, somewhere she can feel more at home and less like she’s in a hospital.”
I offered some suggestions of good places I knew of for her to investigate.
“Maybe I shouldn’t have come here tonight,” she said. “I called Fred (our director) and told him I didn’t feel like I could come this evening, and he said I should, that it would help. I hope he’s right.”
“He is,” I replied. In my mind, I journeyed back 6 years to this same month, pretty close to this same week. I was just getting over the shock of losing our adopted son after having him home with us for 2 days. I was devastated. I wasn’t sure I could return to choir. But, I was encouraged to return. I believe choir saved me that year. “He is right,” I said again, because I knew it was true.
We started to sing our songs, and soon I was seeing a bit of a smile on her face. It was time for me to do my solo and after I did it, I sat back down. The director said that he wanted someone to be a prayer warrior for each soloist this year. She leaned over to me and said, “I’ll pray for you!” I was touched.
As we were leaving, she was in the lobby picking up invitation cards for our concerts. I felt a subtle tap on the shoulder. I knew who it was. “Yes, God?”
“Pray for her,” I heard Him speak.
I sat down my music and purse and went back in to her. “Can I pray for you before I leave?” I asked.
“Oh, would you?” she replied.
So there, in the middle of the lobby, we joined hands and I prayed for my sister in the faith. “I’m so glad I came this evening! Thank you,” she said. I reached out and hugged her. I didn’t know if she was a “huggy” type of person, but it didn’t matter to me…she needed a hug.
“I’m going to call some of those places you told me about first thing tomorrow. Thank you so much,” she said.
Thank you, Lord for prompting me to reach out to her and touch her heart.
I keep mentioning that I want share about God’s provision as I go on with this blog. God’s provision is not always obvious and sometimes it screams out, “Look! Look what God did for you!” Obviously, it’s much easier to notice those times when His provision is clearly evident. But, have you ever considered His little ways of provision?
It’s in those not-so-obvious moments that God will provide some of the greatest things that we don’t even dare ask or hope for.
Consider those near-misses when you’ve been on the road and someone pulls out in front of you. You somehow get stopped just in time. Was that God’s provision? Sure it was!
Ever have one of those moments when you’re at the grocery store and the bill comes out to just the amount you have in your checkbook or wallet. (This is something that recently happened to me! My grocery bill was climbing and I wasn’t sure I’d have enough to cover it. My eyes bugged out as I saw the total! Then the cashier hit the button that took off the bonus savings with my card, scanned the coupons, and miracle of miracles—I had just enough with $0.18 to spare!) Was that God’s provision? It sure was!
I had shared before about seeing God provide for my family since going into a full time job in Chrisitian ministry. Some of the ways He’s provided have been huge! But a lot of His provision has been in little things. One of my favorite stories of His provision comes in the form of a coat.
Katie put on her winter coat she uses for school earlier this winter and we discovered it was now too small for her. The sleeves ended just below her elbows! This was something I hadn’t anticipated. After all, just a week or so before, it fit just fine! As Dave and I discussed how, where, and when we would replace the coat, I received a message from a friend on Facebook. She asked what size clothes Katie was currently wearing. “10-12,” I replied.
“Great! I have a friend who’s getting rid of some of her daughter’s old clothes and they’re 10-12’s! Do you want them?” she asked.
“Sure!” I said. The thought of Katie needing a new coat had already left my mind.
We chatted for a while and made arrangements to meet so I could pick up the clothes. As we closed out our conversation, she added, “Oh! There’s something I forgot to tell you!”
“What’s that?” I asked.
“Well, there’s a brand new coat in this bag, never worn.”
Oh wow! Really? I quickly shared how this was an answer to prayer.
“God provided didn’t He!” she exclaimed.
“Yes, He did!” He provided in something as small as a girl’s winter coat. He takes care of even our smallest needs.
So then, why is it so hard to trust that He’ll provide for ALL our needs? It’s part of our sinful human nature. Often we have the mentality that if we can’t provide the need, then it’s something we just will have to do without. But when we allow God to work in our lives, He’ll provide all our needs.
Paul says this well in Philippians 4:19 – “And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”
Think about all the little ways God has provided for you! You’ll find they add up rather quickly!
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