In the midst of so much gratitude and happiness, there is also a sadness I feel today on Mother’s Day. For almost a year I was the mother of four children. My plans included the colors of the walls for their bedrooms, closets full of clothes, picture frames with their photos and daydreams about what life would be like when our three children living in Congo would join our daughter here to play in the yard and swing on the porch swings. I know this feeling is shared by so many other adoptive parents today who thought they would be holding their children by now. I know how hard the wait is, and I also know what it’s like to realize they will never be coming “home”. I am so grateful that I know the truth about their history and their mother, I wouldn’t change having this knowledge for a second, but this truth is painful. The hardest part is knowing how close we came to taking these sweet children away from their loving mother and knowing how close we came to never knowing anything about her. How close we came to unrightfully being their parents. I see the world so differently on this Mother’s Day. When I look at their pictures now, I don’t see orphans. I see a happy family, held together by a mother’s love. I may still grieve somedays my perceptions of my “what might have beens”. The perception of what I thought our adoption meant for these children and our family, and other days I grieve the reality of my “what might have beens". The reality of what this adoption almost meant for this mother and family.
Today, in honor of mothers and especially this mother, I want to share an excerpt from my journal that I wrote after learning the children were safely out of the orphanage and with her:
"I'm exhausted, I've slept so little over the past few nights. My mind races, my thoughts scatter, my heart aches. So much pain, so much heartache, so many broken dreams and promises and so much hope. Hope keeps me pushing, hope keeps me fighting, hope tells me don't stop, it will all be worth it. And today, confirmation. Today confirmation that the dream that I have invested every aspect of my life into for my adopted children and their mother, is becoming more than just a hope and a dream. It's becoming more than just an "if only". It's becoming more that just a fervent prayer and a wish from the depths of my soul. Confirmation that miracles happen. Miracles happen everyday, the little things in life that we take for granted. They are all around us. But not only the subtle miracles, but the monumental, in your face miracles. Miracles that can only come from a loving and sovereign God, that kind of miracle. Today I witnessed a miracle. The moment we allowed our hearts to open to the calling placed upon them to help the less fortunate, miracles began. They started subtle, they became more evident as we moved forward and reflected on events that seemed to be more than coincidences. We've learned that daily we receive reminders that God is fully in this with us. Today, hopes and dreams and more than coincidental connections, came together.
From the moment we discovered that our children had a baby sister at the orphanage I began praying. Praying for the mother who's heart was breaking for her children. As we learned that we had the authority to remove our three children from the orphanage and into the care of their mother, we also were reminded that we had no control over the fate of the baby. The mother wanted all four of her children released together and we were told, the baby belongs to someone else. Out of love and desperation, the mother agreed to leave the orphanage leaving the baby behind only under the circumstance that she would be allowed to return daily to care for the baby. She stated that she was concerned about the well being of the baby, if she was not there to care for her. A decision a mother should never be faced with. Choosing the greater good for the the greater number. Her children. Heartbreaking.
My prayer changed. God we need another miracle. For this mother, for this family. Let her walk out of the doors of the orphanage with all four of her children. Don't let her leave the baby behind. Give her the strength and the courage to fight for her family. It seems impossible. We have no authority to demand the release of the baby girl. God if the child is in her mothers arms as they leave the orphanage it can only be by your power. We dreamed it, we envisioned it and most importantly we prayed it. God we need a miracle.
Today, a miracle. God is not in this fight, this is His fight. Today He said, I've had enough. Today He said, I will show my power. Today, He said to this mother in Africa. I am with you. Today He reminded me. I am not alone. Today, she walked out of the doors, with all four of her children.
Only. God. "
As I so gratefully snuggle my daughter tonight and thank God for the privilege of being her mother, I can’t help but thank God for giving this other mother in Congo, the blessing of once again holding her children tight and being their mother.
Today, I celebrate the mother who never stopped fighting for her children and I am honored to have been a part of her fight.