Dear Family and Friends,
I’m excited to announce that Craig and I have started the adoption process for a baby girl from Ethiopia. As many of you know, it has been a long, arduous journey (I will go into more detail about this in later blogs), but it feels so good to know in 18 months we will be traveling back to Africa where we fell in love to bring home our first child. There are a few things on my heart that I want to share with you.
Last October, Craig and I decided to adopt from Ethiopia, and we signed up with the Gladney Center for Adoption out of Fort Worth, TX. At that point, I had done a lot of research, read other people’s blogs, and felt inspired by the unconventional ways in which families find each other. I could envision our lives with a little, beautiful baby who looked like all the wonderful people we met while living in Lagos, with her fine features, sassy curls, and sweet, sweet spirit. I felt like I knew her and that she was meant to be ours.
We ended up deciding for various reasons to put adoption on hold and keep trying for a biological child. Although I was excited about our plan to do in vitro in the summer, I grieved the loss of my precious girl, even if she only existed in my heart. Miraculously, we conceived not long after that, but we miscarried. We immediately conceived again but miscarried at 9 weeks. After 3 long years, I felt like a hamster on a wheel who for month after month, year after year, was no closer to being a mommy than the day we started trying.
It is a big decision to adopt. I don’t take that lightly. After my last miscarriage, I was talking with the best bunch of ladies you could ever dream of working with, and my teaching partner, Pinar, said something that pierced right to my heart. With tears in her eyes, she said, “When you showed your “Living in Nigeria” slideshow to the students and you and Craig were holding those babies at that orphanage, I thought to myself, those are her kids. That’s what her family will look like.”
A few nights later, Craig and I were going to sleep, and I thought about that experience visiting the orphanage in Lagos. There were about 40 kids and only 3 old nuns (bless their hearts) who took care of them all. The older children, walking age and older functioned only out of survival. They grunted and tended to look right through you. They had never been nurtured by human touch and bonding. It broke my heart. But when we went to the baby nursery, it was a whole different story. There was one little girl in particular that I held. She looked in my eyes and was very curious about my facial expressions. We smiled at each other and I rubbed her head. After 15 minutes or so, I went to put her back in her crib and when I did, she started to cry. So I picked her up, and she stopped. I carried her around for a while, then tried to put her back in her crib, and she started crying again. We did this about 4 times until I realized I wasn’t going to be able to put her down. Finally, I rocked her to sleep, laid her down, and quietly sneaked out.
As I lay in my warm bed, snuggling up to my husband and thinking about this, a lump swelled in my throat. I had never thought about when she woke up. No one would be there to pick her up. No one would be there to rub her head, put big, bright flowers in her hair, and tell her she’s beautiful and that she embodied everything good God ever put into the world.
And that's when I knew. There’s a little baby out there without a mommy, and I’m a mommy without a baby. It just makes sense.
And Craig said, “Let’s do it.”
I’ll end with this. Looking for inspiration, I found this scripture from Proverbs 15:30. It says: “Like cold water to a weary soul is good news from a distant land.” Some people might look at our situation and think, ‘Bless the Lord, some little orphan with a weary soul is getting good news from a distant land (adoptive parents).’
But I can assure you the weary is me. And that precious little life from a distant land is like cold water to my weary soul.
Let the healing begin.
This is Craig and I at an orphanage in Lagos, Nigeria. 2007