My dear friend Melissa has been kind enough to share her story with us today. I met Melissa at the beginning of my teaching career when she became my mentor. From that relationship, she’s become my sister as we’ve shared our hearts, laughed until we’ve cried, and then cried until we laughed. I love her dearly as do the thousands of students who have had the honor of having her as their English teacher over the past decade. I feel privileged to have been able to watch God work in truly miraculous ways in her and her husband’s journey to becoming parents. I get goose bumps and teary-eyed every time I think about it all even still. Enjoy this story of the gift of motherhood! ~Kelly
A little over two years ago I sat, dumbfounded, on my couch with the tiniest little baby on my lap and my husband curled around us both. In the center of my mind I felt peace as the chaos of the world swirled around us. After 12 years, 144 months of hope and ultimate despair, I held a baby, my future daughter, in my arms; I couldn’t believe that God would grant me such a blessing when for those 144 months, I had not handled myself, showing His grace or love.
In the words of our home study person, barrenness, fruitlessness, infertility, and all those other property/crop related metaphors are not allowed to be grieved in our society. The inability to have children, for me at least, was isolating and lonely as I watched all my friends have their families, and I was happy for them. As a high school teacher, it proved a bit more difficult to understand the meth-heads and the teens with crazy families who decided to be parents; I questioned God’s plan over and over wondering why I was being punished so. Through constant hope with each month leading to despair each month, God brought me to my knees, and instead of staying there, climbing into the cleft of the rock, I fled, put my hands over my face and wept, wallowing in the mud and forgetting the grace extended to me in the form of sunshine and many blessings in the middle of this pit.
About 10 years into this ugly journey I read a devotional about Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane when he asked God to “take this cup” of crucifixion. Then he said, “Nevertheless, Your will and not mine.” At that moment I had an epiphany. If Jesus could accept God’s will in HIS painful journey, then perhaps I should stop being such a big baby and accept the beauty of God’s will in my own life. For the next part of the journey, I prayed for His will every day and learned to walk with Him. I gave up the idea of being a mother, and I stopped living in the pit. One day, however, after I shared a sad story about a foster child, my husband surprised me by saying, “Maybe we should consider adoption.” While the peanut butter in my mouth thickened, I stared back at him thinking one million different things that made no sense at all except that God had just invited us on a totally different journey to serve Him.
We spent almost two months training to be foster parents and then another 8 months receiving and looking at profiles of young people taken into DFS. Many days felt as if we were pulling on God’s robes, saying, “Is this the one? Should these three be our family? No? Are you sure?” Others told us to “just pick one already,” but we waited for God, sort of patiently. Then, one Saturday afternoon we found ourselves holding our baby daughter. With a room painted green and an empty dresser, we welcomed this little angel sent from heaven into our home. The Monday before, late into the night, I had received the email that asked me to call this young mother, a former student, and the next few days, I never believed it would end this way.
Tuesday at school, I stood greeting my students at my door when the young girl’s best friend, still in my class, said mysteriously, “It is what you think.” What did I think? Clueless, I sought advice from my friend in the counseling center and told my husband that this was “just a young girl who needed a little help, a shoulder.” He smiled and went on. This is not unusual in my life as a teacher. A long conversation with many tears ensued that night where she voiced her love and her dreams for her little one which would begin by giving the baby a new life, a new hope, through adoption. When she asked if we wanted to adopt her little one, I humbly accepted, feeling disbelief that it would really happen and overwhelming gratitude for the gift. Thursday night found me trying to make small talk with my mom wondering if this young lady had made a final decision because our previous conversations ended with me asking her to be sure and to seek guidance with the decision. I was not going to call her. It was important that she come to this on her own. That phone call where she confirmed her decision brought even more tears. Oh, did I cry, and yet, I still didn’t believe that she would do it. We called a few family members and a couple of friends. “I may be picking up my daughter this weekend,” I’d say. That part was fun. On Friday I found out that she wanted to give us the baby that weekend. I had about ten minutes to tell my boss and a couple of friends that I would be on maternity leave, possibly beginning on Monday.
Saturday arrived, and while I was In the middle of hosting a huge writing contest, I received a text asking if I could take the baby that day, Saturday instead of Sunday. I shoved papers everywhere in my desk at school, and raced home to wait nervously at my house. I had never had my joy as the source of someone else’s pain before, and it was a horrible, heart wrenching, emotional, beautiful and peaceful thing. When this poor young girl left, I held this tiny baby, and I knew that she had been in my heart far earlier than this particular day. Every time my little angel says MOMMY or looks at me and smiles or even when she’s throwing a fit, I smile on the inside, immensely blessed, beyond my wildest dreams.
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