This year we are participating in the Operation Shoe Box Ministry through Samaritans Purse ( A Billy Graham Ministry) and I could not go back to sleep this morning so, this story came to me in my insomnia. Hope you enjoyed it! If you're interested in participating in the Christmas shoe box ministry you can click here.
Monday, November 10, 2014
“It’s not fair, it’s not fair.” The hot tears flowed down her face as she and her husband received the news most couples do not want to hear. The Doctor explained once again why carrying a baby would be impossible for her. They had hoped, they had done everything right and here they were faced with the reality that having a baby was not for them. They felt it was so unfair and wondered why they were going through this. Ryan and Megan had been the ideal couple all along. They met in church and their courtship was so sweet. It was genuine and when they married it truly was a celebration. They taught in Sunday school and often times were told that they were going to be awesome parents one day. Now, here they were being told they would never become parents. It was more than Megan could bear and she often wondered if she did something wrong or if God thought she was not worthy to be a Mother. Time went on and their church started an Adoption Support Group. They hesitantly attended a meeting and soon realized that they were not alone in their heartache. Some of the couples were there because they too were not able to have a baby. Others however, were there because they had more love to share and knew there was a need. With time they became comfortable with their group and soon friendships were formed. Whenever a couple would adopt ,everyone else in the group became an Uncle or Aunt. When their turn came to adopt they could hardly contain the excitement. Megan would spend hours on Pinterest looking at baby décor and parenting tips. They posted a “due date” on their Facebook and began preparing for this new baby. She began to sew a baby blanket and like most things on Pinterest, the finished product was not exactly like the one that prettily sat on her page. One side had rain drops and the other side had clouds. As they grew closer to their adoption they received the phone call that certain things had happened and unfortunately their adoption would not go through. They felt as if they had been taken to the very top of the world only to be dropped. Once again they were brought to the edge of sorrow. The bright baby room that had begun to take shape was now a dark and painful reminder that there would be no child to fill it. She would sometimes sit in the rocking chair she had refinished and would weep into the blanket she had sown. Her husband did not know how to comfort her. He truly believed that the Lord had promised them a child and did not doubt that the promise would come to pass. Megan was not so confident and her pain during that time was greater than her faith. As the months went by they once again began to get back to normal life. They stopped attending the Support Group at church, and decided to focus on serving in other areas, areas that did not involve children. They chose to volunteer with the teen group and Megan secretly hoped that they would be “cured” from wanting kids. During the summer the teen group was invited to volunteer by visiting an orphanage for a week. They were asked to bring gifts for the children in shoe boxes. It reminded Megan of the Billy Graham shoe box ministry. Megan and Ryan had participated in the shoe box ministry from the time they were married. In fact, in the previous year she had chosen to make boxes for babies and had given all the items they had saved for their own baby, she even threw in the funny little blanket she had sewn. She remembered the day that she and her husband had packed the red and green shoeboxes. It was a mixture of joy and tears. When she folded the blanket and closed the lid her husband whispered “things sown in tears shall reap in joy.” That was enough for them at that moment. They volunteered to go on the mission trip besides, most of the other adults had other kids to tend to and family obligations. Whereas Megan and Ryan, as usual, had only themselves. The months that followed were filled with planning and prepping for their trip. After signed permission forms, and immunizations shots they were finally on their way to the orphanage with 10 teens in tow. When they arrived they were greeted by worn, but joyful workers. They were given all the information as far as children in the orphanage and the rules which they would need to abide by during their visit. As they unloaded the food and supplies they’d brought with them Linda, the Head Missionary, informed that it was a good thing they arrived this week and not last week because, they did not have running water the week before. Megan smiled and said “oh it would be fine” but deep down inside was grateful they would not have to go without running water during their stay. After their first day the teens got to work and began to play with all the children. The children in the orphanage ranged from 2-16 years of age and they always enjoyed visitors. They quickly fell into routine with the kids at the orphanage. They gave the staff a night off by showing movies to the kids and provided popcorn and snacks. The staff was grateful for the few hours of rest they would be given and all the children behaved because they knew not behaving meant early bed time and missing out on a fun movie. That evening one of the Staff members fell sick and could not sleep in the room with the little ones. Megan offered to take her place and soon found herself in the room with the 2-5 years olds. She laid there and thought, how funny, the age group she’d been running from was now all around her. She prayed with the kids and put them in bed. As soon as they were asleep she crept outside to quickly say goodnight to her husband. They stood out for just a moment because the cold Mexican air was more than either one was prepared for. He gave her a hug and told her she was “One hot momma” to which she quickly replied” I’m not a mom remember!” and all he said was “one day” and kissed her good night. She crept back into the room and was thankful that all the kids were asleep. It had been an exhausting day and was happy to sleep in a bed, instead of a sleeping bag. She laid her head and was soon asleep until a shriek abruptly woke her. She jumped out and turned on the lamp. One of the little ones, Jose, had a bad dream and was crying. She called for one of the staff who quickly ran in and explained that he had experienced a traumatic event in his young life and often had nightmares. “La colchita, la colchita por favor.” Soon one of the kids ran and grabbed a blanket from a drawer and gave it to him. It was the only thing that comforted him so that he could fall asleep. Soon the commotion was over and she saw little Jose sniffling with his eyes closed and a blanket wrapped around his little arm. All of a sudden, her heart stopped. Tears filled her eyes as she saw the blanket that this little boy clung to. “Lord, how is it here???” she wondered to herself. For there it was, her raindrop blanket, her Pinterest mishap, now wrapped around this little boy, hundreds of miles away from her home. She felt the whisper of the still small voice “things sown in tears, shall reap in joy.” She knew, she knew right away what that meant. As she looked at little Jose with his dark hair and his little brown fingers clinging to the blanket she knew, this was the little boy they were intended for. She silently sobbed as she kissed his forehead and struggled to sleep. Throughout the night her mind was flooded with doubt and the “what if’s” that can haunt us all. She retraced all her steps that brought her here and could not shake the providence of it all. She wondered if truly this would all come to pass. It seemed like the morning would never come. As the children awoke, the staff came in to get the children dressed and ready for the day. Soon the teens were cooking breakfast for everyone and it would not be till the late afternoon before she had a moment with her husband. She could not wait to share with him the events of the previous night. They walked up a little trail on the property as she told him about this little boy and the blanket she had made. Ryan was silent as he listened and it seemed to her that he was going to say no. But, he looked at her and said “let’s pray.” They held hands as they both prayed for Gods Will in the whole situation, they didn’t even know if this little boy was available to be adopted. They approached Linda about the possibility of adopting Jose. She listened to them as they spoke and she guardedly warned them to make sure this is something they wanted to do and that it was not an emotional moment that brought them to her office. They told her their whole story and how they were even certified in the States to adopt. She explained the procedure and then began to share little Jose’s story. He had been brought to the orphanage by the equivalent of Child Protective Services several months before. His Mother had been a field worker and often times would take him with her to pick fruit from the fields. He had no father in his life and when his mother died tragically he was brought to them. When they asked further about the bad dreams she simply said that little Jose had seen his mother die and often times at night he dreamt of her. The little blanket had arrived in one of the Christmas Shoe boxes the prior Christmas and so they kept it in a drawer for him. Linda prayed with them and informed them he was available for adoption but, decided it was best to say nothing to Jose until things were finalized. Megan and Ryan were allowed to spend their last day getting to know little Jose and they were both surprised by how open he was to them. It had just been a couple of nights ago when Jose was a frightened little boy and here he was all smiles. It filled them both with hope and they fell in love with him. The teens had packed up all their backpacks and sleeping bags onto the van and were ready to get back home where hot water was the norm. Ryan and Megan hugged Linda and told her they would be back in a month to visit and asked if they could Skype Jose so they could get to know him better. She hesitantly said “yes, but we’ll take it slow.” When they arrived back home they went to see their friends from the Adoption Support Group. For months they had avoided everyone, and though everyone understood they were glad to see them once again. They shared all that had happened and the mixture of tears and smiles was overwhelming. One of the couples in the group was Mexican and had offered to walk with them through the process and even offered to give them lessons in Spanish. The months once again flew by and soon they were on their way to pick up little Jose. When they pulled up to the Orphanage they could not believe that it was truly happening. They quickly prayed before they got out of the car and walked in with the hopes that this time, this time it was going to happen. Once the state official signed the Adoption Papers they were allowed to take Jose with them. The children were happy and sad to see Jose go, they understood that they would probably not see him again. Ryan and Megan promised the children that they would bring Jose back for a visit. Linda with her salty gray hair hugged them both and was relieved to see this couple was genuine about their love for Jose and more importantly for the Lord. Jose had already become accustomed to them because of their weekly Skype visits and he was happy to have a Mama and Papa. Yet when it was time to say goodbye he wept in Linda’s arms. Linda wiped her tears along with Jose’s and gave him the blanket that had comforted him all these months. She kissed his little brown face and told him to be a good boy. With blanket in tow, Jose walked away with his new Mom and his new Dad. Here the very blanket that had been a stark reminder of what Megan and Ryan did not have, was now coming back to them with this precious little boy. They buckled him in his car seat and drove away. After driving for some time, Ryan glanced back at Jose who was now falling asleep with his blanket wrapped around his arm. Then he looked at Megan and said “things sown in tears” and before he could finish she quickly responded “shall reap in joy”.