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”.
Monday, September 22, 2014
I moved to Texas a few months ago and through a series of events I had planned a trip to AZ for this coming week. Unbeknownst to me the Lord was "planning" Pa Chiscos' final trip home just a few days before my arrival. Pa Chisco is my oldest sons Grandfather. (you can read more here)Because of the fact that I will be in AZ I am able to attend his memorial service, which is very special to me. I have known the family since I was a teenager and along with my son we will join the family in honoring his memory. Funerals often stir up different emotions...sorrow for the loss, joy for the time you had and unfortunately sometimes the unsettling feeling called regret. For me the regret comes in a second hand form. I regret that my son was not able to have the relationship he should have had with his Grandpa. Along with the comfort of attending the funeral there is the small issue that arises which can potentially create uncomfortable feelings as well. It presents itself to be a situation that requires some delicate caution. I called my son and we discussed the "situation". He had already considered the possibility and decided to attend the memorial service regardless of who may or may not be there. His response to my probing on how he felt about seeing his biological father was pretty straightforward."Mom, he has ignored me my whole life I doubt it will make a difference if he continues doing what he's always done and ignores me there as well." His tone was not harsh or angry, it was clear and concise. The fact that he does not harbor love for the person who chose not to be present in his life is ...well...to be expected. But, the fact that he does not harbor ill will for them to me is amazing. He is not stricken with bitterness or anger towards them. I'm so proud of him for not being that way. I made a conscious effort not to fill him with my own personal feelings towards that person ( though trust me I have some strong opinions about them) I knew the truth was ugly in and of itself and felt no need to "sway" my sons heart concerning his biological father. It was always left for my son to decide how he felt about him. When it's all said and done the focus truly is to join the family in saying goodbye to Pa Chisco, I am saddened by the loss. So with peaceful minds we are preparing to attend the service and the way in which E-man is handling it all ,to me, is the best way he can honor the memory of his Grandfather.
Friday, May 23, 2014
Today I have the amazing privilege of attending my Birth sons High School Graduation(you can read more about that here :). Yay! I’m excited for him and I can't believe how quickly this has come. As I booked the flight for our trip I considered myself so fortunate to be able to attend his graduation. This is one of the moments I thought I would miss when I chose to place Evan for adoption. I walk in such gratitude that his parents have welcomed me into their lives the way that they do. Even more so that Evan wants me to attend the graduation. Earlier this year when his mom and I were discussing our final traveling plans ,she mentioned that ,during the graduation ceremony, Parents hand the diploma to their student (not the faculty) and invited me to join them on stage when their turn comes to present him with his diploma. Immediately tears filled my eyes as I considered being on stage with them. I initially said no because I felt that they should be the only ones on stage, since they are the ones who have raised him. After all, I was just happy to have the opportunity to sit and watch him receive his diploma and cheer from my seat. However, she quickly insisted that I too have played a role in his life and that he would want me to stand with them. That was enough for me to accept the offer. I started thinking about the fact that for a few brief moment his parents and I will stand on stage with Evan. It took me back to the last time all four of us stood in front of an audience almost 18 years prior for what we called an “Adoption Ceremony”. We held the Ceremony at their church and there were just a handful of people present. Their Pastor and a few others who had in one way or another supported us through the adoption came to offer up their support once again. I held Evan in my arms as his adoptive parents and I stood together on the stage along with their Pastor. Evan was just a tiny little newborn and I cradled him in my arms as their Pastor shared some scriptures and prayed with us. I then read a Poem that I had written to his parents about how I was entrusting them to raise Evan. There were so many tears that day and at the end of the ceremony I placed Evan in his Mother's arms. She in turn handed him to her husband and clung to me as we both wept. We had no idea how open our adoption would eventually become or even how much we would be involved in each other’s lives. I'm excited about seeing Evan graduate and it’s amazing that we are able to share this moment in his life. That moment on stage represents everything coming back full circle. His parents have fulfilled their promise of raising him in the way he should go, Evan is on his way to becoming an amazing man, and I am blessed...truly blessed to see it all.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014
We're headed out in just a few hours...I'm flying out of state to visit my birth son and his family for his graduation(will be sharing about that in a few days) but, I wont be coming back. I will be flying into a new state, new town and into a new home(one we have not see in person btw). Usually when I hear the word "NEW" I get excited...new dress, new car, new shoes...new new new new new new York(sorry Doctor Who reference).Albeit I'm excited about our future, but I'm also having such a hard time saying goodbye to the life we have known here for the last 20+ years. I grew up here, got married here, established our roots here, made such wonderful friends here. Right now "new" does not sound so appealing, and I know it's the heaviness in my heart that is saying that because I'm wanting to stay close to all that I love. I've had so many "new" moments here and I was able to share them with my family and with my friends...I saw many of my friends get married here, have their babies here. I want to be a part of all the new things I see happening here like my cousins son starting High School or my sister in law having her first baby. Yet I know that it is time for our family to go and experience an unknown "new". I was talking with my youngest about the heartache associated with this move and told him that it hurts so bad because we have been so blessed with awesome friends and family. I wish they all could go with me and see the things we will see and be there for all the different things we will experience. I know technology will make it easier to stay in touch, but it's not the same as getting in the car and driving over to someone's house and talking face to face. I do have One that goes with me and He is the One that will get us through this new season in our lives. In fact I'm comforted to know that His mercies are NEW every morning....that "new" I can live with, in fact that "new" I can't live without!