Our Story

Our Story
We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life. But those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them, are carried on the wings of destiny and placed among us by God's very own hands.
~ Kristi Larson ~

Not flesh of my flesh, Nor bone of my bone, But still miraculously my own. Never forget for a single minute, You didn't grow under my heart - but in it!
~ Fleur Conkling Heylinger ~
Adoption is not the call to have the perfect, rosy family. It is the CALL to Give LOVE, MERCY, and PATIENCE.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Love of a Mother

It is true what they say - you do not really know the deep and sensational love a mother has for her child until you have held your baby in your arms for the first time or felt them grow inside you as your belly grew beyond repair.  I remember the first time I felt Jarod kick and knew in that instant I would never be the same again.  I was sunk - falling deeply and madly in love with a little precious face that I had yet to lay eyes on.  I read about the sacrifice that God gave us when he gave us His only son - I got it in my head but never really grasped the depth in my heart.  I vividly remember watching The Passion of the Christ the Easter after Jarod was born - I was moved and heart broken.  I couldn't get the empty feeling in the pit of my stomach to go away - I was captivated not by Jesus or the disciples or the procession to the tomb - I was captivated by Mary!!  I watched Mary follow him through the city with tears in her eyes - she knew this day was coming from the very first time she felt him squirm inside of her - I wept as she mopped up his blood with rags when he had been beaten - I wept when she remembered back to when he was little and he fell and she ran to him and held him tight.  I didn't really get it - until you become a mother I don't think you do.

Three kids down and I thought I was becoming pretty good at this mom thing.  They stole my heart and I would do anything for them.  As we started down the adoption journey, I wondered where my kids were and what would bring them down the broken path of grief and loss that they would have to endure.  My heart was sunk - falling deeply and madly for a precious face that I had yet to lay eyes on.  The whole first year we were expecting to bring home a little girl and I wrote this blog post entry called Mama's Arms.  I had no idea that my prayers would be answered.  I prayed that my child would know the love of a mama!  That they would know what it felt like to be held and comforted - to feel their mama's heartbeat when she held them close.  I am SO very thankful that my boys both have mothers that LOVE them dearly!  They know how to love and be loved because of these amazing women.  Yet again - I came across another situation that you cannot prepare for - a heartache that you can try to rationalize in your head but can never fully understand the depth in your heart.  The heartache of a mother saying goodbye - the giving of her son to another - looking upon their faces for the last time.  I vividly remember the tears that streamed down my face when we had to say goodbye to the boys after our first trip to Ethiopia - Nahome was sobbing and Isaiah was close.  My heart was broken - even though I knew we'd be back within a few short weeks.  I remember even more vividly holding the hand of a young woman with tears streaming down both of our faces as she said goodbye to our son (now hers and mine)  for the last time - I remember vividly the pictures of tear stained faces as another mama held on to our son (now hers and mine) and tried to reassure him that she loved him and that it would all be okay.  It is an ache that never goes away....that will never be forgotten...

This past weekend was Mother's Day and I awoke with a lump in my throat and a sensitive heart.  I knew these women would be on my mind but I did not expect to be as emotional as I was. The craziness of our house played out as usual - the kids got up early and banged pots and pans around making me breakfast in bed - they traipsed into my room like a Thanksgiving Day parade with homemade cards and crafts they had made at school.  They smiled down at me with their toothy grins and twinkling eyes just soaking it all in.  They watched intently as I opened each and every card - full of anticipation of when I got to theirs.  With each card that I read the lump in my throat grew bigger and my heart began to ache for the mamas of our family who were not here - who were not getting breakfast in bed - or cut out crafts - or toothy grins and sticky kisses.  Each card spoke to my heart - not for myself but for her...

" If Moms were berries...I'd pick you."

"Happy Mother's Day - your the best mom."

"I thank God you are my mom."

"A mother is she who can take the place of all others, but whose place no one else can take."

...I think in a world that wasn't broken my boys would have picked to stay with the Mom they were meant to be with - the best mom for them - the one that wiped their first tear and calmed them when they were scared - I think in that world they would thank God for the mama who taught them how to pray and who cut their first curls.  And it is true - there is no one that can replace a mother's love.

I am thankful that my boys are home and safe and in my life - but not a day goes by that I don't think of the mamas on the other side of the world that will no longer get to look into Nahome's big brown eyes or gaze upon Isaiah's beaming smile.  Not a day goes by that I don't think about all that they are missing out on and wish so desperately that they could get a glimpse of the joy that comes from knowing my boys!  Not a day goes by that I don't pray for their safety and happiness - that they would be happy and joyful and above all else that we would get to see them again!  That my boys would be able to look into their eyes and hold them just as they once did.  I pray MORE THAN ANYTHING that these women would know LOVE - not a love that can be found on this world - but that they would know God's LOVE!  I pray one day to walk hand in hand with these women as we finish the race of this life and walk before our Savior in heaven!  I am thankful for all they have taught our boys and feel blessed to be carrying on for them - I feel that the baton has been passed and it is my job to guide and lead these boys for a while....with God's love and guidance.

We started a new Mother's Day tradition this year to honor and remember ALL of the mamas in our family. Another adoptive mama in my life had an amazing idea to plant a flower in honor of the birth moms that have become a part of our hearts.  The Calla Lilly is the national flower of Ethiopia and is absolutely beautiful.  So - we decided each year on Mother's Day we will have the boys help pick out and plant a Calla Lilly - we will pray for their moms and think of them whenever we see the beautiful blossoms.  Our lives are crazy busy so it took us a couple days after Mother's Day to get it planted and it wasn't quite the surreal experience that I had pictured in my mind - but they are beautiful - just like the mamas in our hearts!

"Children born to another mother call me 'Mom'.
The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."
~ Jody Landers ~