I don't know how long I will have feelings of pure joy and an overwhelming sense of amazement at the fact of becoming a mother, but I hope it is for the rest of my life. This morning, as I was dropping Sintayehu off at school I became overwhelmed by a sense of gratitude towards God's awesome and perfect plan. I started thinking back to before our plan was reshaped by God's.
Our family began before Nick and I were even together. We were very good friends, even tried "going out" in the 8th grade, but in March of 1999, we were mere Juniors in High School. But across the world in a little village in Ethiopia, a woman, my age, was giving birth to a perfect little boy. While I was worrying about who I would go to Junior Prom with or giggling with excitement that I made CIF in swimming and was going to do an overnight swim meet with our Co-ed Swim team, a girl of the mere age of 16 was beginning her journey to motherhood. She was looking at our little angel. She walked to the hospital and gave birth to a bouncing baby boy. A boy that she would love, feed, hold, cuddle, and sing to. A boy that she would teach Jesus to, even though she couldn't read the Bible. A boy that she would teach to work hard and take pride in whatever he was doing. So, while I was doing traditional "American Teenage" activities: college prep, sports, dances, hanging out; our son was being raised very well by an incredibly loving woman.
I am grateful for their first mother. Grateful that she went on to have another son. Around the same time that Dawit was born, I was praying for a double line on a pregnancy stick. We had our first "scare." Scare for Nick, Dreams for me. I was two weeks late and while I knew we said we would wait two years before trying to have kids, I was ready and hopeful for this little skipped cycle. It stirred a yearning and desire to become a mom. Well, a week later and four negative sticks later, my cycle was back on track. There was never confirmation as to why it was so late, but in my heart of hearts, I had a very early miscarriage that never truly started enough to show positive on a test. But so started the quest for trying.
It took Nick 6 more months before he would actively try to start a family. We thought it would be easy. Huh, boy were we wrong. Little did we know that starting a family would test our marriage in ways we didn't know possible. But we clung to eachother, and finally laid it all out for God. We prayed, fasted, read, meditated on scripture, but month after month, the answer was no. All of our initial fertility tests came back inconclusive. At the same time I started undergoing allergy treatment and tests. Turns out, I am allergic to everything. So we weighed our options and prayed. We prayed for a family.
God definitely showed us that family doesn't have to share DNA. We both knew where we were being directed. All the while our family was growing across the world. First steps were being taken, first words were being spoken. Car crashes, falling off of horse drawn-carts, sibling fights. S started kindergarten, first grade, second grade, and third grade and D was getting ready for preschool when their world was turned upside down. I am sure it crumbled and became dark. They didn't know what was going to happen to them. I know they were SAD. A sadness I can't comprehend. I have never lost a parent. They were scared. A fear so primal that they resorted to infant behaviors for a while. Again, something I can't fathom. I have always been safe.
But through the dark and across two continents and an ocean there was a couple who was praying for a family. Through the darkness, pain and grief, God was growing another family for these beautiful boys. God does not promise to keep us from suffering. But He does promise to deliver us from evil. If we choose to love Him, He promises to grant us the desires of our hearts. Even if our desires are not know fully to us. We prayed for the love of children. It didn't matter the age, gender or circumstances. We knew we had love to give and we just needed children who could receive it. So today I was in complete AWE of a God so grand.
This is what pure joy can look like if we trust in HIM.
It's not at all what I thought my family would look like in 1999 when I was 17 years old. But in 2010 at 28, I can't dream of it any other way.