I know lately all my posts have been about serious things. Today, I wanted to share a fun post that gives you a peek inside my family. I hope it will also encourage you to never give up on your dreams, even if they seem to take a long time to be fulfilled.
I have two brothers. I always wanted a sister. I asked my Mom all the time to have a baby so I could have a sister. She said no. (Actually, she said, “Somebody has to be the baby and you’re it!”) So, I just figured I’d have my own little girl when I grew up. That didn’t happen…at least for a long time.
I know people who are really good at just “knowing” what gender they are having when they’re pregnant. That is not me. I thought I was having a girl every single time. I love my boys with all my heart. They have turned out to be pretty awesome young men, although I was fairly certain I would die of exhaustion trying to raise them all and keep them alive, but there was a little girl-shaped hole in my heart and I couldn’t figure out why God didn’t fill it.
After my 3rd son was born, since we both almost died during his birth, I decided I was done. If there were any more children coming, it was going to be through adoption. I began to get really excited about it. I thought this was the perfect way for God to give me a girl. I was a Mom who needed a little girl and there was a little girl somewhere who needed a Mom. And then surprise…I got pregnant and had another boy. 🙂
And so, my dream of having a little girl was put on the shelf. Years passed and that desire just got stronger. I begged God to take it away. It got to the point where everywhere I turned there were little baby girls, pink blankets, dresses… Friends would have baby girls and I could not figure out how they did that. It was like a secret club and I didn’t know the password that would allow me to enter. I decided I would just have to get my “pink” fix by buying lots of stuff for them. But that girl-shaped hole in my heart just wouldn’t be filled.
Finally, when my youngest boy was about 6, we decided to start the adoption process. That began a whirlwind of home visits, classes, fingerprints, background checks… your whole life is analyzed by strangers to figure out if you’d be fit to parent. It was exhausting, but I finally had a glimmer of hope that maybe, just maybe, God was bringing my little girl. It had been so long, 15+ years. It was hard to believe it could really be happening. And then, we were approved. The call could come at any time, I was told, day or night, any day of the year. I kept my phone glued to my side and panicked if it was out of my sight for more than a few minutes. One day, that call came. The baby was already born, but we had to go to Akron, 3 hours away, if we even wanted a chance for our file to be presented to the birthmom. I ran out to buy a car seat, blankets, diapers, bottles, PINK stuff…I was so excited! The drive to Akron took forever. We met with the social worker at the agency and then went to kill time at a book store and had lunch. Hours went by. Excruciatingly long hours. And then the phone rang. She chose another family. I couldn’t breathe. I was in shock. The ride home with that empty car seat behind me was even longer than the ride there. The agency was encouraging. They said they were sure we’d be chosen. In fact, I went through a process similar to this more times than I remember. I think it ended up being 10-12 over the course of the next 16 months, although thankfully, that was the only trip to Akron. Sometimes, the No came within hours; sometimes, it was weeks. I began putting the little girl things farther away in the closet. And slowly, I began to lose hope.
Then on my birthday weekend in 2005, we had some friends visiting who had adopted from China. She was encouraging me that it would happen, and asked why we decided not to adopt from Guatemala like we had talked about before we started the process. I said we were told Guatemala was closed for adoptions. She replied, “well, families from my agency are adopting from there right now”. And everything changed. (Little did I know, thousands of miles away, a young mother was making an adoption plan for her baby, my daughter, around this same time)
That started a new whirlwind of paperwork, federal fingerprinting, building a dossier with strict guidelines for who had to sign and how they had to sign (an illegible signature could delay your process for months). I spent a lot of time at Kinko’s sending those precious documents off to be stamped and approved by the state, then the Guatemalan consulate, and finally, off to my agency. I was hyper focused and completed those papers in just a couple of months. My agency told me that the wait for a girl would be weeks, so I settled in patiently, but this time, I knew the wait would end with my daughter.
6 days later, I got a call from my agency. They wanted to send me pictures and information about a little girl who was born December 27th. I called her dad who said we needed to pray to see if this was her before saying yes.
I printed her pictures and took them to my room to pray.
“God, I know I have to pray about this, but I want more than anything to say yes…I want this to be her. So, I’m going to say yes, unless you tell me no really loud.” Not the most spiritual prayer…more of a prayer from a desperate mom who, by this time, had waited almost 17 years for her little girl. What followed was more paperwork (!!) And then some of this…
My agency sent pictures twice a month for the 5 months she was in Guatemala with her foster family. They took such wonderful care of her and I am so grateful. Then right before she turned 4 months old, I got the call that our adoption had been approved by the Guatemalan government. There were still several weeks of waiting and more paperwork. Unfortunately, I got really sick right before the pick-up trip so I couldn’t go. My oldest son went in my place. Here he is holding her on Embassy Day.
And then the best part happened. The part I had longed for for so many years…
When you watch the video, you can hear me say to her, “I missed you”. Those were the first words out of my mouth as I held her close. She watched that and asked why I said it. I told her I really had missed her. She was the daughter of my heart. The one I waited for all those years. And that little girl-shaped hole …it’s filled 🙂
If you read this whole thing – thank you! I know it was long. I hope it also encouraged you to never give up on your dreams. I am glad now that I never had a biological daughter. If I had, I would never have the precious little girl who calls me Mommy… and I would have missed a huge blessing!