Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Different? What Difference?

It is quite clear that I am NOT a good blogger. Now that I've entered the world of "mommy-hood", my time seems to disappear. Every once in awhile something will happen that I feel I must share. After sharing this experience with a few friends, I was encouraged to blog about it.

When Mercy and I are out, we don't get very far before someone stops to comment on how beautiful she is. When Mercy was a little younger she would blow kisses to everyone, but now she waves her little hand off from the time we get out of the car until we return. She is waving before I even notice someone nearby. That girl is so friendly! (wonder where she gets that from?)

Today was no different than any other outing. Mercy was waving her little hand off at a baby and little girl shopping with their mom. I felt awkward not speaking, so I stopped to greet this family. The little girl looked to be about 4 years old and was wearing a cute little pillowcase dress. (like the ones I've started making for Mercy) The little girl was a typical curious, chatty girl twirling around and modeling her new dress.

In our brief encounter, I had a life-lesson with this stranger's child at the store. The little girl made the observation that Mercy's skin was darker and asked me why she was so dark. Her mother was mortified! But I immediately jumped in and told her God made everyone special, but everyone is different. Mercy's skin was just darker, but was soft just like hers. She touched Mercy's hand and then her own. Then said, I think she's so pretty! And I think YOU are pretty too, I said.

Difference is not bad; just different. Don't be afraid to talk to your kids when they notice someone different. When kids, or grown ups for that matter, don't understand then fear and prejudice takes root.

Monday, August 9, 2010

One Year Ago...

One year ago, I sat here weeping much like Hannah. I prayed and prayed that God would give me a baby. My heart was so full of love and it ached to have a child. My hope seemed to fade with each passing day. In my head, I knew that God was in control and He would do what was best for us. But there were some very dark days for me last summer.

One year ago, we had just celebrated our first grandbaby’s first birthday. It was a marvelous celebration!! I’m not sure I was ready to be a grandmother, but that baby captured my heart the first minute I ever laid eyes on him. I certainly love that little guy more than I ever imagined and being a grandmother was easy! My job was to love him, play with him, and face it--spoil him! If you know me very well, I don’t like to party just half-way. While I didn’t want to embarrass my husband, I think I went a little overboard with a beautiful red wagon full of gifts! Imagine us walking into the party with an obscene amount of presents for a one year old. Oh, well...that’s my job!

After all the gifts, cake, hugs, and kisses I left that party praying for my baby. We were barely out of the driveway, when the tears started again. God, please hear me! I want to celebrate MY baby’s birthday!

One year ago, in a very different setting another mother was on the other side of the world. It was a cool day just before rainy season began. She was also crying out to God for her baby. As a mother, I only imagine what was going through her mind. God, I love my baby more than anything and I have nothing to give her. I want my baby to have clothes on her back, food in her belly, and a roof over her head.

One year ago, this mother made an amazingly difficult and loving decision. She chose to give her baby a chance at a better life. This day, her decision and this child has forever changed our lives!

Today, I sit here in awe of God’s handiwork. He held me tightly one year ago as I wept for a baby to hold in my arms. Our same great God held that mother too on the other side of the world as she wept when she placed her baby in the arms of a social worker. I wonder if she was praying for me on that day as I was praying for that baby?

Today, the tears are still rolling down my cheeks because my heart is so full of love and gratitude that I think I will burst! Today, there’s so much laughter that fills each room. Those dark days of last summer are so far away now. Because of God’s great love, amazing grace and gift of Mercy, our lives will never be the same!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

20 Ways You Know You’ve Entered Motherhood

  1. your cute hair style has morphed into a pony tail.
  2. dangling jewelry is a thing of the past.
  3. the characters in your dreams are all Muppets.
  4. important things like washing your hair or shaving your legs have to be penciled into your agenda book.
  5. you can’t remember the last time you ate a hot meal.
  6. you no longer consider buying or wearing anything that’s dry clean only.
  7. anything written on your “to do list” must be completed with one hand.
  8. you now despise the alphabet song.
  9. you no longer have blisters on your feet from wearing uncomfortable, yet stylish shoes just to make a good impression.
  10. you don’t mind picking someone else’s nose.
  11. it’s been so long since you’ve been to the hair salon, you forgot the name of the salon you've visited for years.
  12. your idea of a prime parking spot is the one closest to the cart return.
  13. you are convinced the most effective way to torture someone is depriving them of sleep.
  14. you have an audience in the bathroom.
  15. Cheerios are a staple food along with milk, bread, and ice cream.
  16. if you only have enough time to stop at one store, you chose The Children’s Place over Ann Taylor Loft.
  17. your pile of laundry has doubled.
  18. you strictly observe meal times and nap times.
  19. you smile until your face hurts.
  20. all the troubles in the world seem to melt away with a sloppy wet kiss.

Friday, July 2, 2010

I Want A Crying Baby

No need to read the title again. I want a crying baby. There are times when Mercy is crying so loudly that I can’t even think and her tears seem to be for no apparent reason, then I may have a different tune. The words come to mind, stop crying!

I don’t have all the answers and it may take me many, many guesses before I figure out the root of her discontent or pull a trick out of the air that will calm her down. However, my baby cries! I celebrate that, because there was a time when a bump on the head wouldn’t even bring the tiniest whimper. Other mothers would be amazed and tell me how lucky I was that my baby didn’t cry every time she crawled into a chair leg, or lost her balance and tumbled over. The sad reality is orphans eventually learn to stop crying if no one ever responds to their cries for food, for comfort, for love.

Call me a first time mom, but upon hearing her first cry I run to my baby to make sure she is okay. In time, I’ve learn to distinguish the difference in each of her cries. She woke up and wants to play. She is hungry. She is frightened. She wants to be held. Perhaps the most desperate cry of all...she dropped her pacifier or baby doll out of her crib.

Now, Mercy will cry and tug at me. Why? She knows that I will make things better for her. Is she spoiled? I wouldn’t say that. Can you spoil an orphan child? Besides, how does a baby communicate? When a baby cries and we respond, are we spoiling them or are we are reinforcing trust.

Isn’t that what God does? When we cry out to God, He responds to His children. Is He spoiling us? When God answers, it creates a greater sense of faith and trust.

Even this old hymn reminds me of this truth.

Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him!
How I’ve proved Him o’er and o’er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus!
Oh, for grace to trust Him more!

I’m so glad I learned to trust Thee,
Precious Jesus, Savior, Friend;
And I know that Thou art with me,
Wilt be with me to the end.

On the days of endless crying because of teething, discontent or I can’t figure out why she is crying I must remember--I want a crying baby. I want a baby that trusts her mommy and daddy to make it all better.

I am always amazed how God uses this tiny little person who can't say word to teach me more of God's Truth.

Shhh....... I just heard my baby crying. Nap time is now over, let the playtime begin.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy 14th Month Birthday!!

Today our little girl is now 14 months old!! I'm almost ashamed to admit this, but I used to think it was strange that parents would tell their baby's age by "months". However, now I celebrate every month we have our baby girl!!

We missed the first year of her life and I'm making a point to celebrate each milestone. With each month that passes, we are amazed at how much she has learned. She is not the same child we brought home seven weeks ago. A friend predicted Mercy would be like a flower opening before our eyes and she was right!

Today I celebrate and praise God for bringing Mercy to us!

She's come a long way in just seven weeks:
  • sitting without tipping over
  • crawling
  • eating baby food
  • pulling up on furniture
  • self feeding finger foods
  • drinking from a sippy cup
  • gained 2.5 pounds
  • climbs in her little chair
  • claps her hands
  • plays peek-a-boo
  • blows kisses
  • signs "all done"
  • cheers at the end of mealtime prayer
  • two new teeth
  • raises her arms when she wants to be held

She has stolen our hearts with those big beautiful eyes and sweet smile. When she wraps her tiny little arms around my neck, I simply melt. I never knew love would be like this. It's better than I ever imagined it would be.

Thank you for walking along this journey with us.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The Day that Changed Us Forever!!

As I wrote today's date, April 22, it hit me that it has already been one month since we met our baby girl. I cannot believe how the time has flown by! In many ways, I feel like we just got home. But we can barely remember what life was like before Mercy came home.

Many people have asked me about our first meeting Mercy. This may be lengthy, but here's the story.

I will never forget that amazing day in Ethiopia!!! The trip was long and exhausting. We left Nashville on Mercy's first birthday, March 20th. We arrived in Ethiopia 27 hours later on Sunday night. We made arrangements with our driver who met us at the airport to come for us the very next morning and take us to get our baby. It hardly seemed real to me.

Even though our bodies were so exhausted, we were too excited to sleep once we finally reached the Guest House. In my mind, I kept imagining what it would be like to see our daughter for the very first time and got very little sleep at all.

On Monday morning, we were expecting our driver at 9:00a.m. It had been awhile since I had been in Africa and forgot how African time works. You see, 9:00a.m. is anytime before 9:59a.m. Typically, a long wait doesn't bother me,but those 40 minutes seemed eternal to us. Mike was making small talk to the man at the Guest House. I couldn't concentrate at all. Believe it or not, I had nothing to say.

We heard the driver coming through the gate and Mike grabbed my hand and said, "This is it! Let's go get our baby girl!" It was hard to hold back all the tears. The emotions were so heavy that I could hardly breath. Fortunately, the drive to the Transition House was short and the roads were relatively smooth.

We pulled up to the Transition House and were greeted by dozens of children that ran to give us hugs. The babies were all located on the second floor. We followed the drive and nanny upstairs to meet Mercy. She was not yet ready, so we waited in the hallway for them to get her dressed. Then with her thick African accent we finally hear the words we had been waiting for, "please, come in."

In the second crib, stood our beautiful baby girl! We walked over to her and I knelt down in front of the crib. I didn't want to scare her. Mercy was tilting her head from side to side making noises with her little tongue sticking out. She reached out her hand to touch my face as tears filled my eyes. Mike immediately picked her up! She cooed and touched his face. He passed her to me and Mercy wrapped those tiny arms around my neck as I just held her so tightly cheek to cheek. THIS is the moment that I had waited for my entire life! It was love at first sight!!

We played with our daughter. Our daughter. God melted our hearts and formed a family that moment. I honestly felt that she knew we were coming for her. Her smile, her big brown eyes, those tiny little fingers were all more amazing than I ever dreamed it would be!

We waited for the nurse, signed the paperwork, and left the place our daughter had called home for almost four months. Mercy has no idea how much her life is about to change! Nor do we.

Thank you, God! My heart is so full of love and gratitude.

"I will not leave you as orphans, I am coming for you!" John 14:18

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Before I was a Mom

Before I was a Mom,
I never tripped over toys
or forgot words to a lullaby.
I didn't worry whether
or not my plants were poisonous.
I never thought about immunizations.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never been puked on.
Pooped on.
Chewed on.
Peed on.
I had complete control of my mind and my thoughts.
I slept all night.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held down a screaming child so doctors could do tests.
Or give shots.
I never looked into teary eyes and cried.
I never got gloriously happy over a simple grin.
I never sat up late hours at night watching a baby sleep.

Before I was a Mom,
I never held a sleeping baby just because I didn't want to put her down.
I never felt my heart break into a million pieces when I couldn't stop the hurt.
I never knew that something so small could affect my life so much.
I never knew that I could love someone so much.
I never knew I would love being a Mom.

Before I was a Mom,
I didn't know the feeling of having my heart outside my body.
I didn't know how special it could feel to feed a hungry baby.
I didn't know that bond between a mother and her child.
I didn't know that something so small could make me feel so important and happy.

Before I was a Mom,
I had never gotten up in the middle of the night every 10 minutes to make sure all was okay.
I had never known the warmth, the joy, the love, the heartache, the wonderment or the satisfaction of being a Mom.
I didn't know I was capable of feeling so much, before I was a Mom.