My youngest daughter gave me a plaque once that read, “A mother holds her child’s hand for a while, but she holds them in her heart forever”. The older I get, the more true that rings for me personally. Being a mother this past year has caused the broken heart of my child to break mine I’ve watched my oldest daughter, Kendra, and her husband, Tommy, struggle with the unfulfilled desire to have a child; a little one to love and nurture and fill their house with sounds of laughter, fun and untold joy.
Over the course of many months, years now at this point, Kendra and Tommy have experienced, what all too many young couples have faced in their marriage, the disappointment turned nightmare of not being able to conceive a child. Hope took on the face of despair, as month after month, it seemed children, though meant for many others, were not “meant” for them. Eventually, a sense of pain and isolation set in, and as time marched relentlessly onward, life seemed to mockingly leave them behind.
It was incredibly difficult watching my radiant, always the encourager, eternally optimistic daughter sink further and further into a state of anguish! Tommy, too, while trying valiantly to support and encourage Kendra was buckling under the weight of his own pain and unanswered questions. It was a painful thing to watch and I felt helpless. There certainly was no way I could take this pain from them. (Surrogate grandmothering wasn’t high on their list of options! J) It was a time in life for all of us when hope deferred could have easily become loss of all hope and the death of a dream!
Over the last several months, God has heard the cries of Kendra and Tommy and has collected their tears in a bottle. It seems that He has chosen to redeem those tears and turn their mourning into dancing, by placing a new dream within their hearts. This dream is bigger and more expansive than anything any of us could have imagined. He has given them a dream and a desire to call 2 little African children from Ethiopia their own; to provide a life for them that, based on their current circumstances, would not be possible otherwise.
Kendra’s dad was born and raised in South Africa. Kendra spent 3 of her middle school years there. Tommy has been to several different parts of the world doing mission work, as has Kendra. Their hearts have always had a global focus and a worldview that extends beyond the American culture. (Though they do fit pretty well in the LA culture, I must admit. J) It makes sense that God would use that love and passion for foreign people and cultures as part of his plan to complete their family and fulfill their desire to be parents.
While the pain of not having their own child still rubs their heart raw at times, it’s exciting to see their joy return and their hope renewed. It’s especially exciting to anticipate the addition of 2 little children from Africa to our family. I say 2 because, like everything else Kendra does in life, she’s not going to “settle” for anything less than “going big” and that includes adoption. Why request only 1 if you can have 2?
This will not be an easy or inexpensive process for them, especially if they had to do it alone. Thankfully, they don’t! Many have already offered words of encouragement, prayers of support and financial gifts to help offset the high cost of starting their new family.
Holding my children’s heart in mine is a joy and a privilege. Thank you for letting me share my mother’s heart with you.