I (This is Jay for a change) have laid in bed this morning for over an hour praying over the mother, half way around the world, who in less that 48 hours must make the most difficult decision that any parent could be forced to make. The birth mother of two children "M" and "S" are about to fall asleep in an orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and they have no idea of the sacrifice their mother has made for them, nor of the torment that she must be overwhelmed at this moment with self-doubt and fear.
Once we saw the precious faces of the two children who may soon be forever ours, I fell in love...and having been blessed by seeing videos and stories from friends who have visited Hannah's Hope, their temporary home, I can't wait to hold them in my arms and in a way that only a mother and father can tell a child who doesn't understand a word you say that we love them, unconditionally, and maybe someday they will understand how much their birth mother loved them too.
I have to be honest. I find myself selfish in my prayers. Praying that these two children will soon become our own, and that the process will proceed without delay...and yet I have talked with several people over the past weeks who have lost referrals - mostly from domestic adoptions - where the mother was on the verge of giving up her child and at the last minute, looked deep within herself and in the eyes of her newborn miracle and somehow found the courage to raise the child herself. It is little consolation to the adoptive parents who fell in love and got their hopes up...down to the last minute...only to be deeply disappointed, a scar not dissimilar to losing a baby in their own womb. The love was every bit as real, and the hurt every bit as painful. But in the midst of their sorrow, they rejoice in the Lord, for a child is united with his birth mother, and she has the faith that she can do what God has designed her for - and who am I to say that is ever a bad thing. Because that mother made a choice to bring a child into the world, when she was faced with the choice to terminate her pregnancy, she refused. She loved that child, but something in her was willing to give up her child because she felt she could not care for him in the manner he deserved. In the end, at the ultimate time of decision, she dug down deep into her soul and found the love that I can only pray will endure as she faces the difficult task of now raising that child, probably on her own when over the past 9 months she thought she was not able to do so.
This all leads to my torment. What to pray for the next 48 hours? Our birth mom is coming from a background that you and I can not every fully understand. The depths of her struggles we can't possibly relate to. And somewhere in Gambala, Ethiopia, she lays awake at night in tears, fearing for the safety of her children, praying for forgiveness for being unable to care for her children, for being a failure as a mother...if only she knew that God knows her pain all too well. He has faced darkness and has overcome it. He sacrificed his own son so that no one on this earth should have to endure the pain and suffering that this mother is facing right now.
Do I really pray that this mom gives up her parental rights so that they be ours, or do I simply pray for peace in her heart that she can make the right decision, whatever it may be. I have known these children for less than 2 months, having never met them, and it is difficult for me to pray, when the possible outcome is that their mother welcomes them back into her loving arms and finds a way that she can proceed and take care of them on her own. But that is exactly what I am called to do. Pray for this mother...a young girl who has been through more pain and suffering in her short life than I could imagine. Pray that she can be at peace. Pray that she can make the ultimate decision. If she can face all odds and take her children back, I pray that God watch over her and little "S" and "M", as we may never see their faces again.
However, I am also praying that if she is still unable, in her heart, to provide for these children like she knows they deserve, that God lays the peace on her heart that she deserves. If she only knew of what God had done for us, and the sacrifice he felt while watching Jesus in the hours before his crucifixion. If she only knew the pain that Jesus felt, praying to his father in the Garden for hours...praying that there could be another way out...praying that he didn't have to give up his life...praying that no one would have to feel this kind pain again...so that he ultimately made the ultimate sacrifice that we may live. If our birth mom is out there tormented by her pain, whether she knows the name of Jesus to call out to, I pray that he answer.
I don't know if I would have the strength or courage to make the decision she is making on Wednesday. May she know that it was God who led us to go through this process. May she find some way to understand that God has led our family to Ethiopia specifically for this purpose. May she understand that the faces of little "M" and "S" are etched on our hearts and that we will treat them as our own if she finds the courage to place them in our hands.
Her court date is Wednesday February 23rd, and Tuesday the 22nd as we go to sleep she will be appearing before the judge and facing the ultimate sacrifice...and my prayers are with her.