The real question for us was, “Can we love an orphan as much as we
love our birth sons?” God whispered, “Yes.” He was right.
Mother’s Day is a much more emotional celebration for us than it used to be. Elise has two mothers who love her very much and she will grow up wrapped in the strength and power of that love. Elise’s birth mother chose life for her because she loves her so very much. She is the mother that gave her life. And we are blessed with the miracle of living and sharing our lives with her. These are two very different roles, but they are intimately connected, centered on the love we all have for Elise. There is no way for us to repay Elise’s birth mother for the gift of her daughter’s life. But we can honor her, especially on Mother’s Day.
In many countries around the world, mothers are faced with the difficult choice of choosing life for their unborn children. This choice is made out of the love, hopes, and dreams they have for their child’s future. Birth mothers choose adoption for these reasons. Imagine the love these mothers have for their precious children—a love so immense, it’s larger than their own sense of loss and unimaginable heartache. These mothers deserve our respect, love, appreciation, and grace. They deserve our prayers and they deserve to be celebrated.
When we held Elise for the first time, we held a miracle and we saw perfection. She took our breath away. All of the anxiety, waiting, and fear from our year-and-a-half adoption journey melted away in that instant. We felt joy and experienced pure bliss. The world stopped, time stood still, and for a few moments, it was just the three of us. And she was beautiful. She smiled, we smiled back, and there was a connection deeper than we could have imagined.
The day after we met Elise, we pulled up to Hannah’s Hope in a taxi cab knowing that Elise’s birth mom was waiting to meet us inside. I can remember looking at my husband just before we got out of the car and reaching for his hand. We knew something was about to change and that we were about to meet the most important person in our lives. Not every adoptive parent is blessed with this, but we all wanted to be there. She was strong, brave, and courageous in that first meeting because she loves her daughter and knew that she may be seeing her for the last time. Elise will always know the love of her two mothers and we know there is room in her heart for all of us.
Many people meet Elise and comment on how lucky she is to have become a part of our family. The real truth is that we are the lucky ones and have been blessed with one of the most astonishing gifts of our lives. We have been trusted with Elise’s future and well-being. Our hearts are overflowing with love for her and we are blessed each day with her smile, laughter, and tender spirit. She has taught us that love really can be unconditional and all-consuming. She has strengthened the bonds between our family, and her big brown eyes remind us every day how valuable life is. Our adoption renewed our faith because we experienced one of God’s miracles. God does answer prayers.
Our adoption journey began in Nepal a year and a half before the US State Department suspended adoptions in Nepal. When that happened, we had a decision to make. We chose to transfer programs and at the time felt called to Taiwan. Through that transition, we learned that love for an orphan isn’t defined by features or characteristics, but by their need for a family and our willingness to receive them. Now that Elise is home, we know God had his hand in our adoption journey every long step of the way. He was leading us to where he needed us to be. And we were there with open arms when the child he had chosen for us was born.
This year, on Mother’s Day, you’ll find us in the backyard basking in the glory of God’s beautiful night sky full of dancing stars that shine on mothers around the world. I know of one special mother in Taiwan who will be doing exactly the same thing. Together, we will be celebrating each other and the precious child that has united us forever.
“God places the lonely in families…”
Psalm 68:6 NIV