“I never had the pain of infertility or miscarriage. I have never been pregnant or really wanted to be, but I am a mother. My child came to me through adoption.
People often ask, ‘When will you have your own kids?’ But I am simply unable to see it that way. I already have my own kid. She is often in my arms or standing beside me when people ask this question. Sometimes people ask why I can’t have children. One very cute little girl at church once asked, ‘Why don’t you make your own babies?’
My husband and I decided early on that we would adopt. Well, it was more like a third date when I told him I was going to adopt and if he had a problem with that, then we needed to rethink some things. He never thought twice about it because of his extreme faith in adoption being our calling as a family. Bless him! Adoption was always our plan A, though it never went according to plan.
I first saw my daughter in an email after years of waiting. The picture was blurry and only the size of a passport photo, but it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen! Tears pooled in my eyes and I almost couldn’t read the email. I was looking at the chubby, brown, babyface of a girl who would someday call me momma.
It was another year after receiving that email before I got to hold my daughter and another month after that before I got to leave the orphanage with my child in my arms.
Our adoption did not go smoothly. What should have taken two years took four. What should have taken one adoption agency, took five! What should have cost 30,000 dollars was easily twice that. What should have been three weeks in India turned into seven. What should have been one day in Indian court turned to weeks of waiting to gain custody.
We were in a foreign land at the mercy of strangers who didn’t speak our language and we were in a rural, and sometimes dangerous, part of India. All we could do was trust in God. Good thing we serve a powerful and good God! However, the pain of waiting for years was nothing compared to the three weeks between holding my daughter for the first time and when I walked out of that orphanage with her clinging to me to never look back!
While I was holding my child for the first time, the caregivers at the orphanage were crying and whispering to one another. The translator explained that the women were saying, ‘She knows her momma.’ I had prepared myself to be a stranger to her even though she was already one of the people I loved most in the world. I was prepared that she wouldn’t want me, but from the first time I called her name, she turned her head so quickly and reached for me. I pulled her into my arms and she clung to me, shaking with her effort to hold on! She knew her momma.
During the long, bumpy, and cramped car ride back to our hotel, I held her in my arms and sang to her. I played with her gorgeous, black, lovely hair. I memorized every part of her beautiful face: her large, brown eyes, her sweet, wide nose, and her tiny, pretty mouth. I was in awe that such a sweet child could want me to hold her despite the fact that I was a pale-faced stranger. It was a miracle how quickly she bonded to us.
Every year, every pain, every setback, every disappointment, every prayer were all worth it. Our seven weeks in India fighting for our daughter were the hardest of my life! However, I would do it again in a heartbeat, because from the time I saw her face in the tiny, blurry picture I knew. She was my daughter.
I finally get how Jesus can love me as his own. I understand love through adoption because, to me, I can’t imagine loving my little girl as anything less than a true daughter and heir. She has survived loss, upheaval, physical and emotional pain, surgeries, change, fear and so much more all before the age of three. Christ is redeeming her past and writing her future because she is a daughter of the King. We are both adopted into that family.
We have been home for nine months and my little one is thriving! She has gone from underweight and malnourished to normal ranges in the growth charts. She has gone from dejected and lonely to joyful and full of love and affection. She went from struggling to walk to running away from us in the parking lot! She is full of kisses and songs and love.
Some days and weeks are difficult. My momma used to say, ‘The days are long but the years are short.’ Ain’t that the truth? It has been challenging to get my little girl all the medical care she needs and to hold her as she cries at night. She had to mourn the life she left in India and she has been so brave to love and live so fully in her new home. She is the bravest person I know and I am beyond blessed that I get to be her momma!
My daughter doesn’t have my eyes, my hair, or my skin color, but she has my heart. It didn’t happen the way we had imagined or planned, but she was always our Plan A.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Natalie Welch of Instamommas. You can find their podcast here. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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