Sunday, July 17, 2011

Jolene's Story

Here is the story of how I woke up, became alive, and was moved into action...

It started with a pregnancy...
a pregnancy that ended to soon.

I always knew that I was made to be a momma. I never wanted anything more. God had put that love for kids in my heart and it was a strong force in my life.

I was 11 weeks along when I lost that baby. I had 11 weeks of dreaming, planning, and loving that had come to a crashing halt.
I remember sitting in the Dr.'s office right after he had told me that the baby was not alive, I remember the instant rush of emotion, and feeling of lost, and I burst into tears. But it was crazy, only minutes after I had found out about the loss of my baby I had an undeniable peace in my heart. I was still laying on the table when I had stopped crying and felt that peace. Pulled myself together and told my husband and my mom that that was the last time I will cry over my miscarriage. I knew that God has bigger plans.
Little did I know just how big...

Now, I can say that I have felt the extreme opposite of peace. Trying to get pregnant came with an entire new set of emotions and struggles. When I lost the pregnancy my thoughts were as followed, I had lost that pregnancy so that I would be able to come along side my friends who, heaven forbid, might experience the loss of a pregnancy. And that was the box I had put God in, and so I expected him to be "faithful" to me and allow us to get pregnant and put that whole miscarriage thing away until tragedy hit a friend of mine and then I could pull out my "it happened to me too" card. And in my mind that is the plan that I had come up with as to why God would allow a miscarriage to be a part of who I am. With that all being said I was expecting God to be "faithful" to my plan and we should be pregnant with in 6 months ...right?

So we were trying to get pregnant...uhhgg. It was awful. Every month when I would discover that we were not pregnant my emotions would instantly pull me back to the feeling I experienced when the Dr. told me that I had lost my baby. All month long I would think; OK we did everything right, it had to happen, and if it did happen, that would make the baby due in August...whoa that will be a hot summer being pregnant, and if that sweet baby is born in August then it will be one of the oldest in their class when it goes to school, it will be one of the 1st drivers, it will be older when they go off to college, and the thoughts just went on and on....and on. Then one night (I had just realized that day that I was not pregnant) I was totally consumed with angry thoughts, anger at God for not being "faithful" to me, angry at myself, at my husband, at all the people who seemed not to care what I was going through, anger anger anger...crying, crying, crying...
but then my heart stopped racing. And a calm spread through my body. "You do not need to carry a pregnancy to be a mother," is what I heard. I instantly knew that was a Divine gift. Those words changed my life.

"You do not need to carry a pregnancy to be a mother."

After that, suddenly I started being hit with all kinds of adoption awareness. That awareness happened in December of 08. (The month our adopted daughter Claire was born.) We signed on with our adoption agency in December and Claire was home in August.

This is the 1st picture we saw of her precious face. On May 18th 2009.

We have had many people ask us how we decided what country to adopt from and that is an easy one. God picked it for us. In almost all countries if you want to adopt you have to be 30 years old and married for 5 years. Not in Ethiopia. I was 24 and Darin 25 so Ethiopia was about the only option. And it is so great to see how God placed us in Ethiopia for many specific reasons.

Wheew... That was and always is emotional to relive.

So adoption took us to Ethiopia. But God had much more in store then just making me a mother. When we traveled to Ethiopia it was the biggest culture shock of my entire life. I had been on mission trips before but God had broken me in an entirely deeper way then I had ever experienced or knew was possible. On that trip we found out about the history of our beautiful baby girl, this little child that God had given me to take care of. I was holding her in my safe arms as I was looking around at all the other children in the orphanage, not knowing if they would experience a mothers love and the safety that my sweet girl would. I was broken. And I knew that I had to do more!

So we did. We were home for 5 months with Claire when we signed up to adopt again. And this time for 2 more children. And once again I put our God in a box. And I thought OK once we get these 2 children home I will have done what God has called me to do and then I can go back to living my comfortable life. My husband and I will rebound from the financial stress of adopting 3 kids in 2 years and we can live out the rest of our lives comfortably.
But God's plans were bigger!

He put some very specific people in my life that lead me to the slum of Addis Ababa, the slum called Kechene. And my brokenness reached a whole new level. We were able in spend time with the poorest of the poor. We went into their homes and saw how they lived. Theses beautiful widows and orphans who live in devastation and it is their reality... and I know that I have given you all the details already about what these priceless children go through. But they are real! They matter! They matter to me and most importantly they matter to God!

These girls are my inspiration and they are who I think of then I work so hard to try to raise money to help the people of Kechene.

my ending note.

I am thankful for my miscarriage
. And I do not say that lightly. I understand that could really sound crazy! But I think about this journey that God has given me, I think about how He used what I wanted more than anything in this life; He gave me the opportunity to experience a pregnancy and the hope that comes from a pregnancy to me, and He took it away, but then...He filled me with more then I could of EVER of tried to fill for myself.

Because of God's true faithfulness...I am Awake and Alive. Thank you Lord.


Shannon said...

Amazing story. My husband and I are about to go forward with our first adoption, I can really relate to your story, thank you for sharing!!!

Erin said...

I loved reading this Jo...beautiful story with such a great ending (or beginning actually..) so proud of you and what you are doing!

Amy said...

One of the greatest gifts God gives us is a history with Him. Your history has been painful at times, but you seem to have always known the steadfastness and faithfulness of God. He is so good to us. Can't wait to see how He uses you to help others come alive. Thanks for sharing your's beautiful!