Sunday, March 16, 2014


A letter to my son, on his third birthday:

My precious son. It is hard to know where to begin. In three short years, you have filled my life with unfathomable joy and hope and beauty. Your daddy and I were moved to tears when we first met you, and I am still caught off guard - lump in my throat, tear in my eye - at the overwhelming love I have for you. That first day in the hospital, finally welcoming you and holding you in my arms, my heart grew by acres, where you remain today.

Like many expectant parents, your daddy and I doted over every detail of your nursery - painting and creating and planning day and night. We chronicled my belly expanding month by month, until finally we held you. We attended birthing classes and took hospital tours and celebrated with friends and family and marveled that we were going to have a baby. We were going to have a baby.

Kyler, you are a miracle. 

I had grown up knowing in my gut that I was created to care for orphans. I remember watching commercials about orphans in Africa, their hollow eyes and swollen bellies, and my chest swelling with passion, an unshakable sense of “I must do something!". I couldn’t understand how, as an affluent, Christian society, we hadn’t put a much larger dent in the orphan crisis internationally. I couldn’t understand the lives around me that didn’t place orphan-care as a primary aspect of their lives. As soon as I had the language to verbalize it - around the age of six - I began announcing that I would adopt multiple children when I got older. I felt this was my grand calling in life.

I told all of this to your daddy on our first date. Being the amazing man that he is, he took the news in stride and, having a passion to care for orphans himself, soon became equally adamant about a family built on adoption alone. Later that year when we married, we had already had dozens of conversations about our future adopted family and were both cemented in our decision never to birth biological children. 

Kyler, you are a miracle. 

Over the years, these concrete decisions were aided by several medical professionals, who repeatedly informed me that I would have a very difficult time conceiving. When we were ready to begin the adoption process, my doctor wrote a letter to our adoption agency informing them that, medically speaking, I was a prime candidate for adoption. I didn’t need the science to confirm my calling, but having that letter in hand felt like a mission from God himself. I was purposed to adopted orphans.

In the fourth year of our marriage, your daddy and I went through a very painful experience. We lost our jobs, our friendships, our stability, our calling, our foster son and our faith. It was a devastating year. 

As we writhed in the pain from that experience, there were days that I could hardly get out of bed. It felt like the tears I’d cried throughout the night had cemented my body to the sheets, so that there was no physical way to remove myself. I’d lay there, plastered in pain. It all became so overwhelming, that I finally had to tell myself to stop crying. To stop feeling. To stop talking. Just to go through the motions of the day and keep breathing. 

In the midst of all that aching, I kept hearing my soul say, “You are a mama”. I’d yell back at that ghastly claim and the memories it induced and I’d try to run away again. I'd silence and stuff, but after a few months of running, I grew weary and finally listened. 

Almost magically, my heart opened up to the idea of birthing a biological child. It was a thought I had never, ever had until that summer, and one that I’d always believed was nearly impossible for my body. Your daddy was shocked when I first suggested the idea - it was so far from anything we’d ever known. But, then, life was so far from anything we’d ever known, too. 

Kyler, you are a miracle. 

I was pregnant within a matter of weeks. 

We tested and tested and tested again, unable to believe that we would have the privilege of welcoming you into the world. We dreamed about holding you and knowing you and calling you by the name we'd so carefully selected. I visited the doctor diligently and doubted, even until the last day, that my body was actually capable of such a miracle. 

In the early morning hours of March 16, 2011, you taught our hearts to laugh again, to hope again, to love again. You taught us that miracles do happen and nothing is ever a waste. You made me a mama again, and I'm honored to call you son.

Happy Birthday, Kyler! My precious miracle.

I love you,

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