I recently received a Christmas letter from our dear friends Tim and Jeri Anne (the ones who told us about Samuel). Their story is one of miracles as well and I cannot read it without tears. It is inspiring and encouraging, yet not without loss and heartache.
I asked Jeri if I could share her story with all of you. It reminds that it's always, always worth the wait when God is writing our stories. Sit back, read on and praise God for His goodness even when it doesn't seem to make sense....
Our dear family and friends,
Last year we didn’t write a Christmas letter, as our hearts were grieving and I couldn’t bring myself to write about it. Last year at this time we said good-bye to our precious foster children Demi and Rapheal. They had been with us since June, and we had fallen absolutely in love with them, thinking that they would be with us forever. After dealing with infertility for four years, this was a devastating loss and I was not looking forward to celebrating Christmas without our children. What I didn’t anticipate was how much Christmas would mean to me that year.
I missed my Rapheal (and Demi too of course). Raph was only 4 weeks old when we got him, and he became a little person in my arms. He knew me as his momma, and I was hopelessly attached. No, attached isn’t a strong enough word. Glued. Stuck. He was my son, and I loved him more than anything. I had to pack up all of his favorite toys, his little clothes, his diapers- everything he would need. Everything but me. I didn’t know if he would be safe where he was going. I was afraid for him, and if it was my choice I never would have let him go. That is why last Christmas I finally got it. In some small, insignificant way, I understood. God sent us His son by choice. He knew the world wasn’t safe. He even knew His son would die an excruciating death. And yet He still chose to send Him because He loves us that much. He gave His most precious gift so we could be free. It is unfathomable to me.
And not only that- He still loves us that much. He didn’t just save us and leave. He is at work, and moving in the world. There is no way you can hear our story and deny that. If fact, it’s hard for me to fit all of it into two pages, so I’ll have to give you the “cliff notes” version of the four biggest miracles of our year…
A week after Demi and Raph left I got a call from their mother. She wanted to know when we wanted to see the kids next. I was shocked and thrilled, but I knew why she had called so soon. My amazing husband had done what I was too selfish to do. He had gone up to the kids’ mom twenty minutes after the judge announced the kids were leaving us, and with tears in his eyes told her we were proud of her. This choice started a relationship only God could create. We are now family. Their mom is clean and sober, and doing great. She is praising God for how well she is doing, and we just spent a wonderful Thanksgiving together. What a miracle.
Now for miracle #2. We decided to take another foster-adopt baby named Tae in February. I was teaching at Delano High School as a long-term sub. and Tj was busy with snowplowing, but this little boy needed a home and we were told there was a very good chance we would be able to adopt him. Of course, we had heard that song before, and Tae left the middle of April. The day after Tae left my mom called me crying. She had just received a call from a girl from Aitkin (my/our hometown) who was pregnant and looking for adoptive parents for her baby. Without even meeting us, she and her mom had prayed and decided that we were supposed to be this baby girl’s parents. On September 30th, I was given the unbelievable privilege to witness my daughter’s birth. We now have a beautiful baby girl, Chloe Johannah, who will be ours forever! Tim and I are so thankful that Chloe’s birth mom, Elsa, chose life. It is not only life for Chloe, but also life for us as we now have the child we have always longed for. Elsa is an amazing, wise young woman, and we are looking forward to having her and her family as part of ours as well.
Then miracle #3. The day after Chloe was born the doctors decided to fly her to Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis because she wasn’t eating, was choking, and there was some concern with her x-rays. She was in the NICU for 4 days, and was released without any diagnosis. She just simply started to eat regularly and stopped choking. We have no other explanation than that hundreds of people were praying for her, and God answered those prayers. While we were at Children’s, another prayer was answered- one that we had been praying for years as well (miracle #4). On Saturday morning I was sitting next to Chloe’s bed, holding her tiny hand, when my mom came rushing in telling me that my mother-in-law had called. Her friend’s daughter had just had a baby boy that she wanted to find adoptive parents for. Did we want a boy too? Tj and I were laughing as we were both sure of our answer. No, we had our baby, and we knew of the perfect couple. Our good friends Stacy and Ryan May had also been longing for children for years, and Stacy and I had often asked the hard questions and cried together, wondering why we weren’t able to have the babies we wanted so desperately. Tj went to the hospital with Ryan and Stacy, and a few hours later the birth mother decided they were to be the adoptive parents. Chloe was released on Sunday and Samuel Lee May was released the next day. Unbelievable! I couldn’t, in my wildest dreams, imagine that this December Stacy and I would be thrown a double baby shower for our miracle babies who are only 4 days apart.
God is good, and He is faithful. He gave up His only son for us, and this season we are so grateful. We are so grateful that we get to experience Him in so many ways. We are so grateful that our waiting is never in vain. We are so grateful that He has blessed us with all of you- who have journeyed with us, cried with us, prayed with us, and now rejoice with us.
We love you. Merry Christmas!
Tj, Jeri, and Chloe