Oh my goodness, where do I begin?! It's been a whirlwind of a week and I am sleep deprived so bare with me as I try to articulate this story of miracles. To start, I'm going to take you back 5 years ago to 2008. Ben and I had our first miscarriage after 2 years of trying to get pregnant. It was the first of many miscarriages and more years of waiting and also the first time I felt a strong pull towards adoption. I knew of LDS Family Services, but for some reason we felt a strong prompting that we were to adopt from Africa. We prayed and fasted, and still, Africa! We began with great gusto to let our plans be known and drum up support from our friends and loved ones. I started a blog and felt passionately about our plan for an international adoption. As things progressed it was very evident that we were in over our heads. As first time adopters the international process seemed very unpredictable and extremely expensive and the harder we tried the harder it became. In my desperation I pleaded with the Lord to move mountains and I believed that nothing was too big of a task. I trusted my promptings and I trusted that if it was God's will then somehow it would happen. I went to the Temple and started putting, "birth family in Africa" on the prayer roll. Time passed and things got harder. I had another miscarriage and it was traumatic, we sold our business, and Ben quit his job so that we could move back to Utah and be closer to our families. We moved in with my parents and tried to start our lives over again. We were so down trodden, in total despair. I felt humiliated and embarrassed every time I looked at my "African adoption" blog or if people brought it up in conversation. I removed my blog and closed the door on a dream I now believed had been made up out of my desperation to be a mom. No promptings, no special feelings, just something I made up.
Now, I will tell you a very different story from 2008, 5 years ago. It's about a sweet 14 year old girl and her family living in Zambia. They fled the Democratic Republic of the Congo many years earlier during a period of civil unrest and violence and were living as refugees in Zambia. It was an unstable way to live and she and her family experienced many scary things during this time. By the hand of God they were recruited to be apart of a government relocation program for refugees that was sponsored by the United States. They boarded an airplane with what they could carry, left all they had ever known behind, and landed in Las Vegas, Nevada with hopes to start a new life. Things were hard and being in a place so different proved to be a difficult transition. One day the Mormon missionaries knocked on their door and their lives changed forever. They were baptized and this sweet girl, the oldest in her family, started attending the Young Women's Program in my Mother-in-law's ward.
Fast forward. 2013 started out as a beautiful time with the birth of our son Shepherd, but quickly became one of the most tumultuous and trying times of our lives with his subsequent serious medical needs. We saw literal MIRACLES, but things were still...complicated. One afternoon last June Ben suddenly asked me if I thought we would adopt any more children. The following conversation took place (or at least this is how I remember it):
Kindle: "Are you kidding me?!! We just flew our son to the NICU at PCMC from Texas and he had open heart surgery and almost died and still has so many things going on and it was so hard and crazy and I'm exhausted and I cry all the time and our lives have been totally turned up side down!!! NO WAY! I'm done."
Ben: ".....well..., I think we have one more."
Kindle: "Hahahahaha, you're so cute. The only way I would do another adoption is if it fell into our laps. Or if someone left a baby on the front porch."
Two weeks later we got a phone call from my Mother-in-law in Las Vegas. A darling 19 year old African girl in their ward was pregnant and wanted to meet us. I was so skeptical she would ever choose us, what with us being so busy all the time basically living on the road, traveling to the hospital in Salt Lake City everyday, and with a medically complicated baby only 4 months old. But somehow, it all just clicked. She came and stayed with us last June and we fell in love with her. She is a bright spot in the world and we regard her (and all birthmoms) as a hero in our home. Still, I was skeptical as there was a lot of time to pass from June until January 1st, her due date. I was completely overwhelmed, happy, but seriously overwhelmed. Shepherd's future was very unknown and complicated and I didn't know how all of this was going to work. I sincerely prayed that we would know what to do and that things would fall into place within my capacity to handle them. During one such time a wave of peace washed over me and I felt the words "I will deliver him unto you." come into my heart.
The months past and Shepherd began to improve each day. Things began to fall into place effortlessly. At every turn our needs and also this birthmom's needs would be fulfilled at the exact time they were needed. It was not an easy time, but I could feel the Lord's hand leading us at every turn and lifting us up to be able to endure a bit more.
Somehow, with the passage of time, life started to feel like life again. In September Shep came home and by December we were confident in his cares and seeing lots of progress, including finally being rid of his ventilator. It was Christmas time and things are just happier at Christmas. A's due date was creeping up and the excitement and anxiety that comes with adoption was palpable. On December 26th A (birthmom) was spending the night at my house getting her hair done and visiting. She asked me if there was anything she could take to make her have the baby and I rubbed clary sage oil on the pressure points on her feet and she took some red raspberry leaf capsules. Sure enough she started contractions at 1:00 am the next morning. She didn't want to wake me so she tried to ignore them until 9 am when they were intense and only 3 minutes apart. (Gahhh!!) My mom and sister, Claire, were close by and came to help her in the car while we raced to South Jordan. It was a beautiful delivery. A was unbelievably strong and delivered a healthy and screaming baby boy in only 9 pushes. We were able to help her through the whole process and I am amazed at what a miracle it is that I have been invited to welcome each of my children into the world along with their birthmothers. Shep came a little early and surprised us, so I missed his birth, but it is not lost on me that his birthmom wanted me there. My children have each entered this world surrounded by angels and an over abundance of love.
Lewis Alan Garner was born at 4:53 pm December 27th. He weighed 8 lbs 5 oz and was 19" long. His birthmom chose his middle name after her brother with whom she is close and I love the biological connection to a sweet uncle. Placement was bittersweet and we ask our family and friends to please keep Lewis's lovely birthmom in your prayers. We are beyond happy, we are filled to the brim with joy. Every prayer, every prompting, is valid and means something. EVERY SINGLE ONE. I could have never guessed this for our family, but it is infinitely grander that anything I could have ever hoped for. The Lord is surely mindful of every detail in our lives and working to make mountains move for every one of his children.