Thursday, March 13, 2008

Shadows that lurk behind my children

I’ve been thinking a lot about my baby boy lately. He is still nameless and faceless to me, but we are far enough along in the process to guess that he has most likely been born by now, and is in an orphanage somewhere. I wonder what he looks like, what his personality will be like, how he will grow up to be. Probably similar to what most pregnant moms think about.

The main difference is that I can’t help but also think about his birthmother. She chose life for her son. But is she struggling right now? Is she dying of AIDS? Was she raped and deserted? Is she so poor she can hardly feed herself? Does she think about her son and wonder what will happen to him?

I often think about Grace’s birthmother too. We know absolutely nothing about her. We never will. There aren’t some “sealed documents” somewhere that Grace can open when she’s 18. I love my daughter so much that it hurts. I can’t imagine loving a child more. It’s not until I am out in public and getting strange stares from people that I remember that not everyone can tell she is my daughter. But I often think about how my joy is another woman’s sadness. I see Grace laugh and play and run and sing and dance and I’m sad for what her birthmother is missing. What an amazing gift I have been given. How precious is God’s Grace.

What would her life be like if she was still in the village? 1 in 9 Tanzanian children die before their 5th birthday. One in nine! Over 10% of Tanzanians are dying of AIDS. Over 50% live in poverty or below poverty. It’s hard for me to even fathom my daughter growing up that way. It’s one thing to think about nameless, faceless children growing up in poverty. It’s another thing when one of them is my daughter. And even harder to think that the woman who conceived her and gave her birth is still living that way—if she is still living. She will never know how amazing her daughter is.

Will Grace ever realize what God has saved her from? Probably not until she is much, much older. She is still selfish and foolish and demanding--like any other child. Do I ever realize what I have been saved from?

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!”
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