Days after we lost Sophia I began to pray that God would bring us another child. I asked that He would fill our empty arms through whatever means He chose; pregnancy, adoption, or some other act of His hand. I prayed that prayer every day, several times a day, with full belief that one day He would answer it.
I asked for another child not because Sophia’s life meant any less to me, but because I wanted to have a way to continue to be a mother. The day I found out I was pregnant my “mother heart” began to grow, and the first time I saw her, it’s size quadrupled. My heart was full of so much love for my daughter, and full of so much joy in being a mother. When she died 47 days later, my “mother heart” did not die with her. It continued to beat and stay strong—full of so much love to give away to my child.
I was left as a parent with no one to parent.
And so I prayed that God would bring us another child to love, another child to pour out all that God had filled me with.
Four months later, Champ entered our life.
When I first told my family and some close friends that Dave and I were interested in fostering an orphan, many of their first reactions were “Are you sure this is something you can handle?” They were worried that fostering would be just setting us up for heartbreak again. You see, Champ isn’t our adopted son, meaning most likely we will take care of him and then have to pass him along to his forever family.
They weren’t sure if we were making a good decision, emotionally, and in turn were concerned for our fragile hearts.
Hearing this concern it would have been easy to go into self-protection mode and agree that maybe fostering wasn’t the best choice for us in this season of our lives. But I was quickly reminded of what I learned from Sophia.
Almost a year ago I wrote my first letter to my little girl, and in that letter I made a choice to open my heart to love, no matter what the outcome of her life would be.
It’s so hard being your mommy sometimes. I don’t know how to love you. I want to love you with every last bit of me, but I’m so afraid of giving you that love and then losing you. I’m so afraid of how much it would hurt.
I hate that when I buy you sweet little outfits I always have a voice in the back of my head that says “I wonder if she’ll even get to wear this.”
But do you now what’s even scarier than the thought of loving you and losing you? The idea that I wouldn’t allow myself to absolutely and completely love you for the next five months, and then after seeing your precious face feel so much regret. That is far worse than loving and losing you.
So my sweet baby I am choosing to love you with everything that I am. I am choosing to believe that you will live and that I’ll be able to love you outside of my tummy. I choose to believe that God will be merciful on your precious body and will give me the opportunity to pour out all the love I’ve been storing up out on you one day.
That decision to choose love, for her, was one of the best decisions of my life. Because I chose to love her despite the pain that would come, I have no regrets about her life. I can sleep at night knowing that I didn’t hold back an ounce of my love for her. I can rest easy knowing that the last thing she heard in this world was my voice telling her “I love you” and the last thing she felt was the strength of my arms wrapped around her.
And so when people ask us, “how could you open your heart again to this little boy, knowing that you will probably have to say goodbye to him too?”, the answer is simple. I can open my home and heart to him because he is what God has placed in my life, at this moment, as someone who needs the love of a mother, and I’m a mother who is in need of loving a child. I saw how the risks of loving without abandon paid off in Sophia’s life, and I know the same will be in the case of Champ.
Will it break my heart to have to say goodbye to Champ someday? Absolutely, yes. But that doesn’t mean that I can let the fear of that make me withhold love from a child who needs it so much. God doesn’t promise a life that is free of sacrifice or pain, but He does promise to be there when those things happen. He promises that when my heart is broken again He will be right there with His needle and thread to lovingly stitch it back together again.
I chose to love because it is what I have been called to do, and because it’s what He first did for me (1 John 4:19).
So I encourage you all to not let the fear of heartbreak prevent you from giving to someone who needs your love. You will rob yourself of endless moments of joy and love, lessons learned, and the fulfillment that only comes from selflessly pouring yourself out.
Choose love, and choose to use the opportunities that God has given you, no matter the fear of what the future could bring. He goes before us and will never leave us along the way.