Archives for May 2018

A Mother’s Day in Heaven and on Earth

Dear friends,

It is Mother’s Day weekend, and I personally am thrilled – it’s my first Mother’s Day!  I look forward to celebrating the mamas in my family and giving a little extra thanks than normal to all the amazing moms I know.

This very special day has inspired me to share the story of how I became a mom, and to tell you a little bit about one of the most incredible moms I’ve known. —

It was Mother’s Day last year when my family and I returned home from our beach trip.  A couple of days later, my husband Jeff and I walked down the street in our neighborhood to visit with my grandmother who lived just around the corner.  We gave her a card and some hugs and spent a little time with her.  I watched her hands in gentle motion as we talked about the events happening in our lives, the books she’d been reading, and most significantly, what Heaven is really like.  As we walked back home, my heart full, I told Jeff how nice it would be if Mim (as I affectionately called my MawMaw) would be able to meet our baby.

Jeff and I had just finalized all of our adoption paperwork and were just waiting for a phone call that a baby was, for lack of a better word, “available”.  And Mim was getting sicker. Having been diagnosed with non-smokers lung cancer a few years prior, she was doing well, continuing her daily routine which included gardening, cooking and a great dedication to playing the organ at church.  Most recently, though, she had declined and ultimately decided she didn’t want anymore medical intervention.

Mim knew of our desire for children and our excitement as we went through the preparations for adoption.  I would keep her up-to-date on our lives, whether through visits at her kitchen table, phone calls in which we shared our health woes and asked each other for prayers, or conversations in the church parking lot after daily mass.  Being able to share our Catholic faith, in particular those Monday or Thursday evening masses, was one of the greatest and most cherished gifts I’ve been given.  I admired Mim not only for her unwavering and effortless faith, but for her loyalty, kindness, patience, humility and for being all those things not just as a human being but as a mother to eight children.  While not perfect, she lived her life with devotion to and in imitation of our Blessed Mother, and truly was saintly because of it.

An hour after returning home from our Mother’s Day visit with Mim, my phone rang.  It was our adoption attorney who started talking about “this little baby boy due in July”.  God surely heard our conversation, we thought, but at the same time we didn’t want to get our hopes up…

But, we officially matched with this little boy’s birth mother a couple weeks later.  This match was coupled with such uncertainly that Jeff and I decided we were going to keep things to ourselves for a while because literally the adoption plan was changing day to day.  Once we were a few weeks ahead of the due date we told our parents and siblings.  And I wanted to tell Mim because in the midst of all this, she had taken a turn for the worst.

Wednesday, June 21st, we spent the day in and out of my grandmother’s home, as children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and friends all came to say goodbye to my Mim.  Amidst all the visits, church songs being sung, and the laughs at my grandmother’s journal being read aloud, I was able to sneak in a few moments alone with her.  And I told her, “Mim, we might have a baby boy in a few weeks”.  She opened her eyes after a little bit and said “Oh!” with a smile.  I told her to listen for my prayers because I most assuredly would be asking for her motherly advice and intercession to God.

My Mim went to Heaven on Thursday, June 22nd, 2018.  It was a day that I’ll never forget.  Even in my sorrow, I took great comfort in the gift God had given me – being able to witness to a most beautiful life, all the way till the final earthly goodbye.  That day our family lost our matriarch here on Earth but gained our saint in Heaven.

In the midst of mourning and helping with funeral plans, Jeff and I were still riding the rollercoaster of emotions, guarding our hearts yet preparing them to possibly be parents in the very near future.   Since Mim’s passing I had been asking her to intercede for us like I had promised.   Soon after, I received word that the birth parents finally wanted to meet us and that Sunday we drove to Jackson, Mississippi where we met them for lunch.  Once everyone’s nerves settled we were able to have an enjoyable meeting and came home feeling like we made a great connection and confident that the crazy ride would soon subside.  They told us they were pretty certain that the baby would be coming sooner than his due date and wanted to make sure we were ready.  We were more than ready for him, but could only hope and pray that God willed him to be ours.

Mim’s funeral service was that Tuesday.  It was the most beautiful farewell I have ever witnessed.  Even though her wishes were for no one to speak about her but to give all glory to God, the tribute was moving, as we were able to give Mim all of the praise she humbly deserved.  I continued to pray to her, to thank her for all she’d done for our family and for the incredible role model she’d been to me.

A few days passed with a lot of back and forth conversations with the birth parents, adoption agency and attorney, which unfortunately led us back to feeling uneasy.  Needless to say our attorney and agency rep were also highly concerned that things wouldn’t work out.  And I just kept talking to Mim.  Saturday afternoon I was leaving church after setting up for the upcoming week of Vacation Bible School, when I received a message from the birth mother letting me know that she was having contractions and she was on her way to the hospital.  Once she told me that her water broke, Jeff and I quickly packed up the car, kissed the dog goodbye and sped on up to Jackson.  We prayed, sang church songs on the way (well I sang), called our parents, and at this point allowed ourselves to get excited.

We walked into our birth mother’s labor and delivery room at 7:00pm.  Within moments, she was ready to push, and Jeff waited in the hallway while I was in the delivery room.  At 7:15pm, Eli Wayne Director came into this world!

Eli was a healthy 8lb 8oz boy but needed to stay in the nursery for a few days for observation and until all legal paperwork was in order.  All the while, I was praying to my Mim.  I sang her organ music to Eli as I rocked him in the nursery.  I told him about the incredible journey we had been on to get to him; how we tried to so hard to protect our hearts all the while praying so hard that he was meant to be ours.  I told him all about his amazing great-grandmother – although he wouldn’t be able to see her on Earth, she most certainly held him in Heaven before God sent him to us.

I now know without a doubt that God was listening to me that day when we walked home from Mim’s house.  While she was never able to meet our baby in this world, I know she has done far more for us from Heaven than she could have done on Earth.  Through every roadblock we encountered, every moment we were confused or lost, I know she was there to help pave the way.  Jeff and I agreed when we began the adoption process that we would never force anything to happen because then it wouldn’t be meant to be.  God knew the sincerity of our hearts and undoubtedly led us exactly where we needed to be, to our Eli.

I think of Mim every day.  When I hear the church organ playing, when I’m rocking Eli to sleep and when I close my eyes to pray, I know she is with me.  And I can hear her say, “I love you, honey”.  Happy 1st Heavenly Mother’s Day, Mim.  I love you.