One of the most important days of my life was October 6th, 2010 - the home birth of Henri Cooper (my dear friends Sarah and Stephen's little boy). Since that day my life was never the same. One of these days I will put into words that experience and the shift it created in my life, but it is still a moment that I am trying to process. I have participated in two other births since then, March 2011 and March 2012. I was the role of a doula. Doula is Greek for "female slave". It is someone that walks alongside a mother in labor, like a birth partner. It is a long and laborious process (and I am not even the mother) and yet one of the most rewarding things to go through. I've found that to be true about all things I do...the most rewarding tend to be the most trying. I absolutely love walking alongside women in labor.
|Sweet, new baby - March 2011|
|Timing contractions - March 2012|
The email came from the Embassy Tuesday, October 23rd and we were on a plane to Ethiopia on Friday, October 26th, just three days later. The four days we spent in Africa with Mihretu were incredibly special. Autumn got to take part in so many firsts with her new son. It was magical and I feel so honored to have witnessed such a miracle. This little boy whom I met twice in the last year, that I prayed for every day for 15 months was now in his mom's arms. It was like witnessing a birth. It was holy and precious. And let me tell you, Mihretu is amazing! That boy is so smart, brave, funny, and he knows who is mother is. I really love him.
(Side note: Today is Orphan Sunday. If you haven't experienced what it feels like to have a heart for the orphan, I highly suggest going on a short-term trip. It will change your life forever. Consider what sponsoring, fostering or adopting might look like in your life. Yes that was a plug for Visiting Orphans ;)
Then it was time for the flight home or to continue the analogy, active labor. I was helping Autumn here and there in-country but she really was doing great with the transition. She could still 'walk through the contractions'. But boy, 40 hours of travel is another story. One of the hardest things I have ever done. Confine a toddler to a seat for three flights, one of them lasting 11 hours. Now add the fact that this child does not speak your language, barely knows you, has hardly left his care center, experiencing so many new things, time change, jet lag, and pure exhaustion. This was the final stage of the adoption pregnancy. This is when Autumn needed me the most. And at one point I didn't think we would make it...but we did. We landed in Nashville and Autumn and I lost it, emotionally and physically we were done. We did it! He is now home. Such an emotional moment.
|Although there were a few trying moments, Mihretu did great!|
|He is perfect :)|
Michael and I hope to step into this season of our lives in the next year or so. Whether through birth or adoption, I am grateful to have experienced that intimate moment of transition when a family is formed. I am so excited to experience that moment for myself and to share that with my husband. But until then I plan to continue to walk alongside others in this special time of their life.
Welcome home dear Mihretu. You are one loved little boy!