Monday, February 4, 2013

It's a Girl!

Well, I'm back! Back to Sierra Leone, back at the hospital, back to blogging.  I had an awesome time at home doing cool things like watching my new nephew enter the world and going to the emergency room for the first time as a patient after accidentally chopping the tip of my finger off.  Although it was really really really awesome being home, I was glad to get back to Salone and get back to work!

A lot of you know, through my blog...or my mom (Mom, that is definitely NOT a reference to hem...propensity to share?) that before I went home I was asked to keep a little girl here, Kadiatu.  Indefinitely.  Yikes.

I spent the better part of my break thinking, and praying, and walking, and praying, and thinking, and thinking, and praying.....trying to figure out what to do.  I was torturing myself, and everyone around me,  going back and forth, back and forth, thinking through every single possibility, trying desperately to know what God wanted from me, and also trying not to screw up a lot of lives!

Although I told myself that I wouldn't make a decision until I came back....I definitely started leaning one way while I was home.  The Christmas presents I received from my family for Kadiatu might give you an inkling which way I was leaning.  I was seriously contemplating becoming a mom.

Now this would be a big step for anyone. A huge step! But for me, it was infinitely far from what I  imagined my life would be.  To be honest, I always secretly knew that I would end up in the middle of a war torn country, staying long after all the other ex-patriots left doing my nursing thing while the bullets flew over my head.  Florence Nightengale syndrome at it's finest.  I was well on my way to this aspiration by moving to Sierra Leone, where while we hope and pray for peace, we also know that things can erupt quickly.  I've already researched how to make sure they do NOT send in any Special Forces to rescue me if I decide to be an idiot and stay when things get bad.  So that was my plan.  Extreme Nursing.  Not this.  Not ever this.

I arrived back in country on Jan. 21st.  The rest of my team in Freetown was finishing a retreat so although I missed the majority of it, I hung around for a week or so to finish it with them and spend time with the visitors before I went up.  One night my team leader asked if I'd like to talk to the guy who led the retreat so I babbled and bawled to him for about 2 hours, still not sure what I was going to do. (Shout out know who you are. :))

At the end of the week I went back up to my village and stopped to see Kadiatu on the way.  She ran up to me but was shy and not chatty like she usually is.  Her dad wasn't around but I talked with her mom for awhile. My primary concern was to ascertain whether or not her mom REALLY wanted me to take her.  After talking with her for awhile, it became clear that she did.  Really did.  She said that she, her people, her husband and her husband's people all wanted me to take her.  Ok. I told her I would come back tomorrow or the next day with my decision.  It was clear that they were all expecting me to take her.  Someone even told me that her mother had a sick grandmother in Freetown and wanted to go see her but was waiting for me to come take Kadi first.

I was desperate to know what God wanted me to do.  Desperate!!  I didn't go back the next day, as I wanted to think and pray some more.  I've been dragging this on for months now. Back and forth, back and forth, wanting desperately for there to be some writing on the wall.  Or maybe some writing in the sky. Yeah! That would be awesome!  Skywriting from Jesus. I love it!

The morning I was to go back to the village, last Tuesday, I was spending some time with Jesus, still crying out to know what He wanted from me.  And I read this:

"Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord...The other things on the face of the earth are created for man, to help him in attaining the end for which he is created. Hence, man is to make use of them, in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.  Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things. Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created."

I reviewed my attachments.  Was I afraid of what people would think if I took her? Was I afraid of what people would think if I didn't. Was I afraid her mother would regret sending her to live with me? Was I afraid her village would be angry if I didn't take her? Was I afraid of the future....with or without her?  The answer to these and so many other questions I asked...was Yes. Yes, I was afraid of ALL of those things. So I prayed and prayed and gave these things up. Yes, I was afraid of these things, but I want God more.  I want to do what I was created to do.  To praise, to reverence, and to serve my God.  I love my friends and my family, who all have varying opinions about what I should do.  But I love Jesus more. I love my life the way it is now, but I love Jesus more. I love this village and want to please them, but I love Jesus more.  And I love this little girl.  This sweet, precious, adorable little girl.  But I love Jesus more.  It's what I was created to do.  So as I was crying out to God that YES!! I choose YOU above everything, the thought crossed my mind, "So what is the best way to do what you were created to do, in this situation?  How can you best love me?"  And I love this little girl.  That's how I think I can love You and serve You best in this situation.  So I decided to go get her.  That was it.  I never got my skywriting, but I was satisfied.

That afternoon I went to the village with two friends of mine. We discussed everything with her family and with the town chief.  The chief gave an embarrassing little speech about how she had been close to death when someone (I say Someone) stepped in to help her. They said they were grateful I wanted to continue to help.  So after about 30 min. of speeches by the various parties, I picked her up and we left.  She didn't cry, but she was shy.  When we got back to my house we watched some of the videos I'd made before she left and she just started laughing.  You should hear it! Her laugh is just precious!

But I'll be honest.  I struggled!!  I thought I should have felt different. I should have been overwhelmed with feelings of love for this little one and instead I felt like I was going to suffocate by the enormity of what I'd done. Although I had literally been thinking, praying, mulling, agonizing for months, the full magnitude of what I'd done didn't hit me until she was actually with me.  And it was terrifying.  I just started begging God. "Lord! I have no idea how to be a Mom!! HELP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

It took about 24 hours for my decision to settle and I started feeling better about it.  It still feels really big if I think about years and years in the future but I find that if I focus on the one day, asking my Helper to help all along the way, there is Peace. And Joy. Lots of Joy! :)

It's been almost a week now. I've been trying to write this blog for a week but it turns out having a kid is a bit time consuming! :)  Kadi is doing great and is adjusting SO much faster than last time.  When she came she wasn't speaking any Krio anymore, but she's picking it up really fast and we're already starting to be able to communicate again.  She talks incessantly and I'll be excited when I know all that she's saying!!

So there you have it.  The "End" of the Kadi saga.  Or the beginning. Lord help me! :)
Love Love Love her smile!!!
She has a couple illnesses so I've been giving her medicine.  She decided her baby needed some too....what a good Mama!


  1. I'd say you sound like a mom. You're leggit. I've cried this week over the enormity of being a mom and all that it entails...and I've been one for years.

    It is a big deal, but you serve a big God. He loves Kadi more than you. She's gonna be more than fine.

    I'll pray for you...if you pray for me. We moms gotta stick together. I hope I get to meet her...and see you again...when I come in June.

  2. Congratulations, mommy! She's beautiful!

  3. Continuously amazed by God and what He does in your life. I am inspired by you. I want to love Jesus more! We will continue to pray with you on this journey!

  4. Ah Emily. I admire you so much and am incredibly grateful for what you do! Thanks for being an a blessing. I will be praying for you!

  5. Hey Emily, I've never met you. Your sister taught my son at CFCA and I am friends with one of her friends, Angela. Angela posted your blog on her facebook page and I just read it. Angela had told me earlier about your decision...4 months ago. I prayed for you way back then. I have to admit that I had forgotten til today to pray more. But... I am rejoicing along with you and the rest of your family and friends and Kadiatu's family that you have heard from the Lord and have decided to become Kadi's mom! You're right, it's daunting (I'm a mom of 3 boys), but it is a joy and a wonder! I have worried over the years about not knowing what to do in many situations and not feeling like I can be the mom that the boys need, but, the more I give all of that to the Lord and ask for His direction and then wait on Him, the more He gives me His peace.... and guidance.

    I am encouraged and inspired by how you love Jesus, and how you follow hard after Him!

  6. Sweet Emily, It is my firm belief that while God can choose the equipped, he often equips the willing. God will give you every ounce of patience, knowledge, discerment, grace, compassion and more - as you need it. Sometimes in seemingly sufficient amounts and sometimes in amounts that will overflow from you freely. But His provision is always enough. You are an inspiration. Oh that my children will desire, more than anything else, to love and serve God with all their hearts and actions! You are a blessing to that sweet girl, to your family and to all that get to have a glimpse of what God is working on in and through you.

  7. WOW I'm amazed at what God is doing through you! You are such an inspiration. I am blessed to have such amazing family, and can't wait to meet Kadi as the newest member of the family. Welcome to the Mommy club! It's a tough, exhausting road to take but full of amazing blessings!! Love you and Kadi!!

  8. LOVE LOVE LOVE this! So excited to swap parenting frustration/success stories with you! I love that Caleb and Anna have an awesome new cousin! Love you and can't wait to meet your sweet little girl at Christmas!

  9. Emily I think as long as you remember that one day at a time way you will do well. God is blessing this little girl with you, and I can here the joy between the lines you write. God bless you for praying and waiting for an answer. I will keep the 2 of you in my prayers.

  10. Can we start using her real name? And by "we" I really mean YOU?

    1. Ha! My sister said the same thing!! :)

  11. So proud of you Emily! You are going to be a great Mom. Kadi is so blessed to have you as a Mom who will love her like Jesus does.
    Love you,
    Aunt Becky

  12. God truly gave You the wisdom required to make this beautiful decision. I knew He would :-) Emily, you are a daughter of the King and represent him well as a mighty warrior princess for His kingdom. Love you dearly. Thank You for inspiring me.

  13. Hi Emily - can't wait to see you and Emily when i return to Sierra Leone later this year. I've been wanting to tell you something but was afraid since I knew you were struggling with making your decision. But now that you've made your decision, I can say it. The first time I met Kadi and saw you together I had an overwhelming sense that Kadi is your gift from God. She's your reward, your blessing. You will show her Jesus and she will enrich your life and the lives of others beyond measure. God Bless you Emily.

  14. WOW!!!! Congratulations!! I am glad you were able to find an answer, and I have felt, almost from the start of reading your posts regarding her, that this was where this was supposed to be headed. You will be great at being her mom, she is a lucky girl, and I think you are a lucky woman to be blessed with such an amazing child. Exciting, wonderful things are ahead. I am glad I met you Emily.