Saturday, March 03, 2012

Hannah’s Prayer

Hannah has long been one of my favorite biblical heroines. I am not sure that most people would consider her worthy of that title. She did not save her people from destruction like Esther. She did not lead an army into battle like Deborah. She did not harbor spies, or leave her homeland and all she knew, or cast off her reputation to wash a man’s feet. Hannah is quiet and meek and really the exact opposite of your typical definition of heroine.

But Hannah’s faith and her willingness to give everything up to the Lord, puts her in that class for me.
I have honestly never wanted to be a mother. I like kids. In every job or volunteer position I’ve ever held, I've worked with kids in one way or another. I enjoy my niece and nephew, have always been close with my friend’s children, and would rather be in a setting that has a great family vibe than one with a trendy nightlife.

But that being said, I never really wanted to be a mom myself.

Lots of people over the years have told me that they thought I would make a great mom. I would give them a “Really? Thanks.” and in my heart think, Sure, but that’s not for me. Too much of a wanderer I guess to even consider the possibility. And while marriage has been on the table, kids weren’t. I guess I thought someday that I might change my mind and think about it, but that was in a far distant future that didn’t exist yet.

And then I met my Hannah*.

One of the children I have come to know and love since beginning work at Oasis Haven, Hannah always stood out. There was immediately a different bond between us—something stronger and deeper than the hugs and kisses or the “Auntie Amanda come see”s or the games and playtimes.

I can’t tell you for certain when I knew that Hannah was my daughter. I just know that one day I knew. One day I knew without a shadow of a doubt that this was my child and the cry in my heart was to be her mother. I prayed and prayed and asked God what to do with this knowledge. My boyfriend was still my boyfriend and it would probably be another year before we would marry. Could it wait that long? Would another family come forward to adopt her? Would my boyfriend feel the same way?

I prayed and cried out to God for months. And often would flip over to 1 Samuel reading Hannah’s story over and over again, commiserating with her longing and her anguish. About the time that I was ready to tell my boyfriend—when marriage plans were being formed and I believed that there was a chance—we broke up. I was devastated.

I cried over him, but I also cried over Hannah, believing her lost to me. And I cried for God to bring another mom and dad for her so that she could have the best in life and a place to belong.

Months down the road, when the grief was less tender, I again began to look at Hannah and wonder. I still felt deep in my inmost parts, that this was my daughter. But what could I do. I was single with no future husband, no future father, anywhere in sight. This didn’t make sense. My family and my best support structures were on the other side of the world. Living as a volunteer in South Africa for so long had depleted my savings. I couldn’t afford to be a mom. But that cry of my heart was still there. Still crying out.

I sat in church one Sunday in August. The pastor talked about family. He talked about adopting his own son. He talked about God’s family. And in the midst of it, I heard God’s still small voice saying, “Hannah’s your daughter, so what are you going to do about it? Trust Me and know that I will take care of all the details.”

After the service, I told my friend (Hannah’s house mom). She affirmed me and a few days later when we talked of it again, after I approached our adoptions manager and shared my heart with her, she told me that she had cried for Hannah when my boyfriend and I broke up thinking that she had lost her chance for a family. She told me she believed I was Hannah’s mom and that she knew this was right.

Since then, every person who knows Hannah and knows my intentions has confirmed it and blessed it. After the shock wore off for my parents and after they went away to pray, they were able to come back with certainty that Hannah was their granddaughter and a pledge to support us in whatever way was needed.

The past few months have been about planning and finding the best way to move forward. We’re now in the final stages before I move back to the US to pursue an inter-country adoption with the hope that we will be able to bring Hannah home forever in 6-12months.

I know that there will still be challenges and roadblocks. I know that this will be a step by step processes. I know that God may still have something else in mind for both Hannah and for me. But most importantly, I know that I need to trust God and persevere. I need to walk forward in faith and hope.

1 Samuel 1:19 says that the Lord remembered Hannah. He remembered her prayer and He was faithful to answer it giving her a child. “She named him Samuel, saying, ‘Because I asked the Lord for him’” (v20). I came home and read that passage again on that August Sunday. I wrote the date by these verses, saying to myself, God has remembered me. And I believe that He will continue to do so, remembering both me and my Hannah.

*Hannah is a pseudonym which I will be using moving forward in order to protect my daughter’s identity until she is fully and legally mine.

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