So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

We stepped off of the plane into a land that was new to me, but already held my heart. I was overwhelmed by smells of Ethiopian spices, incense, and fresh mountain air. I tried to memorize every detail – the sounds of the Amharic language, the warmth of the beautiful people, their dress, and their way. My husband, Nathan, and I shuffled through the crowds together, exhausted but excited. I could not believe this was finally happening. After a period of waiting and the whirlwind that followed, we were finally in the homeland of our infant son.

Emotion came over me as I realized the impact of this moment and how close we were to our Elijah Yegremachew. He was only 7 months old, and being near him just intensified the longing I had to hold him in my arms and see him with my own eyes for the very first time. It was one of those moments you know you will never forget…one of those moments that changes your life forever. I realized it and yet couldn’t wrap my brain around it all at the same time.

We moved through the crowds, obtaining our visas, and exchanging our American dollars for Ethiopian birr. We waited for luggage, were aggressively pursued by those hoping to carry our bags for a tip, and finally found our adoption agency guide in the sea of people.

As we drove through the Ethiopian capital city of Addis Ababa, I could hardly speak. I didn’t want to forget a thing. I hoped the images would be ingrained in my heart and mind forever. We saw children playing the streets, donkeys meandering through traffic, the incredible beauty & strength of the Ethiopian people, and poverty like we’d never witnessed before. It was a captivating picture of incredible beauty and brokenness existing side by side. A piece of my heart will always belong to Ethiopia.

I remember standing on the stairs of the transition home where Elijah was staying in anticipation of seeing him for the first time. My heart was pounding, and I was anxiously excited while I waited to catch a glimpse. When they brought him out, my heart caught in my throat. He was even more perfect than I had imagined. He was alert and looking around, and by some miracle did not cry when they handed him over. Not at first. Fairy tale meetings don’t usually happen in adoption, but this one was pretty close. He wore a little blue sleeper we had sent over in a care package earlier, and I held him up to take all of him in. He was beautiful, and I was in love.

Meeting our son for the first time ranks as one of the most meaningful days in my life. Not only was I head over heels in love with this little one, but I felt a new sense of purpose, and God’s faithfulness in the completion of this giant step of faith. God had done what seemed impossible only a year earlier, and He had provided for every step of the way. My heart was full.

What led us here? The short answer is God’s goodness. The longer answer is the journey to learning how to trust God and live out a more radical faith, even when there is every reason not to.

God led us to giving Him our yes to a calling He designed, and we would have missed it if we’d given a no instead. He had led us down the path to this first adoption, and all that was to follow. I cringe to think what might have been…or not been…if we’d not been willing to respond to His promptings.

You see, we had every reason to give a no. When we felt God calling us to adoption, it seemed crazy. He put it first on my heart, and after much prayer, on my husband’s. We made a list of all of the reasons adoption didn’t make sense for our little family of five, and the list was long.

What keeps us from giving God our yes?

Are we afraid of failing? Afraid of being uncomfortable? Giving up our freedoms, our reputation, our life as we know it? Why do we resist surrender to God’s calling and trade it instead for a life of safety and predictability?

I have lots of theories on this, most of them from personal experience. You see, I’d spent most of my life living the safe version of Christianity. You know the kind – going to church on Sunday, maybe volunteering occasionally, taking a meal when someone has a baby or dies, and putting a buck or two in the Salvation Army tin at Christmas.

But mostly, I kept my life comfortable and safe…you know, for the sake of doing the responsible thing. I didn’t want to do anything too risky or outside of the box. I chose safety and comfort under the guise of responsibility and wisdom. I mean, surely God would want me to live in a rational, measured way that guarantees success and good outcome, right?

Well, maybe not.

I had never entertained the idea that I lived the safe version of a Christian life, really. I tried to live out my faith in ways I thought were responsible and calculated. I tried to read my Bible and do what it said (failing a lot of the time), serve at church, and went to Bible study. I knew I wasn’t earning my salvation by “doing good”, but I hoped it would be enough.

And then God stepped in. He rocked my world and opened my eyes and challenged me to live a different kind of faith. One that reflected that I actually believed Him. Not that I believed in Him, but that I believed His promises. That I believed He would be faithful in all He called me to do. Yes indeed, this was a different kind of living.

My focus began to shift and I could feel God doing a work in me and opening my eyes. In His goodness, he began to break my heart for what breaks his and gently brought me along in seeing what it should be to live out a true faith. To love unconditionally, to get into the trenches with those who are hurting and need to feel the love of Jesus wrapped around them in the flesh.

And thank goodness He did. It came with the best blessings around.

Kathy Garrison

Kathy is a wife to Nathan, and a momma to eight children both by birth and adoption. She's passionate about living a life full of purpose and cares about the things close to God’s heart. She's an advocate for orphaned & vulnerable children, adoption, a justice-seeker, and Christ follower who longs to make a difference. Kathy values her friends, but also her time alone. She loves deep conversation, meaningful connection, honesty in relationship, Mexican food, and a great cup of coffee. When she's not chasing children, she does some public speaking and writes about faith, family, adoption, and everyday life at http://www.kathygarrison.com/

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child

In: Adoption
3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child www.herviewfromhome.com

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. Remember that old nursery rhyme? I can still hear it playing in my head. Growing up, I had always assumed that would be my story. The love and marriage part certainly happened for me in an amazing, storybook ending kind of way. However, the baby in the baby carriage didn’t come as quickly for my husband and me. As a few years passed, we began to feel a little restless and disheartened. However, God opened up His perfect plan for our family by leading us to...

Keep Reading

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

In: Adoption
I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I didn't Let Go www.herviewfromhome.com

  I am often asked, when people find out I am a birth mother, “Why did you decide on adoption? Didn’t you want her?” In the tidy nutshell version of my response it was the logistical factors of being pregnant at just 16-years-old that was my why. Being a junior in high school when I saw those two pink lines in October of 2004, I still needed to graduate, plus I wanted to attend college. I did not have a job to support us. In fact, I did not have my driver’s license or even the few dollars it took...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing

In: Adoption, Child Loss, Miscarriage, Motherhood
Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing www.herviewfromhome.com

To the one with healthy children in your lap, YOU are a great mom. Whether you work full-time or stay at home, you are amazing and deserve to be celebrated every day, but especially today. You sacrificed your body and your own well-being over and over again and I know you don’t regret any of it. You are enough and you are appreciated even when you don’t feel it. To the one holding a child someone else carried inside of her body, YOU are a great mom. Whether you faced infertility, surrogacy, chose to adopt, or have biological and adopted children,...

Keep Reading

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know

In: Adoption, Journal
4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know www.herviewfromhome.com

The minutes on the hospital clock dwindled as I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was permanently placed in the arms of her adoptive family. In those final moments, I thought my heart might shatter into a thousand slivers without any hope of being mended. I was broken. Scarred. Devastated. When I left the hospital without my baby, it felt like someone was pounding on my chest with both fists and I couldn’t catch my breath. The emptiness that followed was inconceivable. A piece of me, my daughter, was gone. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of my...

Keep Reading

No Matter Life’s Season, God Provides What We Need

In: Adoption, Faith
No Matter Life's Season, God Provides What We Need www.herviewfromhome.com

When my husband and I adopted our older daughter Lilly 15 years ago, she was nine-months-old and weighed about 17 pounds. That might not seem like much, but she was a chunk of a little girl—so much so that people we met in elevators and restaurants in China often mistook her for a two-year-old. I had worked on my cardiovascular fitness in the months leading up to our adoption trip, and my regular runs on the treadmill prepared me to traverse the Great Wall with relative ease. My upper body strength, however, was a different story entirely. My arms and...

Keep Reading

Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption

In: Adoption
Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption www.herviewfromhome.com

  “Don’t do it! Adoption is the worst!” His voice echoed through my entire body, his words hitting every unprepared bone, and I clutched the full glass of ice water ready to plunge it in his direction. There were hundreds of people in the darkened bar room, on dates mostly, sitting in the crowd enjoying the comedy show. My insides twisted and lurched, I heard nothing but the reverberations of laughter, and my mind kept envisioning myself walking over to him and punching his face in. When the comedian began working adoption into her show, my body began tingling and...

Keep Reading

Adoption Is Love

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Is Love www.herviewfromhome.com

  I pull around in the car line and scan the group of kids for my daughter. Usually, I can find her easily, chatting it up with her friends as she waits for me to pick her up from school. Today, though, I don’t see her. I look again and I finally spot her. She is slumped on the curb, her head in her hands and her eyes downcast. My momma radar instantly goes off as I watch her slowly get up and drag her feet to the car and I can tell that something is wrong. She slides into...

Keep Reading

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

In: Adoption, Faith
The Ache While We Wait to Adopt www.herviewfromhome.com

  There’s a persistent ache, but sometimes I can ignore it. I can turn up the volume of what’s around me and drown it out for a bit. I play hostess and invite the noise to come in: come fill up my heart, come fill up this empty nursery, come fill up this planner. I’ve got two kids, and they are experts at noise, so my days are full of it, and it works. The noise narcotizes the ache, making it manageable, day by noisy day.  In my former life as a teacher, I used to make my students write...

Keep Reading

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father

In: Adoption, Journal
How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband’s earliest memories of his adoptive mother are as blurry as the black and white photos he has taped inside a leather-bound family album. He recalls the gentle hands that tucked him into bed each night and the smell of her lavender scented soap, but these memories are intertwined with the last and most painful of all: sitting on the cold hospital steps, muffled whispers in the hallway, and the tight grip of his adoptive father’s hand as they made their way back to the car without his mother. Death was an abstract concept that he was unable to...

Keep Reading

Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Has Made Me a Better Mama www.herviewfromhome.com

I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversary dinner. We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably. First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world. I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have...

Keep Reading

5 Secrets to the

BEST Summer Ever!

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Creating simple summer memories

with your kids that will  last a lifetime