This past week has been a bit of a roller coaster for our family. Throughout our time back in the States we have received encouragement on so many levels we can’t even begin to express our thanks to God and to those who have blessed us in so many ways.
Early in January we learned that Amber was expecting our third child. This was cause for great excitement, and not just a little surprise. This isn’t the first time God has proven to us He is in control. During our preparations to move to South Africa over 3 years ago we thought we had things all figured out. Meredith was 18 months old. That meant we would be able to get pregnant and have the baby, all while still under corporate insurance. Then the baby would have been about 6 months old at the time of our move to South Africa. Everything seemed to be going according to our plan.
That’s when we found out, in early January 2007, that Amber’s pregnancy was ectopic, meaning the egg had implanted in the tube rather than the uterus. Not only was this not a viable pregnancy but it could be potentially fatal to Amber. Thankfully, the doctors found it early and were able to resolve the danger without surgery.
For almost a year after that we were unable to get pregnant. God eventually chose to bless us with Drake in September 2008. I think all parents will understand when I say it is hard to remember a time when Drake wasn’t part of our lives. And looking back, we understand that if our initial planned pregnancy hadn’t failed, we never would have had the little guy we so intensely love.
Fast forward now to our current furlough. Since we are in the midst of fundraising, our future is a bit uncertain. We are confident we will be returning to South Africa soon, but don’t have a specific date. Knowing that, we thought it advisable to delay any additional children until our return. Of course, we’ve all heard the proverb “Man plans, God laughs.” That’s how we felt in early January when we learned the news that we would be expecting a new arrival in August. And we immediately began making plans for that new information.
Then last week we learned that once again, not all would be according to our plan. Amber began to experience a few complications. We went in for a checkup and the ultrasound could not detect a heartbeat. Babies have a heartbeat at 18 days, according to a billboard in Des Moines. They can usually be detected at 4-5 weeks. According to calculations, our baby should have been about 10 weeks, but was measuring at 5 weeks.
Additional tests confirmed that Amber was indeed miscarrying. While this was difficult news to digest, we know that God is in control. He has demonstrated that continually and how could we doubt Him now.
As we reflect on this latest event in our life, the one thought that keeps returning is of the children of South Africa. While unexpected, we so desired and anticipated this new addition to our family. The disappointment we feel is only for a brief season. Having been in Welkom for almost two years, we saw multitudes of children in desperate need. There are children who were wanted but the parents have died. There are more children who were never wanted and have never experienced love.
We have learned that people are the same all over the world. So often we have a stereotype in our minds, but as we’ve come to know and love these children we see they are no different than our own. They have the same needs, desires, dreams, fears. Maybe this is just an emotional response to loss, but we can’t wait to get back and meet the children God is preparing for us. He knows all and is already making straight our paths.
I’ve been an expectant father twice now, and the anticipation we feel for the commencement of The Village is similar. You just know that you’ll fall desperately in love with your new little one. And you know your life will never be the same after that child becomes a part of it. We get the privilege of having that experience over and over again. We hope and trust that God will bless us with another of our own, but if He never does, we still get the blessing of adding maybe dozens. Keep praying that we can get back there soon. God is doing amazing things.