It’s a great pleasure to introduce you to Amanda who’s sharing her unique journey to and through motherhood as part of our month-long guest post series, Special Mamas. I met Amanda in January on a sponsor trip to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International. We connected richly and authentically on multiple occasions including a bus ride, a home visit, and a dinner. Amanda is the one who agreed with me quietly in passing that our lunch with mamas and babes was like heaven. Amanda is the one who sought me, found me and hugged me big when I was trying to gather myself that morning I completely lost it. Needless to say, we became fast friends and have stayed in touch via Facebook ever since. Amanda is one of the biggest hearts I’ve ever met. She’s mama to one sweet boy and “madrina” (Godmother) to eight children through Compassion International. Please welcome Amanda. She’s one very special mama.
If you had asked me in college what my life was going to look like, I would have told you that by my mid to late twenties, I would be married and have two children. As is often the case, God had other plans.
There are two things that you should know about me. The first is that my whole life I’ve wanted to be a mom. The second is that in my early teen years I had very irregular periods. My OB at the time told me there was a slight possibility that I might have trouble getting pregnant, but there was no way to know until I actually tried to get pregnant.
My husband and I got married when I was 26 years old. We decided that we wanted to wait a little bit before starting our family. To have some time together before we had kids.
In my perfect world, I wanted to have one child and then adopt a little girl from China. Long before I met my husband, I had heard about a Chinese adoption agency and truly felt like it was something God was calling me to do.
When my husband and I finally decided that we would start trying for a baby, things didn’t seem to be going well. I saw my OBGYN, who quickly sent me to see a fertility specialist. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Basically, my body wouldn’t ovulate. No ovulation, means no egg. No egg, means no baby. And so I began to journey down the road of infertility.
I began the process of taking hormones to try to force my body to ovulate. It was an emotional roller coaster for months on end, complicated by the fact that I have biochemical depression. I was SO angry with God! Why would He give me such a desire to be a mother and then not allow me to be?!? It made no sense to me!
And then it happened – two pink lines! I was FINALLY pregnant! I had a smooth, easy pregnancy. However, my son decided to make quite an entrance into the world! He arrived June 13th instead of July 13th via emergency C-section. I was fully dilated when we got to the hospital and he was breech. He was coming so quickly that I had to be put under full anesthesia.
But God was so faithful! Although my precious baby Jonah was only 4 pounds 15 ounces when he was born, he was perfectly healthy, only spent three hours in the NICU, and was able to come home with us. I could hardly believe it — I was a mom!
In the months that followed, I quickly began to realize that I was not going to have any more children. Pregnancy had changed my body chemistry so much that I went into a deep depression. It took the next two years for my doctors to figure out what medications would get me to a stable place. I knew that for my family’s sake, I couldn’t risk going into another depression just to have another child.
And that’s when the calling to adopt that I had heard so many years ago from God started running through my head. But every time it came to mind, I just felt so overwhelmed at the thought of dealing with two children! So for years I carried this horrible guilt that I wasn’t doing what I felt like God had called me to do.
When my son was about nine months old, I was finally able to get my dream job. I had always wanted to work in ministry and was able to get a job working in the call center at Compassion International. If you’ve ever worked in a call center, you know that it is one of the worst jobs to have. Yet, I was making outbound calls asking for money, and I LOVED my job!
My husband and I had already been sponsoring a little girl in Guatemala for a few years. But when I began working at Compassion I found out about the correspondence program. There are some sponsors who are unable or unwilling to write to their children. So they give financially to support the child and a correspondent is assigned to do the letter writing. I immediately signed up for a correspondent child. And then another. My husband suggested that I had enough, but I told him that since it didn’t cost anything, that I would have as many as I darn well pleased!
One night, after I had been working at Compassion for several months, I was scrolling through my news feed on Facebook and clicked on a link to a random woman’s blog. The only reason I clicked on it was because she mentioned Compassion. She was struggling with infertility and was in the process of adopting from China. I clicked on another link which took me to the Chinese adoption agency’s website — it was the same agency I had heard about all those years ago! I began reading through the requirements to apply to adopt. As I reached the section about health requirements and read that you could not be on medication to treat any type of mental health issue, in that moment I quietly heard God whisper, “I don’t want this for you anymore. You will have many children, not by blood, but through Compassion.” And immediately this immense weight was lifted from my shoulders! I knew God no longer wanted me to adopt. He wanted me to be a “mom” to Compassion children who simply needed letters letting them know that they are loved, cared for and prayed over!
Writing to these children has been such an incredible blessing to me! I tell each of them that I NEVER want to replace their mothers, but that I hope they can think of me like a second mother or “madrina,” Spanish for Godmother. I make sure they know how much they are loved and encourage them to dream big and that they can do anything that they put their minds to! I had no self-esteem as a child, and I never want these kids to feel the way I did.
This past January I traveled on my first Compassion trip to the Dominican Republic, which is where I met our dear Amy. While I was there, I had the opportunity to meet a little boy with whom I correspond. His name is David and he is 10 years old. When David was assigned to me in April 2014, he had been in the program for two years and had never received a single letter! Between April 2014 and January 2015, I sent him four letters.
On the day I got to spend with David, I asked his tutor, “Have you seen a change in David since he started receiving my letters?” She looked at me and very firmly said, “Yes, I have!” She went on to explain that before my letters David was very shy, withdrawn and quiet. But since receiving my letters, he seemed so much happier, more open and less shy. Wow! I was blown away! How amazing that a few simple words and some stickers could make such a difference to a child! But to these children, a piece of paper and stickers translates into, I love you!
A few weeks after I returned home, I received another letter from David. It was the 3rd letter I’d received from him and it was written the middle of November. This was weeks before he knew that I was coming to visit. I sat in my living room that night and cried for an hour as I read his letter over and over again. I could see the change that his tutor told me about! I posted the story that night on my Facebook page and introduced everyone to my second son.
I am proud to say that I am currently writing to eight children! I have a full-time job, a husband and a toddler at home, but I make time to write these children. Because I know my words of love will change their lives and hopefully help them feel the love of Christ.
No matter what “being a mom” does or doesn’t look like in your life, I want to encourage you that being a mother can take on many faces! Having the title of mother doesn’t mean you have to have given birth. So, I’d like to challenge you to consider sponsoring a child through Compassion International. You can make a difference in a child’s life! And if it’s not something that is financially possible for you, then please contact Compassion about being a correspondent. Will you accept my challenge?
Amanda and I would LOVE to see some kids sponsored today! Perhaps you’ll sponsor a child through Compassion International in honor of Amanda’s beautiful story?! Perhaps you’ll sponsor in honor of your mom, in honor of special mamas who have unique journeys to and through motherhood. Perhaps you’ll sponsor because your heart beats hard and heavy for children living in extreme poverty, and you’re ready to give and receive like never before. Click here to be connected to Compassion International’s website where you can view hundreds of beautiful children waiting for a sponsor. Let’s rally around these kiddos. Let’s show them what love looks like, what hope looks like from here.
This post is part of a month-long guest post series titled Special Mamas. The series runs all May and is in honor of moms who have unique journeys to and through motherhood. To read all 13 posts in the Special Mamas series, CLICK HERE and you’ll be directed to the introductory post. At the bottom of the post, you’ll find all guest posts listed and linked for easy reading!