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Alma Love: An Alma's Journey to Motherhood

Alma Love: An Alma's Journey to Motherhood

"For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart." ~Jeremiah 29:11-13

This verse has been a special one to me ever since my mom passed away from lung cancer in December 1996.  Although I have to admit, I focus way too much on verse 11, and not enough on 12 and 13. That's where this story begins...

Sometime around the summer of 2008 we decided that maybe we should start trying to have a child.  We had been married for a little over 3 years, and we thought we were as ready as we could possibly be.

I was TERRIFIED that we would get pregnant immediately. After all, we were in the middle of a remodel while working full time jobs. Tell me that's not stressful without a pregnancy on top of it?! So, initially every month that went by, I would think, "Okay, God, in your time. It will be much less stressful now that we're almost done with all this remodeling."

Sometime around October 2008, I started to think something might not be right. But, still, I waited. My OB/GYN doctor had told me that it would take up to 6 months in a healthy young couple, so I just kept thinking "it'll happen."

Meanwhile, friends and family were getting pregnant all around us. "First month trying!" "We were not even trying, but I guess God wanted us to have a baby." "We wanted the baby to be born in the summer, so we started trying 9 months before that." "Ugh, I hate being pregnant, I'm so miserable." And, while I was so happy for them, those words stung me to the core.

I wanted to scream, "Do you have any idea what a miracle that is? There is NO WAY you can possibly understand how precious a gift that is when you never really WANTED for it the way I have." Every time I saw a pregnant person, I would automatically hate her. I didn't need to know her story, I just hated her. Hated that she had something that I so desperately wanted.

I let bitterness take root in my heart. I pushed God out...I didn't want to listen to Him.  And I had no desire to ever change that...

We eventually were referred to a fertility clinic. Overall, our first visit was a good experience, and I left with quite a bit of hope, something that I desperately needed.

By this time, it's June 2009. I finally decided that it was a waste of my energy to harbor such bitterness against pregnant women (well, maybe God was working on me really hard and I finally caved like I should have long before). I began to ask God to lift me out of my bitterness, and worked to put it behind me for good.

Yes, I'm a Christian. No, I'm not perfect. I am a sinner, broken and unclean. When I was 12, I trusted Christ as my personal savior, and I haven't looked back. I AM REDEEMED, washed in the blood of the lamb. But I'm still human, and I screw up. A lot. Some days I do better than others.

But, my God, Jehovah Jireh, has carried me through too much already. It's time I trusted Him to be my provider again,

I also make the conscious decision to trust Him as Jehovah Rapha--my healer. I KNEW that He would heal me if he wanted, and I so desperately hoped that was His plan.

My attitude began to change. I was filled with hope instead of despair. I no longer hated pregnant women, even those who were able to completely control their ability to have children. My heart was opened to the possibility of adoption, and I began to see the joy in every day things again...for a little while.

I didn't respond to any oral fertility medications, so I had to give myself shots to give us the best chance of getting pregnant.  Our first cycle was "successful" in triggering several follicles for ovulation, and coupled with an IUI our doc said we had a great chance of being pregnant. I was OVER THE MOON! It was the longest 2 weeks of my life, but I took a pregnancy test and it was negative. And since my monthly visitor showed up early the next morning, that really confirmed that negative result.

That same day I found out my precious Aunt Maude (my BUDDY since I was a little bitty girl) was very very sick and was "living on borrowed time." That phone call made me cry my face off.

Top that with attendance at a women's conference in Roanoke, VA that was spiritually AWESOME, but very emotional, and I was a MESS all weekend long. I mean, train wreck...it was awesome and bad all at the same time.

We took the month of October off, and did another cycle of injections and IUI in November. Again, not successful. Which I found out 2 days before my Aunt Maude passed away.

That almost broke me. I was not myself. I was depressed, wouldn't listen to reason, and I was ticked off at God. I mean, REALLY ticked off. How DARE He not allow us to be parents!!! What in the world had we done?! Any crackhead can get pregnant and I can't?! I was angry at Josh, and I became a different person. It was awful...like Satan was a cancerous growth eating me from the inside out.

Josh didn't want to do any more fertility treatments, but I did. I saw his desire to pursue other options as denying me of something I had always wanted. That argument (over and over again) almost destroyed our marriage. But one night I had an epiphany...

Josh has raised his voice at me only 1 time since we've been married. It was during an argument we had in January 2010, again about infertility. I was heated and ticked off, practically screaming about why we couldn't try just one more time to have a baby. And he yelled at me. I listened because he's never done that before or since. He yelled "because you're too important to me, and this is destroying you! It's destroying us! I committed to a partnership with you for the rest of my life, and I'll do anything I have to do to save this marriage!"

It was like someone whacked me in the head with a frying pan. I broke down and cried. I told him I was sorry, and asked him to help me. I begged God for forgiveness, and together we decided to pray without ceasing and wait at least 3 months before having this discussion again. So we did. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't easy. I had to eat a lot of humble pie, and change a lot of priorities in my spiritual life. God began to heal my soul, and heal our marriage. We went on vacation, finished up the house, went on another vacation and just enjoyed each other and got reaquainted. We actually didn't even bring up the topic of children for 6 months.

At the end of May 2010, my Nana had a stroke. She was the matriarch of our family, and I was heartbroken to know she might not recover. I stayed with her through the first 4 nights, and one of those nights I sat on her bed, held her hand and cried my face off. I confessed everything I've just written above. I asked her to pray for me (she couldn't talk at this point, but she was looking at me, so I know she heard me...she was the ultimate prayer warrior, and I knew she had a direct line to God). I told her that if it was her time to go, she could go, but would she please ask Jesus what I was supposed to do when she got to Heaven? I told her that I was done following my path (I mean, clearly that didn't work out anyway!), and I needed His direction. She just squeezed my hand over and over. I cried for about 3 hours straight talking to her, and then I prayed for the both of us.

When I woke up that next morning, I felt the most awesome peace. I know it was God. And I know it was because my Nana probably prayed for me all night long. She suffered for 4 weeks before she passed away, but every time I stole a moment with her, I reminded her to intercede for me. And I know for a fact that she did.

She passed away on June 28, 2010. It was a happy and sad day. Sad for us, happy for her to be sitting at the feet of Jesus. The next week, I don't know who brought it up, but in one sentence Josh and I agreed that God wanted us to be foster parents. Huh! Maybe we should have prayed a little bit harder from the beginning! So, we started the process, and started our PATH classes in August.

We began praying that God would bring the perfect child for us into our home, and that He would protect this child from all the evil things in this world while we were waiting for him/her. That He would use us to do something awesome in the life of the child and their birth-family, even if it was for a short time. We had a great peace that He would place His perfect child in our home.

We had our last DCS home study visit around the first of October 2010. About 4 days after that I got a phone call from a friend of my step-mom's family who is a pastor of a church in Knoxville. He had heard that we were going to be foster parents and were hoping to eventually adopt from the DCS system. He introduced himself to me (I didn't know him at that point) over the phone and said "Hey, I have a couple wanting to give their baby up for adoption. Do you want it?" Of course I said YES! Then I told him that I needed to call Josh and would call him right back. :) Of course, Josh said yes too (I knew he would).

We met with the birthparents the following weekend, then they met both of our parents 2 weeks after that. After our first meeting with them, they asked if we would parent their child, and we were exstatic! :) We were also in total disbelief...I mean, is there ANY doubt that God's hands are all over this?  We met with them in October, and the baby is due in January 2011!  We could have never orchestrated something so beautifully.  The birthmother and I have talked many many times, and she loves this little boy more than words can say.  But, she wants something more for him. We are so thankful for her, and that she chose life for our little man! 

At 9:30 pm on January 2, 2011 we got a phone call from the birthmother telling us that she thought she was in labor, but to wait until she got checked out at the hospital to make the 2 hour drive. So, we got ready, and when she called back at 11:00 to say that she was 5 cm dilated and they would break her water when we got there, we jumped in the car and headed to Knoxville! 

We made it to the hospital around 1:15 am on January 3, and Asher Grant was born at 2:39 am. I got to be in the delivery room and even cut his cord! He is such a miracle! And there are no words to describe this whole story other than to say that God is so awesome! My little miracle was 2 weeks old yesterday, and at 5:00pm today, our rights to him became irrevocable. 

Poor thing, he's stuck with us forever now! We are so so thankful, and unbelievably blessed! GOD IS GOOD! ALL THE TIME! I am so humbled by this situation, and I am overwhelmed by the miracle God has performed in our lives. When I get up to feed Asher in the middle of the night, I pray that God will use our story to touch lives, and that he will use Asher's life to do something awesome in Jesus name. It scares me to think of what that might be, but Asher is God's baby. He's only on loan to us for a while. I hope that when he gets older, I can communicate to him how special his story is, and how it has impacted so many people, even before he was born! 

We are thankful and overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support from our friends and family members, and are praising God tonight for this precious addition to our family!

Asher in the Bible was promised a life blessed with abundance. We pray the same for our sweet Asher! 

-Leslie Tummel
Mother of two
You can read more from her on her blog here

 

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Alma Love: Rita Thomas Photography

Alma Love: Rita Thomas Photography

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