Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Write something AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL (10/02/14)
- TITLE: Blessed
By Arlene Baker
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ADD TO MY FAVORITES
“Mr. H, I’m sorry to tell you that your sperm was destroyed at birth. There is no possibility of conceiving a child.” This is the doctor’s message to my husband mere months after we marry.
Oh, dear. No tadpoles, no frogs.
“I think you should check into this.” Pastor hands me a flyer, 18 years into our childless marriage.
“The boss will never say ‘yes.’” I laugh and hand the flyer back.
Minutes later, Pastor returned.
“He said ‘yes.’”
I took the flyer home, made a phone call, and God changed my life. Forever.
I dialed the lady’s number on the flyer. She showed up, with a 4 inch binder, to check us out, inspect our home, and decide whether we qualified to host a teenager from abroad. Only then did she hand over that precious binder. Husband and I leafed through hundreds of profiles of smiling teens, all asking for the opportunity to stay one school year in the USA.
After many minutes (or was it hours?) we settled on a German girl who loved animals. We felt she was a good fit for our menagerie of 5 cats and dogs.
A few weeks later, a thick packet arrived by mail containing our new “daughter’s” information. Inside, we found letters from her, her parents and one school teacher, all telling us what a wonderful person she was and thanking us for our generosity. Also included were pictures.
I carried them around like today’s mamas carry around their first sonogram image. Excitement mounted as we waited for her arrival. Our coordinator accompanied us to the airport on “delivery day.”
My poor daughter! I dragged her all over town, introducing her to anyone who’d stand still long enough to make conversation, when all she wanted to do was get a good sleep!
We met as strangers, but parted as family. Before she left us in June, we decided we wanted to host again. This time we chose a boy, also from Germany. I counted the weeks until our son come, enduring the empty and too-quiet house. This time, a little wiser and more experienced, I took him home and let him sleep and gradually introduced him to my friends.
Year after year, God added to our family. A girl from Poland. A boy from Bulgaria. Another girl from S. Korea. And more Germans.
Husband abandoned me while hosting our 7th and 8th students. The day he left, I placed my first call to a former student, knowing exactly what he’d say; “Take a chill pill, Mum.” All the children God gave me rallied around me.
I attended a church gathering after the divorce. A man of like age approached me and made small talk.
What to do? How to discourage him?
Finally, he asked one fateful question. “How many children do you have?”
I scrunched my face up and gazed at the ceiling. “I forget,” I replied after a few moments of reflection.
I hosted two more girls after the divorce. Then God blessed me with another husband. After moves from Ohio to Pennsylvania to North Carolina to Georgia, the kids follow and visit wherever I happen to reside.
As I write this, my 7th student, now a doctor sleeps in our guest room. She returned to USA … to me … to rest. Last year, I returned to Germany for my fourth visit. I stayed with the families of my students, who are now living elsewhere as they pursue education or career.
My favorite chapter in the Bible is Isaiah 54. Sandwiched between the Suffering Savior (chapter 53) and God’s open call for salvation (chapter 55) is his heartwarming condolence to women who've never borne children. That’s my Papa God. Between fostering and hosting, more than 15 have lived under my roof and I maintain relationships with many of them to this day.
And, if you ask me the question, “How many children do you have?” I will grin and tell you, “I forget!” because God continues to bless me, now with a stepson and his children. God’s ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55) but much, much better!
I am blessed.
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