Maureen Moynahan Elwyn
Tuesday, First Week of Advent: Hope
December 2, 2014
Be joyful because you have hope. Be patient when trouble comes, and pray at all times. (Romans 12:12)
An answer to prayer arrives on a street corner in Seoul.
In this Advent season when we celebrate the birth of God’s son, it’s only natural for parents to reflect on their own children. Our adopted daughter’s birth was nothing short of miraculous. Delivered two months prematurely by a midwife on a street corner in Seoul, South Korea, she weighed a mere two pounds, two ounces.
She spent her first six weeks in a hospital where nurses shaved her head to attach probes and cut small incisions in her ankles. She still bears the scars of the IV’s. The first picture we received revealed a tiny baby enveloped in a much too large gown, the sleeves rolled up to expose her miniature hands. The workers at the orphanage named her Kim Mee Hee which means “happy and pretty,” which is exactly as she appears to be in the photo. When she was strong enough to be released from the hospital, a foster family embraced her as their own child and cared for her until five months later when she boarded an airplane bound for Memphis, Tennessee, where we took delivery of our Laura.
Back in 1988, seeing Caucasian parents carrying an Asian baby was still considered a bit unusual in some parts of the country. Paul and I quickly grew accustomed to double-takes, stares, and the myriad of questions ranging from the comical, “Does she speak English?” to the extremely pointed and personal, “Are you her real parents?” We took it all in stride enjoying every moment of being a family at last. When we looked at Laura, we didn’t think about the color of her skin or the shape of her eyes. We just saw our daughter, the little girl we loved.
That’s why it came as quite a surprise a few months later when the man who was bagging my groceries began to praise me for the wonderful thing we had done in bringing this little one home. I was somewhat taken aback. Our deepest desire was to be a family and we believed adopting Laura was God’s way of answering our prayers. To our way of thinking, we had done nothing special, and certainly not something worthy of praise. My response to him and to others who echoed that same sentiment over the next few months and ensuing years, was that if anyone should be praised it should be the birth mother, not us.
Today, 26 years later, we feel any praise regarding Laura’s adoption should go to God. Not only did He answer our prayer for what we were seeking, He did something wonderful for a baby girl and a desperate mother on a street corner half way around the world.
The answer to our prayers for a child was 13 years in coming. Although we were discouraged many times in our efforts to adopt, we continued to believe in God’s perfect plan and timing and the role that prayer plays in our lives.
Heavenly Father, life encourages us to seek quick solutions and fast answers. Please grant us patience in our prayers in the knowledge that you know our hearts and have a plan. Help us to trust in you. Amen