Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hero Series: Post # 5

"For this child I prayed." -1 Samuel 1:27 I have absolutely no idea what it would be like to pray for a son as Hannah did. I have no way of knowing what it must have felt like to know that my womb was barren and that the chance of me having a child was nonexistent in this life. The scope and magnitude of this type of trial is incomprehensible to me, but I can imagine that the pain and sorrow that accompanies it must be devastating and agonizing. From a distance, I have watched my aunt and uncle experience this type of pain and I have joined many in praying for an opportunity to arise that would allow them to have a child. All though I pleaded to the Lord on their behalf, I'm sure that my prayers and pleading were nothing in comparison to the hundreds and thousands of prayers, tears, and sleepless nights they had experienced. All though it was difficult to watch my aunt and uncle go through this trial, the depth of their pain was just something I couldn't even fathom, something that probably most people cannot even fathom. A little over a year ago, Jenae entered my life. She had me at hello. :) Our friendship was easy and natural, as if we had been friends forever (actually, I'm pretty sure we have). As we began running together (just a couple weeks after we first met), her story began to unfold. It was a story of heartbreak, despiration, pleading, and agony as she and her husband found out that their chance of conceiving, without medical intervention, was impossible. I have no clue what it would be like to hear this sort of news, but I do know that Jenae, and her husband, were not about to give up on having children. Awhile later, they adopted their first son, Jamis. The story of how this came to be is nothing short of a miracle. It testifies to me of not only the power of prayer, but also that the Lord has a plan. His plan may not always look the way we think it will or should look, but in the end, I believe that we will see how perfectly it all fits together and how precisely it all plays out. Jamis may not look like Jenae and Devon but I cannot imagine him with anybody else. It is absolutely undeniable that Jamis is, and always was and will be, theirs. I have always wondered what it would be like to adopt a child. I imagined that it would be very difficult, but when I watch Jenae, I don't see difficult, I see a mother who is completely head over heels in love with her little boy. I'm sure that as she lays him in bed at night, she has found tears filling her eyes and her lips trembling as she has repeated the same prayer of gratitude and joy as Hannah did so many many years ago, "For this child I prayed." But, her story does not end there. Two years ago, Jenae found out that she the was pregnant. Again, it was nothing short of an absolute miracle (including 5 surgeries and two rounds of IVF....and A LOT OF MONEY!!!) Devon is in his seventh year of schooling as a plastic surgeon. So not only was it a HUGE amount of money (like way more than you can imagine), but even more so to a couple who has sacrificed, scrimped, and saved like crazy in order to pay for all of the financial obligations that come with medical school, internships, residency, etc. But, when you talk to Jenae about that part of it, she testifies of the Lord's tender and abundant mercies. (click here and you can read her own words...scroll down to June 30, 2010) Jaxon is an absolute modern medical miracle. He is completely head over heels in love with his mother, more so than any other child I've ever seen. I often wonder if part of that is because he knows the kind of woman he was sent to. The kind of mother who would give ANYTHING and EVERYTHING to have a child. About 17 weeks ago, Jenae called to tell me she was pregnant again. I knew that she had once again started her infertility treatments, but there is always that chance that nothing will come of it. To say that I was super excited would be an understatement. I just cried and cried. But, I'm sure that my joy was nothing compared to theirs. Without getting too personal, I'll just say that the infertility treatments and the surgery required for Jenae and Devon to have a child is more than the average infertility plan. The sacrifices and experiences they have gone through in order to conceive are not only a modern miracle but are also selfless, inspiring, and humbling. This last week, Jenae and her boys came out to visit us while our husbands were out mountain biking in Moab, Utah for a boys' trip. We had SO MUCH FUN!!! I absolutely love spending time with Jenae, but this time I was able to experience something incredible. I have seen many women pregnant. I have heard the cries and complains that come from pregnancy, in fact, I have uttered them MANY many times. I have also seen the excitement and joy that comes from being part of the incredible miracle that is taking place within. BUT.....I have never been quite so humbled as I have been as I watched Jeane. It was in the moments that she didn't know I was watching as she would gently place her hand on her belly. It was in the glow that radiated from her face as she would speak of the child within her. It was in the unspoken, unwritten, indescribable way that she would proudly walk into a room and have all eyes look at if somehow they knew that not only was she special, but that the life within her was one of the greatest miracles of our time. Jenae is my hero for many many reasons. But, the one of which I will never be the same, is for the way that she has shown me what a blessing and gift pregnancy and motherhood truly is.

1 comment:

Stan d'Mann said...

A remarkable story, thank you for the telling of it. Those who read this story may, also, wish to know a little about the birth mother, and the process she went through. I want to start with the following question:

What kind of woman gives up her first-born child for adoption?

We'll answer that question in a few minutes.

The story of Jamis is a roller coaster ride that ends, as described above, with Jamis in a good home with good loving parents. But backing up a bit...

Jamis' birth mom, Sarah Stanton,* served 8 years in the United States Marine Corp. with distinction, including the accomplishment of "4th award expert," outshooting over 800 other marines in her unit. She served overseas and stateside, and was a part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

After leaving The Corps after 8 years, her path, like so many of our veterans, was not linear. Sarah married, and got pregnant, but the marriage quickly soured and Sarah was alone. Sarah knew she could not properly raise a child on her own, and she knew that if she tried, the result would likely be one more neglected, disadvantaged fatherless child in the world.

In steps fate.

Sarah, by chance, met someone who just happened to know Jenae and Devan, and of their quest for a baby. Introductions were soon made, sympathetic alignment of hearts and minds happened in a quick and flowing manner, and it was decided that Devan and Jenae would adopt Sarah's baby.

I asked Sarah once why she "gave him up." The answer was easy: "I couldn't have raised him right... and I wanted him to have a better life, a good life."

Marine Corps values are honor, courage, and commitment. (You can read more here: You can read about the Marine Corps values all day long... that will simply make you knowledgeable about Marine Corps values. Which is not the same as knowing them. Eight years in the Corps, and Sarah knew the values, not just in her brain, but in every fiber of her body. She knew, without doubt, what she had to do for her child, and she did it.

So, what kind of woman gives up her first-born child for adoption? The kind of woman who is guided by principles of honor, integrity, and courage. The kind of woman who wants what's best for her child. The kind of woman with self-insight, and the ability to see, with clarity, the possible results of choosing one path or the other. Sarah sometimes quotes to me the tail-end of Frost's The Road Not Taken:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I won't use the word "sacrifice" to describe Sarah's choice. Even though Jamis was precious to her, that would imply that her life with him would have been good, which she had concluded it would not.

I won't use the word "selfless" either. Securing a good life for her child is what Sarah wanted. The "centering" of "self" is therefore accomplished.

"Selfless sacrifice" is a nice romantic concept so, make no mistake, this was not a romantic notion.

It is written in Mishnah "whoever saves a life, it is considered as if he saved an entire world." Good job Sarah Stanton... you saved an entire world. You are a hero also.

[Footnote: Sarah is still in touch with Jenae, Devan, and Jamis, occasionally, by phone. Nothing too heavy or deep, but enough to stay in touch, with much love all the way 'round. Sarah's life has had many rocky roads in it and, while she struggles to get on track, she doesn't regret what she did. She told me that if the choice were in front of her today, she would do the same thing.]

*Not her real name

Blog Archive