Ever since I was a little girl, I wanted to be a mommy. I had tons of baby dolls and spent hours pushing them in strollers and taking care of them. As I grew up, I continued to envision my future family like the one in which I was raised – I would get married in my twenties and I would have two children. The problem was, though, that my twenties came and went, and my thirties were starting to disappear and I had not met Mr. Right. I eventually got to the point where I not only accepted that I might stay single and childless, I felt pretty content with it. I had a successful career, travelled a lot, and found fulfillment in my family and friends.
Then one Sunday, I was sitting in church when I noticed a mother holding a newborn. I marveled at how the newborn was instinctively curling into his mother’s chest and finding peace and security there. From out of nowhere came the thought that there were babies who were growing up around the world without that peace and security. I started thinking that I could help with that and began researching short-term mission projects.
It wasn’t long before the pictures and images I saw in my research made their way into my heart. I had just bought my own home and started to think, “I could give a child a home.” I fought it for a while, though, because I didn’t know if I wanted to be a single mother or if that was even “right.” I prayed and sought counsel for several months. I searched the scriptures and couldn’t find anywhere that said, “Care for the orphans ONLY IF you have a husband and your life is in perfect order.” My heart was being drawn, consistently, to Haiti and the need I saw there. I wrestled with the idea of a trans-racial adoption, as well. Could I do this? Was I strong enough to parent a child myself? Time and time again, the answer kept coming back to this: Could I stand before my Savior one day and tell Him that I didn’t give a child a family because it would have been “too hard.” I distinctly remember one day, crying out to Him, and questioning why I couldn’t get the “traditional” life like everyone else. I have never been one to “hear” from the Lord, but that day, I heard a still, small voice whisper, “Because I have a child who didn’t get the “traditional” life either.”
My journey started out as a desire to help an orphan. It very quickly flamed into a desire to be a mother. The adoption process awakened all those desires and dreams that I had buried. The wait was ridiculously hard for me. I couldn’t continue many of the activities that normally kept me feeling fulfilled, like traveling, etc., because of the financial burden of the adoption. There wasn’t much to do, except wait. I was a mom in my heart from the very idea of my daughter, but it would take close to 4 years to be a mom in the physical sense.
Cara Mimerlande has been home 8 months. The first month was hard for both of us. I had spent so much time educating myself on how to parent a child from a trauma background, but had not spent enough time learning about or even thinking about the emotional changes that I would go through as an instant parent to a toddler. My life changed overnight and the emotional upheaval took me by surprise. Cara wouldn’t allow anyone else to touch her, so I had 24/7 sole responsibility for a while, which was a big change for someone who was used to living alone for so long. Right around the 3 month home mark, things started to “click” for us and my new “normal” started to actually feel “normal.” She has attached extremely well and is simply thriving, both physically and developmentally. Even though I witness it daily, I still marvel at her progress. She has become a confident, funny, and loving 4 year old. Even on the days when I am eagerly looking forward to her bedtime, I look at her and think, “I can’t believe God chose me to be her mommy.”