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I am a broken individual who puts way too much pressure on herself. I am happy to bend over backwards and show grace to others but I find it quite hard to give that grace to myself. I am a lover and sometimes I feel that can be a flaw..I always question if I have loved enough. I have this crazy assumption that I am a bother to those around me..which I know deep down is not true..but my natural instinct is to keep to myself until I am approached or reached out to.

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I am a believer in Christ, surrendering my life to Him has been the hardest and most amazing gift. I am a dreamer. I often find myself overwhelmed thinking of all the amazing places and people in this world that I want to be a part of my life. I am a natural host…I love taking care of people and making sure they have the best experience ever. I am a mother at heart and I believe children are the most beautiful things in the world. I take pride in being one of Gods children and that He loves to dazzle and woo me in ways no one else can because He knows my heart like no other. I am an adventurer and the thought of being on the road or traveling this amazing world non stop excites me. I am also a homebody who craves stability and a sense of belonging where community is created. I am a simple person and if you stripped me of everything but left me my loved ones…I know I will be just fine and dandy.

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In no particular order I love hiking and being outdoors. The country of Uganda. Sushi. My loved ones. The color green. Audrey Hepburn, John Ritter and Lucille Ball because they feel like family members to me as I grew up spending a lot of time with them…they make me laugh. Reading and writing. Pairing quotes and pictures. Sea Lions. Buying greeting cards for people and collecting perfect ones for the perfect moments. When I am driving or getting lost in a new place and the perfect song comes on and it makes you think you are in a movie and the soundtrack is playing over your stereo. Jesus. When my stomach and cheeks hurt so badly from laughing. Getting so excited about something that all I can do is skip. Hot sauce. Collecting magnets from places I visit. Meeting people for the first time and finding Gods perfect connection between our two worlds. Common courtesy. Rice and beans. Getting lost in a book that you don’t want to eat or sleep. One on one dates with strangers. Small intimate gatherings with friends. Bonfires and hammocks. Moscow Mules in copper mugs. Mobile homes of all sorts. Snoozing my alarm for about an hour. Helping others so much that you are exhausted but mostly because of the amount of love overflowing from your whole being.

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I share with you my weaknesses, my strengths and my random likings because all of these things make up me. It’s so easy for us to get lost in the hustle and bustle of this world striving to be someone we are not. Other peoples lives are intriguing…yes. Every single television station has at least one reality show where we can easily get sucked in on what other people are doing and how they are living their lives (which most of the time is unrealistic and frankly sad). We work harder to become stronger, richer, prettier, more successful, etc. Sometimes I am blown away at the thought that WE ALL come into this world the same way. Everyone was in a woman’s womb at some point. What happens after the moment of birth starts peoples unique journeys through this life…but we all came from the same place…with absolutely nothing and we will leave the same with only our memories and full hearts.

Even though we came into this world the same way, God created us uniquely. Everything I shared…I didn’t list it because it’s what a friend or someone I know likes, is like or is striving to be. I listed off some qualities of who makes me…me. Some I like and some I don’t like. Don’t get me wrong, daily I am faced with opportunities or temptation to be someone else. I can get lost in the possibilities of how I can dress, eat, look, educate, travel, decorate ( I blame pinterest), socialize….there are so many ways to go about this life! Some people embrace who they uniquely are and some people admire the unique qualities in others and adapt them to their own lives. There is nothing wrong with being inspired or inspiring others but this day in age…so many people are ignoring who they are because they like the thought of being someone else.

I want to encourage you to be YOU! No one else can be. Let’s stop striving to live a life out of just the influence of what others are doing…which it seems like they are all doing the same thing anyway. BE THE INFLUENCE! Follow the beat of your own drum…is that the saying? I’m not sure. Embrace the life that God is calling you to live. If you are not sure what that life is…ask Him. If you are not sure who you are…ASK HIM. If you are not sure where you got lost in the midst of conforming to other peoples lives…sit down next to Him and He will remind you of the beautiful, unique child you are…the one He loves no matter your weaknesses, strengths or interests.

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You are one of a kind. You are amazing. You are unique. You are beautiful. Please be you.

bda
  • September 4, 2013 - 6:17 am

    Erika Chambers - Thank you for this, Mary.ReplyCancel

  • September 4, 2013 - 12:35 pm

    josh - Mary, it’s because you are YOU that I love the heck out of you. THANK you for being so amazing. For being so honest, embracing a little vulnerability and sharing YOU with the world. I know you’ve impacted so many lives because you just LOVE so much. Thank you for that…ReplyCancel

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Image by Dorothy Huynh

Dear Stranger,

You don’t know me but you helped bring me into this world and for that…I have to tell you thank you from the bottom of my heart. Our time together was limited but without those 9 months, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. It is now that day, April 25th, one of the last days we spent together but also the day you so graciously handed me over to two other people who would take over the role of caregiving for you. I can’t speak much on this experience, forgive me..my memory isn’t all that great, but I know this was one of the hardest things you have ever had to do.

I think about you a lot. There are times I get lost looking in the mirror wondering what parts of you I am looking at. Do you have green eyes? Is your hair also thick and brown? Does this shade of pink tint your lips as well? As I am getting older I find myself reflecting on what other traits I may have of yours that are not only physical. Do you love to travel? Are you an artist? Do you love children so much that you would do anything to give them the best life possible?

I want you to know how thankful I am for you. I understand that I wasn’t a plan for your life but acknowledging that I was a plan for THIS life…I can’t even express my gratitude. Thank you for those 9 months. As my friends venture into motherhood, I know it isn’t just a walk in the park emotionally, physically, financially, etc. For you to sacrifice yourself and your body for me is courageous. I see my friends on their journey and it’s something from the first day of knowing you are carrying life and growing a person, everything changes. I’m not sure if you knew all along that we weren’t going to spend more than that time together but it had to be somewhere in your mind. I just imagine everyone around you asking you how you are doing and possibly wanting to dive into those details (names, feeding plans, birth plans, decorations, baby showers, education, etc.). If we are anything alike, I am sure you wanted to run away and crawl under a rock to avoid these questions…to avoid those answers. Thank you for dealing with all of that…I know it wasn’t easy as it’s not the usual answer “I am giving this child up for adoption” when people see your growing belly and start asking questions with genuine excitement.

We spent a lot of time together, a lot of intimate time. I am sure a lot conversations were had…many promises you asked me to make with you…many apologies you asked me to accept. If one of those promises was to live life to the fullest and to follow my dreams no matter how big they are…I am keeping that promise. If one of those apologies was along the lines of forgiving you…I do.

I can only imagine where your mind can take you sometimes. I want you to know that I am doing great. Maybe you get lost in thought when you are driving or walking down your drive way to get the mail at the end of a long day and wonder how I am doing…I have always wanted to tell you that I am fine. This journey of life has not been easy but it hasn’t been the hardest. The amount of happy memories I have far outweigh the bad memories..and even in the bad times, I understand that those have happened for a reason. That’s the biggest thing I should tell you that might provide the most comfort for you…I know God has been in this whole situation with us since before you even knew I was in your life. Whatever events occurred to bring me into this world or to make that decision that we wouldn’t walk side by side after April 25th of 1987…it was all God. We can’t doubt Him and His intentions… if this is His will, it’s the best way.

So today might be one of the hardest days of the year for you. As the years pass and I grow older, I can’t help but think less about party hats and cake and more about how you are doing. I know it’s a big favor to ask of you and the dream answer would be that you have already, but I need you to forgive yourself. I can promise you that the decision you made was the best decision and the only one that could have followed through. Again, if we are anything alike and forgive me if I am more like the other half of this equation and this is annoying, but I can imagine walking away from this situation and holding regrets and I pray that you are not. We spent our time together and it was some of the most crucial and important times of my life and I have a feeling our time together was spent with a lot of love, caring and compassion.

I am sorry…I’m sorry that you had to go through that 9 month roller coaster. Sorry you couldn’t drink coffee or sleep on your stomach. I’m sorry that your body morphed into ways that only God could come up with. I am sorry you had to walk out of that hospital alone and I couldn’t be there to hold your hand. More than anything…I am just thankful and I have a feeling you are too. I know you learned so much through this whole experience of bringing me into this world and that has created a bond that I am forever grateful for. I may not know your name, where you come from, what you look like…or anything for that matter but you are my hero and I love you so much.

So today let’s celebrate life…and let’s celebrate you. Thank you for the most amazing present I could ever dream of.

I wish you all of the best.

bda
  • April 25, 2013 - 7:57 am

    Gail - Mary, you are so uniquely destined to live this vagabond life you are living. It’s inspiring beyond measure and it’s helping those of us proud to call you friend feel a closer kinship to God too. Proud of you and hope (as you’ve said) that that little RV tour of yours brings you my way in 2014. Much love, GReplyCancel

  • April 25, 2013 - 10:47 am

    josh - This is beautiful. You can claim the Solar family name. You already have the Solar family spirit of love and kindness…we’d love to have you in our family :)ReplyCancel

  • April 25, 2013 - 11:11 am

    richard cao - <3 so moving and so powerful.ReplyCancel

  • April 25, 2013 - 3:49 pm

    Annie - Happy birthday wonderful friend.ReplyCancel

  • April 29, 2013 - 10:10 am

    Sofia Draco - I LOVE YOU!ReplyCancel

  • May 1, 2013 - 8:30 am

    Stephanie - Mary – What a beautiful glimpse into your heart. My daughter, adopted at almost three months, shares the same birthday as you and turned 10 this year. I stumbled upon your post on your/her birthday and it touched me deeply. Your words contain much of the hope I have for daughter as she processes through her feelings for her birthmother. Thank you for sharing this!ReplyCancel

  • May 2, 2013 - 9:46 am

    Oh, The Blended Web... | by Stephanie Rosic - […] Maybe it was because the author and my daughter share the same birthday, and I happened to read this on that day, that it touched me so deeply. But I wanted to share it with you because of  the sheer beauty of the words and the heart behind this marvelous story of life. […]ReplyCancel

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I could hold on to who I am and never let You change me from the inside

And I could be safe, I could be safe here in Your arms and never leave home

Never let these walls down

 

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But You have called me higher

You have called me deeper

And I will go where you will lead me Lord

 

She began humming this song and all of a sudden I realized it was the answer to the prayer going on in my heart. God was speaking through her kind humming and singing. I began singing aloud with her and ever since that day, the song has been in not only my head but also my heart. It’s been answering so many questions I have had on my mind…it’s been a sign of complete confirmation. My dear friend Dacia didn’t know it that day singing the simple tune of All Sons and Daughters “You Have Called Me Higher”…but it was everything I needed to hear.

I look back on my last entry and laugh. Just a few weeks ago I was desperate to understand the confused thoughts and dreams going on in my heart. I was staring at all of these puzzle pieces on the table trying to figure out what piece goes in next. Pieces were being put into the wrong spots…even though they were still a solid piece to the puzzle of course…they were on the table… I was trying to figure it out on my own instead of taking a step back and understanding that God is the only one that is seeing the big picture. While He is preparing my heart for what is to come…the next step..the next puzzle piece about to be laid down…I just kept interrupting Him assuming I knew what He was up to…I knew where the pieces belonged.

To be honest and completely humble, I still don’t know what He is up to…but I really want to THINK I know what He is up to. I believe He has a puzzle piece in the shape of Jinja, Uganda in His hands. These past two weeks have been nothing but a continual fall…a fall into a deep hole that is love and that hole is made up of beautiful red dirt. I am seeing this place with a whole new set of eyes. This is no longer the place I will come and visit every year for a couple of months at a time…it’s something so much more. It’s a hard feeling to describe because I personally have never felt it before but what I can say is…I am looking at Jinja, Uganda and knowing for the first time in my life…this is the place I am meant to call home.

It’s amazing how in such a short amount of time and in the midst of confusion and endless possibilities, God can just turn on the light switch. His timing is incredible. I am noticing how in my life He is slowly preparing my story and events.

I know little to nothing about cooking but I do know it is wise to keep the burners on a medium gauge to avoid burning your food. Now when I cook…I put my food on the high option and usually end up walking away…get distracted talking to someone, cleaning my room or most likely scrolling through instagram and forget about what I have going on in the kitchen. God on the other hand is such a patient cook. He is slowly stirring everything in the pots and pans..adding seasoning here and there and knows exactly when the food is complete and ready to be served. I know His dish is going to be way better than mine and I am so grateful for that.

In the past 5 months, the Lord has been preparing my dish. He has been adding ingredients here and there and even removing some from the recipe. He has been slowly stirring the Jinja into my heart and now it is here to stay. Nothing will ever taste as good mixed in my life at this point in time. I am understanding and completely accepting that Jinja, Uganda is the place I am meant to call home at this point in my life and when I come back in December of this year it will be a whole different kind of return.

What is the next step? I am not too sure. Those pieces are still on the table. While I can see them and they are beautiful and I personally believe I know where they belong in the puzzle..I’m going to let God continue to place them in the right spots…in the right time. I just know that this picture is beautiful and I can’t wait to see how it looks when each puzzle piece is laid down in it’s perfect timing, in it’s perfect place.

bda

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“My roots have grown but I don’t know where they are”- The Head and The Heart

 

Everyone in Uganda knows my name. As I walk up and down the streets I hear it being called from little kids, women with children on their laps preparing food for the day or men on motorcycles working hard to make a living. Muzungu. Okay, as they are yelling it out to me, they are really meaning “White Person”…and this is every other white persons name here actually. It is meant in a friendly manner and is actually quite sweet to hear as it is people saying hello to you and giving you a great big welcome.

Muzungu also means “someone who roams around aimlessly”. A Wanderer.

Since I was 18 years old, I have moved every single year of my life. If it wasn’t to a different state, it was to a different part of Los Angeles since 2008. I suppose I have been moving to find that place where I belong…but I am not sure if I will ever find it.

When I think of the place in my heart that I call home, I envision God. I see Him and know that no matter where I go, He is there with me. He is guiding me and leading me. I have felt somewhat guilty about my wanderlust heart over the last few years. When I was married, all I wanted was that feeling of settlement. I dreamt of that house with the white picket fence where every room served it’s different purpose. I longed for that stability. When my life took a sudden change of course in 2010, that all disappeared. The last thing I could grasp is sitting in one place. My eyes suddenly opened up to the big world out there full of so much opportunity.

As I sit here in a cafe in Uganda, Africa I am so utterly happy and content. There is no where I would rather be. If someone showed me a map right now and asked the one place I would travel to today if possible, I think I would say “Jinja”. For the first time in my life, I am so happy being where I am. Now do I think I could live here for the rest of my life? No..but it is nice to know that a huge part of my heart will be here forever and for the time being..this is where I am meant to be.

I can’t help but think about where my journey will take me when this adventure is over. All I know is that my plane ticket is taking me to Los Angeles. I am so excited to see my friends and my dog Rilo, but other than that…I already feel lost about being there. The best way I can explain this is that I feel like I will be taking a step backwards.

The situation that I am most comfortable with for spending my time in the states is to acquire a camper van and travel around the country living a simple life full of friends, new environments and people. When I think about sitting in one place and possibly getting a new apartment and moving in and settling, it just doesn’t feel right in my heart. I need to keep moving forward.

When I think about 2014…I see myself living abroad…somewhere in Europe. A continent that is just a hop, skip and jump away from amazing countries full of so much history. Filled with culture and new experiences. It has been the most amazing experience being here in Uganda and making so many friends from around the world. I want to go visit them in their homelands and experience what life is like for them. I want to just dive deep into this beautiful world that the Lord has created.

I have no idea why I feel like sitting still or going back and settling in LA is taking a step backwards. Maybe because it served it’s purpose in time but that time in my life has now come to an end. A part of me worries that I am running away from something. But more than anything I feel the confidence to chase after my wanderlust dreams because God is with me wherever I go. He created this amazing world and all He wants to do is wander with me in it.

This post is mostly me spitting out the thoughts going through my head right now but it’s also me embracing this wanderlust heart. This heart that just wants to roam aimlessly through out this beautiful world experiencing it with others. It was beautifully designed by the One that loves me the most and I can’t get frustrated or second guess it. I just have to keep following Him wherever He decides to guide me. A continual move forward can be scary because it means always stepping into the unknown but for some reason, going back to the familiar scares me even more. Through it all, I know I will never be alone because He is with me.

bda
  • March 10, 2013 - 3:09 pm

    Anne - I wish you a life of wandering around the world, Mary! It doesn’t seem as if you are running from something, but running towards something else.ReplyCancel

  • March 16, 2013 - 11:14 am

    Erika C. - We are so excited to have you and Rilo and your camper van come to Lexington! :)ReplyCancel

 

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Today I looked up the meaning of your name. I have met people named Juliana here and there but never questioned it’s origin or what it could possibly mean. A smile came to my face when the words “youthful” popped up. Full of youth.

I only knew you for 30 days but my dear, you changed my life forever. When I was told your story before meeting you, I was afraid. I had just been informed that you were locked in a house for a week without any food, your mother fled and your father was dead. You were malnourished beyond belief and was suffering from tuberculosis and they were pretty sure you had HIV as well. I kept wondering how do you greet a child who has been through such things in their short life? I wanted to avoid you and play with the healthy kids, I wasn’t ready for this.

Once I saw your eyes, I was all in. I walked up to you and your big eyes met mine but glanced away. Your lips stayed in the same position and the look on your face was as though you had given up on everyone in the world because you felt like they had given up on you. Your eyes spoke of wisdom, they told your story…a story too dark, tragic and lonely for a 18 month old child.

I picked you right up and held you in my lap. I examined your tiny feet and compared your hand to mine. I kissed your round, recently shaven and scabby head. I leaned down to you and promised that you would never feel lonely ever again. I whispered I love you over and over. You didn’t make a sound. You didn’t move. You just kept looking at me with that stare.

My days consisted of walking in the gates of the babies home, setting my bag down and going straight to where you were. After about a week, you recognized me. I remember the first time you lifted your arms up to me when you saw me walking towards you. Trust.

After a few weeks, everyone started calling you my baby. We’re not supposed to have favorites but I believe God connects each one of us for a reason. The promise I made to you the first day that I met you, I thought about all the time. I wondered how I would leave you in May as my heart grew stronger with love for you each day. One day I was holding and praying over you. God placed “2 years” in my heart. I had no idea what that 2 years meant, but I told Him that if it meant in two years you were still at the babies home, I would do everything in my power to adopt you. I told a nanny about this confirmation that God provided and she said that you would be a difficult child to care for, as they were pretty confident you had HIV. I told her that would never ever stop me from caring for you for the rest of my life.

You started getting better. There was hope in everyones eyes. “Auntie Mary, your baby is feeling good today!” “Auntie Mary, your baby is eating a lot today”. I was so excited for you. I would lift you up and you would smile. One time I was holding you, I lifted you in the air above my head. Your 4 pound body allowed me to raise you as high as my arms would allow. You not only smiled the biggest smile…but you laughed! It was raspy, sweet and angelic! I couldn’t help but bring you straight to my chest as I started laughing and crying uncontrollably. I started this project for you. I would take a picture of you in the same spot every week for the next 5 months. I thought this would be a beautiful documentation of your body transforming into the strong girl you are. I envisioned what you would look like at the end of the 5 months and I saw you standing with a big belly, chubby arms, bones hidden by fat, hair on your head and a smile on your face. I had confidence that we would get to see this project finish…but it only lasted 3 weeks.

“Auntie Mary, your baby is sick” are not the words I wanted to hear upon arriving to the babies home Monday, February 11th. I was supposed to go to the village that morning. I actually was supposed to go to the village every Monday for the last month to help teach photography and document the projects going on. To be honest with you, I could never go because of you. I told you I would never leave you, I promised you that. You had not been feeling well that week and in the pit of my stomach I was worried to go 4 hours away into Uganda without any communication with the outside world. I needed to know you were okay..I needed to be close to you..but I also knew I needed to start these photo projects some time. I would get to spend lots of time with you for the next 4 months and it was okay to not be by your side all of the time. These were the words that I would tell myself over and over again. I told a family that was visiting from America that I would be at the babies home whenever they arrived so I could document them meeting their son that they were adopting for the first time. When I walked in the gates that morning and I was informed they could not come because they were sick, I was bummed but also so happy to be in Jinja and not the village because I could see you. That is when the nanny spoke those words to me.

It all happened in a flash. I rushed over to you in the nurses office and your breathing was horrible. Small, fast gasps of air were going through your tiny lungs. You were struggling. I scooped you in my arms and we took off for the hospital. In that moment I knew that is why I am here. That is why I’m not in the village…not in America. I held you in the car and prayed the most desperate prayer to the Lord. I kept asking you to hold on and fight..we just needed to get you oxygen. I’m sorry if that was selfish of me.

We got to the childrens hospital and joined the hundreds of children and mothers waiting to be seen. I visited this hospital the night before to check on Jovia and Innocent who were sick and admitted, and was repulsed by what I saw. A small room was filled with about 30 beds but more than 100 sick children occupied them. The floor of the rooms were layered with sleeping mothers and guardians, staying close to their sick children. Outside, sleeping men on benches with their motorcycles next to them..taking a break from work to be as close to their children as possible. It was overwhelming but to have been able to witness that the night before was such a blessing, I needed to be as strong as I could for you that day.

We checked you in and things were moving pretty quickly for Ugandan standards. There was minimal urgency but you were moving to the front of the lines. I took comfort in the nurses and doctors not moving quickly, for some reason I felt the desire to trust that they knew what they were doing. The fact that they weren’t rushing you straight to the emergency room brought comfort to my heart. You were scheduled to go to your final HIV check up that day to confirm if you were positive or negative. You were dressed and ready to go when your breathing starting acting up, about 1 minute before I walked in the gates that morning. They proceeded to take your blood for that test…again something I held hope in because obviously if you were in such horrible condition, they would have you hooked up to an oxygen tank immediately right? Your test results came back positive and they started giving instruction that we would start the ARV treatment on Wednesday. Wednesday. There would be a Wednesday.

We waited in the emergency room line. We watched a boy convulsing on the “emergency room table” that was in the middle of the room surrounded by beds with children 2 to a bed needed intensive care. Mothers were giving me dirty looks for holding you and being close to the front of the line. They were being protective of their children, wanting them to be next and I so badly wanted to give up that spot to them but I needed to stay put for you and your weak body. Ninety minutes later, we were invited into the room. For this being the “emergency room” there really was no urgency present. Again, just wanted to put all my trust in these doctors. As the head doctor instructed the present nurse how to take blood from a child…I knew we were not in the best care but now was not the time to think those thoughts. They took more blood and inserted a cannula into your hand. They slowly made room on a bed for you and hooked you up to an IV…still there was no oxygen present. In fact, they placed you on the opposite side of the room from the oxygen machine. You laid down on the bed that you shared with a baby who was wrapped up in a blanket, not too sure what they were there for. I sat on the ground and the babies home nurse left to go get you medicine, so now it was just you and me in a room with about 35 other Ugandan kids, mothers and doctors. I sat down on the ground and hugged your body with my arms.

You seemed to be taking the IV fluid well and then all of a sudden you gave a cough and started gasping for air. I watched you so intensely and your chest stopped moving up and down. I looked around for help and saw the nurses standing in the corner looking over at us. More so that I was a white girl holding onto you than showing concern for your health. I rushed over and told them you need oxygen, you weren’t breathing. I kept thinking that one day we would talk about this. I pictured us at a park and you were so tired from running around and playing on the jungle gym that you needed to take a break to catch your breath and I would share about that one time in your life that you breath stopped but God then made you very very strong. The doctor mosied on over to a broken down machine near you and thought this would be the best time to start repairs on it. It took a minute for them to hook you up to oxygen but that minute or two felt like 10.

You took a deep breath. I was begging you to hold on. I felt it in my heart that we were going to make it through this. The way the doctors were so extremely casual about your condition..I just felt like you would be okay soon. All of a sudden your eyes got really big and you looked at me. Everything stopped. I searched your eyes and I watched your chest so closely to look for that rising and falling movement. Nothing. I checked for a pulse. Wrist. Neck. Other wrist. Nothing. I screamed help to the nurses. The three came back and checked. I looked up at them and they looked down at me, hovering useless giants.

All of a sudden they took your IV out and removed your oxygen line. I looked at them like they were crazy. Why would they do this to you? You were still alive. They started wrapping you up in your blanket. I started yelling. I started unwrapping you. I held you and begged for you to come back…but you didn’t.

I felt this release. I knew you were safe. I knew you were in no more pain. I knew you were running into the arms of Jesus and taking the deepest breaths in the world. I knew you were smiling your toothy smile and laughing that raspy breath. I knew there was no such thing as HIV, tuberculosis or malnourishment. I knew you were Home.

Still you were here in my arms and I said I would never let you go.

That visit to the hospital the night before, Sharon told me how it is not socially acceptable for women to cry in the facility. They cannot show weakness as their children are sick and troubled. They cannot grieve when their children pass away. If they do cry, they will worry everyone else in the hospital and that would make the whole setting uncomfortable. Well, I made a lot of people uncomfortable in that moment my love. I cried and cried and cried until they asked us to leave.

Everything else was a blur. I bought you a coffin and a beautiful dress adorned with flowers for the next day when you would be buried. We shared the news. We mourned. We rejoiced. We made arrangements. We made sure someone was always by your side as we promised you would never ever be alone again. Up until the shovel smoothed out the top of the soil, I was there right with you.

I was telling a friend of mine the week before you passed that I was so frightened. I didn’t know if it would be worse to lose you in my arms or to have received the news over a phone call. To be honest, I am still not sure. As hard as it was to be the one holding you when you left this world to go Home…it was truly the biggest honor.

I will see you again my love. Who knows if it will be in 2 years or if it will be way down the road. You are with me forever and ever and you will always have a piece of my heart. I believe the reason I was so afraid of you in the beginning was because I was afraid to love someone so much. Sometimes I still get afraid. I freeze when I hear a child is sick or I meet someone who looks like you and it makes me want to run away. It makes me want to just hang out with the healthy children and love on them. But then I remember your laugh and the way you opened your heart up to me. If I could be there for every child like I was there for you, I would experience this over and over again.

Loving you until the last breath was the most beautiful connection with Jesus. From my arms you went straight into His. I know from my last breath I will go straight into His and right by His side, there you will be.

bda
  • February 25, 2013 - 2:15 pm

    Nessa - I read this and sobbed the entire time. I love you and I’m so glad you were there for her. I’m so proud of you for being able to write about it. She is absolutely beautiful and you are so incredible for being the person to make her smile, laugh, and trust. <3ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2013 - 2:26 pm

    Tonhya Kae - Oh Mary, I don’t even know you…we have mutual friends…but I feel like you are such a close sister in Christ already. Following your incredible journey has been such a blessing to others..in ways that I’m sure you don’t even know. I have so many words I want to say but the only thing I can find myself able to type out is “thank-you”. Thank you for showing the world what Jesus looks like. And what His love looks like. I really hope to meet you someday…and if you ever make your way back to Africa…take me with you :) I’d love to go back…ReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2013 - 3:47 pm

    sharon - this is so incredibly powerful. thank you for sharing. i can not express how much hearing this story and your faith through it means to meReplyCancel

  • February 25, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    Gina - every single breath we take is not in vain… but you my friend, breathe love and light into this world; with your thoughts, actions, words, and mere presence. You’re an example of Jesus’ life and what he wanted for all of us.

    As I watch your journey, it brings a sense of humility and gratitude to my life. Maybe one day I’ll take a similar path. Maybe.

    For now, I pray you stay strong and hope you realize everyday just how much you’re changing the world for the better.

    lots of warmth and happy thoughts to you.

    xoxoxoReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2013 - 9:33 am

    em - juliana, I can’t wait til we get to heaven and there we will all rejoice together because God’s plan is better. but for now my heart breaks. xoReplyCancel

  • February 27, 2013 - 11:40 pm

    Dorothy - mary, you are such a vessel. what a sweet girl. she seems so real staring back at me in this image. so glad that she had you in her final moments. love you.ReplyCancel

  • February 28, 2013 - 6:02 am

    Chantel - What a precious child and such a sad story. I am thankful she is no longer suffering though. Thanks for sharing this story with us Mary.ReplyCancel

  • March 10, 2013 - 3:27 pm

    Kylie - Mary, she was truly your baby. I just read that and cried harder than I have in a long time. I cannot imagine if I had to watch my son go through this and you loved and cared for her like a true mother. Every time I read about your journey in Uganda, my heart is renewed with my desire to adopt. I know what you are doing is so hard, but it is so important in so many different ways. Juliana’s story is a sad, but a beautiful one because you were in it!ReplyCancel

  • March 13, 2013 - 12:34 pm

    Lori - Hugs. Your experience and love shared in Uganda is nothing but God’s work. Love your blog and it only makes my desire stronger to return to Uganda in June.ReplyCancel

  • April 17, 2013 - 11:10 pm

    Nichole - Mary, such a beautifully, faithfully, strong story of love. God bless you.ReplyCancel

  • May 29, 2013 - 4:27 pm

    Lori - Mary,

    This is beautiful and tragic. I am so happy God had me stumble upon your Instagram feed. I see Jesus in your photos and stories and it is INSPIRING!

    Your photo’s and stories are a constant confirmation that we need to adopt our next child. I have such a heart for Uganda and you are constantly making that stronger! I feel as though our child is already out there and we just need to go pick them up :)ReplyCancel

  • July 1, 2015 - 8:56 pm