He gives and He takes away…

Something heartbreaking but wonderful happened to me today. We got a letter.

The countdown to Baby J is REALLY getting serious and I think he is as ready as me to get here! At least, that is what I get from all the jumping, pushing and bouncing he does. I swear sometimes it feels like he is dancing or playing the drums b/c his movements have a rhythm! I prayed for over two years for this little guy and the Father has answered my prayer. I could not be more grateful. But this post is not about Baby J. 

See, I have always loved kids. It is one of the reasons I became a teacher, have been a nanny and wanted to be a mom. Watching my nieces grow has given me unspeakable joy. When Chad and I first got married, kids were not on the radar, but I still loved them. I had been a nanny for an incredible family for a few years and still love those kids sooooo much. So when the band Chad joined, Among Thorns, became World Vision artists (literally on our honeymoon!) I wanted one of the first things we did as a married couple was to be sponsoring a child. My parents have faithfully sponsored many children throughout my life. Their pictures have always been on the fridge right beside my sisters and I. I wanted a HOPE child, a girl, b/c of how the AIDS epidemic has ravaged Africa and how girls are treated in certain countries there.  I went through lots of profile packets and found a little girl named Oliva. It was so close to the name of the youngest of the children I had nannied for, I knew she was perfect. She lives right outside Kampala, Uganda. Her birthday is April 8 and when we decided to sponsor her in 2003, she was just barely 4 years old.  Oliva lives with relatives b/c her parents have died from the AIDS virus. She has written us so many sweet and touching letters, each one containing a hand-drawn picture, each one showing us how much she has grown. This is the letter we got today:
Dearest friend,
I am your beloved daughter you have been supporting all along. World Vision Rakai-Kakuuto Area Development Program is closing all the activities but I want to thank you for the exercise books, uniform and the building of my school. I cannot forget my blanket, shoes, clothings, a sweater and many others. I wish to say bye, bye, bye my friend.

Nakatudde, Oliva
Basically I have been a crying mess ever since.  The letter from World Vision tells how the goals for her community have been met and they all appear to be amazing and wonderful, but that does not help my broken heart. She has been a beloved daughter and I feel like I have lost her. I won’t get her sweet letters and drawings anymore. I won’t get to see her grow up, which I desperately wanted. I won’t get updates on how she is doing health-wise. I won’t get anymore pictures and even though the ones I have do not show her smiling, I know she has an amazing smile that lights up her beautiful face.  God has given me my deepest desire, a child of my own to take care of and watch grow, but I am losing my first.  I hope she does know how much we have loved her and that she is our beloved daughter. We will keep her picture on the fridge and I will pray for her like I do now, but there is a hole in my heart.

Gifts today:
~ feeling my son roll and kick and try to “escape”
~ getting a letter from my first child that I will treasure always

Oliva age 4
Oliva age 8