Friday, January 20, 2017

Excerpt from Finding Sarah Finding Me -- By Contributing Author Sheila Callanan

Sheila Callanan, contributing author to
Finding Sarah Finding Me, and her first
child from the story The Adoption of Susan.
The memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me braids a number of true-life stories from various adoptions and adoption reunions. Below is Part 1 of The Adoption of Susan Story in this book.

A South African Adoption--“My Dream of a Dark-haired Girl”  by adoptive mother Sheila Callanan

What a blessing to be brought up in a secure, though strict, home. I’d had a happy childhood with a loving earthly father who made it normal to see God as a loving heavenly Father. A father who taught me perseverance even when things got tough—he taught me through example. Sitting in church at the age of eight, being made to sing all the hymns and then listen to him preach after he had travelled miles in bad weather, only to find out when he got there that the only people in church were his family and the organist.

In my late teens I was also blessed to meet the man who would become my husband. We both wanted to start a family quite soon after marriage, and the thought of not being able to get pregnant never crossed our minds. Month after month nothing happened. This took me by surprise, and I went into panic mode. “God, what is happening here?”
Then the month came. I was late, ecstatic with the confirmation that I was pregnant, and I rushed to share the news.

In hindsight I wonder if this was a good thing. Although if the news is shared early and something happens, then those close to you can share the disappointment. Tears rolled down my cheeks as one day I sat in the bathroom with the evidence that there was not going to be a baby.
A woman’s body has been preparing itself for a baby. Then it is gone and her body has to return to normal. The loss is real, and there has to be a time of grieving. Many don’t understand this. Even my husband couldn’t understand my tearfulness. He understands now.

How often I pleaded with the Lord to give us a child. I searched scripture hoping to find some verse that would confirm that one day I would have a child. The months went by—nothing.
Why were my friends and members of my family having babies? I didn’t enjoy baby showers but attended them with a brave face although I ached inside. At church people tactlessly asked when we were going to start a family. My precious sister-in-law erupted into tears when she discovered she was pregnant for the third time—how was she ever going to tell me?

Three years had passed when God answered our prayers in a different way than what we thought. He impressed upon us that he was waiting to give us a child but that there were different ways that children could enter a home. Excitement began to sizzle.
We phoned the adoption agency for an appointment.
Six weeks before our appointment I had the most amazing dream, a dream where upon waking I knew that God was telling me something.
In the dream I had a little dark-haired girl. I called her Linda Joy. My husband told me he wanted to call her Linda Heather. The two names, we found out later, meant Beautiful Flower.

A week before our appointment I came down with a really nasty stomach bug. I could hardly lift my head off the pillow and couldn’t keep down any food. I didn’t want to cancel our appointment with the agency on the Friday morning, so the night before I went to the doctor to see if he could give me some medication.
Medication? I didn’t need medication—the doctor’s tests confirmed that I was at least seven weeks pregnant.
I felt so sick, the doctor’s words didn’t really sink in. Too late to cancel our appointment, we made our way to the adoption agency to tell them our news. From the moment of finding out about the pregnancy, I knew that we were going to have a dark-haired girl. We knew what we would name her. God had told us in my dream. Our beautiful flower.
Now I was confused though.
What was God trying to teach me when I had just come to the point of accepting that he had different ways of placing children in families? Maybe I still don’t really know, but one thing I do know: God wanted this little dark-haired baby to be part of our family. On December 2, 1972 Linda Heather was born after a normal pregnancy with not even a hint of a miscarriage. I so enjoyed being pregnant— after the morning sickness had stopped, that is.

As for adopting a baby, I was convinced that the Lord had taken us on a journey of acceptance. I had my little girl, and God obviously in his wisdom did not want us to adopt, so what was the point of waiting? We would go straight ahead and have another baby.

We waited. Three years later we were still waiting.
Then I understood why God had let us walk that road before. We would once again apply to adopt a baby. The only difference this time was that we felt we should go to a Christian agency. Back then in South Africa, the main adoption agency was predominately Afrikaans. But as an English family, we would not be allowed to adopt a baby from an Afrikaans mother. It’s not like that now, and adoptions take place across race and language, but because of this back then we knew we would have to wait longer for a baby.
Edwin and Sheila Callanan and
Linda waiting for their adopted baby.
We phoned the adoption agency for an appointment.


The rest of the exciting "Adoption of Susan Story" and their adoption reunion can be found in the braided memoir Finding Sarah Finding Me.

Sometimes it is only through giving up our hearts that we learn to trust the Lord.

Adoption. It’s something that touches one in three people today, a word that will conjure different emotions in those people touched by it. A word that might represent the greatest hope…the greatest question…the greatest sacrifice. 

But most of all, it’s a word that represents God’s immense love for his people.

Join birth mother Christine Lindsay as she shares the heartaches, hopes, and epiphanies of her journey to reunion with the daughter she gave up...and to understanding her true identity in Christ along the way. Through her story and glimpses into the lives of other families in the adoption triad, readers will see the beauty of our broken families, broken hearts, and broken dreams when we entrust them to our loving God.

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