Friday, February 19, 2010

Surprise! It’s A Girl!!

Moving to Oklahoma from California fifteen years ago was surely going to be the biggest adventure of our lives to date….or so we thought at the time. When we embarked on that journey, our vans were filled with every item we owned including our six children and more animals than should have been legal. I am quite sure our traveling caravans made people think the circus had come to town. They weren’t far from the truth on that one. Where we had lived in a small California beach town… population 17,000… we now lived in a small farming town… population 1,000. School started the day after we arrived, so to say we were thrown into small town life quickly would be an understatement.

That first year was really hard for me emotionally. I missed my family and friends and often wondered what could have possibly possessed us to do such a radical thing. That is another story, however. Probably the worst part of the move for me was the lack of social interaction. The people in our new little town were friendly enough but definitely different than what we were use to in our home state. Although we handed out dinner invitations on a regular basis, very few were accepted and even less were given to us. I began to seriously wonder what was wrong with our family that made people not want to get to know us.

During that first year, a woman in her eighties named *Emma, knocked on my door one morning. She introduced herself as a neighbor from around the corner. Of course, she had heard all about the new family from California and wanted to come meet us. Thankful for a friendly face willing to enter my home, I invited her in for coffee. That morning coffee would begin a life changing friendship for both of us. As we visited, I learned this amazing woman was raising two of her great-grandchildren, a twelve year old girl and a ten year old boy. She had little to no help with this daunting task and yet she did not regret a moment of her decision to care for them. She had even legally adopted them. I sat in amazement listening to her story. Our friendship began to make sense to me. We were definitely the oddballs in this little town of “normal” families.

Over the next few years, our two families formed some very deep bonds. We loved and cared for one another’s children and did the best we knew how to help each other through some trying times. One of those times came after we had moved to our farmhouse out in the country. Emma called and asked if she could come for coffee. Of course, I was delighted at the thought of a visitor so I put the coffee on and prepared a coffee cake. The moment Emma arrived at my front door, I knew something was terribly wrong. She immediately broke down and cried; something this old, German farm woman was not known to easily do. As we sat at the kitchen table, she explained that her now fourteen year old great-granddaughter had confided she was pregnant. She didn’t know what to do or how she was going to get through this. As I wrapped my arms around her, I assured her that Bob and I would do everything we could to help and that we would be there for both of them. I never imagined what that would eventually come to mean.

The next six months went by quickly. When I got the call that the baby, a little girl, had arrived, I drove to Emma’s home filled with thankfulness that mother and daughter were both well and also sadness at two young lives that were facing a challenge that statistically, could turn out less than positive. In all truth, when I finally held that new little one and smiled at her mother, I really wanted to break down and cry for both of them.

Over the next three months, I stopped by to visit now and then, checking in on Emma as much as on baby and mother. During one of our visits, I was asked if I would be willing to watch the baby so mom could finish high school. I didn’t even need to think about it. I immediately said yes. In my mind, if there was going to be any chance of making it in this world, education was definitely one of the main keys.

By the time Miranda was six months old, she spent half her life with us, including many nights and weekends. At a year old, she lived with us full time. Shortly after, we took full guardianship. It was during that second year, that we asked her mother to move in with us. We felt strongly that she needed to be mentored if she was to have any hope of raising her daughter someday. She turned us down, eventually dropped out of school and out of all of our lives for the most part. I was forty-two raising a two year old. I saw where this boat was going and I began to freak. I was too old. This wasn’t fair to Miranda. She deserved younger, fresher parents. We were old and worn out. I argued with God for a solid week. At the end of the week, I clearly heard this, “Ok, so imagine your life without this gift I’ve given you.” I knew I had lost the battle right then and there. I had been given something so wonderful, so amazing and yet somehow, I never saw it coming.

Miranda is turning twelve this May. She is my joy, my heart, my gift. Loving her is more than I could have hoped for, more than I could have imagined, more than I deserve. Thank you, God, thank you.


Miranda Nicole Hansen ~ 2009

Oh, one last thing, God. I know you are fully aware that I am turning fifty-two next month. I also understand that you know what I am capable of more than I do. However, I am pretty sure I have reached full capacity at seven. Pretty sure. But then, you're God and I'm not. So, I'm ready for whatever lies ahead. But if there are more children coming, could they come with a maid this time? I mean, it never hurts to ask, right?

31 comments:

Gucci Mama said...

The stories of each of your beautiful children are so beautiful and inspiring!

Bringing more children into our family through adoption is something that's been on my heart for quite sometime, though we haven't taken the "leap" yet since our kids are just three and ten months old. But the tug to do so is getting more and more insistent. I'm so glad I found your blog! ;)

Brian Miller said...

lol. He has a way of stretching us eh? so glad you were there when she needed you...and provided the home she needed. cute...and hope you get your maid if it comes to it..lol.

Marla said...

Gucci ~ Thank you. I am glad you found me too. How exciting to hear adoption is on your radar. It's a wonderful adventure, just like birth children in another flavor.

Brian ~ Yes, He certainly does!

Lily Robinson said...

It never hurts to ask! Every story you post touches me deeply. I'm sure that Liz and Miranda feel very blessed that God put them into your family!

Ms. Anthropy said...

Marla, you continue to amaze me!

Marla said...

Lily ~ Thank you! As for the girls feeling blessed....depends on the day. :-)

Ms Anthropy ~ Seriously? lol

Ms. Anthropy said...

"ABSOLUTELY!!!"

Oklahoma Granny said...

What a beautiful, touching story. Miranda is truly blessed to have such a wonderful, giving mother.

Rae said...

That is a lovely story. You are a true blessing to those around you.

VKT said...

Your light truly shines for the Lord. What a beautiful person and wonderful mother you are! Have a blessed week-end!

ModernMom said...

This is one of the most beautiful stories I have read in a long long time, I think you were meant to move to that little comunity:) Thanks for sharing!

TechnoBabe said...

Interesting how you were in the right place to be there when Miranda was born, so she has been with you since birth. Happy Birthday, Miranda.

Monkey Man said...

What a heart warming story. Love the expression of your inner child at the close.

Blasé said...

"FIFTY TWO"?? OMG!

WHOOOoooo!

Unknown Mami said...

I love you. I mean it.

Marla said...

Ok Granny ~ What a nice thing to say. Thank you

Rae & VKT ~ Thank you. That's my hope

ModernMom ~ I believe we were

Techno ~ I agree

MM ~ Thank you!

Blasé ~ Hey now! Respect your elders!!

Mami ~ You made me cry

Six Feet Under Blog said...

This is so neat to tell a story about each of them!

Mama Zen said...

You are an amazing woman, Marla!

Pearl said...

Marla, you are one impressive chick. I am in awe.

Pearl

p.s. If I lived any closer, I'd certainly stop in and clean. (Cleaning is just one of my many side jobs. :-))

Sarah said...

look at the lovely face--the girls are so fortunate to have you as their mother. i hope you get a maid as well--it there's more to come!

Lola Sharp said...

Oh Marla, this was so powerful and moving!
Your heart (and your husbands) are so big, so kind, it warms me from the inside to know hay this sort of real love still exists.
Well written.
Thanks for sharing your stories with us,
Lola

Eyegirl said...

I'm stopping by your blog from My Life in Purple. What an incredible story. Thank you for sharing it with your readers.

gayle said...

This is a beautiful story!! YOu are one strong woman!!

Kristin said...

You are one amazing lady. And that little girl is very very lucky to have you as her mama!

Amarja said...

Owhh... Dear Marla, I am so happy I got to join in some of the things you have written in this blog the last weeks. I feel so enormly blessed that I got to spent time with you and Bob and your kids. I am so blessed that I had you as my parents for one full year! You are my American mom, I love you so much! Thank you for all you have done, I am enormous gratefull!

Auntie Cake said...

I am really thinking that you could write a book with all the stories of helping people that you have. I hope you know the positive impact that you have made on others.

And let me know if the maid thing works out for you!
Kate

Okie Book Woman said...

Your huge heart is so amazing. I am constantly astounded by the love you give to our world. Thank you.

Marla said...

Six Feet ~ It's been fun remembering it all.

Kelli ~ Is that code for crazy? :-)

Pearl ~ If you lived closer, I'd let you. :-)

Sarah ~ If there are more to come I will officially be known as the old woman who lives in a shoe.

Lola ~ Thanks for reading them!

Eyegirl ~ So glad you stopped by!

gayle ~ I am woman! Hear me ....well, actually, whimper most days

Kristin ~ I am the lucky one :-)

Amarja ~ How did I miss you on Skype??? Where are you, my Dutch daughter? :-(

Kate ~ Funny you should mention that .... :-)

Ok Book Woman ~ You are too kind.

Jeanine DeNitto said...

That's a lovely thing that you have done, and Miranda is a beautiful girl. The one thing you have left out is when Emma passed on or if she did. I am guessing that it is was at the point where you asked Miranda's Mother to live with you but..?

Marla said...

Jeanine ~ Actually, Emma passed away only two years ago. We asked her great-granddaughter to move in with us after Emma and I had discussed the possibilities of getting the girl's life on a better track. Since Bob & I were a "younger team", it seemed like we might have a better chance of it with her. Emma agreed but sadly the girl would not do it and went off to a very destructive path.

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

I *finally* found all the adoption stories! loved them! your girls are just beautiful.