Sunday, March 28, 2010

Spiritual Sunday:I Will Be Born in February

Florence B. Nielsen, “‘I Will Be Born in February’,” Tambuli, Sep 1981, 26

Perhaps only couples who have been childless can understand the heartbreak, frustration, and envy that can develop in nine and a half years of a childless marriage. My husband’s patriarchal blessing had promised him children, but mine did not even mention marriage. We had asked for and received priesthood blessings twice—one from my father, who was our bishop, and one from our stake president five years later. The first promised children “in the Lord’s good time”; the second that we would lose no opportunity for a rich, full life.

Time passed. My husband received his Ph.D. in June 1975, and with it came a job offer from Brazil. We put all our belongings in storage and flew to Brazil with two suitcases, a bag of books, and a violin to begin our new life.

There are many children in Brazil—most are loved. The poorest father will tell you proudly how rich he is in children. But some are put up for adoption, and we knew adopting a child would be easier here than in the United States. In spite of our eagerness to adopt a child, however, we always felt “not yet” when we spoke of it.

Some weeks after arriving in Brazil—partly because of the different language and customs, but mostly because of an empty house—I became homesick. It was an aloneness I had never felt before. The feeling continued to oppress me until, one day, I suddenly felt a sweetness enter our home. With the sensation came the feeling that a spirit child was there with me. Though I could not see him, I sensed that he was as anxious as I was—excited, expectantly waiting. And then he said to me distinctly, though the words were never audibly spoken, “I will be born in February.”

February was the month of Carnival. Everything simply stopped, and all of Brazil was a gigantic festival for a week. We did not participate—we found ourselves chaperoning a Church youth conference instead. The last weekend in February was our district conference. Then the month was over and there was no child, even though we had prayed earnestly that we would be guided to find him. The speakers at the conference only intensified the pain we felt by their references to the importance of having children.

Thursday night following conference, a sister who works in the children’s hospital came to our home, greatly excited. There was a baby boy in the maternity hospital, and the social worker would save him for us till noon the next day. We were at the hospital by 7:30 a.m. We had had a sleepless night and had prayed fervently that we would have no problems—we had already had sufficient experience to know how difficult adoption could be. The social worker was very kind, but the natural mother had changed her mind and had taken the child home early that morning.

Then she hesitantly said, “We have another boy here. Would you like to see him?”

It seemed like we climbed a million stairs going to the nursery. Then they showed us a clear plastic crib containing a very wrinkled little baby. His tiny face turned to ours, and he looked at us with intensely blue eyes. We knew for a surety that this baby was for us.

By noon all the paper work with the juvenile court was done, and at 6:00 p.m. I went to get our son and took him home. We discovered that he had been born February 7, but since he weighed only two kilograms at birth he had stay in the hospital for nearly a month. As it was, when he came into our lives he weighed only 2.2 kilograms and was too weak to cry. We worried that we would lose him.

That Sunday was fast day, so we fasted for him, and Larry gave him a priesthood blessing. That very day he started waking up for meals, and two days later he managed a feeble cry and rolled himself over. Six months later he was a smiling, giggling, 6.8-kilogram, 68.5-centimeter normal baby boy.

We wait for the Lord’s “own good time,” and sometimes we find it very hard. We get frustrated and angry; we cry, hope, envy—I even felt resentment during those nine years. But when the gift is given, we understand.

Like Abraham and Sarah, (Gen. 12:5) like Jacob and Rachel (Gen. 30:1), like the parents of Samuel (1 Sam. 1:20) and John the Baptist (Luke 1:13), my husband and I have felt the greatness of God’s giving. And watching this tiny, growing gift from God, we pray that we, like them, will be equal to His trust.

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