My story begins in the spring of 1966. My mother and father conceived me out of wedlock in their early twenties. Their identity and the facts surrounding life prior to my entrance to this world are unknown. I was born in a hospital in Baltimore, Maryland, and soon after birth I was sent to the Rock-a-Bye House to await adoption. Six weeks passed and Albert and Phyllis League adopted me. Mom and Dad had already adopted two boys - I was number three. They had a very special gift for loving children and overflowed with love. When I was four years they adopted my sister, Becki.
We spent most of our lives on a horse farm in Maryland. I met Jesus when I was 11 years and one of the first scriptures I learned was, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:5). I always loved school and worked hard to be the best at everything. I experienced many stomachaches and worried much. I remember having nightmares and spending most nights curled up in a ball sobbing. Sometimes I would say, "Jesus, please don't leave me."
Through Junior and Senior High I excelled in academics, music, sports, and work. I grew busier each year and filled my time with activities and relationships. My stomachaches worsened and the night sobbing continued. My loneliness deepened. Nearly every night I cried out to Jesus, "I just want to be happy."
College life offered a new beginning. It was a great relief to leave the turbulence of home behind and set out on a new course. My relationship with the Lord began to grow. I met Jim Gregory soon after arriving at college and one year later we were married. I knew the Lord sent Jim into my life. He was God's choice for me and I could never have chosen such a perfect match.
During our first year of marriage I still curled in a ball and sobbed. I thought that marriage would heal this loneliness but it didn't. I cried when we made love and I "put off" my husband when he told me he wanted to have a baby. I felt it was important for us to "get to know each other first", finish college and "get settled".
I was deceived with these lies and was filled with selfishness. After college, I pursued a career in banking and children were postponed to "sometime in the future". For eight years we practiced birth control in the form of the Pill and spermicides.
At age 27 I gave birth to our first child, James Randell Gregory. Motherhood was something for which I was totally unprepared! There were no college courses to help me with this most important career. I didn't even have babysitting experience! A friend gave me a book that very outlined how to schedule your baby so life could go on as normal as possible. I read the book and thought it was the best tool a mother could have.
From the day we came home from the hospital I followed the eat-sleep-play routine just as the book instructed. My baby fell right into the routine. At nighttime I would nurse him while singing a quiet song, change his diaper, and swaddle him tight so he would feel secure and lay him in his bed. Jim and I would pray over him, turn on the night-light and shut the door. Off to bed we went.
Each night we would lay and listen to our new baby cry. "Should we get him?" we wondered. "No, the book says that if we go and get him every time he cries he won't learn to sleep on his own...he would become dependent upon me." Night after night I would listen to my baby's tiny cry change into a cry of desperation (which I interpreted as manipulation), to fear (which I thought was a temper tantrum) and then turn to a sob (which I thought, "he's finally giving up!")
I lay rigid in my bed, fighting the urge to "rescue" my baby, to hold him close to my breast. In my heart of hearts I knew this was wrong but the voice of the intellectuals was too great. How could it be wrong if it was so widely supported by the intellectual Christian community I so highly respected? I certainly did not want to raise an undisciplined, spoiled brat! I wanted my parenting to have good results!
After eight weeks I achieved the highly acclaimed goal of getting my baby to sleep through the night. I was physically and emotionally strung out despite the assurances that this practice would allow me to get the rest I needed. I was deceived. We moved from Pennsylvania to Illinois in July 1996.
Our daughter, Evajo Hannah was born and I followed the same regimented schedule. However this time I did not crucify my conscience; she slept in our room at night and when she cried I picked her up and nursed her back to sleep. The taunts of "undisciplined" echoed in my mind, but I ignored them, mainly because the family had to get some sleep! After ten years of marriage and two children, I continued to experience the night-sobbing and deep loneliness.
However, on May 18, 1997 while praying in our Home Group the Lord delivered me from the thirty-one year oppression of loneliness, fear and rejection. During prayer I had what was either a memory or a vision. 'I was lying in a crib curled in a ball. As I watched white curtains gently move I sobbed the identical deep lonely sob that I had sobbed for years in my bed. I began to cry aloud, "I'm so alone, I'm so alone" and for a period of time during that prayer I grieved the deep pain of rejection, abandonment and fear that had clung to me for years.'
That night I forgave my birth parents for abandoning me! Psalm 27:10 AMP says, "Although my father and my mother have forsaken me, yet the Lord will take me up [adopt me as His child]." Since that night I have never curled in a ball and sobbed that lonely sob ever again!
Later the Lord showed me Psalm 129:1,2 "They have greatly oppressed me from my youth, let Israel say they have greatly oppressed me from my youth, but they have not gained the victory over me." Our third child, Raymond Albert, was born in July 1998. This time I made myself available to baby Ray whenever he needed me. He slept with me, pacified at my breast, ate when he was hungry and he never knew what it was to lay alone in his crib and cry for a mommy who wouldn't come.
Ray is a year old now and we are doing great! The story does not end here. On New Year's Day, 1999 the Lord very gently revealed that just as my birth parents had abandoned me, I had abandoned my first born in those early weeks of his life. His sobs were not "signs of giving up", but cries of deep despair and like my birth parents, I did not come for him.
I was stunned at the revelation and my mind flooded with screams of "how could you have done this to your baby?" I repented before the Lord of my sin of ignorance and asked His forgiveness and restoration. I prayed for an opportunity to confess my sin to my son and seek his forgiveness and restoration. The restoration was necessary because a root of insecurity, mistrust and anger had grown in our relationship. This resulted in a strong rebellion against my correction and discipline.
About two weeks passed and one evening James Randell asked me to tell him the story of "when Mommy was a baby". Looking down into his beautiful eyes I held him in my arms and told him the story of my adoption. I told him how my Mommy didn't keep me. "She gave me to the nurses at the hospital and didn't hold or nurse me." He looked at me so puzzled, "But why Mommy?" His expression moved me to tell him, "Sometimes I would lay in my crib and cry for my mommy, but she never came.
Honey, when you were a baby, sometimes you would cry and I did not come to you." "You didn't pick me up? Why Mommy?" "Well, when you were born Mommy did not know much about babies so I read a book about what to do. The book said not to pick your baby up every time he cries." His looked changed to a very disrespectful 'are you stupid' then he said, "Do you still have the book?" "It's on the bookshelf. What should I do with it?" He pondered the question and after a bit he said, "I think we should throw it in the dumpster!" I smiled at the finality of his decision.
"James Randell, Mommy was wrong. I should have come to you when you cried for me, I should have picked you up, held you close and nursed you. Will you please forgive me?" Without hesitation he put his hand on my cheek and said, "I forgive you Mommy." My eyes filled with tears and I hugged him tight for a long time.
Forgiveness is the beginning of healing and restoration. James Randell now receives correction from me. I am grateful for God's promise, "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered! Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Psalm 32:1,2
Quincy, Illinois, USA