25 May 2007

Risking Deeply, Loving Absolutely: Lessons from the Mohrs

With Jamie out of town, it falls to me to write the column for the week. That is not a complaint in the slightest bit. I delight in writing, especially when the topic is entirely of my choosing. But this week, I stared at a blank screen for about an hour, searching for something deeply meaningful to share with you. It was only then that I realized I knew what I wanted to say, I just struggled with how to say it. So here goes.

Some of you know that two of my friends from undergrad are in the process of adopting a baby boy from Guatemala. Last November, Katie left her husband, her home, her dogs, her friends, and her church to go to Guatemala to be with Eliot. She had no timeline for when she would be allowed to return, but she knew she wasn’t coming home without her son. After some very difficult setbacks, Katie and Eliot are still in Guatemala. This week marks 6 months that she has lived as a single mother in a foreign country with no idea when it will end. Every six or eight weeks they get a hopeful message that perhaps the good news is coming soon, only to be disappointed when the good news turns sour.

Eliot turned one last week. Katie has been with her son every day for the last six months of his life. And she has managed that entirely on her own. In an e-mail just the other day, she commented that she and a couple other adopting moms had hired a nanny for the day and had gone to the mall together. She flippantly mentioned, “It was the first time I’d spent 6 hours without Eliot since I got here,” as she went on to describe the rest of her day.

That comment hit me like a ton of bricks. What an incredible sacrifice she and Russ have made for Eliot! They have literally given over their entire lives to him. Katie hadn’t taken 6 hours for herself in 6 months! Granted, I don’t have children, but the sheer number of child-care facilities in our culture and the demand for babysitters tells me that this is not the case here. It is hard to imagine that she has taken this on willingly and with such a gracious heart. Every e-mail I receive speaks of the blessings, the hope, the goodness of God expressed through people as she is experiencing it. She rarely complains about her life. She hardly ever speaks of her frustrations, her loneliness, or the demands of a toddler as a single mom. Katie is always seeking the hope, the good; she is ready to give and give some more for Eliot.

And I wonder, would we do the same? I don’t wonder if we would give up everything for our children, but I do wonder if we would give up everything for a total stranger. Eliot is not the child Katie and Russ dreamed of having; they always planned to have their own children. When Katie moved to Guatemala, Eliot was a stranger to them. She became “instant mom” the second she stepped off the plane in Guatemala City. She didn’t have 40 weeks of preparation. No time to feel him move in her womb. No ultrasounds. No dreaming of names for their child. Eliot was chosen for them, and they have given everything they have to give to this child who has become their son.

I visit their website every day. And every day tears well up in my eyes. I have never seen such sacrificial love from two human beings to another. I have never known a family so strong, so supportive of one another, so in touch that 1,000 miles cannot separate them. And every day I am convicted because I give so little of myself to those in need. The Giver of All Good Gifts is the first thought of Katie and Russ every day. And their response is always an act of love, manifested in ministry to a child who would have been otherwise forgotten. My prayer is that we would have eyes to see the forgotten of our world and open our hearts in love and ministry to them. May we be bold enough to risk so much. And may we never stop longing for that which costs us dearly, for those are the richest of gifts. Erin


Amanda Mohr said...

Erin, I am Russ Mohr's sister and I just want to tell you how blessed I was to read what you had to say about Russ and Katie. I just sat and cried as I read what so many of us have wanted to say but haven't known how to put into words.

Russ, Katie and Eliot said...

Thanks for your encouraging words. We are so appreciative for the love and support of our friends... and just seeing how many hits we're getting on this blog lets us see that our friends are truly impacted by Eliot's story. I can only imagine the impact he's going to have when he actually gets to meet everyone!!!!!! Thank you angain for your prayers and support. To GOD be the glory....