I am so excited to share this guest post from my dear friend, mother of the boy/girl twins I carried as a surrogate, and all around A-MA-ZING human, Stephanie O'Hara. She shares a glimpse into their story and the unexpected lessons they have learned along the way!
My husband and I sat our seven year-old son, Aidan down on the couch. My heart was beating so fast that I could hear it in my ears. This was it. This was the moment that we had been praying for – for six long years.
“Aidan, we’ve got exciting news.”
His big blue eyes lit up. He was at an age where he was obsessed with the television show, Full House.
“What have you been praying for – for a long time?”
He furrowed his full eyebrows and gave it some thought.
“A brother or a sister?”
“Well, we have some exciting news. God has answered your prayers! You are going to be a big brother.”
Aidan was so excited, he gasped. Tears rolled down my cheeks.
And just when I thought I couldn’t get any more emotional, our little boy got up and hugged me and my husband. I held him in my arms and kissed his cheeks.
I handed him a present and watched him open it up.
“And we have more news!”
“What is it?”
“We’re having twins! You’re getting a brother and a sister.”
Aidan gasped again, “I’m going to be a big brother.” He beamed, stood up and did a little dance.
It just about killed me when he ran over to me, bent forward and kissed my belly. I knew then that I couldn’t tell him in stages. I couldn’t lie to him. I had to explain it all to him now – the whole shebang.
We sat him back down and waited for a few minutes for the news to soak in.
Then we braced ourselves for the rest of the conversation.
“This might be confusing for you, but the babies are not in my belly. You see, Mommy’s tummy is broken. Mommy has been to lots of doctors and we felt like it was best for someone else to carry our babies.”
It felt so cathartic to finally say the words and tell Aidan the truth. All these years, we had done everything we could to protect him from feelings of sadness or loss. It broke my heart to see tears streaming down his face.
“What does that mean?”
“I can’t carry babies. My tummy is broken. So the doctor took cells from Mommy and from Daddy and created embryos. They were put into someone else’s tummy. We are borrowing a pouch, like a kangaroo.”
Aidan’s face was so sad.
I was in absolute anguish watching him. Dirk tried to encourage him.
“It’s awesome, son!” Dirk said.
“It is weird Aidan because it’s not what we’re used to. I know this is a lot to take in. Do you remember meeting our friend, Tiffany? Well, we are borrowing her pouch. She is pregnant for us.” I told him.
Aidan started to cry in a high pitch way. Dirk grabbed him and put his arms around him.
“It’s okay buddy. Come here!”
The cadence of Aidan’s voice broke down into a painful, halting pattern.
“I - don’t - understand. How did they transport your babies in her?”
I did my best to sound cheerful, “Through an operation. Tiffany is an angel to us. We’re very lucky to have her.”
I grabbed him and wrapped him up in my arms. “Once the babies are born, they’re ours forever. Aidan, your prayers worked! You asked for a brother and a sister and God answered your prayers! You are going to be a big brother!”
Aidan sniffled for a few minutes. We hugged and kissed him. He looked down at the picture of the ultrasounds and looked at it and smiled. Then like the typical seven year-old boy he was, he got over it and asked if could run outside to play.
I remembered all of the night time prayers that Aidan had said – asking for siblings. The first time he asked, my instinct was to tell him not to ask for something so big, bold and specific. He was asking for a brother and a sister – which seemed like a tall order. As much as I wanted to stop his prayer requests, I didn’t. I wanted to protect him from getting his little heart broken.
Aidan didn’t stop with the prayer requests. As each year went by that he didn’t have a sibling, he became even more emboldened. He would stand on top of his bed at night and yell.
“God! Can you hear me? I want a brother and a sister!”
And even though it made me nervous, I decided that we had submit to the Lord. He knew our hearts’ desires. I remember walking out of Aidan’s room one night in particular and said to God “Okay, I turn this over to you. I trust You, and surrender to You.”
It was there that I learned an unexpected lesson – from my sweet seven year-old son. God wants us to be bold with our prayers. He wants to give us our heart’s desires. It may not be in our time, but we have to trust God. Now, this requires patience; which is a vital part of trusting in Him. As it says in Galatians 6:9, “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up,” The fact that our sweet Aidan was persistent and hopeful in his prayers, and that God answered his prayers by giving him both a brother and a sister – just as he had asked for - is such a testament to His faithfulness.
It can be hard to practice patience when God has you waiting. As humans, we want to schedule and plan. In those times, ask the Holy Spirit to direct you as you wait on the Lord!
Hugs and Prayers,
Stephanie O’Hara is the founder of “Your Angel Wings." She is an American mom, wife, mother of three, infertility overcomer, former lead singer of a rock band, entrepreneur and advocate for women. After having her son, she experienced a six-year infertility journey and seven miscarriages before realizing she and her husband needed the assistance of a surrogate/gestational carrier. Her miracle girl/boy twins were born 3 ½ years ago, thanks to their surrogate angel, Tiffany. Stephanie has just finished her (untitled) infertility memoir. She collaborated with Brenda Aréchiga, a Los Angeles based editor whose client list includes Lady Gaga, Candy Spelling and Rachael Ashwell. Her memoir is completed and is slated to be released in late spring 2019. You can find out more on her Instagram, Facebook and Podcast on Anchor (Steph O'Hara).
I'm so excited to introduce my brave friend, Jenn Buell for this week's Guest Blog Post!
Brave Faith: Raising Brave Kids to Face a Big World
We try to teach our children so many things don’t we? Play nice, pick up your stuff, memorize your Bible verses, wash your hands after you go to the bathroom, don’t hit your sister, and so much more. Each of these things represents character traits we hope to instill in them before they grow up and fly the nest. One character trait that gets overlooked in this age of helicopter parenting is bravery.
We hover under them on the monkey bars, wanting to protect them from falling.
We monitor their play, wanting to protect them from so many things. We go to bat for them with tough teachers, wanting to protect their future from the mark a
failure leaves. There is nothing wrong with wanting to protect our kids. It’s engrained into us. And the age of information makes the world feel scarier, heavier, and feel more like the stakes are higher.
The World Feels Scary
Do you remember a childhood of running free around the neighborhood, unencumbered by parental eyes? I do. I’m dating myself here, but I was a kid in the late-70s and early-80s. I remember walking alone to the swimming pool five or six blocks away to spend the day swimming. I think I was 8 the earliest memory I have of that. (Gasp!) I remember leaving the house after lunch to run the neighborhood with friends or explore the creek near our house and not coming back until I heard my mother yelling my name.
Can you imagine letting your kids do that now? Of course not. Someone would report you.
Would it surprise you to know the crime rate then was higher than now? It shocked me. Just google it and watch page after page talking about how crime today is far below that of my childhood. We just know about it instantly with 24-hour news cycles and Amber Alerts to cell phones.
So How Do We Teach Brave?
I’m a widowed mom of four kids. Five and a half years ago, my loving husband of 20 years died suddenly of a heart attack. No warning, no anticipation. Just gone. And there I stood with four kids, ages 5 to 15, in uncharted territory. Scary territory. What now?
My husband used to tell people what made him fall in love with me—my strength. His own father had died when he was 2 and he said he knew if anything happened to him, I would be okay. I would keep going. Such a compliment and one that was so vital as I had to choose to bravely keep going with and for my kids.
When he died, I determined that my children would see me being brave. Parenting four kids alone is the hardest, scariest thing I've ever done. But if I want them to learn to face life and trials bravely, they need to see me doing just that.
In Joshua 1:9 we find a call to bravery, "Remember that I commanded you to be strong and brave. Don’t be afraid, because the Lord your God will be with you everywhere you go." (NLT, emphasis mine)
You Need to Choose Brave
That is how we teach brave—by being brave. By trusting God as He goes with us into hard, scary, exhilarating places. As he asks us to walk on water, to feed 5,000, to pray for miracles, and to go into all the world and we choose to say yes.
By applying to go back to school to finish or start a new degree.
By asking for a raise or a chance at a better job.
By jumping on the roller coaster or off the high dive.
By moving to a new city to start over again.
By pursuing a calling God has placed in your heart when you have no idea how that will work.
By trusting God to provide when your checking account is laughing at you.
Your children need to see you being brave not because you are amazing, but because God is. He makes us brave. He asks us to trust Him and do brave, scary things. But then. Oh, then watch what happens.
My eldest son did something brave that required me to be brave too. He is attending college 13 hours from home in a place he knew no one before going. They had a great film school and a scholarship for in-state tuition that was too good to pass up. He’s finishing his second year of being brave and it has not always been easy. But he’s doing it.
Oh that we would demonstrate brave for our children and raise children who are brave. That they would see us trusting God to lead us into bravery-requiring places.
Our children learn more from what we do than what we say, though they are listening to the words as well. When they see us taking brave steps, they learn to be brave. When they see us trusting God, they learn to have brave faith.
Oh that bravery would be a legacy we leave to our children.
What’s one brave thing you’ve been considering that you
haven’t stepped into yet? Is it time? Feel free to share in the comments and we can cheer you on.
About my friend and Guest Blog Post writer:
Jenn Buell is a single supermom to four amazing kids who lives in the beautiful Black Hills of South Dakota. She’s an event speaker, podcaster at Right There With You, writer at JennBuell.com, and radio DJ at a Christian station. She’s also a huge movie and sci-fi geek who adores baking for her people. Check out her blog, podcast and free video series.
If you are in a brave season and are tempted to quit, I have just the thing you need to help you keep going! A free Don't Quit Survival Kit, 17 pages of soul-care, self-care and dream-care goodness! My subscribers get free access to this and more HERE! Hugs and Prayers, Tiffany
Tiffany Jo Baker is a 3x surrogate, speaker, coach, confidante and cheerleader to help you birth your dreams.
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