Wednesday, April 15, 2009

His Name is Zion

The name Zion is written in the bible 168 times. Zion is a city in Jerusalem, a mountain on a hill and another name for heaven. Zion is what writers call Ethiopia and believe it or not, Tsion (Zion) was the name of the girl who met me at the airport and carried my bags to the hotel.

Zion is, was, and forever will be the name of my first son, born on this day April 15, 2002. I checked into the hospital and after 27 hours of labor delivered, him, held him and had to let him go. I left the hospital the following day with a bag of memories, tokens, and certificates to prove that he was here. I left that day not knowing what my future would hold.

Since April 15, 2002 the days immediately preceding and the days immediately following are sometimes struggle. Without being conscious of it, there have been times that the longing sweeps over me in waves. In 2003, I decided that I each year on April 15, that I would attempt to do those things that I would not have otherwise had the courage to do. That first year on April 15, 2003 I was shocked to find myself sitting in a room coaching the CEO and the entire executive team of a large restaurant chain -- miraculous. On April 15, 2004 I was in New Haven, CT teaching a 3-day class at Yale University -- improbable. April 15, 2005 I was invited to as one of two consultants to deliver diversity training to the executive team at one of those large battery companies that we all know so well -- impossible. I remember how hard it was getting on the plane that day and getting prepare once I landed. It's the day that I sat in the parking lot and heard Mary, Mary singing, "I Cried My Last Tear Yesterday." I can pretty much tell you where I was and what I was doing on this day every since 2002 and it wasn't my taxes. On April 15, 2008, I packed away all of Zion's things for the last time. All that there was of him was still in the bag from the hospital and over the years I would take things out, look at them, read them, and put them away.

Some things in life are difficult to explain like why some children live and others die too soon. Why some born in Ethiopia triumph over all the odds against them and those born here in the states in world class hospital just don't have the strength to survive. All of us have stories and how we found ourselves on this path varies from person to person. It seems that my journey begins and ends with Zion and it's difficult to explain why this long, winding, wonderful, laborious journey could some how deliver me to this date. At first I thought it ironic that God would have my children's lives so intertwined by these dates and then I thought of David who told me last year; that whenever you go full circle you get a new beginning. That must be it, I thought one chapter of my life as a mother is being closed on April 15 and another one opened on April 16. But, then I realize yet one more bit of irony, when my case is heard in Ethiopia I believe that it will still be April 15 here in Chicago.

It's difficult to tell you all this without filling in the details or writing in my more usual style. Forgive me, please I just want to get it down to mark the significance of this day. From the day that I learned that there is a church in Axum, Ethiopia that hold the Arc of the Covenant, and that the name of that church is St. Mary's of Zion I was drawn to that place. Without being able to explain it to you, in August 2007 when I started this journey, I knew that whatever questions and unresolved issues and longing that I had would be answered and filled when my feet touched the soil in Ethiopia. Remember I went there in December and from the moment I touched down, I was drawn into an unexplainable set of events. I think it was the first time that I'd truly exhaled in nearly seven years. It was a release that I will never be able to explain.

When I walked into the courtyard on the other side of that big blue gate, I thought that I would be overcome by emotion. Instead I saw my children and instantly new that all I had believed was indeed true. All of my unanswered questions were answered in an instant and instead of being overcome with emotions, I exhaled again and felt a rush of peace come over me. When I prayed on the prayer bench of the church, I felt peace. When I walked into the palace I felt peace. When I walked through the streets of Addis I was at peace. When I held my children and looked into their eyes I was at peace. When I said goodbye to them that last day, I was at peace. I've carried that feeling with me from that time to this. Rather than feeling the anxiety or anxiousness, I feel peace.

Today on April 15, 2009 I wait patiently to do yet one more thing that I thought would be impossible to do. I wait to hear the words that I thought I'd never hear and wait to tell the world what I thought I'd never say. This impossible thing has been made possible and all things thought improbable have passed away. Now, I no longer wonder what I will do on all the April 15ths to come. I know that I will celebrate this new beginning.

This is the eve of my new beginning and all I feel is peace. I love you all so much thank you from the bottom of my heart for every kind word and every prayer that you have prayed for me. God always sends his angels to protect, shield, and guide, because of each of you, I've come full circle and this is a new beginning. So wherever you are just say a quick thank you to God because it is already written it is already done.

Hebrews 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the heavenly Jerusalem, the city of the living God. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly.

Peace Be Still
Come on with peace. I'm talking about peace. Peace be still. In your home, peace. On your job, peace. Late in the midnight hour... peace be still. Whenever the Lord says peace, I guarantee there'll be peace. I know that it will be. Peace, oh peace. When there's confusion, whenever the Lord says peace, there'll be peace, you'll have peace. Peace, oh, oh peace. When you don't know which way to turn,
He guarantees that there will be peace. I'm not worried about it. Peace, oh, oh peace. If I don't have nothing else, whenever the Lord says peace, I've got peace in my heart and peace down in my soul. Peace, oh, oh peace...


16 comments:

Gracie's Mom said...

Valerie that was beautiful and heartwrenching all at once. What would we do without our loving God to carry us through? On my knees for you my sistuh. Can't wait to wake up tomorrow and see your Blessed news!

LoveNotes4CocoPrincess said...

Abba,Father, We Thank You!

Bennett said...

I am speechless Valerie, I ditto every exact word that Terrie just said!!!

I will be on bending knee not so much for this adoption to happen, b/c GOD has said "let it be" already and you've come to far to turn back now!!! but I'll be on bending knee to thank him for all his blessings!!!

kristine said...

Oh Valarie. I am amazed you can write these words with such grace. You know Q was born in 2002. I think I know what you mean about the full circle new beginning. I know Tsion is watching over all of this with peace. Perhaps it is his own peacefulness shining down on you. I have not been through the kind of pain you have but I know others that have. I hope your writing makes its way out to a broader audience because I know there are others who need exactly the kind of hope and peace you describe and I truly believe you could be their angel.

Jocelyn said...

Beautiful post from an obviously beautiful person. I am praying for great news tomorrow for you!!

Debbie said...

Wow! Your blog posts are awesome. I'm happy to hear that you've found peace in your life.

4evamom said...

Oh Valerie,
Your post has really touched my heart. As someone who lost a child I can relate to many of the sentiments.

I do not know you personally, but through your posts and correspondences I feel that I have gotten to know you. I hope the best for you. I believe that you will be a wonderful mother.

I also believe with all of my heart that we will be reunited with our lost children. Oh what a day that will be.

I will be thinking about you.

Jennifer said...

Praying for you tonight on this special day.

Robbin said...

Praying...

haze said...

Valarie, I had no idea of your loss. I commend you for your strength and your faith. I love how you have come full circle on this day. Tomorrow is going to be a beautiful day.

VALARIE said...

I woke up 1:30am and saw this message from Celeste. I wanted to post it here so that I will have it always.

I'll end my evening by saying Valerie my knees are bent, and I know tomorrow brings nothing but blessings, tears of joy and happiness........ It's already written, said and done!!!!

VALARIE said...

Thanks to all of you. You've been the wind under my wings for sure.

Kerri said...

What an amazing journey. I'll never understand why we have to experience such heartbreak on the journey to joy. I can't wait to see the completion of your journey.

Monica Lidya's Mom said...

That was a beautiful post and I am very sorry for your loss. I know that you will hear good news soon.

Anonymous said...

May the pain of years past soon be replaced by the happiness that these children will bring into your life.

Jan

Nancy said...

Wow Valerie, and wow all you who've commented. I have chills and goosebumps. I know today was just a bump in the road. Your kids are going have such a testimony through your journey. They'll know you love 'em!

Original Court Date: April 18, 2009
Final Court Date: May 18, 2009
[607 total days & 165 days w/IAN]