There have been many miracles in my life but the most recent one was how speedily and unexpectedly He sent my husband and I our beautiful and beloved daughter Mary Isabelle Archibald.
For those of you who do not know Patrick + I, we have been married for almost 8 years now. From the start we have been open to life, but of course, the first two years, we prayed that God will give us a natural honeymoon.
I must say that I was even ignorant that the Catholic Church was against IVF till I attended a talk in St Ignatius Church, Kelana Jaya, perhaps about 2-3 years ago. I'm glad because I had to admit that I was seriously considering it as an option prior to that.
Even after knowing, the temptation was very great to give into to the persistent persuasion of many, including Catholics, who believed IVF, was one of God's ways of helping couples conceive.
I'm glad that after lots of soul searching, Pat + I very recently (about a month ago) resorted to the final Catholic channel of having children - that's through adoption.
The moment we made that decision, I felt peace in my heart. We then started talking to the various Catholic-run adoption centres and made known our desire. We were given the usual thick application forms that enquired many questions at length about our biodata and reasons for adoption.
Not only that, with it comes the usual script about waiting for a period of time before a child may be available for adoption. From many of them and our friends' stories, it may take up to years sometimes.
So in my mind, I thought it may be good, to help us prepare emotionally, spiritually and definitely financially. Also logistic wise and who will assist me in looking after the child and so on and so forth.
I remember sharing our decision to my mom one day and she said: "What if God suddenly bless you with a child and by Chinese New Year, you will join the ranks of parents who will receive angpows because they have children,". She was saying it in jest and as encouragement that things will work out for us. Little did I know it was indeed a prophetic message.
Patrick was really very very "rajin" (diligent) and meant business after our decision. He was the one who had actively gone to the many centres to collect their forms and let them know we want to adopt both in West Malaysia and East Malaysia (where we travel regularly for work).
Just two weeks ago, I received a call from him while he was in Miri saying: "Are you sitting down," I said yes and the next few words that he spoke sounded so unreal..."They have a baby girl for us.
I can't believed it because only two days prior to the call, Patrick walked into the Human Life Service in Miri and they gave him the usual thick forms and script about waiting....
To cut a long story short, wee hours of Monday morning (6 July) we flew to complete the paperwork to officially turn Mary Isabelle into an Archibald. We went for mass on Tuesday morning and by about 11.30am on 7 July 09 it was done. Her birth certificate with us as parents would be ready for collection next month.
Patrick + I were overjoyed. Then the moment came to meet her for the first time... yes, we adopted the baby without knowing how she looked like. We just trusted the Lord's providence and proceeded despite some initial concerns from family members who knew about our decision.
Indeed, the Lord knows what is best. I was pleasantly surprised to find a baby who looked similar to me when I was a baby. That is definitely no coincidence - just God's plan, and His Plan is perfect.
Other things that made us know God's plan is perfect are:
Mary Isabelle is supposed to be due on 10 July, but she decided to come out early, so that Pat could walk right through the door of the Human Life Service Centre and become her daddy.
She is also a premature baby just like mommy Hazel.
Mary Isabelle was born on Pentecost Sunday this year (31 May 09). Definitely, the Holy Spirit's work. What a great day to be born - on the Church's Birthday!
Her natural mother only wanted Catholic parents for Mary Isabelle. When Pat walked in to apply, there were many other parents who were in queue before us. Since the criterion was Catholic parents, HLS called down and discovered the Catholics before us had changed their minds for different reasons and other potential parents were non-Catholics. So Pat's name was next in line, leading to that surprise phone call just within 2 days of our application. Boy, am I glad to be Catholic!!!
Our application and approval of adoption was on 7 July 09 which falls on my mother birthday. So officially Mary Isabelle became an Archibald on grandma Gladys' birthday. According to my mom, it's her greatest birthday gift.
I must say the first night as parents really made me appreciate my mother and grandmother for their patience in bringing me up. Mary Isabelle was up from midnight till 4am before sleeping.
According to my mom, Mary Isabelle is just like me when it came to crying till she turned red and shivering whenever she urinated, passed motion and was hungry. She sure has pipes for a cantor in church... fortunately, there were no complaints from other guests about her consistent screaming cries throughout the night.
I'm glad the second night she slept more and last night was much better as she only woke up twice to drink milk, then it was off to dreamland. Thank you Lord, we sure needed the rest.
I pray that God will continue to give us strength and enough rest to get through the sleepless night phase.
I'm sure He will continue to equip us with the right skills to bring up Mary Isabelle as a mighty woman of God - just like the two women she has been named after (Mother Mary and St Isabel of France).
Do come back and check the blog for more updates of baby Mary Isabelle ... As of now here are some of the many photos we took of her (just click on the word "her" - will lead you to her photos.
For those who have prayed for us all these years and especially the last few days ... thank you very much. God indeed answers prayers.
(You may want to prepare yourselves by reading up on what adoption is all about. Below are some recommended reading...)