Written by: Debbie Slauenwhite
I will never forget it – Friday, August 26, 1977 – I can remember being awakened from a deep sleep (anesthesia-induced) by these words, “Debbie, wake up! There is no time to sleep – you are a mom now!” In the words of Dr. Phil, that was a changing day in my life. My dream had finally come true – I was a mom – for real. All I ever wanted to be was a mom and now it was a reality. I remember looking into the innocent face of my sweet baby boy and thinking, “Okay, what do I do now?” That was the beginning of a journey of a lifetime.
I don’t think there is anything in this world that prepare you for the journey of motherhood – after all, what courses could you take to prepare? You are called upon to be so many things: nurse, teacher, coach, referee, counselor, etc., etc. The list goes on. The most important aspect of this journey called motherhood for me has been and still is my relationship with the Lord. He is a faithful leader – His word gives wise counsel.
I have been blessed to have many children call me “mom” – which, by the way, of all the names I bear is my absolute favourite. I have birthed two children, adopted one, and fostered fifteen. What an awesome privilege. Has it always been easy? No. Has it all been fun? No. Has it all been worth it? YES!!
Each aspect of mothering has looked a little different. To have had the privilege to create and nurture a life, was an awesome experience. I loved every part of that journey – from finding out that I was pregnant through to delivery. It was amazing to me that this could even happen to me. I felt like Mary when she said, “My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour.” God blessed us with two wonderful little boys – and I loved them more than words could say – but something was missing. The Lord had placed adoption on my heart…I really wanted a little girl. Now, I’m not suggesting for one minute that I was not happy with my boys, but there was this feeling that would not go away. I wanted another baby but could not physically birth another. So, I started to pray. God gave me a word one morning while I was in prayer that He would grant me the desire in my heart – what He did not tell me was that I would have to wait for ten years! Thus started the long journey. I was even so bold as to write in my journal what I wanted this little girl to look like!! Thus started the journey into fostering.
We were not strangers to fostering as one of my aunts had done this all through my growing up years…I knew what was involved. At that time they were offering a “foster-to-adopt” program. I thought that was great. I thought with every little girl that came to our home, “Is this the one?” Every time I asked that question, there was not a “yes” answer to be had. I learned, not quite as patiently as I should have, to trust God’s promise. I learned to love unconditionally and also to give back. I do not regret the time or energy that I poured in to each of the children that came to our home. I know that good seed was planted and that God would be faithful to water it and cause it to grow. Then it happened – one morning in mid-June 1992, I got a phone call asking if I would be interested in taking a little girl two months old who would be in care long term? Would I be interested?? They brought her to me and I heard the Lord speak to me – not audibly – but loud enough in my heart to hear Him say, “Debbie, this is your daughter.” I had to look around to see if someone had spoken to me, but I was the only one home. I knew the acid test would be when my husband came home. I asked God for confirmation through him. When he arrived home that evening, he took one look at her and with tears in his eyes he said, “Honey, she’s a keeper.” The rest is history.
Moms, I would like to leave you with these words on this Mother’s Day. Never underestimate the power of your words…remember life and death are in the power of the tongue. Listen twice as much as you speak…I think that’s why we have two ears and one mouth. Never be afraid to say “I’m sorry.” Our kids already know we are not perfect. They don’t expect us to be. Make your home a fun, happy place…the world is full of turmoil – our homes need to be a safe haven. And last, be honest with them and gain their trust. If they learn early that they can trust you with the “little” things in life, they won’t hesitate to trust you with the “big” things.
Debbie lives in Halifax, NS with her husband Stan. Together they run their family business. She is the proud mother of three grown children and two fabulous grandchildren. She keeps busy reading, knitting and visiting her granddollies.