by Amanda M.

I have decided to share our story because it’s a great testimony of God’s love for us and the plans he has for us. It shows how God makes lemonade out of lemons every day. My husband and I have been married for almost ten years, and we are parents of four wonderful children who are ages 10, 6, 3, and 2 ½.  From first glance, you may not think much of our family. We may seem pretty ordinary, but the way we became a family was nothing but extraordinary. When I first met my husband, we talked about everything; we both knew what we wanted in a spouse and realized very quickly that the Lord brought us together for marriage. One of the things we talked about was having children. We both wanted eight children and we also both wanted to adopt.  In the beginning of 2011, my husband and I had been married for almost 5 years. We both had been ready to become parents for some time and had been actively trying to conceive for about a year. We were soon going to contact a fertility doctor when I found out I was pregnant. The joy that overcame me at that moment was immeasurable. My husband was in the field for military training and I anxiously waited for his call so I could tell him the good news. When he called, I told him; and he was ecstatic! He came home a few days later; and that’s when the morning sickness started he held my hair, he rubbed my back and he tenderly said “It’s all gonna be worth it baby” I had no idea just how much heartbreak was in store for us.

A few weeks later, I would discover that my sweet little baby was growing in my fallopian tube, and we would have to mourn the loss of our first child while recovering from a surgery that took more from me then just my fallopian tube. It look a part of my heart and taught me that pregnancy didn’t always have a happy ending.  A few short months later, I conceived again. I was thrilled to be pregnant, and I felt like this was going to be the baby I would hold. As my tummy grew bigger and my baby grew stronger I fell more in love with the tiny person inside of me. I also had a friend that was pregnant too, and we were excited to someday have our kids play together. At my 17 week appointment, my baby nestled in my womb did not have that strong heart beat I saw on the screen just two weeks prior. I crumbled as I realized I was never going to get to raise this baby either. The heart break was too much to bear. I was angry at God for giving me a child and then taking that child away. As time went by, the days got easier; and I began to heal again. I helped my friend deliver her baby and mourned that our babies would not play with each other in this world.

In 2012, I got pregnant again and miscarried at only 5 weeks. It was then when the Lord told me that Adoption was his plan for our family. Adoption is something my husband and I talked about even before we got married but we always assumed we would adopt later in life after having children of our own. God said do it , so we started the adoption process. The classes, the paperwork and the preparations were all done and in 2 weeks we were told we would get our license and would start receiving foster children into our home shortly after. Just then in early 2013 I got pregnant again. I was puzzled, I was sure that adoption was what God told me to do. Since we got pregnant the whole process had to be put on hold, I mourned again for the children I was expecting to put in our nursery in just a couple weeks. As I mourned I began to attach to the one inside me, the heart that beats in my womb made me glow.  I carried my 4th child for 12 weeks before delivering a baby with no heartbeat on my birthday. Heartbreak after heartbreak I had endured and I had so much motherly, or agape, love in my heart that I could only pour on my children, yet I had no children to pour on. I could not understand the reasons for why that Lord would allow my heart to break again. But this time He picked me up quickly and lit a fire under me to complete the process to become foster parents. He spoke to my heart that the first children that came to our door would be ours and for me to pour all that Agape love on them.  So that’s what we did, we took more classes, re-did paperwork and I had to go to therapy to show the state I was a ready to move forward after my loss. Six months later we got our license. It was the end of 2013 and little did we know that God was making lemonade.  January 15th 2014 we got the call for a sibling group of two. All we knew was that they were both boys and they were under 3. We were told they would be brought over in a few hours and later that night 2 scared babies, one 7 months and the other 22 months, were placed in our arms.

A few weeks later we learned that they had two older siblings in a shelter. We did not know how we were going to do it, but we knew the Lord said they were ours. We asked about them and learned that the state had the full intention of splitting them up. So, we said we wanted them. They were placed in our home a few months later.  They were so broken and had a lot of heartache in their lives they needed to recover from. They needed the love that God poured into my heart. We need them to pour our love on. God brought us together to restore each other. The next year was a year of recovery, learning, and restoration for our whole family. Then on June 11, 2015, they all became official Mendozas. Looking back, all that heartbreak was necessary for my growth, my faith, and for the perfect timing of bringing our family together. And my husband was right, all of it was worth it.  We treasure the children the Lord has entrusted us with, and my purpose in life is to be their mom. In the end, we have eight children. Four children were taken, but then four children were given. And, through it all, it’s helped me see that all children are his; and it’s our job as parents to do the best we can, in partnership with him, to raise the people he has entrusted us. Oh, and to top it off,  my 3 year old is only a couple months younger then my second miscarried baby, making him only one day younger then my friend’s baby. Our babies play together. God is good, and he made lemonade. With all the heartbreak and trials, he made a beautiful story that enables us to see his blessings every day.