To read the first part of this story, click here.
Our flight from Hawaii arrived late in American Samoa, and Helen was there to greet us and take us back to her house. We woke up the next morning with plans to meet Anna for the first time. Instead of meeting her for lunch as expected, we found out she was at the hospital, so off we went. God knew when she was going to have her baby, and we arrived just in time!
We got to visit for the first time while she was in labor. She was so relieved and grateful we had arrived before her little baby came. God knew how to support Anna, and he knew the best thing to help her was to know she wasn’t alone. And she wasn’t!
I have never studied much about labor and delivery, because to be honest, I skipped that part with my other children. As I was standing there watching, Afiona begin to rub Anna’s arms and hands (Afiona is a beautifully gifted massage therapist), and God brought to my mind a tip a massage friend at home had planted in my mind a month earlier. She taught me to rub on the outer edges of the leg from the knee cap down to the ankles to speed up labor contractions. The fact that I heard this and was able to recall it at this moment is significant because it is not something I was likely to retain. In my past experiences, this would have gone in one ear and out the other. I shared this information with Afiona, who immediately started to rub Anna’s legs. Within a few minutes, Afiona ran to tell me it was working and her time between contractions was already decreasing.
Anna gave birth just a few hours later.
We were standing in the hall between the labor and delivery room and the nursery. We heard a baby cry as Anna gave birth. Then we saw a nurse taking a little baby across the hall. We stopped her and she showed us a new baby girl. Another evidence God is in the details. The ultrasounds and dreams had all indicated Anna’s baby was a baby boy. We would have happily adopted a baby boy and welcomed him into our family. However, God knew in my heart I had wanted to adopt a Polynesian girl ever since we decided to adopt years ago. I knew when the desire entered my heart, it was unlikely and improbable. Yet, here I was on a small island in the pacific looking at my new baby GIRL! I literally hung my head in amazement at what the Lord would do for me!
Malia was born with a knot in her umbilical cord. The doctor told Anna if Malia was not born at the time she was, she would have died. Afiona attributed Malia’s life to our speeding up of Anna’s contractions. The timing was critical. They do not have the same access to medication and equipment we do here. They doctor admitted if there had been any complications, Malia would have suffocated. God’s hand is in the details. If we didn’t believe it until this point, God just wanted to make sure we knew.
The hospital staff was strongly encouraging Anna to breastfeed Malia, which we had previously decided she wasn’t going to do. Understanding our unique situation, they then pressured her (and I mean didn’t allow otherwise) to start with liquid formula instead of the powdered formula we had brought with us. This is a common practice on the mainland as well. However, typically mainland hospitals supply liquid formula for new moms who choose this route. The hospital there did not have any liquid formula for us to use. I had brought lots of powdered formula, but no liquid.
Helen and I then went on we felt like was a wild goose chase, since there were very few stores on the island. We drove to the only store where Helen ever remembered seeing liquid formula . . . and it was closed! Defeated, we headed back to the hospital, and on the way passed one more store and went in. The baby aisle had no liquid formula, so we walked the store just to make sure they didn’t have anything. I stood in the last aisle, contemplating what we were going to do. I looked up and saw two boxes of four liquid formulas. Apparently the only liquid formula on the entire island—and God led us right to it!
I should have been convinced God was in the details of this plan, but at this point I was still concerned about getting through the rest of the process. The next day, we checked Anna out of the hospital. We spent the next 2 1/2 weeks sitting in government buildings for hours on end, trying to get the proper paperwork signed so we could adopt Malia and travel home with her.
With one business day left before my departure date, I had zero of four of the documents I needed to leave the island. I began to fear I wasn’t going to make it and then began to doubt the date I was given by God. I had done all I could and asked God to help me. Without me doing anything more, all four documents were hand-delivered to me the very next day. This part alone stands a witness to me God that was in the details.
My parents were struggling to carry our load much further at home. Anna and her family were in need of some space and healing. Helen and her sweet family were ready to have their house and beds back to themselves. And I was unbelievably eager to return to my life and family with our new addition. For all of our sakes, I was so grateful I now had everything I needed. We left the island on the exact day God told me we would.
This experience for me was beautifully orchestrated. I am still marvel at how God knows me best. He knew my family’s love for the Polynesian people well before I hoped to adopt a little girl. He sent my uncle to Hawaii 50 years ago to help build the Polynesian Cultural Center. Do you want to guess which village he helped build? Yes, the SAMOAN village! Can you guess which dancing club my mother joined while attending BYU-Hawaii? Yes, the Samoan Club. Then it is no surprise my father had two Samoan roommates while attending BYU-Hawaii. Or that my father’s uncle served a mission in both Western and American Samoa. Even down to me having been in Hawaii nine months before Malia was born and having a truly sacred experience of joy and delight as I watched a Samoan climb a palm tree to retrieve a coconut in one my favorite places on earth.
God loves me. God is in the details of my life! God loves you. Look for him in the details of your life!