Jan 312012

Dearest New Monkees,

The original Monkees would explain that you can’t really understand the Meltons without reading our adoption stories. Our journey’s not over yet – or maybe it is, who on Earth knows.

Here you go. Love you. Really, really mean it.


2007 was a tough year for the Meltons. Chase and Tish were 4 and 1, and Craig and I spent our days and evenings on the phone, interweb, and each others’ nerves trying to realize our adoption dream. We were trying to adopt internationally and each time we got close, the dreaded background check would come, and agency after agency would reject us because…well, by now you know I choose to describe my past as festive.

Side note- in the past decade- I have been diagnosed with addictive personality, incompetent cervix, and suspicious blood. My self started to get its feelings hurt. I think words are important, so I have made some minor semantics adjustments. I now describe myself to doctors as having an “excited” personality, “laid-back cervix” and “creative” blood. This feels better.

Anyway, I laugh now, but I wasn’t laughing back in 2007. I cried myself to sleep lots of nights, while Craig squeezed me tight and prayed that God would either open an adoption door or take away the desperation in my heart. Then I’d wake up early and start the whole obsessive process over. During one interview, as the social worker asked us questions about the past and we answered them honestly, we could actually hear her voice becoming more distant and cold. When we got off the phone I said “I don’t think she’s going to give us a baby, do you?” Craig responded by admitting that he wanted to stop doing interviews altogether because he was afraid they’d decide to take away the two kids we already had. As Krystal’s family would say, it really, really sipped.

In August of 2007, we found some hope at an agency that facilitated adoptions from Guatemala. The social worker told us that they would find a way to bring a baby home to us, from their orphanage where toddlers and babies were abandoned because their parents couldn’t feed them. They sent us packets and pictures of the orphanage and the orphans and I fell in love. Hard.

While our paperwork was being processed, I spent my days mentally planning and preparing and daydreaming. I knew our baby would be a little girl, and I knew her name would be Maria. I have no idea where this information originated, so I assumed it was from God. I never told anyone that I knew she would be Maria, because people can only be expected to take so much. But I knew it. There was a country song out at the time called “My Maria” and I would drive around, belting out the lyrics and fantasizing about how Craig, Chase, Tish, Maria, and I would dance to “My Maria” in front of our family and friends at Maria’s coming home party. I am quite sure I planned my outfit. These daydreams are probably why I get lost almost every single time I get in my car. I never really had an explanation for that frustrating phenomenon until this moment.

At the end of September, we got a phone call from the agency. Craig took the call and then he told me gently that the agency had decided we were too much of a risk. The door to Guatemala was officially closed. I sat on the couch and cried and cried, because how can you feel something so certainly and then turn around and accept that it wasn’t meant to be? I remember hearing Chase walk in while I was crying and asking Craig “Why?” and Craig said, “She’s just sad, honey. Mommy’s just sad.”

Two months passed and I pulled myself together reasonably enough. You can read about what happened during those two months here. It was a magical and painful time.

Christmas morning came, and after the flurry of excitement and gifts everybody got tired, as people do on Christmas morning. We all rested into the day. Bubba fell asleep on the couch, and Sister and Tisha slid into the kitchen to start breakfast for the kids. I sat on the couch and congratulated myself for pulling off another Christmas. Craig snuggled next to me on the couch and handed me one last gift that he had hidden away. I smiled and opened it, and when all of the paper was removed: this is what I saw in my lap.

After we found out we wouldn’t be allowed to bring a baby home from Guatemala, Craig called the agency and asked if he could “sponsor” a child there, in honor of me and of our dream. The woman at the orphanage said they had just the little girl for us. Her name was Maria, she said. She sent Craig pictures of Maria and her orphanage home, and Craig put them together in a scrapbook for me. So on Christmas morning, I’d have something to hold.

I sat on the couch and cried till I couldn’t see. Bubba woke up and became alarmed. Everyone stared. I didn’t care. I have never in my life felt the presence of God more strongly than I did at that moment, sitting on the couch, with that scrapbook in my lap and my husband beside me. I actually felt God saying, “I was watching, and I was speaking. You were right, there is a Maria for you. Here she is.”

Since I couldn’t speak, I left my family and walked into my bedroom, found my journal and brought it back to the family room. I opened it to page after page where I’d doodled “Maria Melton” like a lovesick teenager. Craig was shocked, and he cried with me.

We fell more deeply in love with Maria during the next year. We sent her gifts and letters that Tisha translated into Spanish for us. We told her that God loved her very much and so did we and we explained that we prayed for her and for her friends every night. We asked Chase’s birthday party guests to donate money instead of gifts and we sent the money to Maria so that she could throw a birthday party for herself that year. The orphanage told us that the money went so far that Maria was able to invite another orphanage to her party too, and that they all played with piñatas and balloons for the first time in their lives. All I have to do to make myself cry, to this day, is to say to myself, “I hope she felt special that day.”

We got a letter last year announcing that Maria had finally been adopted by a family in the states. The odds had been against her. The previous year we had been told that the likelihood that Maria would find a forever home were slim to none.

But we know that with God, nothing is impossible.

Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
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  53 Responses to “My Maria”

  1. I read this post a few weeks ago, and then I read it again in “Carry on, Warrior” last night. Thank you so much for sharing this story. I’ve been playing phone tag with our family coordinator all week, dreading delivering the news that we are going to have to drop out of our adoption. We are about $10,000 dollars and two years in on the process, but God is, without a doubt, leading us down a path that doesn’t look to good on a home study. We are living in a mission house ministering at homeless shelter (for no pay), and praying about planting a church in New Orleans. Not quite the “stable” environment those pesky social workers want for an adoptive family. Anyway, you probably know that this is going to be a difficult phone conversation, if that dang woman will ever call me back. This essay and a few of the others in “Carry on, Warrior” gave me such peace. I went to sleep last night thinking about your story about God as the old woman in the rocking chair, crocheting my life and asking me to dance. She’s not telling me what I want or doing what I want, but it’s going to be beautiful, if I’ll just agree to dance. Thank you so much for the reminder.

  2. I love your blogging about family and God! I have 4 sweet little ones and I am a woman of strong faith. I promote families! I found a great site with tips on talking with kids that I thought I would share with other moms! Enjoy!


  3. I started crying, reading all of this. We’re in the middle of our second international adoption. Adoption is such a roller coaster. This is a great story of no excuses! Even though the door to adoption was clearly closed, God used you in a different way. I love your blog so much. I just relate.

  4. Oh wow, I’m crying too…

  5. Sooooo great. Congratulations for this, whatever it would be called.

  6. This story touched my heart. My name is Maria and I was born in Guatemala. I have visited there twice to visit my extended family and both times I was shocked to see the poverty and crime there. You may not have been able to adopt but you are raising awareness so that others may take notice of other children who do not have forever home. Sponsorship is so important because those who can’t adopt (for whatever reason, for my family it is finances) can still help to take care of the orphaned as God has called us to do. God bless you!

  7. This story touched me to the core! I recently found this blog. I have heard a little about your story struggling wth bulimia and alcohol. Those are the two things I have struggled with most since 14/15 years old. I am 20 now and god has delivered me but I understand that it is a recovery process everyday. This blog is such a blessing to me and others!
    It is amazing how god works. The way you found Maria is so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.

  8. I can’t remember how I recently found your blog, but boy am I glad I did.

    You make me laugh and cry, usually simultaneously. Sometimes, it’s a pretty and quick cry and other times, it hard and ugly. Both cries are always convicting, touching and just what my approach with caution emotional system needs.

  9. God blessed you with the gift of words, I sponsor a child & have always felt connected as if I know her.

  10. absolute magic. joy. divinity. peace.

  11. What an absolutely amazing story. The fact that you knew so hard in your heart you would have a Maria and then to “get” her that way – simply stunning. As always, your words are pure beauty and brought tears to my eyes.

  12. Thank you for sharing! I truely enjoyed reading every word. My daughter, now 4, was born in Guatemala. Because of political issues, we were encouraged to change coutnries half way though. I couldn’t. I knew my daughter was in Guatemala, and she was. She is my duaghter and she is my heart. We may look different on the outside but our insides match Completely! She is amazing, and we were created to be together. I admire your strength and bravery. I live that your hardship in emotions didn’t allow you to stop. Children are still in need and you carried on to bring happineess to Maria. Awesome! What an amzaing husband it sounds like you have. A gift to never be forgotten!!! One of a kind, for sure. I have been quietly following Momastery since you went viral. You are AMAZING, the world need more Glennon! Thank you for all you share! And I can’t wait for your book!

  13. You would think that I would have learned by now to wait until I get home to read the blog. No, I’m sitting in my office trying to hold back tears so that if a co-worker comes in they don’t think I’m crazy.

    It’s cliche but God works in mysterious ways. Thanks you for this beautiful post.

  14. […] I got home after mother’s group, nuked my very late lunch, read her latest post about her heartbreak and healing over the adoption process… and then blubbered like a […]

  15. Your grandchildren. Your dream will come true in your grandchildren. You are giving your children the gift of compassion, and a heart for loving those in need. Your dream will come true.
    PS: I have 8 kids – 3 biological, 5 adopted – and I have no idea why God is telling me this so strongly. I am crying because I want God to let you adopt NOW, and telling God you will think I am a nut (I am not prone to “prophesying”), but there you are.

  16. I think mainly – I choose not to respond to most of all the fabulous’ness that these archives conjure up. mainly because its hard and challenges me as such, but equally beautiful. and well, that whole brutiful thing- its so spot on (and captivating). I’m on my knees. I’ m praying. I’m thankful for all the new lovies here. and mainly- I’m trying on joy. Joy is good. Joy is enough.

  17. Beautiful, wonderful story!

  18. I am new here too. Thank you for sharing your amazing story! I can relate in so many ways. God put international adoption on my heart over a year ago and my passion for adoption grows a little more each day. My husband and I recently found out that we can not currently proceed with our plans to adopt a little girl from China. It is so hard to be still and wait on God, but we are growing and learning so much about faith and trust the in the process.

    “Sometimes in our weakest moments God is accomplishing the most. What appears to be a dead end contains the seeds of God’s new beginnings.”-Jan Beazely

  19. Awww, what a great story. Bittersweet. And DAMN your hubby is sweet.

  20. Your writing is a gift to me in so many ways. Thank you.

  21. G

    I am a new monkee…in the past 14 days I have related to so many of your stories and laughed and cried with you (and many, many others!) Thank you for sharing your gift of written word. The world is better place because of it. I’m hooked!


  22. This is so incredibly beautiful!

  23. Love this! So thankful for His ways of showing us His intimate attention to the details of our hearts.

  24. I too am new to your site and absolutely love your raw honesty, passion, compassion and ability to articulate what many of us think and feel. I know God is doing so many things behind the scenes that we may never understand this side of eternity, but I do wish that loving families such as yours would be given children in desperate need of a home. Sweet Maria is so lucky to have your prayers and support!

  25. Wonderful story! Thank you for bringing your new Monkees up to date!

  26. Crying, crying, crying. So beautiful!! You are so strong and brave – and a wicked good writer. What a wonderfully moving story.

  27. What inspired you to want to adopt and why internationally?

  28. I’m a new monkee and am continually blown away, inspired, tearful, joyful, and thankful for your stories. This post was no exception…and it was exceptional! I got goosebumps at seeing the album your sweet husband gave you with the name Maria. What an incredible story!

  29. beautiful… to see beyond your own dreams and grief and pour love in….

  30. With God, nothing is impossible!
    Thank you G for putting sharing your heart and words with us- you have a gift!

  31. Thank you. We’re beginning the long ride called international adoption ourselves. I’m seeing adoption stories everywhere these days! I know we’ll need a lot of faith, like you have.

  32. I discovered your blog recently and have been laughing and crying with each read. Thank you.

  33. Beautiful, profound, life-giving words, Glennon. Thank you.

  34. I love this story! God is so good and amazing in the ways he reveals his presence and love. I’m feeling nudged by this story as sponsoring a child has been on my “to do” list for the past week. Thank you for sharing and inspiring!

  35. Beautiful. God is so good.

  36. Oh, just Beautiful, Beautiful!

  37. Such a beautiful post! As an adoptive mother this makes my heart sing. Blessings to you and Maria.

  38. G – I LOVE this story! I too wanted to adopt a little Jose from Guatemala. The Lord closed the door for our family, but he had another plan. Instead of adopting one baby, we adopted the nation. We are now living and serving in Guatemala. For the first year, we served at an orphanage. Now we do “pre-orphan” work with families who are on the brink of unraveling. While I certainly do not always understand or even like God’s plans, I do know that he is trustworthy. His plan is for my good and his glory! Blessings, Angel

  39. Amazing Grace!!

  40. Oh Glennon, we have a daughter from Guatemala named Maria. Your words brought tears and memories of the long journey to her. The road to her was twisty, turny, bumpy throw up over and over kinda scary… Your “Maria” will somehow in someway you never dreamed come to you. I just wanted to say I know the turn your body inside out, gut wrenching pain of baby plans and adoption plans going awry over and over, like life is playing a joke on you over and over and you keep waiting for someone to say OK it’s been enough you survived , it will be easier….please know my heart is with you.

  41. Wow! What a beautiful story!

  42. As one of your New Monkees, I thank you for sharing your pain and joy with this beautiful story. I’ve been writing about the power of motherhood lately, and it’s overwhelming to contemplate and experience. Your story so eloquently details how we are all the mothers of all the children, everywhere. Thank you!

  43. There is a beautiful song by Martin Sexton as well called “My Maria” … You might like the lyrics: http://www.anysonglyrics.com/lyrics/m/martinsexton/mymaria.htm
    A friend just recently introduced me to your blog…it’s wonderful! I’m a JMU SK as well from class of ’95. :) Best of luck with all of your new endeavors!

  44. I am a lot of things but I try not to get too upset with the doctors. They are not being very nice and I hate how they project on me. So darn frustrating.

    My heart aches because I remember Maria’s album and recall your hopes. At the time though you expressed sadness, I never realized how truly devastating this was, nor how it would continue to leave that place in your heart that was just for “Maria” – that you had reserved specifically for that beautiful child whose name you just knew would be Maria.

    Glennon – you are a mother to many in so many ways. I am so glad that the real Maria found a home and I am so glad that you have channeled some of this pain into helping so many others who have gone through what you have been through.

    We love you. We love Maria. We love all of the children in this world who won’t know the love of someone like yourself who only wants to give it. To give more than the regulations and the rules of this messed up world can sometimes handle and accommodate.


  45. Dear Glennon,
    I love this story this is the third time I have read it and every time I do I cry.. I love how you can see God moving in your lives it is beautiful. The gift Craig gave you was so sweet thats the part I always lose it at when you are talking about your scrapbook with the picture of your maria on it. She is a beautiful little girl..God bless you G!

  46. My excited personality has only just discovered Momastery this month and as with everything,when we take the time to think about it, my discovery came just when I needed it. You never lnow what people are going to get from your honesty and willingness to share. I have a laid back cervix too. My past created it. I just stopped feeling guilty about it the very second I was able to laugh at your description. It was so laid back during my pregnancy with twins in 2002/2003 I had to have it sewn twice and stay on bed rest and in the hospital for months or it would have just let my babies go… I can now see that time for what it was: Painful AND Magical.

  47. To me, this quote seems to fit you:

    “The hero is the one who kindles a great light in the world, who sets up blazing torches in the dark streets of life for men to see by. The saint is the man who walks through the dark paths of the world, himself a light.” ~Felix Adler

    Thanks so much for sharing your stories, for setting up blazing torches, for being a light.

  48. I waited almost twelve years for my little Amelie. I always thought I’d end up with a beautiful dark skinned child. Instead, my children turned out to be two blond haired Danish babies.

    When you make plans, God chuckles. He has his own agenda.

    • I know off subject, but I was reading over all the comments and my name is April also and I had my first daughter named Amelia both her and her twin brother are little blonde babes :)

  49. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord. Plans to prosper you, not to harm you. Plans to give you a hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11

  50. That is so fabulous!! I love it, and I’m so happy for you and for Maria. :)

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