* Full article published in More to Life Magazine.
Tracy* sat on the bed in front of me, her eyes wild and darting around the room. She looked a mess, her long dark hair in dingy kinks and knots. Sunken brown eyes and a pock-marked face made her look more like forty than the twenty-something she was.
Most disturbing of all was the way she twisted and squirmed in the bed, as if fighting invisible cords threatening to tie her down.
Indeed, she was fighting something.
Before she was admitted to the hospital unit where I work, Tracy had been using over $1,000 a week of heroin, and ways she told us she’d been paying for it were unspeakable. As nurses, physicians and therapists, we were helpless in the fight to keep her pain manageable, not to mention treat the raging infection that caused her admission in the first place.
One might assume Tracy’s condition extreme, but hospitals are overflowing with opioid addicts like her whose hearts—literally and figuratively—are being destroyed.
Occasionally, we hear about stories like hers in the news. We catch a headline about a dozen people overdosing outside a local shelter. The evening news reports yet another city adopting a needle exchange program because if communities can’t control the drug use, maybe they can at least save an addict from contracting Hepatitis C or HIV or both.
When I first felt God nudging me to write a contemporary story about Jochebed, Moses’ birth mother, I could not have felt more unqualified.
I’ve never given up a child.
I have no experience with crisis pregnancy or adoption or birth mothers.
Though none of my novels have been easy to write, more than ever I felt just like Moses must have when he pleaded with the Lord in Exodus 4:10:
“O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled” (NLT).
Still, the story would not leave my mind.
I knew I had to write it.
I researched birth mothers and read blogs and books they have written. I visited adoption agencies. I talked to adoptive mothers. I read books about crisis pregnancy. Much of what went into Before I Saw You is the result of this research.
However, the heart of Before I Saw You emerged when I realized I had more in common with Jochebed than I originally thought…
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