The Miracle of Eliana

A Mother’s Journey From Infertility to Joy

My husband Chris and I had been married about three years when we started to try to have a family. I always pictured a boy and a girl. After all, I felt God tell me in junior high that the names of my children were going to be “Hannah” and “Joshua.” I knew the names were from Him, and I treasured them in my heart.

After nine months of trying to get pregnant, Chris and I realized that it would take time to form our family. During the next three years we experienced the world of infertility with the doctor appointments, testing, surgery, counseling, and disappointment that repeated itself month after month. During that time, we were always moved by stories of adoption; especially those involving Russian orphanages. We would find ourselves weeping during some 20/20 story about a Russian boy whose only toy was a plastic truck with only two wheels.

When we reached the point of having to choose in vitro as our only option to have a biological child, we knew it was time to stop. The money we would spend trying in vitro (which has no guarantee of success) would be enough to allow us to adopt two children!

We went to Russia and adopted a boy and girl who were born 12 days apart: Hannah Grace Svetlana and Joshua Favor Ura. We brought them home and assumed that our family was complete. God had a different plan!

At age 5, Hannah came to me and said that she would like to have a baby sister. My reply was that she needed to pray for a lot of money in order to adopt or for God to fix mommy’s tummy. With the faith of a child, she said,”ok!” A year later, she came to me to say that I was going to give birth to a baby girl. I laughed, patted her on the head and said, “That’s great, honey.” She said, “No Mom, I am serious.”

We left it at that and I really thought it was just a fleeting whim of a preschooler. Three months later, however, on a Friday afternoon, I ran a pregnancy test. It turned pink! It was March 21, 2003. At that moment, I knew exactly what Sarah felt like when she laughed when she found out that she was pregnant with Issac. It is a laugh of joy beyond description! Not a laugh of doubt…but of joy. The closest joy that I can imagine is the joy that we’ll experience in heaven. We celebrated God’s amazing power and timing.

Eliana Joy was conceived on my 37th birthday and born on her due date, November 16, 2003.

“Eliana” is Hebrew for “God has answered my prayer.” We chose this name not only to remind ourselves of God’s faithfulness, but also to remind Hannah that God, in His great love, had answered her own faithful prayer.

There is even more to this story. During our years of infertility, long before the adoptions, God’s Holy Spirit whispered to me in one of my times of gut-wrenching grief, “You will have a baby in March.” It was clear and unmistakable. I never told anyone except Chris until after she was born. I kept this still, small promise hidden in my heart, treasured, in hopes that God would fulfill his promise. He did. God always fulfills His promises.

Hannah and Joshua are 12 and Eliana is almost 6. I know that these children are not mine, but God’s. I had an idea for how I thought things would go, but He is in control! I could never have planned or imagined how God would provide children for us. His timing is perfect and His plan is perfect. Praise be to God!

– Andrea Riley

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