For as long as I can remember I have always wanted to name my child after a song. I think deep down I just always wished there was a song with my name in it. I've gone through many songs in my head trying to find a name I liked, but the list was never that appealing to me. Names like Bernadette, Prudence, Lola, and Cecilia just didn't roll off the tongue the way I wanted. I would actually Google names just to see if there was a song with that name in it, but never with any luck. Naming my child after a song wasn't something that was a huge deal, but it was something that I had always wanted. It was something I had always thought would be fun.
Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 34:7
Two years ago I was a newly wed. I knew I wanted to have children one day, but it was not a concern at the time. I was focused on my first year of teaching and having fun with my new husband. The thought of moving to Africa or adopting a child never crossed my mind, but God knew what was in store for me. He also knew the desire of my heart. The same two years ago, thousands of miles away, in a Ugandan village near Lake Wamala, a woman I will never meet was giving birth to a beautiful little girl. For whatever reason, this woman decided to name her daughter Layla.
For those of you who don't know, "Layla" was a song written by Eric Clapton. For some reason this song NEVER crossed my mind when it came to thinking of a song to name my child after. I don't know how I never thought of the song! It has one of the most recognizable guitar riffs at the beginning, and is labeled one of rock musics greatest love songs. Not only was it an awesome song, it also has words that spoke to my heart when it came to the beautiful little girl who found her way into my life.
"I tried to give you consolation
When your old man had let you down.
Like a fool, I fell in love with you,
Turned my whole world upside down."
As many of you know, when Layla's mother died her father abandoned her. In other words her "old man had let [her] down." Eric and I knew that fostering a little girl would be difficult because we knew, like the song said, that we would fall in love with her. I'm not sure we realized though just how upside down she would turn our world.
Eric and I have said from the beginning that we were just fostering Layla. We did not feel that we were ready to be parents. We wanted to go home to our "normal" life. I would pray about it all the time asking God what to do. Legal reasons seemed to make it impossible to adopt, and we knew it would probably be too difficult for us. One night while praying, I asked God to change my heart if he wanted me to adopt Layla. I said "If you want me to be the mother of Layla, than I want to feel the love a mother has for her child". Now don't get me wrong, I loved Layla so so much, but it was the same way I loved a lot of children. It was not the kind of love a mother feels for her own child. Well, God answered very quickly.When I put Layla to bed, she normally falls asleep without crying and is fine in her bed alone. Well, THIS night she was not happy. She was crying and crying, so I went in her room to rock her some more. When I picked her up, I felt something different. Usually when picking her up, she just flops in my arms. If I were to let go, she would immediately fall because she never has a grip on me. On THIS night, before I could completely get her in my arms, she wrapped her arms around my neck like she was holding on for dear life. I could tell she was scared. She did NOT want to be in the room without me. I SO badly wanted to say something like, "Don't worry Layla, I wont leave you. I will always be here for you!" but I couldn't. I wasn't always going to be there for her. I was going back to American, and she was staying in Africa.
I immediately remembered my prayer from the night before, and it freaked me out! I told God, "If this is you telling me you want me to adopt Layla, then don't let the feeling leave." That next day Eric and I were leaving for Tanzania, and we were leaving Layla back at the orphanage for the week. While on the plane, I was looking at pictures of Layla on my phone and laughing at videos I had taken of her. As I was looking at these, Eric leaned over and said "You know we can't leave her in Uganda, we love her too much to leave her."
Without any hesitation I agreed. Without even knowing it, God had given me and Eric the love that a mother and father have for THEIR daughter. Layla was ours, and we were called to be her parents. We thought God sent us to Uganda for some projects and preaching, and maybe he did. But, now we know he sent us here more importantly to fall in love with our soon to be daughter. Like scripture promises, God gave me the desire of my heart. He named my daughter after a song.