My late mother used to say, “You reap what you sow.” I have always believed that.
In April 2006, I married Teni Leavai in Auckland, New Zealand. Although we were both members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, we weren’t active in church at the time, so we settled for an intimate civil ceremony performed by my bishop. Then we began to make changes in our lives so that we could progress spiritually, more fully participate in the gospel and embark on our journey together as a family.
Before we knew it, it was 2012. Teni and I had grown even closer and were deeply in love – it is an amazing feeling, being married to my best friend – but something significant was missing. For six years, I just couldn’t fall pregnant. Reality hit that I might forever be an aunt, but never a mum.
We felt so incomplete.
One evening, we received a phone call which would change our lives! There was news of an unborn baby boy and an expectant mother determined to find a good family for him.
On the night that Kahn Ui was born, his birth mother – tears streaming down her face – delicately placed him in my arms and whispered, “He’s yours now. Thank you for loving him as much as I do.”
Alert and curious, baby Kahn looked up at me, completely unaware of the miracle that had just taken place. He fit perfectly in my arms, and it is with that same ease and sense of familiarity that he also fit into our family.
My husband and I entered the wonderful world of parenthood together. We took turns feeding our baby throughout the night; we talked to him, sung to him, and shed tears of immeasurable joy as we got to know him.
We realised a profound truth in those early days. As much as Kahn needed us, we – his new parents – needed the Lord more than ever. We prayed for His guidance as we learned our new roles.
Little did we know, another miracle was in store for us.
When Kahn turned 4, we holidayed in our homeland of Samoa, where we reconnected with Kahn’s birth family. They welcomed us with open arms, and as Kahn’s birth grandmother wept when she recognised him. “Your son is gorgeous,” she said. “He’s so active, and he looks like he enjoys his food, too,” she chuckled.
It was an emotional reunion. They thanked us sincerely for loving and nurturing Kahn . . . and then they asked if we had room in our lives for another child.
My husband and I were astonished.
We discovered that Kahn’s birth mother had another baby. Naree Alalafaga was 5 months old at the time and, again, her family wanted more for this child than they were able to offer.
My mother’s words echoed softly in my mind: you reap what you sow.
It wasn’t by chance we met our miracle daughter this way. The Lord knows our deepest desires, and what is best for us. So, when our reunion with Kahn’s birth family brought a precious addition – his baby sister – to our home, it just felt right.
We relocated our growing family to Australia and then, in September 2017, our family was sealed, for time and all eternity in the Melbourne Australia Temple. It was a powerful experience; one we will cherish forever.
With hearts bursting with love for our newly sealed family, how could we know Heavenly Father had yet another miracle surprise for us.
Imagine my shocked delight only three months later when we discovered I was pregnant. How could this be? We double checked the home pregnancy test – positive! We took two tests just to make sure. We both wept.
I know the Lord was with me through every step of that pregnancy. I felt the love and strength of my parents, from the other side of the veil, assuring me that everything would be fine.
In the early hours of 12th August 2018, I our precious little girl was born, naturally. My husband named her after his mother – Faaifomailelagi, which in Samoan means ‘Sent from Heaven’.
Motherhood is one of the most difficult things I have experienced, but it is by far the most fulfilling. To this day, our children continue to make us better people and better servants of the Lord. They teach us patience, forgiveness, humility and so much more.
I know that all my challenges have been for my good. When we endure our trials well and learn from them, we discover that it is never by chance that things happen, but by divine design . . . and all in God’s timing.