Elizabeth* and her husband, Zach, had given up hope. They had a good life in a middle-eastern city that’s been around since the Old Testament, but after several years of marriage and many doctors’ visits, they accepted that, short of a miracle, they wouldn’t have children. So Elizabeth set her sights on a different kind of hope. She would study for a masters’ degree from an American university. When she was accepted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, they began making travel plans.
But three months before their scheduled departure date, Elizabeth’s doctor gave her another date: a due date!
After much discussion and deliberation, Elizabeth and Zach decided to continue pursuing her hope of additional education alongside their hope for this new child.
After a semester in Knoxville and about two months from her due date, the folks at KIN heard about this first-time mother with few friends and no family in town—a woman who, though conversationally fluent in English, didn’t always catch our local accents or know all the hospital jargon of a delivery room.
That’s how Elizabeth wound up in an American home, surrounded by the women from a nearby church, opening baby gifts just a few weeks before her baby was born. She got excited about each package, supplying a soft “doot-do-doo” as she reached into the bag or box. She read every card aloud, asking for help when the handwriting wasn't legible to her. And after several exclamations and “thank-you”s for even the smallest pair of booties or yet another set of towels, she folded her hands in her lap to receive her second gift from each woman: parenting advice.
Some of the advice was practical, such as “Sleep when the baby sleeps.” Some of it was profound, such as “Prioritize making memories.” But all of it was offered with love for this new mother and her precious child.
UPDATE: Less than two weeks later, Elizabeth delivered a beautiful, healthy baby girl–-praise God. Mother, daughter, and father are doing well and adjusting to being a family of three.
*Names changed for privacy.
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This is what KIN does. We KINnect long-time locals with internationals in Knoxville, and in the process, we offer hope to both.
In the middle of your busy life, a little fresh hope would be welcome, wouldn’t it? Explore our How to Volunteer page or contact KIN today.
Read the stories of Knoxville's local internationals and the volunteers who have impacted their lives. Get a first-hand view of what it's like to move here and/or to serve those who've moved here from other countries. Discover how KIN has impacted life and culture in metro Knoxville.