“You must be so strong.”
“Adoption is the most selfless thing you could have done, you know, given the circumstances.”
“I can’t even imagine how hard that had to have been, even though they weren’t your biological kids.”
People say these words when they hear our story– the story of how we
gave up lost …whatever happened with my godkids four years.
I don’t tell the story often because if you look at my life today, you probably wouldn’t guess that things used to be entirely different.
I also don’t tell our story often because unlike the people who try to console me, I simply don’t have words.
As a writer it’s frustrating when you can’t come up with flowery words for something you want to describe in detail, or when you can’t even think of a metaphor for the situation when you want to be more discrete.
There is no way I could ever describe the way my stomach churns every time I wonder if I made the right decision, testifying that my babies were better off in a home full of strangers than with the people they grew up calling their family.
There is no way I could explain the splintered feeling I get deep in my being whenever someone tosses a “you’re so strong” my way in regards to the adoption, and all I want to do is scream, “NO, I’M NOT!! I’m a freaking mess over here. I just want my kids back.”
There are no words that even get close to expressing the feeling I experienced four years ago when I handed our case worker the brown paper bag containing Mary Ray’s 6th birthday presents– presents that she likely unwrapped in a family visitation room while she sat, confused and terrified, with her 2 year old little brother waiting to be placed in a foster home, just hours after the judge ruled that they would not be returning to the home they knew.
There is no synonym for brokenness or pain like that.
I don’t have words that accurately describe the way that pain grips my heart when I think about someone else tucking my sweet Mary Ray into bed at night, let alone tonight, on the eve of her 10th birthday.
As I sit here and ruminate on the “selfless” aspect of adoption, all that crosses my mind is how selfish I really am– How desperately I want to know what my babies’ lives look like today, no matter the cost…
On days like today, the only words that come to mind, come in the form of questions:
Did they get goodnight kisses? Did their new mommy or daddy read them a bedtime story? Are they eating their vegetables? Does someone sing to them from the front seat of the car on the way home from school?
Do they know how desperately I long to read them stories from the Bible each night? Do they know their worth? Do they love Jesus? Do they know that Jesus loves them? Do they know that I love them?!
Do they even remember me?
Does Mary Ray remember the Build-A-Bear that was in that brown bag four years ago? Has she ever looked at its tag and read my phone number, wondering whose it was and why it was there?
I don’t know… And I may never know on this side of Heaven.
All that I do know, all that I cling to within this situation– this never ending battle with my selfish and broken momma heart– is Jesus.
Over the last four years of birthdays and Christmases, first and last days of school, and all the ordinary days in between, Jesus has been teaching me what adoption really is.
Yes, adoption involves pain because for there to be a need for adoption, there has to be a lack of something else– a lack of someone to be there to take care of you.
But adoption is so much more than the pain. Adoption is a display of Supreme Love because adoption was created by God Himself.
“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God. For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” The Holy Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us.” (Romans 8:14-19)
God understands the pain of those learning how to come to terms with earthly adoption; He gave up His Son, that we might have perfect union with Himself. He understands what it is to turn His face from His Son, for His good and the good of all man kind.
As my students make fun of me for saying, “Jesus knows, child.”
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. (Hebrews 4:15-16)
And just like I struggle to find words to tell the story of the two little humans who shaped me the most, there aren’t words for the type of beauty or grace that is found at the throne of God. There simply aren’t…
So while my heart grieves and I kneel before the throne, begging for my babies to know that they are loved by me if by no one else on earth, He has brought me to a new place this year. A place where I can cry out just one simple prayer:
“Lord, this year on her birthday, let my sweet baby girl know that she has been adopted by the most beautiful and glorious Father in the universe. For every ounce of my love for my babies fails in comparison to the ocean that is Yours.”
Happy 10th birthday sweet girl. I la-la-la-love you, no matter how many miles there are between us.