Happy Thanksgiving to you! I am thankful for you and for this space to breathe deeply- to breathe in His love and His truth, and to grow together in faith. May today be a fragrant day, not a frantic one. One full of gratitude to the One who formed us and Who understands and holds our hearts.
When you are about to get married, or have a baby, a few people (or more) like to pass on large doses of reality and advice (often unsolicited). I know I am guilty of this myself!
“Enjoy this time of being single because once you’re married, you won’t have so much freedom.”
“Enjoy this time, just the two of you, because things will never be the same once this baby comes.”
I, the starry-eyed bride and then, glowing and bulging mama, would politely nod at these take-the-wind-out-of-your-sails comments, and then keep on celebrating the upcoming event that I had waited to experience for most of my life.
Over time, this advice proved true, but the hard parts of marriage and motherhood contained many wonderful joys too.
Then came our adoption… many people told us about their concerns, and the “what ifs”. A few adoptive mamas told us about the real heartache and hard things surrounding this road. I listened, but also politely nodded and kept excitedly anticipating our upcoming adoption. I didn’t ignore their adivce, but also, like the marriage and pregnancy advice, I…
1. Was not ready to hear it.
2. Had not experienced what they were talking about yet.
3. Just wanted to celebrate the coming event.
After about a two year wait, we got THE CALL, we had been longing for. Due to the nature of our adoption and the state we live it, the birthparents had a 28 day period (instead of six weeks) before their rights were terminated. From our perspective, as adoptive parents, this shorter time period suited us just fine.
The 28 day wait weighed on me more than Hubby (my Mr. Steady). He appeared as cool as a cucumber through this wait, enjoying Strong One and not sweating it; trusting God and not worrying about things that he could not control anyway. While I, on the other hand, was a bit more anxious about it than I wanted to admit. Especially with our experience last November, the 28 days could not come quickly enough. As the magic day approached, the excitement kept building…
Then “the day” came and I was surprised at how I felt. I felt conflicted. On one hand, there was great joy and relief, Strong One was indeed ours -here to stay, but, on the other hand, I felt sad. Sad at what this day meant for both Brave One (his birthmom) and Strong One- our gain was costing them a great dealt– a lot of loss.
My day of joy was probably a day of pain for Brave One….
the loss of raising her child
the loss of experiencing his milestones firsthand
the weight and finality of this hard decision
And for Strong One…
the loss of his biological parents raising him
the loss of having parents who share his same skin color and cultural heritage
the presence of additional obstacles to face and overcome as he grows
One of my friends, an adoptive mom of teenage daughters, posted this quote by Jody Landers:
“A child born to another woman calls me Mom. The depth of the tragedy and magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me.”
A weighty yes.
This is how I was feeling on the 28th day, and many days since- pain and joy so intermixed they cannot be readily or neatly separated. I now am beginning to understand the pre-adoption advice, now that I am post-placement. The heartache that accompanies this mysterious and beautifully hard thing called adoption. Sometimes we have to walk through something before we understand the weight and validity of the advice that we have already been given.
I was surprised how I felt on Day 28- I was prepared to feel elation only. But, me getting what I had prayed for for so long cost someone else a great deal.
Flash forward…as nine year old Darling Daughter finished her horse lesson the other day, at the nearby horse ministry, I was struck by a similar train of thought… through the death of the founder’s infant daughter (around 20+ weeks gestation) over nine years ago, this ministry was birthed. So many lives are now being affected for eternity out of a huge, devastating loss.
And then there is the 160 acres that we live on… many years ago the land owner tragically lost his first wife in a car accident and with the insurance money purchased this land- in hopes of developing a Christian camp here- that the Kingdom would be advanced through it.
In both of these examples, I am struck by the fact that the valuable fruit I see in these places has roots in deep loss.
Beauty for ashes.
God can take really hard things and somehow redeem and restore through them.
This Strong One, #4, his name means, “God Saves”; a memorial stone- pointing our hearts as we point him to Him, the True Father, and His Son- who saves, who gave all, so we can gain all.
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”
Joy, because this holy sacrifice would be enough (once and for all), providing what was necessary to cross the chasm that sin had caused between mankind and God. And pain, because this sacrifice was total, and real, and God was going to turn away, forsaking His Son, in order to demonstrate and offer so great a love.
I cannot imagine looking Brave One in the eyes and saying, “I see this hard thing that you have done, but I am walking away- it is not enough.”
“Just as man is destined to die once,
and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to
take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not
to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.”
Oh how He loves.
1. What is something in your life that, though difficult, has proven to be a beautiful thing?
2. Stop to consider the cost of the cross and our extreme privilege and opportunity to be recipients of so great a salvation. What have you personally chosen to do with the salvation offered to you?
3. Take a few minutes to listen to the compelling lyrics of “Beautiful Things” by Gungor.