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Friday, August 17, 2012

Part 2...

Guilt.  Part one of my most recent revelation.  You can read this post if you need to catch up...

Until very recently, I was unable to see the amount of guilt I was carrying around as an adoptive parent.  I touched briefly in this post about the week we got to spend with Selah's birth mom in the hospital before the baby came.  That week meant the world to me, and I became so attached to this woman, and in a lot of ways set my hopes very high in regards to our level of openness with each other.  We made plans to stay close in touch, and work very hard to keep an open line of communication.  This was so that over the years, we could hopefully develop a trusting relationship that would allow for opportunities to have face to face visits and such in the future...and even more importantly, a trusting relationship that would allow for us to really be a part of each other's lives.

**Many times in our journey we've been asked "Why?"  Wouldn't it be easier to not have to deal with openness?  Wouldn't it be better for everyone involved to just go their separate ways?  The only way I know how to explain it is this:  We knew from the beginning that God was leading us to adoption, and specifically an open one.  We knew that God's plan was much bigger than just giving us a baby.  We felt Him calling us to something much bigger than we were able to wrap our minds around... We knew we were supposed to love Selah's birth family, and accept them as family.  We knew that the journey and the ministry didn't end with Selah... It began with her.  It began with her birth mom.  And birth father.  And her siblings.  We accepted the calling, and devoted ourselves to His plan.  And although it's not all clear right now, we recognize the passion that God has given us for adoption, and for families of all sorts walking through it... And we know it's not for everyone, but it is for us.  We've accepted the journey, and with that comes accepting all of the hard parts, too.**

Much to my surprise, over the last ten and a half months, communication between us has dwindled completely.  I've tried so many times to reach out, and every month we send an email update full of pictures and whatever words God lays on my heart... but the months have only brought silence.

Even with high hopes of how this relationship could be, I expected it to be difficult.  I figured that somewhere down the road it would require extra effort to stay in touch... Most relationships are like that, right?  In the beginning it's all new and easy, but then life happens, and things get in the way, and we get lazy and apathetic at times...and suddenly you realize that you're really going to have to be intentional about making this thing work.

What I didn't expect to feel was heartbroken.  Just down right sad.  I felt responsible.  I felt like I didn't work hard enough to really let her know how much I felt in my heart for her.  I felt like I failed at showing Jesus to her.  I felt like I hurt her, and that I was part of the reason that this whole adoption thing is so hard for her.  I felt like I was part of her sadness.  I felt like I took her baby away from her.  I felt awful.  Guilty.

And even though I recognized my feelings, I did not recognize how they were preventing my heart from attaching to the fact that I am Selah's mom.  It wasn't until we were asked by our agency to share our adoption story at an education seminar for waiting families that I realized how much the strained relationship has affected me.  We were answering some questions from some of the families when one of the counselors pointed out the sadness that came over me when I spoke about Selah's birth mom...and I completely lost it.  Through an emotional breakdown, I tried my best to explain how much of a loss I felt.  I remember feeling completely embarrassed for crying so hard and being so vulnerable in front of these families, but God just covered me with His peace and a reminder that families need to know these things about adoption...even these very real and difficult aspects of adoption.

A few days later, I got an email from our adoption counselor (who was present at the education seminar).  She picked up on the hurt I was feeling, and she sent these words to me:

"...It is very obvious the compassion and care that you have for "L", and there is that weird line of keeping that compassion, while at the same time enjoying and embracing your role as mom.  It is also good to remember that the guilt, fear, and doubts can creep back in.. BUT you can continually remind yourself of the Truth and reality that you were CHOSEN, by Selah's birth mother, to be her MOM :)  And remember that God has blessed this selection..." 

I breathed a huge sigh of relief after letting that sink in.  I was chosen.  And I am free to be Selah's mom.  But it is time for those words - "Selah's mom" - to go deeper than just a title.  My heart needed to embrace those words.  I need to continually trust God with the details of this journey.  I may not have given birth to her, but I am given the freedom to be Mom...and the freedom to even FEEL that I am her mom...I was chosen, and therefore I am.  I will always have a special place in my heart, and even in my life, for Selah's birth mom.

But there is no room for guilt.  

Saturday, August 11, 2012


I've been trying to write for months now.  Our family has been going through some pretty tough stuff, and I needed to take another little blogging hiatus to just go through it, and let it change me.  But alas the time has come again, and I'm ready to put down in words where the past 10 and a half months have taken me.  So here we go...

I think back to when Selah came along.  How there wasn't much room in my mind, nor space in my heart to think, dream, breathe, or live anything outside of her.  Every second of the day was wrapped up in her, and I loved every bit of it because I was finally a mom.  God answered years of prayer and waiting in a matter of days.  Just when I felt like I was neck deep in an ocean of endless answer-less-ness, He turned it all around and made everything beautiful in its time (Ecclesiastes 3:11).  Suddenly this little 8 pound miracle came to be, and I couldn't imagine my life without her.

A couple of months went by, and things. got. much. harder.  Soon I found myself confused.. and to be honest, afraid with the whole concept of bonding...or what I knew, and experienced, as a lack there of.  I spent my days reading and researching ways to help with bonding between me and my daughter even though there was nothing terrible happening.  She wasn't resisting me, like I was told she possibly would.  She seemed to attach well to me, she was thriving in my care, and the transitioning was very well near perfect - proving very wrong some "worst case scenarios" we were given before leaving to go home with her.  And I looked into her eyes in awe; so engulfed with thankfulness that we had her... But for some reason, I didn't FEEL like her mom.  I loved her so much that I physically ached for her.  But my heart seemed unable to grasp the concept of how she could grow up to love me as her mother, and not just as some temporary caregiver.  I felt overwhelmed as I watched the days, weeks, and months fly by and despite my deepest desires and efforts, just couldn't feel like I thought I should.  I grieved over the time that I felt was lost and missed out on, spent "not feeling like Selah's mom".  I felt like I was failing her.  And failing God after He blessed me so abundantly.

At about the time she turned 7 months old, I remember waking up one day with a sense of urgency...All I knew was that I was ready and willing to do whatever it took, let go of whatever I had to, and eliminate any distractions that may have been causing me to miss out on my daughter and my heart's understanding that I was very much her mom.  I threw myself into what I was doing, and just kind of hoped and prayed that God would give me the unbelievable amount of peace I knew I needed to let this new life sink deep within my heart...until the confusion, tension, and whatever else was making me feel inferior as Selah's mom would no longer exist.

And I'm here to tell you that He did just that.

It didn't happen over night.  It took time...lots of time.  And patience.  Love.  And grace.  It helped me realize so much, and brought clarity to things that I didn't even recognize were there.  And after quite a few months of going through all of this, I am finally ready to sit down and write this part of our story.

What was hindering the fullness of bonding with my sweetest miracle?  I'll tell you soon.  I'm currently working on breaking this post up into several smaller posts for the sake of fluidity and easiness on the eyes and brain ;)  So just check back in the next couple of days.

But I'll leave with this:

It's hard for me to share some of these things.  It's hard to put myself out there and expose some the darkest details of my life.  But it's what comes out of that darkness that makes it liberating to share.  I'm excited to finally write about how God has continued to unfold our story.  He took the most difficult moments, when I questioned my worthiness to be momma to my baby...when I was afraid of whether my child truly loved me...when I couldn't see how it would ever feel "normal"...and He reminded me:  "I chose you.  And I chose this baby.  All for My glory.  Trust me."