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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.  


jeremy portillo said...

make me cry at work why don't you...

you're such an awesome mom

Tina A. said...

Not only are the the most amazing daughter in law anyone could ever ask for but the way you are around my grand baby is something I cant explain, I honestly do not feel she is adopted, I feel she is part of US and you are a very big reason I feel this way! you are loving, gentle yet disciplinary all at the right times. You are Jeremy are amazing parents and even though you didn't give birth to her you there is no better person who could be her mother! I love you.