Friday, July 25, 2014

The sorrow before the joy

Adoption is beautiful. Something absolutely stunning occurs when we witness redemption. It glows and pours out and lights up everyone around us. And yet adoption- every time- begins with tragedy. There are no situations in which a mother and child spend nine months together and then are separated that is in of itself a good thing. Circumstances, sin, brokenness, trauma... Something happens and suddenly adoption is necessary. We can not celebrate the beauty of adoption without recognizing the sorrow of the loss. The loss of the child AND of the mother. Even when it is necessary that a child be removed from the mother, or when a mother chooses to place her baby, there is still a shift in design. We were not created to give birth to other mother's children. We were not created to grow up without our mama's care. But because we live in a fallen world, these situations are inevitable. I'm a Presbyterian. I believe in predestination. I believe in grace alone,  But even when providence has declared this moment and these situations, there is sorrow. A mother's inability to parent her child does not negate her inherent mother-ness. Her grief is not disposable. When Lazarus died and Jesus delayed and Martha and Mary cried, so did our savior.  It was sorrow over our condition for which Jesus wept. (John 11) The weight of our sorrow. The heaviness of our brokenness. Jesus knew from before Lazarus died that he would raise him from the dead. He never stops speaking that truth to his followers, to Mary and Martha and yet he weeps as he witnesses their sorrow. 
In every adoption he sees the ending. The price has been paid and redemption has been planned, but first there is and must be weeping. I think of our birth mother. I grieve for her, possibly before she even grieves. At the same time I fully believe with confidence that our future holds princess parties, ballet slippers, flannel gowns on Christmas morning, painted toe nails, giggling conversations across the kitchen counter. I have faith in the future, but I'm fully aware of what has to happen first. 
There is a rising online presence of adopted children who are now adults and angry about their story. They have a right to be. Their story is one of sorrow. The adoption discussion does indeed tend to be very adoptive parent focused. But at the same time adoption does not happen to just the child. Ultimately adoption is a story that belongs to God, the author of adoption. The author of parenthood and childhood and relationships. Those stories of sorrow are also stories of hope. Every adopted child should have that, but sadly many do not. Texas foster care is under immense scrutiny because so many children have died under the states care. Tragic ends to tragic stories. But I have to choose to believe that adoption is beautiful. Because He is beautiful. But today, today I grieve her loss. Our daughter's mother's loss.  My daughter's loss. The condition of sin that causes these losses to begin with. 

I cling to the stories I know, the redemption lived out before me in my fellow walkers of this path. Parents who have entered in to their children's sorrow, and some who have chosen to walk beside the birth moms as well. For those who can not know the birth mother I know prayers have been poured out on her behalf. In these hard days... The ones where I imagine my daughter and feel only sorrow, I look through my Facebook for these faces. These Mamas and their beloveds. These little mirrors of redemption and I am comforted by their smiles, by the beauty... By the promise. Hebrews 6:19 is a daily refreshment for me.  I have this hope as an anchor for my soul , FIRM and STEADFAST. For he has entered the inner curtain BEFORE me. These precious women, and so many others not pictured, have entered this curtain of adoption before me and I am so grateful that they surround me. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

The day that didn't

Today was supposed to be a huge step forward for us and our adoption and getting to our little girl. Instead it wasn't. Our home studier got sick and could not make the trip down here. We have spent this week cleaning closets, organizing our cleaners on high shelves, figuring out how to "double lock" prescription medicines and learning the difference between the variety of fire extinguishers. We also wrote out a fire escape plan which we practiced multiple times. Turning on the alarms and having our kids walk to the "meeting place" raised lots of questions. What would we take? What would happen to Hershey? What if I couldn't wake up my little brother? What if I don't wake up? Where would we live? It went on and on, until I finally just told them.. It will never happen. This is just in case, but our house is safe and new and will. not. burn. up. This on Sunday. Thursday morning I wake up to my husband saying "honey wake up, the old lady's house is on fire."
Sure enough, two doors down, our neighbor (who is actually middle aged, but looks 20 years older than she is) was found dead in her upstairs bedroom after firefighters put out the fire. There is much we don't know about what happened, and we did not know the neighbor. We only met one time but avoided her home because of her two aggressive dogs. They were also found in the home after the fire. There were warnings that her world was not simple. Police cars on multiple occasions, shady behavior, only going out after dark. Our street was filled with fire trucks and fire marshals and crime scene investigators all day long yesterday. Police and reporters came to our door asking questions. I was prepared for the kids to have more questions, but other than saying that it was sad they haven't. But I have. I had a hard time falling asleep last night. Is there a flaw in our electrical wires? Are our power strips safe? Did I turn off the stove? Are the paints far enough away from the water heater? Should I park in the garage? Is there an evil arsonist burning my neighborhood?
Our entire perspective feels like we are still looking through smoke today. I woke up to noise and expected more trucks, only to realize it was a concrete truck for a new home going up. I've refused to cook today. And driving past her house? Well, its just hard to get past seeing police curtains covering your neighbors windows. My dad said "people live secret lives" and it is true. There is so much we don't know. Somehow this has made all the inconveniences of a home study a little less inconvenient.  If I could know so little about a person I have lived 100 feet away from for the past year, then how can people know me from a few short interviews? Children who have been traumatized should have the right to be safely placed in quality homes. EVERY effort should be made to do that. So if the state needs to know that I have doors on my fireplace, cool. Ill cough up the cash. Because we should be willing to PROVE that we will do everything we CAN to protect these little people. Tomorrow we will attend our second foster training class. We will turn in our long form application and hopefully they will schedule their own home study soon. And I sure hope they do, because we are READY.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Vacationing with three kids, losing your mind, and still wishing it was more. Aka the loony diaries

We are in the middle of a super fun family vay-cay. The hubs grew up in Saint Paul Minnesota, and most of his family is still there enjoying snowy winters and caribou coffee. Since airplane tickets are crazy too expensive for us we drive the pilgrimage when we can. Last year our drive to Hershey PA taught us that enjoying the drive is key. So we leave super super early in the morning and reach a mid point destination where we usually spend a day or two. This year, thanks to we booked the cheapest room at Great Wolf lodge in Kansas City. I'll write up an entire review of Great a wolf because it was fantastic, but not for the reasons I expected. What I did want to post today is that the kids have been classic children travelers today. "What city are we in?!" "When will we get there" "he's rubbing his warts on me!" "Stop whispering!" "Don't color on MY dinosaur!"     It never ends y'all. Well, that's not completely true. It ends when a movie is on or when finally 30 minutes from our destination the baby fell asleep. But as hard as parenting three very different children can be, there were several moments when I felt HER missing. -Standing in the splash zone area of the water park and watching a daddy snuggle his damp haired 8 month old. -passing the salon where mamas can take their daughters for banana split scented pedicures  -or even just bathroom breaks when I'm left alone. Don't get me wrong, one of the best parts of being a boy mom is that I can just wave as they all stumble about into the gross gas station. But I miss her. It's weird I guess but I do. I want her here with me. I also have a strong feeling of DO EVERYTHING because next time it might be an entirely different trip. This is definitely an adventure worth taking. I just hope the next one is a little more pink.