I’m here again, birth mother.

I’m here again, birth mother.  I’m here on the eve of celebrating the anniversary of our son’s adoption day, and I’m thinking of you.  It happens every year, you know. We mark the seventh of May with joy and celebration at the gift that he is to us.  It is the day that the courts declared him to be forever ours.  Still yet, my mind travels to thoughts of you.

Six years ago, on the eighth of May (the day after our big court date), I sat in his room, watched him play with toys a bit, and then pulled a blue t-shirt over his head to wear.  As his blonde curls popped up out of the neck of the shirt, his big brown eyes caught mine, and then it hit me.

I sat there for a moment, captivated by his precious face, and suddenly, felt the tears as they began to well up in my eyes.  Something about that moment….getting him dressed as my “official” son…on a new day…with a new start…being able to exhale for the first time in almost two years…with a new legal description of who I was to him…moved me greatly.

photodayafterI snapped a quick picture of him.  I wanted to capture that moment in time.  I did not want to forget it. I was a blubbering mess in the middle of his bedroom.  We had shared nearly two years of a life without permanency, and in that moment of our eyes meeting, I knew full well that he was not going anywhere.

It was not just the beginning of our new life together that caused me to pause, it was also the ending of the journey that you and I shared.

I’m here again, birth mother.  I’m thinking about the first time I met you, the meetings, court hearings, visits, laughter, tears, and restless nights.  Your words remain on my mind.  Your laugh, your concern for my family, and the friendship we formed in love because of our son are held in a place in my heart that will never belong to anyone else, but will be shared with our son as he grows.

Your kindness was an incredible and unique experience that is sometimes not expected in the world of foster care.  People may wonder why I feel the way I feel for you.  They may even question how I could form a friendship with someone who found herself in the position that you did.  Instead of understanding your “lot in life”, they judge.

My judgment fell away the moment we met.  I looked at you, heard what you had to say, and realized that you were not my enemy.  You were never meant to be.  We just found ourselves wrapped up in the legal drama that is foster care.  Instead, we formed a friendship based on very difficult circumstances. It grew out of the love for our little boy – yours, and mine.  Your love for him was never questioned in my heart – not then, not now, and not ever.

How can I love him and not love that part of him that belongs to you?  How can I not think of you when he learns new things, calls me Momma, succeeds at his talents, gets sick, and moves along in his journey to adulthood?

I want you to know that on our joyous day six years ago there were many loving people in the court room.  Each one played a small part in forming our family. Some prayed for us.  Some cheered us on.  Some loved on him with genuine and unmistakable adoration.  Some pushed paperwork, and some allowed me to cry on their shoulders.

Even still, no one in the cramped court room mattered more in the whole scheme of things than you.  Although you were absent from the court room, I carried you in my heart that day.

You chose life.  You carried him.  You labored bringing into the world.  You called him by his name before anyone else.  You left the hospital alone. You were gracious to the strangers (us) who took him in.  You hung in there, and visited him.

You said your good-byes, and you let go.

I’m here again, birth mother.  I’m returning to that incredible day six years ago when God proved His faithfulness, removed the mountain-sized weight off of my shoulders, and blessed me with adoption of the son we share.

Do you want to know something, birth mother?  On the day after, I thought the hard part was over.  I thought that being his foster-mother, not knowing how permanency for him would unfold, and wondering if I would be his forever momma, was the hardest part.

However, I’m learning that raising him is the hardest part.  It is not because of him. He is a challenging, at times, but he is remarkable, beautiful, smart, witty, creative, ornery, and loving.  He is an incredible son, and I’m one of the most lucky momma’s on Earth.  Being his momma is an important responsibility and privilege in my life.

kiteIt is just that the world sometimes does not look upon children like it should.  Raising him to love, respect others, enjoy the simple things, remain loyal to his family, and not be swayed by the winds of ego-driven goals, is a struggle for most parents these days.  I’m no different.

I do not ever want to dishonor you by not giving my all to him.  I want him to experience a life of opportunities, one full of friendships, and dreams that soar.

I want him to live life to the fullest, while also, learning how to be a responsible soul that passes on goodness to this world.  I know you want that, too.

I’m here again, birth mother.

I’m thinking back at what seems like a lifetime ago.

I’m sifting through memories.  I’m looking through pictures, and I’m experiencing the emotions felt when the gavel fell, and the Judge declared our adoption as final.

I’m thanking the Lord.  I’m praising His mighty Hand.  I’m marveling in His penmanship in our lives, and I’m relishing in His powerful ways.

I’m here again, birth mother, and, I’m thinking of you.  I’m thanking you.

 

Related Post:  I thought of you today, birth mother.

Around the Fire

Last night we had the privilege of spending the evening around a bonfire in the country.  Hot dogs, roasted marshmallows, the sound of crackling wood, a gorgeous full moon, the chatter of folks, and gleeful screams of children playing in the field next to us made up our evening.  Fires are so good at catching one’s eye.  I sat and stared for a long time at the majestic wisps of flames as they flickered their way up to the heavens.

With the scent of fall in the air and the comfort of a blanket over me, my thoughts immediately went to the reason why we were all out there under the stars.  Out of the eighteen or so children present last night, around thirteen of them were adopted out of foster care.  Let me say that again….13 out of 18 or so children present last night were adopted out of foster care.  Most of the children were siblings of some sort, but not all.  A handful of families adopted the siblings.  Honestly, it was kind of nice to be at an event where my children were not a minority.  Usually when we go to “get-togethers”, or anywhere in general, my kids are typically the only ones adopted; especially out of protective services.

There is something comforting when being around fellow parents who have experienced the journey of being a foster parent and adopting.  We are able to swap stories of our experiences and compare notes.  We can relate to the challenges sometimes experienced when raising children with histories of abuse, neglect, prenatal exposure, or separation from family of origin.  We can also talk about resources that may come in handy if future issues should arise.

Last night, I took a moment to look out in the field at the children playing.  The image of glow sticks in hands, glow-in-the-dark balloons bouncing up and down, and the sounds of laughing children running freely through the field filled my mind and my heart with gratefulness.  I thought about how their young lives were interrupted by the ways of the world and the poor choices of their  birth parents.  I thought about the losses every single one of them has endured already in life.  I thought about the adults around the fire who took them in.  I thought about the opportunities they have because of permanency in their lives.

I thought about how they get to have a childhood free of abuse.  I also thought about how lucky we are to be a part of this.  Adoption out of foster care is not a second best choice.  It is not reserved for only those who cannot afford private adoption.  It is not just for couples who are unable to have biological children.  It is a blessing to parent a child whose beginning to life automatically put him or her in the category of the “least of these”.

It is a blessing to meet other adults whose lives have also been impacted by the decision to become foster parents.  We are all connected in some way to each other by the children playing in the field.  We are all a part of something bigger, something more eternal, and something better planned for these children.

As I watched the fire burn and looked around, thankfulness filled my heart.  We were all brought together by the one true God who brings light into dark places, hope into hopeless situations, and love into the lives of all of us.

Six Years of Happy

Happy Birthday Bubby.  I love you so much more than I will ever find the words to express.  I am incredibly grateful to the Lord for choosing us as your parents.  I know I have said that over and over, but I suspect I will not stop saying it until my life on Earth has ended.  Just thinking about the person you are growing into, all of your strengths and sweet quirks, makes my heart leap with joy.

The night before you came to us, I prayed that the Lord would provide us with the opportunity to parent a baby.  We woke up that morning not knowing that by the end of the day, our lives would be forever changed.  He answered my prayer immediately.  We quickly rushed out the door to head to the hospital after getting a call from the local child protective services saying “can you be there in 30 minutes?”  Your first year was full of hope, tears, joy, fears, and the overall feeling of being a part of something bigger than ourselves.  We were caught between loving you desperately and the commitment we made to help your birth mother get you back.  We were sworn to protecting you; yet, we had to rely on others in your life to make the decisions on what was best.  We were broken down and humbled by the plight of your birth mother while glowing in the enchantment of who you were and by the Lord’s gifting of you.

I was so happy to have him for his first Christmas.

Your second year held the mixed up feelings of grieving for your birth mother and her loss of you while experiencing pure joy at your adoption.  Before your adoption, we did not know how long we would hold you.  We said “love you forever” as often as we could.  On that fateful day in May, we were given the blessing of you being ours forever.  So much was revealed to us during this time of life.  Your curly hair, sweet smile, and boundless energy kept us amused.  People were drawn to you.  Your charm and talkative nature took flight.

The outfit he was adopted in. We “tried it on” just a few days before his adoption to make sure it fit. Of course, he looked perfect in it!
sweet curls for a sweet boy

Year three…well…let’s just say that year three was a wee bit challenging.  Your God-given strong-willed determination was your shining accomplishment!  You  started to see more of the world with curiosity and fierce independence.  Music also became something you were quite fond of.  You welcomed a baby sister!  You announced it.  You told us that you would be getting a baby sister before we even knew.  I can only imagine how your little mind must have been spinning when your baby sister arrived on our doorstep.  You took it in stride.  You noticed your friends’ mommies had babies in their bellies; and yet, you never questioned why your sister was delivered to our door by a nice lady with brown hair.  You just seemed to understand that your mommy does not grow babies in her belly.

Age 3 with sissy
He was so excited to have a baby sister!

Year four was the year of music, Legos, and all things super-hero.  You often dressed up, grabbed whatever sword you could find, hop on your big wheel, and ride through the house in an attempt to beat the bad guys.  Sometimes you even sang songs about being a super-hero.  One of the sweetest things you said to me was “Mommy, you are my super-hero.”  When at home, you seemed to always have a drum stick and your dulcimer in hand.  Your songs were also about rock stars, Jesus, Christmas, God, and of course, mommy.  You performed just about every night for us.  You would jump out of the closet, proclaim yourself as a rock star, spin around, then sing and strum away.  My favorite song went like this:

I’m a little rock star…for Jesus…for Christmas…for God…and my family.

Here he comes! (I promise he has some form of clothing on)

Year five seemed to slip away so fast.  You took your first airplane ride, went to a strange new place called Disney World, rode rides that overwhelmed your senses, and shook with excitement when meeting Buzz Light Year!  Painting became a hobby for you and we discovered your natural ability as a gymnast.  You graduated from preschool, got glasses, spent extra time with your Papa fishing on the lake, and started Kindergarten.  You started referring to yourself as a “school-ager”.

He was so excited to meet Buzz!

Sometimes, I just sit back and watch the videos of you throughout the years.  My eyes well up with tears at just how special you are and also at how swiftly time has gone by.  I wish I could back and push a button to slow down time.  I wish I would have kissed you just a bit more before night-night, or let you sing me one more silly song, or picked you up one more time when you said “holdu holdu“.  You are starting to show your growth in the way you get just ever-so-slightly embarrassed if I try to kiss you around other kids.  But, at the same time, you still reach for my hand and put your head on my lap when it is just the two of us.

God has blessed us so much by choosing us as your parents.  You continue to amaze us, challenge us, stretch us, refine us, and love on us daily.  You, my son, are a precious wonder.  Happy, happy, happy birthday my sweet one…love you forever…

Thank You, Lord, For Giving Us Six Years of Happy