A good read about making the mental shift!
“Adoption makes more prominent His reality of parenting. They are His. And He shares them with us.”
“Adoption is a commitment that you enter into blindly, but it is no different than adding a child by birth. It is essential that adoptive parents are committed to making it work, committed to parenting this child for the rest of their lives, and committed to parenting through the tough stuff.”
‘The natural posture of parenting bends itself towards protecting our kids at all costs. And rightly so in many ways. However, if opening our home to a foster child has taught me anything about being a parent it’s that there is a fine line between protecting my kids from the dangers of being exposed to hard things and protecting them from the dangers of NOT being exposed to hard things. My natural tendency would be to create a world of comfort and convenience for them while unintentionally never allowing them to see and respond to a world of brokenness and hopelessness that exists around them. Perhaps my greatest fear as a parent should not be the dangers and difficulties which exist all around my kids as much as it should be the self-centeredness and entitlement which exist deep within them. If our society has anything today it’s self-centered, self-entitled kids. That’s the terrifying norm. ‘
* Excerpt from blog post.
In this post the writer shares a letter that she has written to her daughter’s birth mom 7 years ago. It really brought me to tears. We were also in the very fortunate positioned to have met and spend some time with both our children’s birth mothers. They will always be part of our family and I love seeing and recognising their features in my children. Both birth mothers are very brave women who I admire for their selfless act of love and the gift they have given us in entrusting their children in our care.
This post is real and beautiful. I love her honesty in sharing her emotions.
I often remember the moment, when I first held you in my arms: my heart beating a thousand beats a minute, my mind spinning with the many new emotions of this one moment, which would change my life forever; in that first second, when I tried to take you in all at once, searching your tiny, sleeping face for something familiar, that would spark off the firework of love that I had anticipated so many times in the days and weeks waiting for your arrival, in that split second I realised, everything was different from what I had thought it would be.
And as I was forced to drop all my expectations, judgements and assumptions, I started to understand that my love for you – like any force of nature – would make its appearance on its own terms. I could not build or model it on any previous experience and literally had to start from scratch together with you.
The wiser part of me knew without a doubt that it was there and as much a part of me as my breath and my heartbeat – but sitting on that sofa with a whole new life in my arms, not feeling what I had expected to feel, I simply panicked.
The panic did not leave me over the next few days. It got company instead: A strange sadness took hold of me, something primal with no words and no pictures to describe or explain it, just waves and waves of feeling washing over me. Feelings of fear and separation coming from a place and a time, when I had no speech and no understanding.
I don’t know who cried more during these first days we had together, you or I! In the few moments between holding you, feeding you, bathing you and trying to put you to sleep, I walked around in previously familiar rooms like a survivor of my own personal tsunami, feeling disoriented, sifting through the debris trying to identify familiar pieces of myself.
Then, slowly and almost unnoticeable at first, like a sunrise on a misty winter day, everything changed again, and the first beams of love reached me, totally new and unexpected! I knew then that I could do this, I could begin my journey as your mother, stepping into the unknown and simply trust what you in your wisdom had known all along: that we were both exactly where we were meant to be.
Of course, being my own life long prophet of doom, I managed to slip back a couple of times, and there were – and sometimes still are – moments of deep insecurity when I feel, I am not the mother you deserve.
But mostly I stopped expecting of myself to be and feel a certain way and – for the first time since I can remember – I allowed my feelings to reveal themselves to me, instead of trying to anticipate or control them.
Since then, there is a moment in every day, when I think of you or look at you and my whole being simply dissolves into love. It is the most basic and joyful experience of my life – and I don’t have to do anything in order to earn or deserve it.
What you taught me is that simple: Love can’t be planned or controlled or willed into existence or even anticipated. It just is. And it is in all those random moments that make our life together. It is there, in the perfect curve of your mouth smiling, in the shadow your eyelashes trace on your cheeks, when you are asleep. It spills over in your giggles from the back of my car, when you sing silly songs with your sister and it lives in the corner of your room, where you set up a picnic for your dolls this morning. It is new every day and it teaches me to be curious again.
So from the deepest, wisest part of me, where all that love patiently waited for me to catch up, I thank you for being my child today and teaching me every day how to simply be.
* The post was originally posted on the Cape Town Adoption Support website. You can read it here.
Another insightful post on being an adoptive family.
This post I came across on Adoption.com is a wonderful encouraging letter from someone suffering with infertility to herself 6 years previously, while she was at her lowest with her struggle with infertility. It rings so true, in my own life as well.
Dear Infertile Me,
I remember you very well. I remember how you are feeling right now like it was yesterday. I do not miss the time of my life that you are going through right now.
I remember wondering, “If I’m can’t be a mother, what am I?” I remember seeing so many others getting pregnant so easily and wondering what I did wrong in my life to deserve such a challenge. I remember feeling like nothing could be worse in the world than this trial. I remember feelings of guilt that my body was the problem, that my husband made a mistake marrying me, and that maybe I wouldn’t be a good mother anyway.
Well self, I have to tell you a few things.
Someday, you will wake up in the morning and the first thing you do will not be taking your temperature to see if you are ovulating. And when you go to bed at night, the last thought you have will have nothing to do with fertility.
Someday, this pain that you feel right now will feel like a pin prick that comes and goes instead of a giant hammer. Time is a great healer.
You will be a mother, and it will be even better than you can imagine. You will be a better mother for going through this experience than you would have been otherwise. You will be so in love with your children that you think your heart will burst sometimes.
You will also find that being a mother is harder than you ever could have imagined. And all those things you swore YOU would never do as a mother . . . you will do every one of them at some point.
Right now you think that this is the hardest part of your life, and that if you can just have a baby, than no other trial will ever be able to touch you. But that is not true. Other challenges will come and they will hurt too. This experience will make you stronger, though, and more able to face other challenges in your life.
Right now it is hard to be near your best friend who just found out that she is surprisingly pregnant with twins. Keep planning her baby shower and let the feelings of happiness you have for her outweigh the feelings of jealousy. Stay close to her as she will be one of your biggest supports in building your own family. Don’t shut out your wonderful friends and family even though it feels like the easiest and safest option.
You will make it through this. You will be happy again. And if you look around you, you’ll realize you are happy now too, despite this pain. Ignore those who tell you to “just go on vacation and you’ll get pregnant.” Stay close to those who support you. Hang on to your husband and see how you become closer through this hard time.
The positives will outweigh the negatives and you will come out on top. Just don’t give up. You will find your children, but it will take a lot of work, tears, money, and frankly, a very open mind.
It is 100% worth it. I promise.
This short post sums up so much of the emotional complexity when dealing with infertility and making decision to refocus your energy on adoption.
Part of this process is to make peace with the fact that you most probably will never conceive your own biological children. As one sentence in this post says: “You have to mourn the children you will never have in order to heal completely.”
I was emotionally raw after every round of infertility treatment, and unsure how I will ever be able to come to terms with the fact that I might never conceive, never experience the wonder of having a baby grow in my womb, never look into a child’s face and recognising my own or my husband’s features.
Our journey with the fertility treatments ended not necessarily by our own choice, but we were advised by our specialist that it is probably futile to pursue IVF further. So we were forced to redirect our efforts and focus on adoption. During this time we read a book “Adopted for Life” by Russell Moore which helped tremendously.
I was initially worried whether I would have to carry the burden and pain of infertility for the rest of my life, but our Lord was and is faithful! I always tell people that God did a miracle in my heart once we started the adoption process. The moment we decided to move on, I felt as if a dead weight was lifted from my shoulders. I felt free! For the first time in so many years I could see pregnant women and not feel as if I wanted to break down and sob. I could attend friends’s baby showers without feeling resentful and pitying myself. I could start looking at baby clothes in the shops and not despair that I will never experience the joy of buying clothes for my little babies. What a blessing! What a miracle!
It is 5 years now since our last effort to fall pregnant, and my heart is filled with gratefulness and joy! Grateful that I could experience the miracle of adoption. Grateful that I am blessed with two beautiful children. Grateful that I could learn so much from our Heavenly Father about how He adopted us into His family. Grateful that I can be a mommy! I am filled with joy when I see my husband playing with our kids. I am overwhelmed with joy when my little girl throws her arms around me and tells me: “I love you to bits!!” .
There are definitely still days that I wonder what it would have felt like to experience pregnancy. There are times that I wonder what our biological children would have looked like, or how their personalities would have been. But when these emotions come and linger a little bit longer than I want them to, I choose to rejoice and praise our Lord God and thank Him for this blessing!
Read the post “Are You Done Trying? On mourning, healing and accepting infertility” here.
“Adoption makes more prominent His reality of parenting. They are His. And He shares them with us.”