On becoming a Mother

Getting ready to become a parent through adoption has been an interesting experience.

Many of you may know, we chose to leave the adoption open to a boy or a girl, as long as the child is under 12 months. We have also purposfully not picked out a name for our child, because we want to see what they are named when they come to our home. We may keep their given name, or we may opt to give them a name we choose. We will cross that bridge when we get there.

We daydream about life will be like when the baby arrives. I often find myself thinking, when the baby is here…..I wonder what their laugh will sound like, what their face looks like when they are learning, what their cries and cues sound like. Then I also find myself  thinking….I will have to wake up earlier in the mornings, get used to very little sleep, have someone dependent on me for all of their needs. Then I think, Geez, I am signing up for this voluntarily?! What is wrong with me?!

And then there is the waiting. Oh my gosh, the waiting. I hear many people say the waiting is the most difficult part. For us, waiting has been the best part. We have LOVED our time together. We cherish the quiet evenings and lazy weekends. However, waiting means living in the in-between. We are almost parents, but still a family of two. On the rare occasion, I get really annoyed with waiting. We have a room for them with a crib and toys and books. I am ready to meet them and play together. Why can’t they just hurry up and get here already? On those days, I find myself thinking, “Perhaps it would just be easier to get pregnant. Then we would know when the baby would be here. We could find out if it would be a boy or a girl, we could pick a name, we could have more control of the situation.”

Then I remember that we choose adoption for a reason. We were called to it. Yes, we did not get pregnant on our own, but we choose not to pursue any testing and opted for adoption as our first choice. The process of adoption can be beautiful when it is done correctly. We pray for our unknown child everyday. I have had dreams about our child that feel as real as any memory and are as vivid as any movie.  I can wonder for hours about what life we be like when they join us.

I often find myself operating in two worlds. One of science and one of faith. Many times, the two do not appear to blend. I have learned that with careful evaluation, the two worlds often completment and support each other. It is through science that my faith is strengthened.

The world of science might say the faith in a Higher Being is used as a crutch. A form of denial of the cold, hard facts. The world of science will, at times, say the desire to become a parent, while completly natural, can run the risk of setting one up to fail. That adoption can often hide unaddressed deeper issues that are covered by becoming a parent. That parental responsibility can (at times) be used to work out larger unconscous issues in an attempt to re-do the past. I have seen this first hand – more than once. It can certinaly happen.

I also operate in a world of faith. A world where I know that our experience of peace while waiting is due to the fact that we a doing exactly what were called to do. And while I have a multitude (MULTITUDE) of questions about how this will all work out – how we will ever bond and attach appropriately, how we will address our child’s feelings of loss of their birthmother etc.  I know that ultimately, God is taking care of it. He will create the correct neurological chemicals to help attachment and bonding. He is giving us peace while we wait so that we are able to be free from (a majority) of expectations so that we are free to enjoy the process – whatever it may look like.

I am not so naive to think this will end is a story book ending, but no matter how messy the end picture,I know we will have walked the path that was meant for us.

It is an odd feeling, to know I am already someones momma. I know while we wait, God is knitting our hearts together – mine and my child’s.

Knit one, perl two, baby.

“And God began making the necessary arrangements in response to what Hannah had asked.” −1 Samuel 1:19

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It’s not about blame

Facts that are more comfortable to overlook:

  1. In the 1800’s, American Indian Religion was outlawed.  American Indian’s spiritual practices went underground as did much of the culture and traditions. 
     
  2. The Indian Religion Freedom Act passed in 1978 (Um, that was 31 years ago. Not that long ago. This also means American Indians were the last ethnic people group to have their civil rights acknowledged)
     
  3. In the 1970’s, 40% of American Indian women that went for a routine hospitalization (i.e. having tonsils removed) were non-consensually sterilized. 
     
  4. Many American Indian children were forced to go to boarding schools.  Their hair was cut, their name was changed from their Indian name, they were forced to wear English clothes and were whipped for speaking their Native language. One person said, “We went in the door Indian and came out English.”
     
  5. Canada, New Zealand, Australia’s governments have all made a formal apology to the aboriginal people of their country for what happened. America has not. 
     
  6. In Oklahoma, every April, children participate in a ceremonial ‘land run’ to remember when the Sooners claimed family land. And while this is an important part of Oklahoma history, it is also the day people groups were once again displaced. 

 

People ask why were are adopting from Jeremy’s tribe. These are not the reasons. But hearing about these fact moves me.  It moves me teach my child to embrace their culture and treasure traditions so they do not become lost.  It also moves me to advocate for them should I ever need to. 

For many people, this information is difficult to hear. A sense of shame and guilt is quick to rise. Followed by defensiveness and statements like, “How long do we have to apologize for this? Isn’t in the past?”

It’s not about blame.

 Read # 2 and #6 again. It was not that long ago. It is still happening in subtle ways.

It is about awareness.

Silence

“I often regret that I have spoken; never that I have been silent.” – Pubilius Syrus

I’ve been pretty quiet on the blog this year for a number of reasons – getting ready to add a person to our family, more demands at work, and purposefully taking some time to myself. 

The other day this blog hit me square between the eyes:

“”We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence. See how nature — trees, flowers, grass — grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence. We need silence to be able to touch souls.” – Mother Teresa

“Now there was a great wind, so strong that it was splitting mountains and breaking rocks in pieces before the LORD, but the LORD was not in the wind; and after the wind an earthquake, but the LORD was not in the earthquake; and after the earthquake a fire, but the LORD was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of sheer silence….” -1 Kings 19:11-13
Over the past few months I have been feeling like I need to find time to allow for silence. Reading the statements above just confirmed it for me. So I am working hard to carve out space in my day where I can get away and find silence.  Turning off the t.v. and shutting down the computer actually takes quite an effort.  As with everything in life, balance is the key. While we can not live in silence at all times, a small portion of the day spent in solitude and quietness is appealing.
 
What about you? Does silence work for you? What do you hear?

I Choose Hope

Sometimes it is a struggle between seeing the best in people or the worst of people.  

Over the past year, I have heard the most awful of stories: murder (those that did and those that were nearly), rape, child abuse, domestic violence, rejection of parent to child, racism, segregation, hatred, greed, betrayal and the list could go on.  At my job, some days are heavy than others. And try as hard as I may, some days I take it home. Not because I want to, but because I would not be human to be moved so deeply by these stories. 

The flip side of all of this is that if you look closely, within these awful events lays another story: courage, forgiveness, hope, resilience, determination, and healing. Some days the good stories are so easy to see. Other days you have to hunt for them.

My therapist (because all therapists ethically should see their own therapist. And yes, I can recognize the overwhelming irony it this) told me, “You can not control what other people think, how they act or what decisions they make. The only person you can control is yourself. Your reactions, your behaviors, your feelings. ”  

How insightful is that?

So for today I am choosing to see the good and not be discouraged by the overwhelming bad. I am choosing to place my hope in the One who heals and comforts.  I am choosing to have hope not as a form of denial of the bad, but rather in spite of it.  

What about you? What kind of things are you choosing about yourself?

Transition is difficult

I don’t think humans were meant to live in long periods of transition. As people, we like to plan, to know what to expect in the future. We find comfort in routines. It starts as soon as we are born. We know that infants do better with routines- their brains develop more efficiently when they know what to expect. 

Right now I am in transition in all areas of my life. At work, a new program is opening this summer. At home, we are getting ready to add another family member, become parents, to change the way we relate as husband and wife. Spiritually I am finding myself challenged and stretching. 

Transition is uncomfortable. Any type of growth typically is.  Yet, I am feeling a peace about it all.  I know that life is changing, but I believe it will all be for the better. 

How have you changed recently?

What is your story?

I shared my story at church last week. In front of a lot of people. I was really nervous, but I was really glad I did it. 

A few days ago, we met over dinner with another friend that is adopting. We each shared what lead us to this decision. Shala said, “Everyone’s story about how they came to adoption is different. Even families from the same city that are traveling to the same country to adopt can have completely different stories.”

Throughout the week, I have been thinking about the idea of  stories. Everyone has one. I once heard it said, “God created man because He loves stories.” That’s the truth isn’t it? Just look at the Bible – Adam and Eve, Moses, Ruth, Esther, David and Goliath, Solomon, John the Baptist, the Apostles, and then of course, Jesus. 

As kids, we love stories. Fiction or real-life, we find aspects of the story that we can relate to. Draw courage from. Draw hope from.  We use stories to teach life lessons and to bring comfort. 

Perhaps we should tell our stories so that others can see what God has done in us and for us. Because maybe they will find hope that if you could_____________________(please feel free to fill in the blank here: change, find happiness, find hope, live life differently) then maybe they can also.

As for me, I am figuring out that I have many stories. My current situation is really only chapter 1 or 2 of what I think will be a pretty incredible story. So stay tuned.

 What is your story? More importantly, do you share it?