More Than A Brave Decision

Roman charges at me from across the room and jumps into my lap, bear-hugging me with his arms gripped tightly around my neck, almost knocking me over, all while giggling hysterically. Ruby hears a good beat and instantly begins busting some moves as if she knows the song like the back of her hand, all while belly laughing so hard that she can’t help herself from falling over. She then gets back up again and does the same thing again and again. As I sit back and look at our beautiful children, my heart beams with pride and gratefulness. They are bright little lights to this world, so full of joy. They've filled our hearts and home to the brim. I love being their mama. But in these heightened moments of joy and laughter, I can’t help but think of their birth mama and the brave decision she made in choosing adoption for her children. However, it wasn’t just a brave decision; it was the most difficult and heart wrenching decision of her life. Although I completely understand why people use the word “beautiful” to describe adoption, it's also a deeply complex and difficult process and can’t be summarized in one word or phrase. There are juxtapositions and tensions in adoption that I sometimes find difficult to absorb. There are three legs to the adoption triad: the adoptee, the birthmother, and the adoptive parents. For the most part, society is only privy to one side of adoption: the parents who have adopted a child. And this is understandable. After all, it's the relationship our friends and family witness for themselves.

In a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t exist. However, the reality is that we don’t live in a perfect world. We live on the other side of the Fall, where brokenness, pain and death reside. Although beauty can be found in the brokenness of life, it doesn’t erase all of the pain or hurt that one encountered to get there. Regardless of how beautiful adoption can be, there is loss and brokenness within it. When a woman chooses adoption for her child, she is making the most difficult decision of her life. Placing a child for adoption is a sacrificial and selfless act of unconditional love. As the baby grows inside of her womb, the birth mama feels the baby kick and respond to her voice, and she visually sees the child growing inside of her. Can you imagine the emotions she feels as she places her baby into the arms of another woman who her child will one day call “mama?" I can’t imagine that type of loss.

Imagine for a moment leaving the hospital without the child that you grew in your belly for 9 months. As you walk through the door to your home, the quietness overwhelms you. Someone is missing. There is no baby there to wake you up in the middle of the night, there is no baby to feed or sing lullabies to, there is no baby to swaddle and snuggle, and there are no more late night talks to the little one that was growing inside of your belly. Your baby is being cared for by another woman. And you chose this mother and father to be the parents of your child. But, even if you've found peace in your decision and are confident that you made the right one, that doesn’t negate all of the pain and feelings of emptiness associated with the loss. Imagine answering questions from curious co-workers and friends about the baby, and having constant reminders like stretch marks or possible scars from the c-section you painfully endured. However, the stretch marks and scars on your body pale in comparison to the scars on your heart. I can’t imagine that type of loss.

Sometimes I am reminded of this loss as I’m rocking the twins to sleep. Roman will look up at me with those beautiful big brown eyes and I can’t help but think of his birth mom. In that moment, I'm overwhelmed by the full weight of the juxtapositions surrounding adoption. Her greatest loss made me a mama. My arms are full while her arms are empty. My house is filled with the sight and sounds of toddlers running around, babbling, throwing toys everywhere and giggling uncontrollable, while her house is quiet. Thinking about all of the “firsts” she will never experience first hand brings the most complex feelings and emotions to the surface. Even now, I find it difficult to articulate these thoughts.

Adoption is more than a brave decision. Adoption is one of the most selfless, sacrificial acts of unconditional love that any human being can do for another, one that entails great loss. The grieving process for birth moms is complex, ongoing and a lifelong process to work through. These women deserve our utmost love, prayers and respect. They have given us a piece of their heart, one that they are entrusting us with forever.

***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and the services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me at kelly@christianadoptionconsultants.com and check out Christian Adoption Consultants for more information!***

Our Journey to Adoption (the 5 minute version)

It was late in the evening and there I lay in the hospital bed. I would’ve never imagined that I would be having open-heart surgery the next day. But there I lay, waiting…thinking…praying. As my bare feet hit the cold floor, I walked over to the window seal and tried to exist in the silence. Although worry was occasionally shouting in my ear, for the most part, there was a calm peace surrounding me that evening. It was dark. All I could see were streetlights and the brightness extending through the windows of nearby buildings. But unlike earlier that week, it was quiet. There weren’t 15 doctors and nurses coming in my room to ask a dozen questions or run any more tests. It was just me and God. Earlier that week, a pretty intense conversation was had with a specialist regarding how the outcome of the surgery could affect my fertility. What he didn’t know is that as a cancer survivor that is a speech I had heard my entire life. But hearing the news again was just as painful as hearing it the first time. When he left the door shut loudly, but I’m confident it didn’t disguise the sound my lungs made as I exhaled heavily and my tears drowned the bleach white pillow that was sitting on my lap. I drove my face forward into the darkness and closed my eyes. I wept, yelled and asked God, “why?”

As I sat there, a similar conversation that was had 7 years prior came flooding into my mind. I was sitting in a similar hospital bed, looking out a similar window, completely devastated over the news shared with me by my surgeon. As a 15 year old, I should’ve been worried about my upcoming geography and algebra tests, but instead I was forced to come to terms with the gravity of my fertility. In that moment, although overwhelmed by the news, that young high school girl started thinking about adoption. God was painting a masterpiece. And although I didn’t quite understand the movements of His brushstrokes, I can see how He was preparing my heart for something more beautiful than my mind could comprehend. Shortly after my tears hit the pillow, an overwhelming peace whispered through my entire body and it was as if God was displaying a video reel of His faithfulness and grace in my life. I knew that regardless of the outcome my heavenly Father was with me and He was my hope and source of strength.

10 months after a successful open-heart surgery I met my husband in a corner booth at Panera on a blind date. We were married in an old church in his hometown about a year and half later and moved to Louisville where he attended seminary. Adoption frequently entered our conversations during our engagement and as we began talking about wanting to grow our little family. A few years after we were married, a positive pregnancy test took us by complete surprise! But tragedy seemed to strike as quickly as the news had come in. Only a few weeks after receiving the news that I was pregnant, I miscarried. Even in our pain, we could feel His presence. It was difficult to trust God in the darkness. It still is sometimes. But, even then, we trusted He had a plan. He had not brought us this far to leave us on our own.

Through the cancer, infertility and miscarriage, adoption continued coming up in conversations with my husband and I. Then, we started praying about when the Lord would have us begin the adoption process. God stepped in and provided clarity and confirmation through a variety of circumstances and conversations. When we made the decision to move forward with growing our family through adoption we were extremely excited! As we began researching our options we realized there was so much about the process that we were completely clueless about! After speaking with a few friends, we chose to work with Christian Adoption Consultants (CAC). I tell everyone that working with CAC was by far the easiest and best decision we made in our adoption journey! We signed on with our consultant in March and brought home our twins that summer. We remain forever grateful to the twin’s birth mama for choosing us to be their parents and for the role that CAC played in our journey.

As I was snuggling Ruby to sleep the other night, she fell asleep with her hand on my chest. Her sweet little hand rested on my scar. It’s amazing to have daily reminders of the Lord’s faithfulness to me-to us. Thinking back to the journey that led us to adoption and now rocking our two little miracles to bed every night; my heart finds assurance in knowing that God used each and every circumstance to lead us to where we are today.

For those of you in the trenches: do not lose hope. Your Father is very present and near. He is writing your story. Your tears are not wasted. Trust that the Creator who crafted the entire world into existence with only His words, is creating something beautiful in you even when you can’t quite follow his brush strokes. One day you will better understand and be able to look back and see what I see when I look down at my babies, “Great is Thy faithfulness.”

***If you are interested in learning more about adoption and the services we provide at Christian Adoption Consultants, I would love to chat! Feel free to email me at kelly@christianadoptionconsultants.com and check out Christian Adoption Consultants for more information!***