Sorting it all out…

There are days when I couldn’t be happier, when my thoughts are on my son; what it will be like to share all of this love in my heart with my child, what it will be like to hold him for the first time, what it will be like to comfort him when he cries and rejoice with him when he is happy, what it will be like to laugh and play and be a family together. On these days, I truly believe that adoption is a good thing, that brings together mommas and daddies an kids who all need eachother and gives them the chance at a loving family. A chance that so many in this world will never get. And that is a good thing. An amazing thing. On these days, I’ll admit, it is hard to think about the pain on the other side of this adoption thing.

And then there are those other days. The ones when I wake up and my heart aches inside me. Or the nights when I lay in bed awake for hours, questioning everything I ever thought I knew and believed about adoption, the world, God, myself. I wonder if I am doing the right things. I am doing everything I know to make sure my adoption is ethical, but what if I miss something? I wonder if I will be a good mother. I wonder if I will be able to help my son navigate through the pain and loss that adoption brings, or if I will let him down. And I wonder about another mother on the other side of the world. Even on those happy days, she is there. It would be so much easier if I didn’t think of her, but I have to. Miles needs me to. And really think I need to for myself as well. My life and hers will forever be bound together through our son. When I think of her, I am shaken to the core. I can’t help but think of my little sis, who as a single mom could easily have been in a similar situation had she not been surrounded by supportive family with sufficient resources. I mean really easily– I know it crossed her mind. And it kills me. When I see my sis with her kids, I am amazed by her stregth and determination. It’s not easy for any of them, and they may not have much but eachother, but I can’t imagine a better life for them. She lives for those kiddos. I don’t even know if my child has been born yet, but what if he has, and his mother was given the same support my sis has? What if she were given the resources she needed to raise her child? Would she make a different choice? There are details I just don’t know and may never know. Can I live with that? What if she was coerced or bribed? Pressured by family or friends or strangers who were constantly reminding her how difficult her life would be if she decided to raise him? On these days it is hard to see the good in adoption. On these days, it tears apart families and identities, it breaks hearts, it leaves families and children vulnerable to corruption which unfortunately is ever-present in this world we are living in.

And so, back and forth I go from one extreme emotion to the other. Every once in a while, it almost feels like I can grasp it for a moment–that maybe adoption in and of itself is neither good nor bad, and yet at the same time it is both. That maybe like most things in life, it isn’t all black or white, right or wrong, but instead a complex and dynamic shade of gray somewhere in the middle. Maybe in adoption, as in life, the good and the bad, the joy and the pain must co-exist, but that doesn’t mean that they should cancel out or lessen one another… Maybe you can feel two emotions silmultaneously (or three, or four!), and that’s okay. Maybe it just means that we are complex human beings caught up in a complicated situation…I can almost grasp it for a moment, and then the moment is gone and I’m feeling caught on one side or the other again. Sigh. It is so hard to trust God sometimes, but I am trying, I really am! I spent this weekend at a Women’s Conference and listened to the speaker tell about her son who survived a horrible bus accident that left 26 others dead. For a long time she struggeled with the the question of why he survived when so many others didn’t. I was on the edge of my seat. I kept waiting for her to share some sort of deep revelation, something that would help me answer the similar questions that I have been facing regarding my child and his mother. Why do they have to lose one another? Why is does my joy have to come as a result of their pain? Why does it have to happen this way? Instead, this woman admitted that almost twenty years later, she is no closer to understanding than the day she recieved the call about the accident. But she has found peace, and in that I find hope. Psalms 46:10 says “be still, and know that I am God.” It is so hard to do at times!!!! But I am slowly learning that I don’t have to always have all of the answers, I just have to trust His grace. It would be so much easier if we could see the big picture, if we could see what is at the other end of this journey. Maybe then everything would make sense. Until then, I guess that we all must just strive to be a little less of the problem and more of the solution, it whatever way we can. That is really what it all comes down to. Doing the best that we can. And when we have done all that we can, we must let go and trust Him.

As for the part that I can do, I have come away from the conference with a strong sense of calling to work with and encourage single mothers as they raise their children. I’m not exactly sure what that means yet, and I’m not quite sure where to start, but I know that this is an area where I really can do something. I know there are many women out there who, like my sis, just need a little bit of support. Who knows where God will lead me with this, but I am excited to find out!

And speaking of my sis and her beautiful family, I think I will end this heavy post on a light note to remind myself that even though we live in a crazy messed up world, there are still moments of absolute wonder. Here is a new picture of my amazing little nephew:

Or maybe blogger will be difficult and I won’t be able to add a picture of the little guy, and you will have to be held in suspense until I can post it from flickr. sorry!

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10 thoughts on “Sorting it all out…

  1. Great post!

    I go through the same thing…As much as I feel that this is God’s plan for us, I wonder about God’s plan for this birthmother. How will I explain that to our daughter? The question I’m dreading is, “If God is so great, then why didn’t he give my birthmother the resources to care for me?” How do you answer that question in a way that a child will understand? I pray that God will put the right words in my heart when the time comes, but in the meantime, that’s the question that keeps swirling around in my head.

    My little sister is also a single mother, and I am constantly in awe of her. She, like your sister, had a support system and resources available to her that are not available to many girls. I love that you are taking your conflicted feelings and turning them into action. It’s so inspiring!

  2. I understand your feelings, they are the same as mine! Just last night I was having a “bad adoption day” as I like to call it. Bombarded with thoughts about all the corruption and unethical issues involved in adoptions, it can really leave you feeling sad and confused. I think all of these conflicting feelings are part of the adoption process, and it’s OK not to be able to understand them all.

  3. well said!! i think all of us have been through the same roller coaster ride of emotions. psalms 46:10 is my favorite verse and helps me through. great post…you put my thoughts into words better than i could have 🙂

  4. What a thoughtful post (and comments). I do think this process has made it clear you can feel opposite emotions at the same time. I think just being aware of these issues is a huge step in the right direction.

    About God’s plan–I love the book The Will of God–it is a series of sermons broadcast on the radio in London during WWII and it works for me to understand God’s intentional will, circumstancial will (adoption fits in here) and his ultimate will.

  5. It definitely is a roller coaster. Thankfully we know that at the end it stops, or at least becomes a different kind of roller coaster.

  6. Wow… as I was reading your blog, all I could do was nod. You sound like you have a great head on your shoulder. You will be a great mom. Oh and the baby is absolutely precious… what a little peanut he is.

  7. My heart breaks for you and Stephen as you go through this waiting and questioning. I know in the depths of my heart that you will be an incredible mother, Jodean. I also believe that God has guided you thus far, but I am certain that I would have some of the same questions in my heart. I pray that God’s hand will comfort you and Miles’s mother as you exchange roles (one longing from afar while the other holds him in her arms). I’m thinking of the quote, “It takes a village to raise a child” and how small our global village has become. Maybe you and Stephen are this single mother’s resources. Maybe your extension of support/hope to her has allowed Miles a chance at life – instead of being aborted or killed at birth. I know I’m speaking pro-adoption here… so I guess I must simply pray that the process will be on the “up and up.” That it will be helpful and healing for the all of the parents and mostly — for Miles. I love and miss you both!

  8. Ah yes. So many of the same thoughts and emotions that I’ve had, only I had my “awakening” after we had Nate home with us.

    The “good” and the “bad” can and do co-exist. It’s not always easy and it’s not always comfortable. It just is. As I just come to say often, it is what it is.

    All you can do is pursue the most ethical adoption possible. In the end, though, you are giving a child a home, parents, and you are becoming parents to a child. Stripped of everything else, that’s what adoption is at its core.

    Adoptive parenting truly isn’t for the faint of heart. And it isn’t the same as parenting a child by birth, I strongly believe that. But you’re asking yourself the difficult questions now and your heart is open to understanding that along with the amazing love that you’ll have for your child, there is also loss. It doesn’t have to take over your lives, and it shouldn’t, but it will be there. It’s good to not deny it.

    I think you’ll be great because you do have such an open and giving heart. Take comfort in that. And know that yes, there are so many paradoxes in adoption that happiness and sadness can and do exist together at the same time. And also know that since you’ll pursue an ethical adoption and you’re not in control of the decisions that your child’s birthmother will make, that part of it won’t/isn’t your fault. It’s just not.

    Take care and keep writing. It’s good stuff and good to share.

  9. Oh, Jodean, you voice here what many, many adoptive parents voice, too. From my vantage point, with children who are in their teens now, almost grown, I don’t know if there will ever be clear answers to “why?”

    I do know, though, that having made the commitment to adopt doesn’t preclude making a commitment to helping families keep and parent their children. In helping to preserve first families, we help to make adoption more ethical.

    You clearly understand the importance of speaking out, and do it beautifully. May it won’t answer all the “whys,” but it will help in other important ways.

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