My life changed drastically in October 2005 from what I thought being a mother was supposed to look like, to now a world of new emotions and confusion of what to do next. I only thought the way I did because that is how I was raised and fashioned to think...get married, get pregnant, become a mother....right. Well that is not always the way and on my journey I have learned that there are many ways of becoming a mother. Adoption is our story.
(Patiently working with my daughter on her English)
As an adoptive mother I have learned many things. During the "waiting" period (a very difficult time in the process, for me at least) I learned that waiting to be an adoptive mom is exhausting and tried my patience nearly every second of every day. Patience. UGH! It used to be a dirty word for me. However, this is what I have learned about patience. Patience is accepting that you don't know the end result of your story, but you do try to enjoy the journey along the way. Patience is knowing that tomorrow brings more uncertainty....more unsure feelings of whether or not I would be a mother and if so when would that be. Patience is not only understanding that that uncertainty is inevitable, but you learn to have a more positive outlook and embrace your attitude about the uncertainty. Patience is living each day with progress over perfection and striving for growth. Standing still and "waiting" for life to come to you, will only keep you at the same place you were the day before. Moving forward each moment in life comes from the beliefs or stories we tell ourselves and then the emotions we feel. Its how we show up from that that truly designs who we are as a human. I am certainly NOT an expert on patience and as a mother my patience is tried everyday....but it's a learning process.
Becoming a mother (adoptive or not, however I only know being an adoptive mother) it taught me a whole new outlook of patience. There is a saying I heard that sums it up beautifully. "From Gods arms, to her arms, to 'mine'". Even if I were to have had the opportunity to carry my children in my own belly and bore them biologically...these children are still on loan from God. He has entrusted me, through their birth parent's choice, the opportunity to raise them on this earth in hopes to return them to Him someday in Heaven. I was also given the opportunity to encompass my children's first parent's into the mix of parenthood. Every adoption relationship will be different and personalized to all of the adoption triad involved. For our story, not only do we have multiple "parents"...but grandmothers, grandfathers, aunts, uncles, cousins, biological siblings and so forth....in addition to my immediate family as well as my husband's immediate family. What does this mean for us? Does everyone help raise my children....does everyone KNOW my children? In our case...yes...it really does take a village. Our village contains bio family and adoptive family. No, our children's birth parents don't create the rules in our home, nor do they actually "parent" (the act of) my children. Again, this may not be the best situation for all adoption cases, and certainly in our case as with all others (should be), the best interest of our children and their first parents, is our number one priority. We truly have been blessed with the village that God orchestrated. We have even had conversations with some family about how great a village it would be in Heaven (we believe in an afterlife) to have our mansions of all 8 of our families be on the same street or cul-de-sac. What a beautiful eternal perspective!
Each personality trait and behavior my children possess tell a story or shine a light on something new. As an adoptive mother, when my child acts out or behaves a certain way to make me proud, the thought will always run through my mind..."nature vs. nurture". Those are terms of endearment in our family...who gets to claim responsibility for their BEST behaviors. As my children grow older their birth parents' amazing personalities shine through more and more. As their adoptive mother I hold tight to as many behaviors as possible with the hope that I am nurturing them to the best of my ability or the way God would want me to raise them. However, nature plays an important roll. Every time my son laughs...I see his birth mom or see his creativity. I see my oldest daughter's birth mother every time I look at her and see the resemblance or watch her love her horses. My son tells a joke or when his skin turns golden brown in the sun, his birth father shines through. There are so many examples and I could go on and on about when it comes to the resemblances they have to their loving first parents. I do have a third child, and with her story, having been adopted at the age of 12 from an international orphan adoption, the only thing I have to hold onto are the pictures I get to see of her bio siblings and the resemblance is definitely there. I love my children and I count my blessings each time I get to hold them when they're sick or hurt, and each tear I wipe dry, each accomplishment they have and each memory we make. It takes patience to hand over those natural gifts they own and know that it's my job to raise them to embrace who they are biologically. It takes patience to help them value self and nurture them to develop their own identity, with a strong understanding that they are more than being adopted or having multiple families. We all should give ourselves grace when learning who we are. That comes down to knowing whose we are and to whom we wish to return...in my belief, that is God.
Being an adoptive mom doesn't make me any different as a mother with respect to raising children in this complicated world...it just gives me a unique perspective about life and raising children. It gives me the perspective that its my job to ensure that my children get to grow up with a strong sense of their whole identity, coming from their biological roots and the nurturing they get in our home. It means that learning to be patient with all the experiences we are given, means we are also given a life of blessings in growth. Patience and grace for oneself are one way we can encounter and conquer the opposition that comes with being human and having a human experience. Patience. No longer UGH!, but Ahhh!
(Picture: Patiently waiting for baby to come (2006), while I massage birth mama's back)
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I am a mother of three beautiful children, through the blessing of adoption. Lover of the human connection. Wife to the best husband in the world. Daughter of God