In four months, we will find ourselves at the hospital to bring home another baby. Baby #6. Oh I’m beside myself and can’t wait. I never thought we would have another biological baby at my age, but our sweet surprise and after 3 biological children and 2 adoptions has been quite buzz and brought much excitement to all five of our children in the past few months as we have been processing and preparing to grow again together.
Expecting this time around with older children has led to more questions — many more questions about how things work.
Momma are you going to chew your food better so the baby can eat it too?
Momma how does the baby sleep in there?
Momma how long has the baby been growing in there?
And the questions progress to the point of your beginning to buy lovely educational books. The questions were so different as we prepared to adopt. Although I thought the questions would be harder and the answers more difficult to grasp — oddly, they seemed easier.
One of the things adoption classes never prepare you for are the questions that so easily and naturally come from your adopted children when you have another baby OR maybe when someone very close to your children is having a baby. All the talk of expecting – and babies — can some times be the hardest of all for our children who we missed this time with.
Just tonight my children began asking what the hospital would be like. Natural questions as they prepare for what’s ahead. We popped in a home videos tonight and watched some of their first days — ending on our last biological child’s hospital video. Giggles filled the room as the oldest two saw themselves 7 years younger meeting their brother for the first time. My oldest son looked at his new baby brother and told him he’d teach him all about flag football and soccer and basketball and Spiderman. My daughter kissed him and told him she’d teach him ballet. We all laughed on the video — and we all laughed when we heard it tonight in the living room.
But then. In another chair across the room. Tears fell.
I knew. The tears of grief — we adoptive moms know well. And if there was anything I could do to take away that grief, to get to have those beginning moments, to have felt that child kicking in my belly… oh I would have. But there’s a difference — someone else gave our children the beautiful gift of life. For many of us, they were running and talking before we even got to hold them in our arms. Those first years we missed. And there will be moments when they realize they missed them with us, too.
Can I just say, it’s just rip-your-heart-out hard some times to be an adoptive mom?
You know the moments. Cuddled up tight together. Asking them what they feel. Knowing some of what they feel — and as parents, we want to just fill the gaps, heal the hurt and make the tears go away. But you know part of what you are called to do as a parent — because you love them so much — is to just sit there and hold them, and just hold the hurt WITH them.
In moments like these I hear one of my best friends voices who was adopted from Asia as an infant… Can you just listen? Will you listen? And hold the hurt with me?
Your flesh wants the hurt to go away — or better yet… never to come. You kick yourself as a mom thinking, “Gosh — I should have known that would strike a cord”…I should have or next time I’ll… but the reality is, you never know when grief will be triggered. Some times during the obvious and some times during the most unexpected moments.
You struggle also with wanting your kids who do have one story to get to do things like watch home videos of those moments… and to watch them as a family. But really… with adoption – and being an adoptive family – things are just different. And this… the different — is part of it. There was loss for some of my babies because of adoption, so there will be loss as a family — for all of us in many different ways for many different things. And it’s okay. Because we are in this beautiful family that only God could have created together.
Some times it’s encouraging to realize and remember that you aren’t alone as an adoptive family who has these crazy amazing beautiful moments, but one that also has to walk through waters that most typical families never even imagine having to wade the storm through. I’ve found so much comfort in realizing and accepting that when grief comes, I can’t and don’t have to fix it. That’s not my job. My job is simply to be there… to sit there… to listen… and to take hold of two little hands in mine and say, “I love you so much. So much. And I’m so thankful you are my little one.”
I know we have many more moments like this ahead with a new one around the corner, but it’s my prayer — and my prayer for you — as we have these moments as parents… the Lord guides us as we hold the hurt with our children and breathes healing to our children’s hearts as we listen, hold them and love them. I pray with each moment of listening, our hearts fall deeper in love with who they are. And may we raise our hands higher realizing what holy ground we stand on getting to be the ones to catch the tears, and hear their giggles in the morning.