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#SurprisedByMotherhood

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I’m going to let you in on the little secret of adoption that no one can prepare you for: at the end of it all, when that baby is placed in your arms forever, and all the paperwork is over, YOU WILL BE A PARENT. A real, live mom or dad to a REAL, LIVE BABY. This may sound ridiculous, but honestly I didn’t see it coming. I think I was so caught up in the paperwork, the home visits, the fundraising, the paperwork, the fingerprinting and background checking, the PAPERWORK… I sort-of-maybe-for-a-small-second lost sight of the fact that in the end, the finish line is really just the beginning. I mean, we talked and talked and TALKED with social workers, and adoption advocates, and to each other about what kind of parents we wanted to be, how we would raise our child, what kind of values we want him/her to have, but it was all so “out THERE”, you know? All the, “well in theory I will be _______ kind of mom.” None of it was tangible yet; non of it seemed real. But then everything changed.

But then, Vivi was placed in my arms. But then I was kissing her little nose and breathing deep her baby smell. But then she was back home with us. But then she was calling me Mama. But then I was feeding and changing and “mom-ing” my way through life and it was like “oh yeah! THIS was the goal!” I know that may sound crazy, but it’s true. There is a hashtag going around called “#surprisedbymotherhood” where moms post pictures and stories about times in motherhood that surprised them–the good, the bad, and the poopy. Initially for me though, it wasn’t so much “surprised by motherhood” but more like “SURPRISE! It’s motherhood!” Adoption made me a mama, and it’s been the best surprise to date.

-Leah

*Leah is a guest blogger for us. To see Leah’s posts click the “Leah – guest Blogger” tag over on the right.

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Adoption: The Heart Of A Mother’s Sacrifice

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We don’t show many people this picture. There have always been aspects of our adoption that we want to keep private, but today this picture so accurately describes what I want to say. It was taken the first time we met our birth mom. It was such a flurry of emotions that day. We were so anxious about her liking us, whether or not we would feel a connection, and if we would be what she was hoping we would be. Before we left our time together that day, we prayed over her, Viv, and our road ahead. It was a deeply spiritual-emotional experience; one I can’t really put into words. None of us knew what was coming ahead, but we were bonded forever in this moment; going before Jesus together, asking Him to join us on our journey, and praying for provision along the way for us all.

Because so many of our friends had grown their families through adoption, we thought we were going into the process fairly “eyes wide open”. We understood the cost, the paperwork, the process. But what we couldn’t have prepared for is who our birth mom would be. Putting a face to a name and beautiful humanity to the woman carrying what would be our child. I understood (or at least thought I did) the sacrifice this amazing woman would make on behalf of her child, but it is an entirely different thing seeing that sacrifice first hand. She wanted nothing more than the absolute best for Viv, and although I could’ve spouted off that sentiment before our adoption, to see the depths of despair and loss that she was willing to go to for the sake of her child was… the greatest example of motherhood I have ever seen. And I don’t think I couldn’t fully understand that before becoming a mom myself. Now however, understanding how I would do anything for Viv, it breaks my heart and at the same time DAILY restores my ability to be a sacrificial mother when I think of what her birth mom has done. I did not expect to learn as much as I have from her. But, like every aspect of this process, we are so thankful for unexpected provision.

–Leah

*Leah is a guest blogger for us. To see Leah’s posts click the “Leah – guest Blogger” tag over on the right.

Adoption Requires A Unique Community

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Adoption is unique in that it both creates and requires community. In order to walk the road of adoption, you must elicit the help of social workers, family, friends, and other adoptive families. All of this connecting and relying creates space for incredible new friendships, deepened relationships, and immeasurable personal growth. There is no way we would be where we are in life and especially in our adoption journey without the amazing village that surrounds us. And the communities of families we have met because of adoption allow us to grow, and learn from, and lean on mamas and daddies on our same road. We are so thankful for each and every one.

For my husband and me, relying on others does not come naturally. We sort of pride ourselves, if we are honest, on being self sufficient and independent. However, because of the nature of adoption, we have had to learn to gratefully and humbly lean into the help, advice, support and community that adoption brings. There is no way, in my estimation, to make it on this road alone. And what a wonderful way to travel! The burdens of the journey seem lighter with the support of those who either have traveled before, or are traveling with us. We are able to ask questions, and voice concerns to people who truly “get it.” We have yet to be met with a response that didn’t begin with “oh! I know exactly how you feel!”

There is a dying to yourself that happens in adoption; a relinquishing of pride and self-sufficiency that must take place. There is so much “new” and so much “unknown”, and having community that understands is absolutely necessary. It’s one of the many (many!) reasons I am so grateful for our adoption story. This growth in reliance on others, and Christ, is something I don’t think would have happened without this experience. Being able to move forward in life unafraid of relying on others—joyfully, even, accepting it—is such a blessing. And it creates the opportunity for us to be readily available for others to lean on. It’s a beautiful, messy sometimes, ever connected circle, this adoption thing. We are so thankful to be a part of it.

 

-Leah

 

*Leah is a guest blogger for us. To see Leah’s posts click the “Leah – guest Blogger” tag over on the right.

Welcome to Leah – Guest Adoption Blogger

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Hi! My name is Leah and this is my sweet family. After 9 years of marriage, my husband Paul and I decided to grow our family. At that time we knew our hearts were (and are!) called to grow our family through adoption, and we began our journey to our sweet little Vivi. Ironically, we waited almost exactly 9 months for Vivian to join our family, and traveled to Arizona to meet our daughter and complete our adoption. While there, we fell in love not only with our precious girl, but her beautiful birthmom and biological brother too. In that time we had together we experienced to the fullest extent the loss, the love, the sacrifice, and the redemption of adoption. Those are days I will treasure in my heart for the rest of my life. We are planning to adopt again in the next year or so, and although we have been stretched more than I ever thought possible through adoption, we know beyond any doubt this is where we have been called. It’s so hard to accurately describe what adoption means to us, but I am excited to share more of our journey.

 

Leah is a guest blogger – and we look forward to seeing Leah’s posts and messages in the days ahead!