We got called about taking a set of twins the week my husband’s father was dying from cancer.
We were driving to the hospital in Pittsburgh and I stared at my husband in disbelief.
“You’ve got to be kidding me,” I said.
We were still in the hospital a week later, when we got another phone call about a severely abused infant.
“Why is this happening now?” I asked Ryan, “And why is this always so hard?”
My first baby would have turned eight-years-old in December.
Emphasis on would have.
My body has held life and birthed death.
I don’t dwell on my loss, but there are random times I remember and I wonder what life would have been like, if…
Emphasis on would have.
I remember staying home that Mother’s Day and feeling angry.
In the midst of intense doctoring and being told that my chances of having kids was pretty slim and the odds were stacked against me, I got pregnant.
Before we had much of a chance to tell everyone, and four days before the world celebrated motherhood with a national holiday, I went to work.
Like any normal day I went to work, except it wasn’t really a normal day, because it was the day I lost my baby.
The same day we kissed our Vaeh good-bye, six years later.
Sandwiched between those heartbreaks, God gave us a son. Born on a warm summer day the sun shone bright, this little man with a head full of dark hair, weighing seven pounds and one ounce, was born.
He was fatherless and his mom was serving a sentence in state prison. She held him her entire three-day hospital stay and then they shackled her hands and feet once again, to take her back to jail.
I’m not sure why, because it’s not really protocol, but they let us in the room before she left the hospital.
She was wearing a brown jumpsuit and her hair was pulled back in a simple ponytail. Her hands were shaking as she fixed the hospital blanket he was swaddled in. She was tracing the shape of his face and tears were silently pouring down her face.
I watched a tear slide down the ridge of her nose and hang there, until it dropped on his little face. She wiped it away and a small cry came from her lips, “I’m so sorry.” She said softly. “I’m so sorry. Please don’t forget me.” Then she looked up at me and said, “Hi, you…you can take him” in a shaky voice.
I could barely see through my tears. The prison guards and nurse in the room looked like they were fighting back tears too. I wasn’t supposed to touch her, but I wrapped my arms around her in a big hug and I told her that I loved her and I made her a promise.
“He will know who you are.”
She handed me the sleeping little bundle and the guards turned her wheelchair and pushed her out.
I sat in the backseat of our car that day, and sobbed on the phone with my mom and sister. “How can I feel so much happiness and sadness at the same time?” I said.
For sixteen months we lived in a giant question mark, wondering if we would have to give him back. He was just a few months old when I wrote these words on this blog in 2013 –
When God places a child in your arms, it is a Divine placement, a Divine privilege, and the gift of motherhood- regardless of the method of placement.
The truth is that it doesn’t really matter how Leo came to be in our home. Though he is not born of my flesh, he is born of my heart, and while he is here, he is here by the divine placement of a sovereign God.
Becoming a mom isn’t giving birth to a baby.
I can’t tell you how many tears I have cried because “I just want to be a mom and have a family.”
Becoming a mom isn’t having your baby forever.
Quantity of time doesn’t make a mom a mom, kind of like quantity of time isn’t what determines viability of life.
I believe in life at conception and –
I believe that motherhood is not so much a position you hold as it is a love you embody.
Because when God places a child in your arms – it is a divine placement, a divine privilege and the gift of motherhood.
And then two years and two months after I printed those words on this blog, it was written in legal ink and my Cub, boy of my own heart, took our last name, forever.
He’s five-and-a-half now and he knows he’s adopted, because I made a promise in that hospital room, and –
because we celebrate his adoption.
It’s hard and I won’t lie.
Adoption is hard. Fostering babies is hard. Giving a baby back almost killed me.
It’s hard and I won’t lie.
My idea of motherhood looked a lot different than infertility, miscarriage, fostering, adoption and losing a child.
It’s hard and I won’t lie –
it’s broken and it’s not how I imagined it. But this story is not something I want to hide.
We all have shards of brokenness and sharp edges, and I know it’s easier to hide those stories than share those stories, but –
and this is the part you need to remember:
when you can’t speak of your brokenness, how will you tell of His redemption?
“You made my dream come true,” I tell my Cub almost every day. “You made me a mom.”
There have been questions and there will be more.
And I’m okay with that, because I know that it doesn’t matter how Leo came to be in our home. He is here, with us, by the divine placement of a sovereign God.
My strong-willed and sensitive, brown-eyed, adventure seeking boy.
My divine privilege.