As I watch my adopted daughter heal I wanted to share a moment that reached deep into my heart today. Yet I believe only with true perspective can you understand how we reached this relationship. As the mother of a wounded child I want to give encouragement and hope to each of you who struggles with adoption and the difficulties of “feeling” love towards your child. These are excerpts from my blog over the years.
But love is not a feeling. It’s a choice. Say that with me. Say it again. It’s a choice. If I had to “feel” loving towards these kids (my adopted RAD kids) they would have been booted out a long time ago. (So would my husband, but that’s a different story!) It’s the same choice Eve had with the serpent. Turn away from sin or take what looks good and pay the consequences. Everyday we must turn from the sin of our human nature and love unconditionally, rejecting Satan and his influence. Thank the Lord He wants to teach us this lesson over and over……and over and over. Ouch. My kids and your kids are worth the sacrifice. I believe that. I just have to remind myself sometimes. Okay, a lot of the times. Thank God for second chances, for us and our precious children.
Moved to tears. Filled with awestruck wonder. Heartfelt prayers of gratitude. Why these strong emotions? Today I took my youngest daughter S to get her hair cut for Locks of Love. This organization that makes wigs for sick children needs at least ten inches of hair so she has been diligently growing it out for months. Years actually. Thick, beautiful, long hair.
We drove 25 minutes to the hair salon and enjoyed the kind of easy conversation that in the past would have seemed impossible. She is a very intuitive young woman and she mentioned that time is fleeting. We talked about her older brother Joshua and his call to be a missionary to France. We would only see him then a couple of times a year. Sad to tell her it would not even be that often. I reminded her that one day she, too, would leave home and build a family with God’s chosen mate for her. At age 14, she sees in her older siblings how fast time flies and chooses to see the beauty in capturing these moments. Not only capturing, but cherishing.
But the truth in this situation is that I did NOT make these children this way. Their birth parents, in all their selfishness and inadequacies did. That may be harsh, but it’s the truth. I can’t put these kids in my womb and give birth to them. I’m just part of the healing process. I pray I’m part of the healing process. Because I’ve done everything I know to do and even more. I’ve sacrificed more than I ever believed possible, but the outcome is in their hands. I can’t change anyone but myself. And I’m not going to believe anymore that somehow if I had done one thing, or many things, differently our lives would have been different. I love them, unconditionally. I pray for the strength to love them through the many difficult years to come. I also hope beyond hope that I did enough with my own birth kids to help them see God through the fiery trials. Yet I’m still sad. It’s not fair to anyone, but that’s the ugly reality that is RAD. God, give me strength.
My girl was completely at ease with this stranger cutting her hair. Able to speak clearly and enjoy conversation. Give her opinion and listen to others. Skills that have been years in the making. A polite, caring and kind teenager.
On the way home it rained hard for a couple of minutes and I struggled to have intelligent conversation while maneuvering on the highway. S was giddy with her new haircut but ever grateful for my taking her and spending that time with her. I told her I hoped that if her birth family could see her today they would see her for the beautiful, loving, mature young lady she is. She told me it was because I had invested so much in her. I told her we did it together. But you labored with me, Mommy.
I was able to look into her eyes and tell her she was a precious gift that I will always treasure. How many years did it take to get to this place? So many that I want to forget but they brought us to this point in time. I truly “feel” that way about her. I can look into her eyes and see life and peace and hope. The years she spent in anger and denial and fear and grief were not in vain. She has such a servant’s heart and I believe she will one day change the world, her world, with her story. She is able to tell me of her fears and allow me to fill that part of her soul.
I’m not sure there have ever been sweeter words spoken to me. Such a recognition of the journey of 12 years. Days, months, years of despair and hopelessness. Barely putting one foot in front of the other and clinging to God’s hand with all of my strength, the wounds of adopted children smothering everything in sight. Never knowing if there would be healing but praying in utter humility and surrender for the strength to continue this journey.
God you are faithful.
But you labored with me, Mommy.
Pictures by JlyDesigns
Some of my favorite words for my children: