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Foster care

In Adoption, Blog, Foster care, Mi Familia on
June 12, 2019

The day we saw our daughter’s parents

So this really crazy thing happened and it still has Steven and I scratching our heads.

It was nearing the end of September a few years back and we were to the point in our foster care licensing journey where we needed to get our house ready for the home study. In foster care that means fire extinguishers placed, smoke detectors set up and checked, medicine and cleaners locked up, etc. We went to church one Sunday which was in the opposite part of the city from where we lived and we decided to stop at a Walmart we wouldn’t typically go to to pick up a few items we needed to get the house foster care ready. We did our shopping and although neither of us like Walmart it was so enjoyable because we knew we were purchasing things that meant we were getting our house ready to have a child in it. As we were leaving the store I remember seeing a couple at the exit. While we walked by I noticed the woman was super pregnant and she along with the man looked tired, eyes glazed over, unhealthy, probably hadn’t bathed in a while, and they were just standing there at the exit.  I didn’t know anything about them, all I could do was take in what I saw for the few seconds we walked by them. Once we got back to the car I glanced back at them. I said to Steven “I hope those people are ok, but they did not look ok and she was super pregnant. This is so crazy but what if that is the woman who is carrying the baby that might come to us?” I felt silly saying this because that was awfully presumptuous but it was just a weird little thought in the back of my head knowing whoever was going to be coming into our home would be coming from a hard circumstance.  Steven said he had noticed them too and we both decided to just stop and pray for them and the child that woman was carrying. We did not pray for that baby to come to us, I just remember praying for their safety, their circumstance, and the safety of their baby.

We drove home and continued to live our lives per usual as we finished getting licensed for foster care. On December 19th of that year our daughter was placed in our home. We were overjoyed to have her with us and soaked up every second not knowing what exactly her journey with us would look like. A few days later we got a file from our caseworker that had all of her information and the names and history of her biological parents. Naturally I got online to see if I could find a picture of them on Facebook and once I did, my jaw dropped. I called for Steven to come over and he was shocked as well. We still cannot say for sure, but after seeing their picture we are both pretty certain that that was Evy’s biological parent’s we saw and prayed for by Walmart on that September day. It would make sense because the woman we saw was very pregnant and Evy was born only a handful of days later.

I don’t know what any of that means. We might be totally wrong, but I don’t think we are. Everything about our journey to become parents has been so clearly ordained by the Lord. We have never been able to meet her biological parent’s and I will not go into details about that as that has no business being shared publicly, but I do believe God knew we would want to meet the parents who chose to bring our daughter into this world, her roots, the people she looks like and gets her genetic makeup from. I feel like it was the crazy God ordained “meeting” because he knew we would otherwise never meet them. That isn’t to say things couldn’t change in the future, but for now at least.

It is just fascinating to me and if anything it is just another experience that solidifies God’s hand in all of this. I love our daughter’s biological parents through everything even though we know so little other than really hard things about them. How beautiful was it that we got to see them and baby Evy (in utero) that day? It blows my mind.

In Adoption, Blog, Foster care, Mama, Mi Familia on
November 13, 2018

Beautiful Heartbreak

I have had these words pent up in my mind and deep down in my heart for a while now. These words have stemmed from thinking of all of the aspects of adoption, of foster care, of infertility, of beauty and of heartbreak, not just the joy that adoption has brought us. How did we get here? How did I get to this exact moment in life where I am a mother of a brilliant little girl through foster care and now adoption?

Ever since I can remember I wanted to be a mom. The idea of family, of nurturing, of growing, of encouraging, of being together, was my biggest hope in life. I knew about adoption because I have extended family members who were adopted and while that wasn’t a big topic of discussion in our family I wonder if that subconsciously played a role in my deep interest in adoption. In fifth grade I did a research project on adoption that was presented in front of my whole school. You see, it seems like I was knit together in a special way that adoption would forever be a part of my life.

While I always hoped to adopt, I didn’t know that I would have to trudge through two painful and heartbreaking years of infertility to get to the place of feeling God’s hand leading us in that direction. Infertility was heartbreak that later turned into the most beautiful surrender of my life. Surrendering what I wanted for the sake of finding peace in what God’s will was for my life.

In adoption there are three parties involved. The birth family, the adoptee, and the adoptive family. It would be the biggest disservice I could do to my daughter not to recognize the heartbreak involved in her coming into our lives. While our daughter sadly was an orphan at the time she came into our family, I still am heartbroken for her birth family. When I take the time to think of her story, I am still heartbroken for her, even though she feels 100% my daughter and to be honest in my day to day life it’s easy to forget that she was born to another woman. I grieve for the loss of opportunities her birth parents had, what kind of parents could they have been if they were given the same opportunities I was? What kind of life could my daughter have lived if her birth parents were able to raise her and love her all of her days? These are the kind of questions that could be easy to ignore and not ask if I wasn’t willing to dive into the difficult intricacies of adoption emotions. You see, if we lived in a perfect world, adoption wouldn’t exist because there would be no need for it. We obviously don’t live in a perfect world though and there are no perfect people. It is my greatest honor to be an adoptive mom. I am just a mom actually. I am no different than any other mom except I have my little girl’s story to honor. I have her questions to answer, I have a delicate dance to do to honor her heritage, one that is so vastly different from my own, I have her birth family, that despite what choices they did or didn’t make, to hold in my heart and my daughter’s heart because she deserves to know her story, her roots.

There is no other way I can describe the emotional aspect of adoption other than beautiful heartbreak. Beautiful because adoption made us a family. Beautiful because adoption gave our daughter parents to keep her safe, to stand next to her and encourage her/be there for her for life. Beautiful because it fulfilled my husband and I’s dream to become parents, it brought life, laughter, boundless joy, memories to forever be made, and lessons that needed/ need to be learned into our home.  Beautiful heartbreak because no matter how beautiful adoption is, it involves heartbreak. As mentioned in the previous paragraph there is so much to be grieved. I wonder how often E’s birth parents cry over her? I don’t know if they do but I would imagine despite the choices they made that their hearts are broken.  As my daughter grows I know there will be times, maybe frequently, maybe infrequently, where she will wonder what life would have been like if she was with her birth family. I can’t say what she will or won’t experience heartbreak over in regards to her story, but I know there will be times where it is hard for her, rightfully so.

As an adoptive mom I am learning so much lately. In many cases, our adopted children grieve and struggle with their adoption quite frequently, especially if they are held back from knowing their story. We need to sit with them, we need to listen, we need to point them to important truths, remind them of how loved they are, but most importantly we need to just listen. Despite how loved they are by us, their adoptive families, and how much they love their families in return, it is something we need to talk about often and stand next to them as they find healing/find answers/process things.

I pray God’s grace in my daughter’s life. I pray that she would be confident in who she is as a Child of God, who she is as a woman, who she is as our daughter, and where she came from. I pray that her story would empower her to help others and be the best person she can be. Beautiful Heartbreak and all. 

In Adoption, Blog, Foster care, Infertility, Mama, Mi Familia on
February 4, 2018

Adoptive/foster mama, you are not a second rate mom

I’ve heard you talk about it, I’ve felt it myself. The feeling like you or others consider you “less of a mom” because you did not birth your children. I’ve heard you share the hurt of no one offering a baby shower for you when you have announced you are adopting/fostering, or no one starting a meal train for you when you finally get to bring your baby home or after a caseworker drops off your child at a random hour of the night. I see you being left out of the pregnant belly pictures all of your friends take together. The people who consider hand me downs a better option for your foster or adopted child instead of a nice new outfit like your friend who is about to give birth might receive for her child. It’s so frustrating. It hurts. Why can’t you be celebrated in the same way your pregnant friends are being celebrated if in fact you too are just as much of a mom as they are?

Well mama, you are not second rate. Some people might say things that make you feel as such and you might even tell yourself at times you aren’t as much of a mom because you didn’t give birth to your child  or because you didn’t get to nurse your child or maybe you missed months or even years of your child’s life. But guess what- you are just as much of a mom as anyone.

Adoptive mama, you fought hard to bring your child home. You might not have conceived your child, spent 9 or so months growing them, and birthed them but you spent months and possibly years preparing for your child. You prayed about it countless hours, you had difficult conversations with your spouse and family members. You sat through hours and hours and hours of classes. You went through piles of paperwork. You sat through meeting after meeting exposing every tiny and embarrassing part of your life and finances so that someone could judge if you were “good” enough to foster or adopt a child. You prayed fervently for the health and safety of your child and how they would come to you when you didn’t even have the slightest idea of who they were or where they were coming from. Everything about you worked so hard to become a mom and it was all a choice. You didn’t have to do it. But you chose this path and you did it because you are an amazing mom. You are a first rate mom.

Last May was my very first mother’s day. I was 6 or so months into this “momming” gig and I was so excited and grateful to finally get to be recognized as a mom on mother’s day. Six months I had spent keeping my tiny human alive. Feeding her, bathing her, changing her diaper, taking care of blowouts, taking 8,000 photos of her, scheduling dr. appointments, scheduling caseworker visits, cleaning my house from top to bottom for every one of those caseworker visits, buying clothes, going to play dates, YOU GET IT I “mommed” like every other mom out there. Well friends, can I tell you on my very first mother’s day I had someone ask me “so are you celebrating mother’s day today or no…since you aren’t technically a mom?” Wow. Major punch to the gut. For those reading this who aren’t adoptive/foster parents if anything, please take away from this post- don’t do that. Don’t you dare question how much of a mom someone is because their story looks different from yours or what you would expect.

Adoptive mama, you are an amazing mom. God chose such a beautiful path to motherhood for you. It was a hard path to motherhood but you deserve to be celebrated. You are doing the same job as every other mom on the planet. I hope you never doubt how much of a mom you are.

 

In Adoption, Foster care, Mama, Mi Familia on
January 4, 2018

To my daughter’s birth mom

You don’t know anything about me, not even my name. But I know a lot about you.

We are the same age but oh were we dealt different hands.

It’s easy for me to be angry at you.

It is easy for me to point a finger at you and say that you harmed your babies and put them in danger.

But if I sit and think about it, it is also easy for me to lower my finger and want to hug you because the world was not kind to you.

I know I don’t know everything about you but I do know you have had a hard life.

My heart hurts for you because you are doing the only thing you know how to when it comes to coping.

I wish I could tell you that your daughter is safe, that she is healthy, thriving, and incredibly opinionated even only at 15 months old, that she loves being outside, eating , hugging her stuffed animals, seeing dogs and kitty cats, and dancing to music.

There are many times I think about reaching out to you anonymously but I just don’t know if that is a good idea or not.

I want you to know that I think of you often.

I want you to know that when Evy asks about you one day, she will know as much as she wants to and as much as is age appropriate.

I printed off a picture I found of you. It is tucked away and if Evy ever asks for it, I will give it to her.

You are not a secret.

As hard as all of this is, the fact that you got pregnant, endangered your child, and had her taken away, I am grateful. It seems twisted and unfair but the fact that despite every negative choice you made, you chose to bring a beautiful life into this world. That life is my daughter. She is going to make a difference in this world in the best way possible.

I’m sure it might anger you that your greatest heartbreak is my greatest joy.

I care about you. I want you to start making better decisions. I pray for you often. In a weird way I feel close to you.

As a foster and adoptive mom I am not in the business of taking away someone’s precious treasure. After much prayer I signed up to be a safe place, a parent to a child in need. Your child was in need, you were in need, you and I both know you were not in a place to take care of your child. So there I was. Not because I am any better than you. Life is hard and doesn’t always make sense.

You are capable of finding healing. You are worthy of love from your Creator, from your family, from those around you.

It starts with surrendering your hurts, apologizing to those you have hurt because you were hurt first, and with accepting love from others. Much easier said, than done but you can do it. I bet you are stronger than you think.

Your daughter is safe. She is healthy. She is happy.

I pray these things for you as well.