Anchored Joy

Joyfully bringing healing and wholeness to our adopted kids

Thoughts on Birthdays and Adoption

AdoptionTracee WagnonComment

Every year on their birthdays I desperately try to remember what I was doing... I wake up and think, "Shouldn't my heart have known that my child, from my womb or not, was born today?"  It seems impossible to me that a day that changed my life forever could be lost to me forever.  

Did I wake up and have my morning coffee?  Did I have a good day?  I am inclined to think I did. Somehow I know that God must have whispered something into my heart the day both girls were born... I like to think that I spent those days being hopeful instead of heartbroken.

Later during the day, my mind always turns to their birth mothers.  And I always come around to the realization that the fact that I can't remember their birthdays, but their first mother's can, is just right.  (I'm speaking just for our family, not for anyone else's.  I am definitely not generalizing for all adoptive families.  Everyone's journey is different.)

The days my daughters were born were between them and their birth mothers.  I've come around to being thankful that they had that day together.  I know despite the outcome, their birth mother's loved them that day, and still do.  I imagine they held them on that day, just the way I held my children that came from my own body on the days they were born.  We have learned so much about how hard it is on our girls hearts that they did not get to grow up with their original families.  I can't help but be thankful that they got this day with them, a day full of that joy and discovery between a mom and child.  We know from research that though they may not cognitively remember that day, their body remembers.

While part of my heart will always wish I was able to birth all my children or be there the moment they entered this world... I've come around to accepting the actual events of those days.  I've come around to knowing that their stories, our stories, have played out just as God intended.  I've come around to being thankful for their birth mothers, who chose life for my girls.  It definitely didn't come naturally, it was something that I worked at - for my daughters' sake.

Today, on my daughter's 9th birthday, I think of her birth mother and I pray that she is ok.  I pray that she cherishes the moments she had with our little girl.  I hope she knows that her daughter is loved and well cared for. That she's part of a family.  She's a big sister and a little sister.  I wonder if our daughter got her natural talent for anything sporty from her birth mother, because she so did not get it from anyone else in this house!  I hope her heart doesn't ache too much, but I imagine that it does.  I hope she knows we tell our daughter that her birth mother did the best she knew how, and that no matter the outcome - she loved her then and loves her still now.

I may not have gotten the first day, but I get so many amazing days.  It's a privilege I try, like every mother, not to take for granted.  



Don't Rush My Grief

Tracee WagnonComment


I woke up today and I ached.  I ached to feel the pressure that had been building in my womb, forming a new life.  Instead, I felt empty.  

But I got out of bed.  I took my children to their soccer game.  I cheered for them, felt the rush of adrenaline as their team moved the ball closer and closer to the goal.  I jumped to my feet and shouted when they scored.  And while I didn't take as many pictures as I usually do, I took some.

I wished my husband still had a reason to hover over me and argue about carrying a lawn chair. I wished I could act annoyed at his overprotectiveness, all while secretly being pleased.  My heart ached some more.  Today I was supposed to be pregnant.  I was supposed to be thinking of names and nursery colors.

Yesterday I chatted with my children as they got ready for school.  I took my four year old to the park and we watched trains go by and airplanes do flips in the sky above us.  I was supposed to have my first OB appointment.  I wished I was there, seeing my baby's tiny heartbeat for the very first time.  My heart ached, longing for that moment that was never to be.  I smiled at my daughter and helped her pick out Palace Pets from K-Mart.  It pleased me to be able to spoil her a little bit.

I cooked dinner, excited to try something new in the electric pressure cooker I had forgotten on the counter weeks ago.  It felt good to make a meal for my family, take care of them, be up and in my kitchen.  And it felt horrible.  Horrible that life goes on.  

I am struggling and I am living.  I get out of bed.  I have good moments and bad moments.  I laugh at jokes and suddenly cry at the drop of a hat.  I want to be surrounded by my people and I want to be left completely alone.

The point is - I am grieving.  But I'm also still living.  So when I need to talk of my loss, please let me.  Please don't tell me it happened for a reason.  It may be true, but just let me grieve my loss.  Please don't tell me that something better is coming.  My heart wanted this thing.  This baby.  This life.  I know God has a plan for me.  I know He is working all things for my good, no matter how not good things feel right now.  But I can still grieve.

Today a song we used to sing in King's Kids popped into my head.  He turned my mourning into dancing again, He's lifted my sorrows. I can't stay silent, I must sing for His joy has come. I smiled as I tried to remember the words in Portuguese. I know His joy will come.  I have no doubt of that.  I still feel moments of joy when my children smile and my husband tells me he loves me.  But I can still mourn my loss.

I can't rush this process.  I can't stuff my feelings down and look ahead.  We need to get past the idea that mourning and sadness are somehow bad things.  Stuffing our feelings doesn't make us stronger.  Working through them does.  Working through my grief, allowing the feelings, and the process, is how I will get to better days.

I know the Lord is working all things for my good... but when I stuff my feelings and hasten this process, how would I ever see the good He can work in this?  What was even the point of my baby's life if I don't take the time I need?  

I wanted so much more time with this baby... I'm never going to get that time, this side of Heaven.  

Soon life is going to take over, Senior Year events, soccer games, Girl Scouts, work, family trips... I'm not going to think of him just about every moment, hours will go by, then a day at a time, and then some day it could even be weeks.  I know how this goes, we've done it before.  I think about our child we lost thirteen years ago just about every time someone asks how many children I have and I answer four, so things don't get awkward.  But I don't think about him every day anymore, or even every week.  

So I know how it goes.  And I know I need this time to mourn our loss.  

I'm getting out of bed every day.  So as long as I'm doing that, and as long as I'm laughing still, and cooking dinner, and taking my daughter to the park, and cheering on soccer games, and having pointless conversations about Starr Wars, and having good moments... please don't rush my grief.  

The Chipping away of Lies

Tracee WagnonComment

I've begun to pick apart the lies I've been believing.  There are a lot of them and it's taking time to change my thinking.  

My 3rd mission trip was to Brazil through YWAM.  We went after spending a week in Atlanta praying over the Olympics in the summer of 1996.  Toward the end of our two weeks in Brazil the leaders spoke words over us.  One of my favorite leaders spoke a word over me, that I would work with children, making a difference in their lives.  It took me years to figure out that this did not automatically mean I was supposed to be a teacher.  When we became foster parents this word came back to my mind and I knew it was the fulfilling of this word.

Last week a thought popped into my head.  

It's so cunning how the enemy works.  Seven years ago when we started fostering, there is no way I could have had the thought, "You're just not good with children.  It's best to leave that to others," without immediately knowing where that thought came from.  But the enemy doesn't always go straight to what he wants us to believe.  He chips away.  One small thought after a hard moment.  A lie so small it's almost undetectable.  Those undetectable thoughts build upon each other, slowly chipping away at our identity in Christ and the promises He has given.  

I've never wanted to believe I'm more than I am... I've never wanted to come off as cocky or arrogant.  In this attempt to keep myself from being over confident, I've achieved quite the opposite and undervalued myself.  I've never been confident in my identity or who Christ says I am.  So when these small lies pop into my head, it's easy to believe them.  I didn't want to believe I was a great mom because of the moments I really screwed up as a mom.  I see my impatience, my irritation, my tendency to yell and stack all these things against myself.  It's not hard to allow the enemy to chip away at a promise and agree with all the lies.

But that lie... that last one he's been working up to for years.  All I can say is that Holy Spirit gave a shout, "NO!" and refused to let it enter my spirit.  As I contemplated where it came from and how I came to this place, all the chipping away and all the little lies I believed that led up to this, were clear to me.  

I was called to work with children.  I was called to see families healed and made strong.  I don't know what that looks like yet, as my family is still healing.  I don't know how this will play out, but I do see a promise in there - my family will find healing.   And as we travel out of the pit, we will grab others and bring them along.  

Being confident in this calling is a new feeling for me.  I wish it was something I knew how to immediately fully embrace, that God would wipe away every lie in an instant and I could boldly and securely move forward with His plan for my life.  It hasn't been that way though, it's a process.  Writing it out and being vulnerable with my feelings has been a part of it.  I wonder though, if I have allowed this chipping away, have others as well?  Can my vulnerability help?

I encourage you to examine your heart and remind yourself of the promises that have been spoken over you.  Are you believing any lies about them?  Can you recognize where the enemy is chipping away, trying to make sure you never step into what God has for you?