Anchored Joy

Joyfully bringing healing and wholeness to our adopted kids

The Privilege of Adoptive Parenting

AdoptionTracee WagnonComment

This is my daughter.  My tree climbing, horse riding, book reading, Warrior Girl.  Today I want to tell you what a privilege it is to be her mom.  

I haven't always felt this way.  "Why me?" has actually crossed my mind quite a bit.  If you've adopted a child that has problems attaching, you probably understand.  The hard days (and nights) wear you down.  More than once I've fought with God, "I didn't cause this, why do I have to fix it?"  And more than once He has gently reminded me that He didn't cause sin, but He sent His one and only son to fix it.  For me, a sinner.  

The same chapter of the Bible that commands us to care for the widows and the orphans also says at the beginning to, "Count it all joy, my brothers, when you encounter various trials" (James 1:2)  So how do we count it joy when we have a child that rejects us?

I'll tell you how I'm counting it as joy today.  I have had the privilege of easing her broken heart while she grieves her birth mother and what should have been.  I have had the privilege of teaching her how to manage big feelings that come along with so much loss at a young age.  I got to be the one to ease her fears of the future, when she thought it was going to be her against the world for her whole life.  

I am the one that gets to teach her about love, the most powerful force on earth.  

And yet in the process, my sweet warrior girl has taught me more about love than I could have ever hoped to learn anywhere else.  

I learned about love the day I said, "I do".  I learned about it the first time I heard my son's heartbeat inside of my womb and the moment I held him for the first time.  I learned about love through ups and downs in the beginning of my marriage.  I learned about love with our very first foster placement.  (I remember that was the first time I knew love could be so fierce.)  I learned about love when our middle daughter was placed in my arms and after the social workers left, my husband and I peeled the old ratty hospital gown off of her and counted her fingers and toes and dressed her up in pretty pink.  I learned about love when my Warrior Girl walked into my home at 18 months old, the first day I was her mom, and she crawled up in my lap and fell asleep in my arms.  I definitely learned about love after 11 years of praying for a pregnancy and finally learning I was pregnant with a miracle.

Teaching someone to love must be intentional.  Without my Warrior Girl, I still would have loved and had a large capacity for love, as that's something God put in me when He created me.  But I may never have known these valuable love lessons, which are incredibly dear to me now: 

Love is hard work.  Something I knew from marriage, but in adoption is taken to a whole new level.  

Sometimes I am no good at love.  Sometimes I just downright fail at it.  I need Jesus and His kind of love flowing through me.  Only then can I give her the love she needs.

Loving can be, and should be, fought for.  Again, something that we learn in marriage, but is so much... more... in adoption.  Proving to someone that you love them, unconditionally, when everyone before you has let them down, well it's going to be a fight.  But it's also going to be worth it.

Love can be scary.  Being vulnerable is hard.  Loving a child that rejects you can cause you to want to behave the same way - reject them.  You want to throw your walls up, after loving them so hard and so long and being rejected so many times.

Jesus loves me.  With a never ending, beautiful, full of grace, kind of love.  I should have known this before, and I did to some extent.  Every day I know it more.  Mostly through the mistakes I just keep making and the grace He just keeps giving.

There is an endless capacity for love.  Love isn't ever divided, it is only ever multiplied.  

There are certain places in your heart that can only be filled by specific people.  Or Jesus.  But no one else can fill them.  And we shouldn't try to.  My daughter has a birth mother size hole in her heart.  I can't ever fill that space.  It's not meant for me.  There is still plenty of room for me (see my last point) and I don't have to ever feel intimidated by that spot, or nervous to fill it, or uneasy about it!  I hope that one day she meets her birth mom, and that the spot can be somewhat filled.  But there will still be woundings there that only Jesus can heal.  What I can do is be there for her when that hole in her heart hurts, because it's going to.

I may not be able to count it all joy every day (I am a work in progress) but today I count it JOY that I have the privilege of being her mom, of walking her through healing and that I am learning just as much as she is.  I love this girl with a fierce kind of love that will never give up and keep on learning and fighting for her full healing.

What are some things you've learned about love, as a mom?