That is when we decided to adopt. After I prayed for peace, the next prayer was this:
God, please help me to love our birth mom, not judge her.
As a naturally critical person, I was afraid my insecurities or judgments would interfere with God’s work in our adoption. For over two and a half years, our prayer has been to unconditionally love our birth mother and to accept her into our lives.
Fast-forward to June 2015.
All adoptive families want to receive “the call,” and finally, we received our call. We had been selected. We scheduled a visit to meet our birth mother in Texas and talk about the logistics of the baby’s birth. There isn’t a rule book of how to interact with your birth mom. You just kind of do it. She set the tone for the interactions, but our agency made sure that we discussed the sensitive topics. When we arrived at our meeting with the birth mother, we didn’t know what to expect. We couldn’t have asked for a better meeting. All she could talk about were our needs and the baby’s needs. She constantly put others ahead of herself in our discussions.
When Benjamin was born, we had frequent reminders that he wasn’t our child. We were connected to him but technically didn’t “have him. Fighting the emotions of wanting to love a child who wasn’t yet “ours” was emotionally and mentally challenging. We tried to love him in the best ways we could. Something else we were not expecting was the truth: loving Benjamin meant loving our birth mother.
The Choice to Love
We constantly had to work out with our birth mother who was to care for Benjamin. Our birth mother was also recovering from a c-section and needed physical assistance, encouragement to eat/drink, and someone to talk to about her emotions. I could feel God giving us a choice. Would we show love only to Benjamin? Or would we also show love to our birth mother, even if that meant giving up time with Benjamin and loving her when it was uncomfortable to us?
Using Adoption to Teach Us About Loving Others
When I look back over that time in the hospital, I am so thankful that God showed us what to do. We had no control over what was happening and no “road map” of what to do or how to act. God used our adoption story to teach us what loving others when it’s uncomfortable could look like. It wasn’t until Benjamin was born that a realization hit me. This child was not ours; it was hers. Yes, we had waited…and waited…and prayed…and cried…and grew angry…and waited some more. But, it was her choice to follow through with the adoption. It was her choice to make medical decisions regarding the baby. And it was her choice to engage in sacrificial love so her child could have the life she planned but could not give.
Our birth mother stated that she was confident of her decision, but her pain was evident. She loved Benjamin so much. You could see it in how she swaddled him, fed him, changed him, and held him. Her choice did not invalidate her sacrifice. That sort of love made me feel guilty. I felt unworthy of being forever connected with her. How do I show love to a woman who is giving a part of herself to us?
Adoption Changed Our View of People
People have suggested that it’s time for us to move on. This has been difficult for me. I constantly think about our birth mother. While we were together, we talked about life, family, and God’s presence in our lives. Our time in Texas challenged us spiritually, mentally, and physically. Beside the fact that we are now a family of three, it also provoked new thoughts of life, love, and our Christian walk. This wasn’t something that we can move on from because it has changed the way we look at and love other people. I can only pray that it helps us move forward in how we treat others.
This experience has led me to several questions:
- What would the world look like if more people chose life (adoption/parenting) over death (abortion)?
- If we truly treated everyone as if they were made in the image of God–put aside race, socioeconomic status, education level, worldview–what would the world look like? What if we really treated people like we would want to be treated? We wouldn’t even need rules and regulations governing our way of life because the Spirit would lead us to live in communion with one another.
- What if there were fewer adoptions? What if we were in the lives of others so much that we pooled our resources and supported all families (not just those that look, act, and talk like us) as we all try to get through life? There would be fewer adoptions/foster care children, more family preservation, and more support. God asks to us to give to the poor and support those in need. He asks us to stand in the gap for those who are hurting. Isn’t this the basis of what draws biological families into turmoil and chaos?
I don’t know what the answers to these question are, or even if they are logical. I just hope that these questions will lead our family to live out the love of Christ in everything we do.
May us all live lives where we love others even when it’s uncomfortable.
May God use us to engage others who are not like us. Help us support them with the sacrificial love of Christ.
Lori and her husband used Christian Homes and Family Services in Texas to become adoptive parents.
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