The Painful Side of Mother’s Day

Blog_CactusFlowerMother’s Day is not a bouquet of fragrant flowers for everyone. For some, it feels more like a fistful of pain-inducing thorns—an unwelcome reminder of things lost. A day meant for honoring mothers becomes a time of remembering the one who was never there, or the one who left to soon. Or it maybe it awakens the droning ache of unfulfilled longing for motherhood.

For many years, that ache was my Mother’s Day companion. Though I was blessed with a good mom who inspired in me the certainty there was no greater calling than motherhood, I was unable to have children in the biological sense. Adoption was always something my husband and I had desired to pursue, so it was no hard decision to journey in that direction. The process, however, was another story.

While the outcome of adoption is always beautiful and miraculous, the process is the emotional equivalent of the pain and exhaustion involved in pregnancy and labor multiplied exponentially and drawn out for years. Despite all the toil and sacrifice, there were times when I wondered if it was ever going to happen. And more times than that I was tempted to give up.

This month, my daughter turns seven. Her favorite past-time is playing with her two year-old brother. I sit here now, laptop on the kitchen counter, surrounded by bags of clothes they’ve outgrown. Exhaustion is setting in after a full morning at the laundromat and an even fuller afternoon of dishes, diapers, and more. I spent the evening cuddling my son and reveling in my daughter’s smile, knowing God turned all my tears in to songs of joy. My children were worth the wait.

Through all my waiting, I learned that every tear sowed waters the ground for joy to spring forth. And that is my prayer for those who suffer on the painful side of Mother’s Day. May God give you eyes to see through your sorrow, and ears to hear him speak peace to your storms. May you know that our God is the lifter of heavy burdens and the comforter of all who mourn. He is able to sustain the weary, uphold the weak, and repair the broken… turning tears of sorrow into seeds of hope..

I Would Have Loved a Green, One-eyed Alien Child

Mother Child Shadow from Bing ImagesPeople say the most interesting things when it comes to the topic of adoption. Often humorous, sometimes rude, occasionally ignorant, but always interesting. Among the most interesting comments we’ve received is, “Of course you picked them. They’re so cute.” (Implying we chose our kids according to their most obviously endearing quality.)

Often, my response is a simple, polite smile. I usually don’t think of a good response until after the fact. As for the comment in question, I didn’t have an immediate reply except to say, “They ARE cute.”

And they ARE. Irresistably, impossibly, just-look-at-me-with-those-big-brown-eyes-and-I’ll-give-you-the-world…CUTE. But truth is, we had no idea what our kids would look like when we started the adoption process. They could have been green, one-eyed alien children for all we knew. We were ready, and willing, to love them—before we ever knew them. The fact that they happened to be so incredibly cute was an unexpected blessing.

Contrary to popular though immensely misguided belief, adoption is not about finally getting that much-desired bundle of joy. It’s not about filling empty, longing arms with a sweet, cuddly baby. And it’s not about picking a cute, lovable kid to add ascetic value to the next family photo.

Adoption is a permanent choice to invest our lives in a PERSON who will be part of our family…for life. That adorably innocent baby will one day grow to become a child, a teen, and, eventually, an adult. That’s why adoption is a long-haul commitment. It’s a binding decision to love at all costs, no matter what and for as long as we have breath. As with a biological child, relationship with an adopted child is a lifelong investment. They are loved, and they are family, no matter what they look like, who they are, what they do, or who they become. And their value is worth more than the greatest treasure we can imagine.

The Bible says God loved us before we were even born. His commitment to love runs so deep he sent his only son to die that we could be reconciled in relationship with him. And he willingly adopts us into his own family, should we chose to accept his invitation. This love is a binding love that doesn’t give up and doesn’t let go. No matter what.

“God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” (Ephesians 1:5)

True Love…is BINDING (Day 40, #50ShadesOfTrueLove)