Thursday, September 27, 2012

Labor Pains and Real Parents

Okay, today I have another one of those "please bear with me, I just need to get it off my chest" posts. I was recently sitting with The Little One in a cafe when a random woman walks by and says "I think it's so cool you adopted. And think of all the things you didn't have to deal with like labor pains and recovery like a real mom would!"  Um, where do I even start with this?????

Let's start with the labor pains. No, I did not experience physical labor, didn't gain 15 lbs in water weight over 9 months and have my feet disappear below my stomach. I did not have contractions, I didn't have to push and I didn't have all the physical recovery that comes with passing a cantaloupe through a teeny-tiny opening. But let me tell you about the pain I did experience. Anyone who was working with me the day that TLO was born can verify that I most certainly experienced labor - it was just mental. Coming up with a last-minute plan of how to travel 1000 miles in a couple of hours along with all the "stuff" we had but hadn't yet got organized was crazy.  I nearly hyperventilated with my frantic breathing while walking up to a ticket agent and telling her "I'm having a baby in Phoenix and I need to get there as soon as possible!" and then pacing in an airport waiting alone for my flight to get to my sweet daughter. And then, after years of waiting to have  a family with my husband I was alone in an airport when I got the call that our baby was born - she was only a few hours away from me at that point, but my husband was still about 15 hours away! And my recovery...well, sometimes I still wonder if I've recovered! The utter shock, franticness and total disbelief in something so amazing happening in my life made it so difficult to recover. My 9 months of mental preparation were crammed into 2 1/2 very short weeks and that makes it very difficult to wrap your brain around what's happening. Couple that with sleep deprivation when she was little and I was trying to process all the changes and it's an even bigger challenge.  My heart still aches from the pain that another woman went through. I would go through any pain imaginable to have my daughter. Please don't ever say I didn't have pains with our daughter's birth.

And now, my soap box is getting a little bigger...I am a REAL mom lady. Let me pinch you and I'll show you just how real I am. I am the mother of this sweet child. I am the mother who cries when she cries, who holds her when she's scared or hurting, I am the one who wipes her tears, knows every mark on her body and knows her favorite little tickle spot under her chin. I am so real and I am so her mom.

....stepping off the soapbox now...

Thank You Lord for giving me this child who has blessed me beyond imagine. Thank You for taking me through the adoption experience and making me the mother that I am. Please continue to help me with the ache for the sweet birthmother of our little one. Help me to heal as You help her continue healing. And God, please help me get the word out to erase the ignorance that exists in our world to let people know that adoptive parents are REAL parents and that the pain we experience is real, it's just different. Amen.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

You Are Not Alone

My Little One turned 11 months old yesterday. 11 months! I can't believe we're already planning her first birthday party! But here's the crazy thing - a year ago we didn't even know about the little blessing who would soon come into our lives!

But with an 11 month old comes some not-so-fun problems - separation anxiety. Ugh. Just the simple act of setting her down elicits a crumpled face and tears. And Heaven forbid I leave the room once she's set down!   We're in the "pick me up and hold me, no put me down look at all those toys I want to play with, no pick me up" phase.  It's a frustrating stage (please Lord, let this just be a stage!) but one that I can sort of understand...sort of.

When I've been comforted in the arms of my Lord, held tightly and comforted to know He loves me, the last thing I want is to be left alone. I remember the times I have felt like God set me down after holding me in His arms. Times when He has stood me on my feet and says "it's okay, you'll be alright, you can walk now." How overwhelming that feeling is! How I have longed for the comfort and safety of being held in His arms! And the times I have sat with my own face crumpling and cried to be held again. But like my daughter, once I'm held I look and see the fun things I could be doing and want to get down and play on my own. But just like The Little One (TLO) and I have a compromise that I will hold her hand for a few minutes until she's ready to go play on her own, my God will hold me hand when I need it. He will hold it until I'm ready to walk on my own. Or in the words of the old song 

Hold my hand all the way 
Every hour, every day 
From here to the great unknown 
Take my hand 
Let me stand 
Where no one stands alone 

I try to reassure TLO that she will never be alone, that even if I leave the room or leave her with someone else I will always come back. I will always hold her hand. 

"...I am not alone, for my Father is with me." John 16:32

Lord, You have given me great blessings! You gave me such a beautiful little child who teaches me big lessons. thank You for holding my hand, for supporting me when I am weak and when I feel alone. TThank You for comforting me when I crumble under my fears and anxieties. Thank You for holding me in Your arms when I need it and holding my hand while I stand on my own feet. Thank You for reminding me that I am not alone. Give me the patience to provide similar comfort to my little one when she feels alone. Help me show her that she will never be alone. Amen