Three years ago today, my son's bio mom found her way to his crèche/orphanage. She had decided to stop the adoption, and was there to take him with her.
I'll never forget that day. Thinking back on it, I still get a knot in my throat.
At almost three years into the adoption process, we were all anticipating his arrival home soon. And now, suddenly that didn't look to be an option.
I remember folding over in tears at work, after getting the call that he was gone. Feeling paralyzed by the pain. Alone in my emptiness.
Eight weeks. The longest two months of my life. The hardest Mother's Day I had ever known.
Although it was the most excruciating time, it was also a time of growth. In those eight weeks, I journeyed through emotions I had never faced.
I was angry. I hated his bio mom. Couldn't understand why she would do this to us, and to her son.
Then I became sad. Afraid he wasn't being cared for. Questioning if I'd ever see him again.
Next, I turned to understanding, but with some pity in the mix. After all, he is her son. What makes me think I deserve to have him with me?
And finally, I landed on what I call the King Solomon realization (1 Kings 3:16-28). After anger, sadness, and understanding, I was able to see that I had turned my attention away from the top priority, my son. I began praying for his bio mom, that she would know how to love on him. Praying that she would provide food and safety, and keep him healthy. Begging God to somehow assure me that he was going to be ok. Promising God that I wouldn't falter in my faith, no matter what happened in the end. Trusting that above all, God is sovereign and good.
That season of our adoption journey, is what I needed. In that season, I was able to refocus. Our son and our adoption process had gotten so much attention, we almost felt like local celebrities. We joked about how our son would have to learn to sign his name, because he already had so many fans that he was going to be famous. We had somehow, unknowingly made it about us.
If I could go back three years, I might still try to stop that whole piece of the journey. It caused more wounds in our son. It created more confusion in his mind. But it allowed the conversation he and I recently had.
Crying on the way home from school one day, he felt so misunderstood.
"No one understands! No one can understand. I'm different, and no one gets me!"
"How are you different bud? We are all unique. What's going on?"
"No, because of my mom!"
"Me? Did I do something?"
"No! My bio mom. She hates me and she gave me away. And no one gets it. No one!"
With tears streaming down both our faces, I was thankful we were only a mile from home. But with nowhere to pull over, and with as much eye contact as I could make, I pulled sunglasses off and told my son the story I just told you.
"Your mom does not hate you. She far from hates you. Remember when you spent that time with her when she picked you up from the crèche? It's because she loves you, and she wanted to try to make it work out. And remember all those stories you've told me about that time? Bud, she tried her best, you know that right? She did all she knew to do. And then she decided it couldn't be what's best for either of you. She loves you so much that she wanted to make sure that you're happy and healthy. I'm thankful for her. She trusts me to be your mom. I was sad when you went with her then, and I would be sad if you weren't with me now. And I would bet that she thinks about you a lot too. She doesn't hate you, she loves you very much."
We spent the rest of that evening, looking through pictures of others who've been adopted. I promised him we would spend more time with other kids he can relate to. And at his request, we will visit his birth country when he's a little older, hoping to find and visit some loved ones. But in the meantime, we plan to swap pictures and letters with some of his bio family.
Nothing can successfully describe the pain three years ago. But nothing can take away the joy of not just saying I'm thankful for his mom, but truly meaning it. With my whole heart, I'm honored to be trusted with such an amazing little guy.
I anticipate all the things to come!
God is sovereign. God is good.