Saturday, November 22, 2014
Adoption; A Different Kind of Brave
I wish I had stopped to buy one of those fancy starbucks drinks before I sat down to write this. I know that I could use the comfort of a warm drink as I speak about this topic. It's something I haven't really talked about on here in the past. It's about adoption and being brave but it's probably not what you are expecting.
Today marks the one year anniversary since I sat in a courtroom and watched my favorite little men get adopted. One year since I was invited to join in on a celebration that also meant part of my heart was breaking.
I suppose to bring you up to speed I would really need to fill you in on my life, my story. Which is something I've done only in bits and pieces. I will only share the parts of it that pertain here, afterall this is not a Stephen King novel, it's a blog. I have one younger (biological) sister. More on that another day. When I was 22 I received the first word that would mark 2005 as the second worst year of my life. Only beaten out by this year, 2014. The text was to tell me that my mom had died. It was a shock and as anyone in shock does I worked through it and tried to be as strong as possible.
After my moms wake, that same night, I was told that my 17 year old sister was seven months pregnant. I had no idea. Needless to say that changed things more than I had originally anticipated. All in one week my life was turned upside down.
So I did what the right thing was. I got an apartment and my sister and I moved in together. When the baby was born I loved him as if he was my own. My heart just overflowed with love and adoration for such a small little man. It was great. I loved getting up and carrying him in the middle of the night when no one else would hear his cries. Because I was in school full time and working part time my schedule was kind of all over the place. But this allowed me to spend lots of mornings with him. I took him everywhere with me. We went to the mall, we went to the zoo, I took him to see santa and the easter bunny and it was auntie-time all the time. It was really sweet.
Things ended up happening and I made the decision to move out. Slowly I lost the time I used to have with my little man. Then in 2010 my sister had another little guy. Things were really hard for my sister and her boyfriend at the time and long story short is that the little guys ended up in foster care. They were still in the dads family but it was very clear that things had changed.
After about a year, it was decided that the kids cannot stay in foster care any longer and needed to be in a permanent home. There's a long story in here but I'll spare you those details. Flash forward to November 2013 as I sit in a courtroom and watch my little guys be handed over for adoption. They are still in the dads family but in my eyes it's one more degree of separation from what I used to have.
Today RI celebrates National Adoption Day. All the kids that are lined up for adoption get together before being called in to make it official and share donuts and love with their adopting families. For me it was extremely awkward. My anxiety was at an all time high. I could have burst into tears on cue but saved it for before and after the ceremony. For the sake of my little guys I put on a new dress and a smile on my face.
So this post is about adoption and being brave and you're probably wondering where I'm going with all of this. Well, for me it took a lot of courage to go to that event. To not cry in front of the family. But it was more than that, too.
For years, knowing things were getting tough, I wrestled with the thought of taking them. For so many reasons that I can't get into today, I never did make that decision. I can't explain to you how incredibly hard it was and how I struggled with it. I didn't really talk about my feelings to anyone, then or now. Probably because in my heart I feel so guilty for not just doing it. I never felt it was my calling, it never seemed like my life plan.
It still hurts me to think about that. I still feel guilty. My heart hurts knowing that my relationship with my first nephew is not what it was. There's too much distance and too much of his own life now. I never even had that chance for a relationship with my littlest. In fact, I've never even been able to take him out. I feel like a bad aunt. I feel like I should have done more and I wish that I could have.
Sometimes we make excuses for reasons why we can't do things but in this case I know that it wasn't meant for me. My little men are being taken care of so well, they are loved deeply, they go on more vacations than I do, I'm pretty sure they are VIP in Disney and they are surrounded by family that loves them. Truthfully, there is nothing I want more than them to feel that. To grow up surrounded by a loving family is something I still dream of for myself. I know that this is the best possible outcome from a really hard situation.
So what I'm saying is this. Adoption is wonderful and awesome and I praise all the people who are doing the hard thing of adopting. It is absolutely brave and courageous. It's not easy going through the process whether your child is international or local. I don't even know a smidge of how hard it is. It's not easy to deal with emotions from a child who has never known true love. It's not easy to fit someone into your home all of a sudden like that. But it's so amazing. You are such a blessing and unless you lived without an awesome family it's hard to know just how much it really means.
But it's also worth mentioning that sometimes not adopting is the brave thing. To hope and pray for the best possible outcome knowing it's out of your hands. Sometimes it's brave to say you can't do something, it's not Gods plan for you. It's brave and courageous to stand in a room of happy people and not cry because your heart is the only one breaking. To hear that the new family has decided to replace your last name with theirs but leaving dads. It's brave to hold back tears as you watch your babies sit in the judges seat and bang the gavel. It's brave to know that sometimes no matter how badly you want something that it's just not meant for you. It's honorable to speak up and say you aren't going to do it just because it seems like the right thing. But to instead let go of the ones you loved more than life itself. The ones you would have given your life for if it was needed.
In the past year I've seen my little men become stronger and smarter and happier. I know they struggle, especially my oldest nephew. Emotionally he still can't make sense out of why he can't live with his mom and it breaks our hearts. But he's doing amazing things! This summer I went to watch him run a 5k. I couldn't have been prouder. He is such a brave little man, too. I just absolutely adore him and his brother and I am thankful to God that they have been given a chance to really grow. I am beyond thankful that despite the circumstances and the outcome that they still get to be a part of my life. It may not be as much as I want or the way I want it but God was so good to keep them in my life at all. I'm so grateful.
Sometimes being brave is letting go and seeing what God will do. Trusting that everythings works together for good and knowing that it always does work out in the end. How beautiful when we can catch a glimpse of that plan unfolding. How awesome to keep watching it evolve and knowing that this is not the end. This story still has so much to be told and I can't wait to see what other good things God will do.