He’s her baby too.
Yes. You read that right.
The first several months were hard as we exchanged text messages through a google app. “How is my son doing?” “When can I see my son?” “Tell my baby boy his mommy loves him.”
Insert ugly as my thoughts turned into, he’s MY son. He has a mommy and it’s ME!
I am so thankful for other adoptive mothers and our adoption workers who spoke truth into me, even when I wasn’t ready to hear it. The voices that said to stick with it and hold on. The ones who said that there could be redemption and value in our relationship.
My ugly heart.
Sometimes in life your heart goes into a situation with the right attitude. And sometimes you drag it along with the right actions until your heart can catch up. I did the latter. I responded politely. We would meet up for coffee. I had enough life lessons of “if you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all” to know to hold my tongue. So, I would go through the motions and I would pray. “God, if you really want me to do this, then love and empathy are going to have to come from you. Because I’ve searched inside of me and I have none to give.”
And that’s what He did.
I remember when I was pregnant with my first child, how I would sit so still waiting for the baby to move. And when you’ve never experienced it, you don’t know what you are feeling for. I remember so many people telling me it would feel like a gas bubble in my belly. I really didn’t know what they meant until I experienced Charlotte moving for the first time. With Walker, it was so much easier to know he was moving, because I had gone through it before. Now, sometimes I have the same feeling when it really is just a gas bubble, and it takes me back to those little flutter kicks of pregnancy.
God gave me empathy through that same feeling in the pit of my stomach.
My uneasy stomach.
We were leaving one of our early meetings and I was so angry over the use of pronouns. How could she be saying “mine” when I did not want to share? On the way home, I had that little flutter feeling and God reminded me that Judah’s birth mother had felt him kick inside of her.
Let that sink in.
She gave this baby life. She shared life with him. She felt him kick. She experienced heartburn. And she experienced heartache. She held him on her chest. She loved him before I knew he existed. She wanted a different life for him. So, she picked a stranger out of a book to raise her child. She kissed him on the cheek and walked out of an attorney’s office. All she has now is a phone number to text when her heart aches and her stomach feels empty.
Am I really going to get all worked up that she calls him her son?
“He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, yet he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and so together, we are motherhood.”-Desha Woodall
My old thoughts.
I thought if I loved him, then, how could she? I thought if he loved me, how could he love her? I thought there was a limit on how many people we could love and how many people could love us in return.
Which sounds so silly! I remember thinking when I was pregnant with our second child, how could I ever love another as much as I love Charlotte? But I’m sure you know I can love my second born just as much as my firstborn. But in adoption, we apply the same logic all the time. If I can love both of my children, why can’t Judah experience love from his birth mother and his mother? And why can’t he grow with a knowledge of both of us and love us both too?
My new perspective.
And can I just be even more vulnerable for a moment? The Lord has really softened my heart over time when it comes to caring for birth mothers. I’ve followed Jesus for many years. I’ve been through many sermons. I am pro-life to my core. But at the beginning of our adoption process, my actions were only pro-baby. What about the mother? We ask mothers all the time to choose life for their child. And then she makes a very brave decision, the baby gets here, we smile at her and pat her on the back and then say…I’ve got it from here. You make me feel a little uncomfortable. You make me feel out of control in the life of my child. Could you quietly disappear?
I know every situation is different and not every situation is safe, and we could have long discussions over coffee about everyone’s specific story. All I am saying is I nearly let the fear of “what if” keep me from extending love beyond a baby and extending it to the one who possibly needed it the most.
She is brave. She loves Judah. And yes, he is her son too.
This post is Part 2 of 4 in a series. You can read part 3 here.