This weekend we celebrated 4 years as a family of 7! On one hand I really never think about adoption, but on the other hand in some ways I think about it often. In the day to day life interactions with my kids – it is never on my mind. However, it comes up in other ways quite often. In questions others ask. In questions my kids as. When we want to see a movie and I know the theme centers around adoption or the loss of family, well those are the days I think about it a lot. We never talk about it and we talk about it all the time. That makes total sense – right?!
Each year at this time I find myself reading all the posts I wrote when we were on the journey to bring our youngest home. I am so thankful I wrote those posts. I wrote them with my daughter in mind, but didn’t realize how much they would mean to me. It is a beautiful thing to look back on and remember how I felt, but with the eyes of today. The whole series from that season is hands down my favorite posts on this blog.
As I read through them, I thought I would share this one today. It was written the day before we boarded a plane to China. I remember weeping as I wrote it, so unsure of what the future would hold.
We’d meet early in the morning, before the kids are awake.
I’d make coffee…cream and sugar for me. Yours made to order.
We could sit out back at the picnic table or among the sawdust and nails in the studio. Either one is nice for chatting right now.
If we could sit down and have a cup of coffee this morning, friend to friend, I’d probably tell you something like this:
I’m getting on a plane in the wee hours of the morning tomorrow. I’m headed across continents and an ocean to meet my daughter. And while my heart is about to burst with excitement and joy it is also completely broken for my daughter. You see, my Little One has endured so much heartbreak. For 9 months she heard the familiar sound of the voice and heartbeat of her birth mom. I don’t know the reasons or the details, but I know shortly after her birth that relationship was broken. The voice she heard, the familiar sounds – were all gone. She endured a devastating loss. Her birth family also endured a great loss.
She then learned to adjust and survive among the new sounds and new voices of an orphanage. With about 42 babies in her room and 2 nannies, she has developed survival skills that a baby should never learn. And despite all the heartbreak that goes with her orphanage, it is her home. And we are told the nannies love those babies dearly. On Monday, she will again face a devastating loss. She will lose all that is familiar and be placed in my arms – the arms of a stranger.
I would do anything for her to be able to know my voice, to recognize my face, to see into my heart and know that her future is beautiful. I wish she could see and know what I know. But she doesn’t. And my heart shatters at the thought of the fear and grief that next week could hold for her.
It was 14 years ago that I knew one day I would adopt. Both adoption and pregnancy have always been our “Plan A” and we are beyond grateful that we’ve been able to grow our family both ways. We don’t take that gift for granted for a single moment. 14 years is a long time to wait for something. It is also a long time to research and learn all about the beauty of adoption and also about orphans, poverty that leads to abandonment, human trafficking….and all the other stuff that is part of a world where children are separated from their birth families. It is also a lot of time to learn to let go of any and all expectations. We go into this trip expecting nothing, but hoping for everything.
So much of this journey has been bittersweet. With each celebration, there is a bit of heartbreak. When I fill out a medical form for my Little One, it brings me such joy to write her name with “Campbell” at the end. And then I get to the medical history part and am reminded she will spend a lifetime not knowing so many details related to her start in life. And I hurt for her loss. I gaze at her beautiful face and am in complete awe. And then I also know that most likely that beautiful cleft that I adore might have played a role in why she is not with her birth family. And I ache for the pain she will one day feel. I imagine as she grows I will see so much of myself in her, but I will also wonder what parts of her are from her birth parents. And I mourn my daughter’s loss of not knowing her birth family. You see, next week I will rejoice and celebrate becoming a mom again, but in my celebrating it means another mom does not get to know the joy of raising the daughter she gave life to. And my heart breaks for that mom.
And, yet, I am so thankful for this bittersweet. This is all a part of the work God is weaving in me and in my Little One. So, I will embrace all of it. The grief. The joy. The fear. The excitement. The mourning. The celebrating. The ashes. The beauty. I will embrace all of it.
So, if we were sitting together drinking our coffee I’d thank you for coming along this journey with me. I’d thank you for your support, your encouragement, your excitement and your love. I’d thank you for celebrating my daughter. I’d ask you to pray for her, for her heart, for her healing. I’d ask you to recognize that while we are so overcome with happiness to meet our Little One and bring her home, the journey is really just beginning.
Thanks, friend….I’m so crazy excited and ready for the morning!!!
Would you dare, would you dare to believe
that you still got a reason to sing?
‘Cause the pain that you’ve been feeling
It can’t compare to the joy that’s coming
So hold on, you gotta wait for the light
Press on and just fight the good fight
‘Cause the pain you’ve been feeling
It’s just the hurt before the healing
Oh, the pain that you’ve been feeling
It’s just the dark before the morning
~ Josh Wilson, Before the Morning lyrics