My man's question did not come out of the blue...it came as his natural "fix it" response to my discussion with him about how I had spent a good chunk of the afternoon writing my last blog post while leaving the dishes undone, the piles around the house still on the floor, and the supper made a little late. I had told him I felt a bit guilty for somewhat shirking my "stay-at-home-mom responsibilities" for a day to write something near and dear to my heart, but I also felt a huge sense of energy and joy when I clicked that "publish" button at the top of my screen. With another post written, came the feeling of accomplishment and peace no clean house would have given me. Bless his efforts to try to help me figure out a way to do it all in one day (or week). Bless his willingness to try to help me figure out how to be both a mom of young kiddos as well as a woman who wants to share her heart with a broader audience than stuffed animals and baby dolls. I appreciated his question/suggestion, but the answer just had to be "no." I am a blogger--a writer--a verbal processor...and I just can't seem to "schedule" those moments into a time frame that fits my weekly life better. Just as when the air around me starts to feel stale and I need more fresh oxygen to breathe right then--when I feel like my world around me is screaming with insight that I just need to write in order to bring sense back to it all, I need to write right then. Blogging, for me, has to happen in the moment or as close to the moment time will let me write it. (And, by the way, he's still cool with that).
So, today, I find myself in the blogging mood. The air is crisp cool today and I find myself wanting to snuggle into my warm couch cushions and spend time here with you. My 4 year old asked if we could have hot chocolate for lunch...despite my first thoughts of hot chocolate being the perfect match to snow and winter rather than the onset of fall, we drank it up and felt warm and cozy together. I needed that rich warm drink today. I needed a cozy warm feeling inside me as I reflect back over the last several days and spill it all here because the last few days have been rough ones for my Mama heart.
Adoption is hard. I know I''ve said that on this blog before, but I feel the need to say it again today...adoption is hard. It is beautiful and awe-inspiring and miraculous and life-changing and filled with immense joy, but it is also hard. There are twists and turns to every adoption story and no two are the same. Right when you think you have it figured out another turn comes and it throws you for a loop. Without going through all the details, one of those loops happened this weekend for me and I just broke down. Most days I can hack this adoption thing. Most days I can long for Nora to be in my arms while simultaneously still finding so much to be thankful for and so much to do that it just "works". Most days I can answer the "Why on earth does it take THIS long" questions with a smile and grace while putting aside my hurting heart that it actually does take THIS long. Most days I can be thrown for a loop and still enjoy the ride, but over the weekend that loop simply caused a little bit of whiplash instead and it hurt.
Did you know it's okay to grieve when those unexpected twists or turns happen? It's okay to grieve when whiplash from a turn on an adoption journey or just generally in the journey of life causes your head to need a Tyelnol? Did you know it's okay to be so incredibly sad and heartbroken? Did you know it's okay to
Beyond the tears, there were conversations of the latest twist with my man, my friends, and my God, but I still felt the need to have a conversation about what all I was feeling with the one I knew I desperately wanted to know this more than any of those other people. I needed to have this conversation with Nora. So, I wrote her a another letter to share my depths with her once again. My tears flowing out on paper instead of just down my cheeks. I've been writing several letters to her throughout our last year + of process as a way to record the journey from a waiting Mama's perspective. I've written things I wish she knew, things I wish she could have been here for, things I'm hearing she has done so she has her own "baby book" of sorts since a traditional one just won't cut it for this story, things I am looking forward to. With each letter I find healing. When I'm done writing I feel as though I've shared some moments of my day with her despite our separation. My heart is warm again when my signature is completed on the page--like a warm cup of hot chocolate on a crisp cool day. The release of all these things--tears, heartache, words, and hopes--during the moments of grief are what help me move on, get up, keep going. If I would not allow myself to "go there" I would remain stuck there, but by allowing myself to properly grieve, I find the strength and desire to open my eyes and heart again for the next big hill or the next huge twist on the roller coaster ride.
I've debated sharing my letter to Nora with you mainly because it is a personal letter to her from her Mom, but also because some of its contents have already been touched on in this post already. However, I also am desperately trying to be an "open book" and have been told by many that my honesty allows themselves to open up as well. I continue to hope that someone reading this blog will be the person contemplating adoption and seeking an honest look at what all that journey entails. My story will not be your story, but the twists and turns will come for you too and I pray that through my willingness to share my depths of the journey, it will help you in yours. Perhaps by sharing a letter I wrote to Nora you will be inspired to write one of your own to your own child or to whoever it is you feel there is a spot of grief in your heart about. I decided this one time I would share my letter publicly. Like I said, I've written many of these letters to Nora (and actually to all of my children as I was pregnant with them and now once a year around their birthday) and the rest will be private treasures for each of them to have from their Mama. May God use this for whoever it is who needed it today...this story is not about me or Nora, but about the God who is loving us all along the journey. To Him be the glory.
September 16, 2012
Nora Baby Girl,
Oh my Mama heart is breaking today. I want to be on a plane and have you in my arms so desperately. This journey is so incredibly hard. It is beautiful too, but oh so hard. I can't begin to describe the amount of pain I feel knowing it has been 10 months since Ive seen you with my own eyes, held you with my arms. I am at a loss today on how to keep a smile on my face when it just feels so wrong to be apart from you.
You turn 1 in two weeks. 1. I can't believe it. Seems like yesterday we found out about you and in the same breath it feels like so many, many moons ago. To watch you grow from a 2 month old who depended on the care of the nannies for everything to a little girl who is crawling, "singing", and lighting up the room with your smile has been amazing (just like it was for me to watch your siblings do the same). Knowing that all those things and so much more has happened while we were 1800 miles apart has been everything but amazing. It has made my Mama heart ache and long for the day we will be together. It has made my praying heart fight with all I have against anything evil that would be getting in the way of God's desire to have you in my arms. It has made my grieving heart ignite over and over as I mourn the loss of time, firsts, and young memories we have been robbed of. The first year of your life was a wonderful one in the grand picture, but oh how I feel so completely left out of it...and I'm your Mom. What Mom should feel like they are watching you grow from the sidelines? It's just hard and lonely.
Most days I can take the bad with the good. I can allow myself to be sad, but bounce back from that quickly and accept that, unfortunately. this is just how it will be--this is what we signed up for--suck it up. Most days I can look at a photo someone captured of your adorable smile and it will fuel me to keep praising God for how "quickly" He truly has allowed things to progress so far. Most days I can swallow my need to fully understand the details of this adoption process and my desire to know the next timeline, the next step in the process, the next hurdle we have to jump over. Today is not one of those days. Today is a day my pain and frustration and confusion have taken the front seat. I just want to know how long it will be--even an estimate--of long it will be before I will get to hold you, touch your hands, feel your smooth baby skin, look into your eyes, and be a Mama in the flesh for you...or maybe for me.
There is a tremendous amount of guilt I feel as a Mama who quite literally is not taking care of you. That's my job, my "calling"--to care for your needs. To teach you, love you, protect you, encourage you, and be there for you. How can I do those things for you in a way you recognize if I am not there every day--or every week--or every month--or even more than one 4 day trip in one year? I know you are young and you will not even remember the women who have devoted their every day to care for you. I know this time at the orphanage is not time you will dwell on at all later in life--you will only know that life from pictures and stories. I know if I would have been the one caring for you this entire year, you wouldn't remember any of it either. But I would and that would have made my heart feel full instead of the emptiness it feels today. In my head I know I am doing everything I can to be the best Mama I can be for you right now. In my heart, I just long for something oh so much more. I long to mother you in my arms, in my home, in my everyday life and I wish I could somehow tell you that today.
We are 1 year and 2 months into this process. We are almost through the first part of this adoption process on the Haiti side, Nora, and I thought I would be traveling soon to hold you. There is nothing I want more. I have been planning this trip as best as I can without knowing when it will be, who all will be on it with me, or what all we''ll be doing while we are there. I've had dreams of that sacred moment when I have you in my loving embrace once again. I have been so excited to watch you meet your sister for the first time. To hear giggles exchanged between the two of you. According to so many other time frames that trip should have been so soon--within the month. I had high hopes it would not be too far off from your 1st birthday so we could at least celebrate it together. When emailing back and forth with the orphanage director yesterday there was a lot of issues with communication and now I feel like I am once again left in the dark as to when on earth this trip will take place. Sounded like it could be another 2 1/2 months. When I heard that news it simply sucked the air right out of me. I am just not sure how to keep on breathing today without hurting with every in and out. I am hoping and praying God would make a way for you and I to be together far sooner than that, but if it doesn't happen, Baby Girl, please know I wanted nothing but to have you in my arms. I love you so much, Nora Josephine, so incredibly much.
Love, the Mama you don't even really know exists yet