Before You Were Mine
A couple of weekends ago, I got to spend the weekend at the Created for Care retreat with some of my best friends. It was so nice to have a weekend away and to get to spend it with over 400 other adoptive mommas.
I loved getting to hear from some of my favorite speakers from last year’s retreat. I’m so blessed by these women who chose to spend their weekend sharing their wisdom and experience with all of us younger moms. This year there was a new speaker, Carissa Woodwyk, who spoke about her experience as a Korean adoptee. I’m always hungry to hear from grown adoptees. I guess part of this stems from my anxiety as an adoptive momma. Am I doing things right? Am I loving them enough? Am I respecting their past, acknowledging their pain, giving them what they need to heal?
Carissa reminded me of the importance of letting my kids have their own story. Their lives didn’t begin when they came to our home. They have a past before us. All kids who have been adopted have a past; even babies who are adopted at birth have a past before their adoptive parents. To tell their story as if it started with us is not only selfish, it’s damaging. So I was inspired by Carissa to write down all the details of Josiah’s and Evelyn’s stories before they joined our family. No, I don’t know every detail, but I know a lot.
I thought I would share with you the opening I wrote for Evy. I’m not sharing the details because those are for her only, to share if and when she wants to. But I hope that this will maybe inspire other adoptive moms (and bio moms – everyone would love to have their story written down!).
For the last two years, I’ve been piecing together your past, trying to fit the people and events together to write your story before you came to us. I want you to have this to reflect on. I hope that reading this will show you, not only how loved you have been by your birth family and by your forever family, but that God has held you in the palm of His hand since the moment of your conception. He has loved you more than words can explain.
I don’t understand why your birth family has suffered so much, but I know that God loves them. Our world is broken. And ever since Adam and Eve first sinned, that pain and brokenness has rippled throughout creation. It affects our health, our families, our environments, our ability to provide for ourselves and our children, our social systems, our governments, and every other aspect of our lives. I believe that God is in control, but, as I said, I don’t understand why He has allowed these things to happen to your family. But I also believe that He makes all things beautiful. I know that He can and will redeem and restore all things, and this includes your family and your relationship with them. Whether we experience it in this life or not, He will redeem and restore even this.
I want you to know that your daddy and I consider your birth family to be our family. We pray for them, we love them, and we will be forever grateful to them. They have given us the most amazing gift . . . YOU. I will forever cherish the moments we have spent with your birth mother. They are so precious to me. She and I have a strong bond, and that bond is you.
I want you to know that this was not an easy decision for your birth mother. She loves you with all of her heart. She will never forget you. You will always be her daughter. And I feel so blessed to share the role of mother with her. You have two mothers . . . you always will. I cannot replace her, and I don’t want to. I want you to know that I am not threatened by her, and I will always respect the role that she plays in who you are. You have my full blessing to love her as her daughter should love her.
So here is your story, though it’s only the beginning. As I write this, you are three and a half years old, and yet you already have such a deep history. But your future is so much wider. I can’t wait to see the plans that God has in store for you . . .