“Mommy, didn’t you like it the way it was?”
The Boat was Rocking
I found her sitting on the stairs all by herself. Head bowed and those little 8 year old knees drawn up to her chest. We were in those early stages of non-stop intensity (and, therefore, physical and emotional exhaustion) having just brought our first two adopted children home from Russia.
Julia, who you can see in the tea party photo above with the yellow scarf, was trying to grab hold of something that would steady the rocking of the boat of her life a little. She was trying to make sense of it all I think. As soon as I saw her sitting alone on the stairs, my mother’s heart was moved. I knew I was up against another need, a deep and important need, in our family. Could I handle this? Could I calm the storm enough for my sweet daughter?
She simply asked one question.
“Mommy, didn’t you like it the way it was?”
Loss is Loss
That one question, spoken in her sweet little girl’s voice, was one of the most moving times in my life as a mother. It was a question weighted with the pain and fear of change, the cost and sacrifice of giving, and the sadness of loss. Because as wonderful as adoption is, and it is truly truly wonderful, there is much pain and loss that accompanies it. For our adopted children, there was the loss of their culture, their birth family, the loss of literally all that was familiar to them– every smell, every taste, every sight, every touch, every sound.
And loss is loss, isn’t it? Even when the loss is the door through which a wonderful gain and blessing from God is secured.
For Julia, the youngest of our three birth daughters, there was also loss. The loss of the comfort and familiarity of her home, her family relationships, of her schedule. Comfort and familiarity was regained as we all got our adoption sea legs, but that time of transition was a huge adjustment for us all. Julia was grieving her loss, and needing to know that we saw her in the midst of it.
A Question of My Own
I remember silently asking God for help. You know those moments as a parent when you know you have been given a weighty opportunity– those uncomfortable moments when you wonder if you have what it takes. So, I did exactly the same thing Julia did, I asked my Daddy God a question of my own.
“Father, You are the Wonderful Counselor. How do I answer this question?”
When I try to describe how it felt for me–being the mother of three biological daughters whose worlds had been rocked, and the new mother of a 5 year old boy and a 10 year old girl whose worlds had been utterly and completely and permanently altered– I use the analogy of a swimmer treading water, just barely keeping up high enough to take a breath. That’s how it felt in those early months. Do any of you relate? It wasn’t as negative as it sounds; actually it wasn’t negative at all. But, boy, was it hard!
And I felt the lapping of the water rippling under my nose!
A Glorious Moment
Oh how thankful I am to know that God speaks to me and to be in relationship with Him! Dear mothers and fathers, your Heavenly Father is speaking to you. He has so much to say to you about your children!
For me, this was one of those glorious moments when I suddenly knew what to say. Holy Spirit showed me the path forward, what my sweet girl needed to hear from me. It went something like this:
Julia, when Daddy and I got married we were so happy together. We loved being married! After a time we began to think how wonderful it would be to have a baby. Not because we were unhappy or because we didn’t like the way it was. Not at all! It was because we were so happy and content together that we wanted to share that with a child. After Emma was born, we were so happy. We loved her and did not ever think, “Emma is not enough for us. She does not satisfy, so we need to have another baby…” No. We liked the way it was, so much that we wanted to have another baby. After Rachel was born, the same thing happened. We wanted to have you, not because we were dissatisfied, but because we had a Julia place in our hearts. And you were born.
When we brought Kristina and Pasha home we did not do so because we didn’t like it the way it was. NO! We so loved being the mommy and daddy to Emma, Rachel and Julia! So much that we were able to hear God when He said that there were more children for us.
As I spoke these words it was like I could see the boat begin to steady; I could see the peace settle on Julia. Even now, I consider this time as quite special in my years as a mother.
Limitless Supply of Wisdom for Every Hard Question
Since then, we have had many such questions from our children. Some have been harder to answer than others. Many of the questions, especially the ones from our adopted children, have been filled with pain and all have expressed great need.
How wonderful that each one of us has full access to the limitless supply of wisdom and insight that is ours through inheritance, ours not because we are especially clever parents, or always full of compassion and understanding. But ours because Jesus opened the way for us and made us heirs, simply by believing, to His eternal kingdom, a rich and glorious inheritance!
By having the eyes of your heart flooded with light, so that you can know and understand the hope to which He has called you, and how rich is His glorious inheritance in the saints (His set-apart ones)
What is a hard question your children have asked you?
Beth has been married to her husband, Stephen, for 25 years. They have seven children, ages 16 to 22. Several years after giving birth to three girls, God called their family into the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister, ages 5 and 10, from Russia. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Stephen and Beth serve as leaders in their local church. Beth leads a ministry called Hope at Home, dedicated to help adoptive and foster parents encounter the Father’s heart for their families, partnering with God to transform orphans into sons and daughters. For more parenting insight and encouragement in the Lord go to the Hope at Home blog.