I could be anywhere and it could be any day. And it comes over me like a wave. Even now, 4 years later. I never see it coming.
This morning as I stood in my bathroom putting my make-up on, his name (well, the name we gave him) crossed through my mind followed by a rush of images and memories.
I can’t explain it. I’m learning I don’t need to explain it.
Who can understand the heart of a mother who loves deeply the child that is from another woman’s womb, even before she has met him? Surely, I can’t. Yet, somehow, I keep trying to explain it. To find some kind of logical explanation for this space in my heart. When you experience the kind of loss of a child but it is not death, how does one grieve?
Continuously. Sporadically. Without reason or warning.
My mind says, “Why are you crying and sad? It’s not like he has died.”
My heart replies, “But it is almost worse. We will have known him and loved him, but he will never have known us this side of eternity.”
My mind retortes, “Still, you know he is safe and loved.”
My heart whispers, “Yes. But not by us. He will know love. Of this I have no doubt. His mother loves him deeply. But this mother loves him deeply too.”
The mind can sound so harsh when it speaks to the heart with it’s sound logic. And the heart can seem overly dramatic to the mind who can not understand how to categorize these kinds of emotions and feelings.
The journey into and through adoption is not for the faint of heart. I never understood love to this degree until I fell in love with these precious ones of mine. And when it came time to choose to surrender and not fight –to take back a child to his biological mom– it was as if someone had asked for one of my girls that I had loved and known nearly since their birth and were now in elementary school. How does love happen that quickly?
I can only speak of the kind of love I know as an adoptive mother, but I imagine it is the very same for the ones who carry your DNA and grow in your womb. Somehow as mothers, our hearts give themselves away as soon as we know there is a child that has been entrusted to us. Even before he was born, as we sat in the room across from his birth mom, my heart gave itself away. It never asked me, it just leaped right out of my control and in love with our coming son. And then as the first cries escaped his lips as the cold of the outside world and the air filled his lungs, my heart gave itself away again.
That first night in the hospital I couldn’t have pulled his tiny little clear bassinet any closer to my bed without it being in my bed. He breathed in and out and with every other breath he uttered the sweetest little squeak.
Miracle. A living breathing miracle lay right by my side.
And then he was home with us, squeaking and snuggling in his room so carefully prepared for him. Time slowed down as it does when your baby comes home. Hours go by staring at the miracle of your child, without any regard for shower or hair brush or any attire fancier than yoga pants.
And then, it all changed.
The piratey-shark decorated room became silent.
Hearts broken into a million pieces.
Shortly after bringing Fisher back to his birthmom I can remember well-intentioned people saying to us, “We are so sorry. God will bring you another child.” Implying (and some out-right saying) that our next child would somehow fill the void and the loss of this one.
One child can never replace another, no matter how many God may entrust to you.
Even as I write this afternoon, there is a precious, most handsome, two-year old blonde headed boy with eyelashes a mile long. With sucker in-hand he is begging for me to bounce him on my leg. This child, my second son, completely owns my heart.
Still, one child never replaces another.
As much as I wish the birth of a new child –a new miracle–could erase the grief of the one not rocked in my arms long enough, this just isn’t the way the heart works.
Mother’s Day is bittersweet for lots of mommas who didn’t get to rock and raise the ones they gave their hearts away to. Maybe that’s you.
Maybe you grieve the one taken before you could even see his face. Perhaps the delivery room was the place of both hello and goodbye. I know some of you never even left the hospital before having to say goodbye. There are brave ones of you who gave life and chose adoption, surrendering the one you’d come to know so well in the 9 months prior to birth.
Some days it comes. The grief washes over us and pulls us back in it’s powerful undertow. It’s on these days at this particular time of the year that I lean into Jesus and ask Him to remind me of the truth of His Word.
The truth that says, “He is good and His mercy endures forever.”
The truth that says, “He is faithful and sovereign.”
The truth that says, “Even what the enemy intends to use to destroy us, will only be used for my good and His glory.”
On these days when I’m struggling I turn up on the volume on songs like this one and put it on repeat. When my heart is weak my soul needs the washing of these words… of THE WORD.
Maybe you too, today, need to turn up the volume and allow the truth of these words from The Word to wash over your brokenness, your grief, your tired heart. If so, friend, know I am right there with you today; knee deep in worship and tears and Truth.