June 9, 2011

A House for S.

The other night Isabel, Noah and I were taking turns praying before I put them to bed. When it was Isabel’s turn she surprised me with this prayer:
“- Lord, be with S. and take care of her, because she could not take care of Noah and me.”
This came out of the blue, for we had not talked about her birthmother in a while. Wondering what was going through her mind I echoed her prayer in mine and lifted S.’s well being to the Lord.
When we said “amen” I braced for what I knew was coming.
“-Mami, why could S. not take care of us?”
“-Well, baby, because S. did not have a job or a house or any money and babies need a lot of things.”
“-Do you know where she lives?”
“-No, I don’t know where she is now.”
A few seconds of thoughtful quietness while I waited to see if there was more.
“-I am sad that S. does not have a house.”
“-I know, baby, so am I. Maybe we can pray that God gives S. a place to live.”
Something in the look on her face made me continue,
“-Now, you know that even if S. ever gets a house and a job you will not go live with her, right? I am your mommy and you are my baby, and we are a family so we will always live together.”
“-Why can I not go live with her?”
Gulp, swallow, illogical terror gripping me.
“-Well, do you want to go live with her?”
Shaking of the head no, eyes wide open. Terror gripping her?
“-That’s why. Because this is your home. And we are your family. But I’ll tell you what: when you are bigger, way bigger, big like mami, if you want to, maybe we can try to find her.”
No answer. Maybe too much just yet. But I did pray once more, out loud, for her sake.
“-Lord, please help S. know that the babies she had in her belly and loved but could not care for are doing well. That they have a mommy and a daddy that love them and that they are happy in their families.”
She seemed satisfied with this and went to sleep.  I think she is beginning to understand her birthmother is an unseen part of our family and a strong part of her life. There is no pain yet, no understanding of loss or broken connection. That day will come and we will deal with it when it does. In the meantime, her presence among us is that of a far-away friend that we love and remember fondly, that we pray for and hope to see one day. Like a long-lost relative of sorts.
I carry her name in my heart like a treasure and I cherish what little I know of the woman whose greatest loss became my biggest gain. One day I hope to tell her so face-to-face.
I have been asked before: “Aren’t you afraid that their birthmother will come back and try to take them?” and I have heard some say to me: “You are so lucky that the birthmother does not know where you live!” and “Aren’t you worried that the kids will not see you as their mom if they ever met her?” All comments and questions born of ignorance of the adoption process, the legal standing of adoptive parents in our state, and plenty of misconceptions.
Our adoption is closed by S’ choice. I don’t know why and I don’t even try to guess. Maybe there will come a day when I can ask her. Maybe not. But we’ll talk, we’ll pray, and we’ll grieve on her behalf for as long as it takes.


Bird said...

Kids questions....they can stop your blood in the veins. I am still struggling with the my sons questions. He said that he didn't believe that a dad would just go away and never come see his son. That dads don't do that. So we haven't talked about it since. Broke my heart.

Deborah said...

It's amazing how much children understand at such a young age! It sounds like you did a really good job answering the questions, although unfortunately they're not going to get any easier. For now, at least Isabel knows you're her mommy and you love her this is where she belongs.

Christy@OneFunMom said...

What a great job you are doing, teaching your children about their adoption. I love that you are completely open and forthcoming.

And I'm learning so much about adoption from you! There are a lot of aspects that I had never thought about. Thanks for being so open!

Debbie said...

What a powerful moment.

You listened to the Spirit (and I think she was too) and did the one best thing. You prayed for the woman who gave you such a beautiful gift.

(And you mentioned a poet on my blog that I'm unfamiliar with. Since I can clearly see that we share the same type of heart, I'm going to google him. Thanks!)

Gaby said...

Thank you all for your kind comments. This journey is fluid and as she and Noah get older different challenges pop up.
Debbie, I would love to know which one were you not familiar with. I will say none of them are Christian poets, but they are some of the most talented South American writers we have had. I hope you find something you enjoy!

Angela said...

i continue to be amazed at the things little minds think of and what they process and can comprehend. you had such a beautiful response!

Nancy said...

We do have much in common, my adoptive mother-friend! It's taken me some years to realize that my kids are dealing with a kind of brokenness in their lives that I will never fully comprehend. It grieves me; sometimes I worry. But I also believe that God has and will heal broken places that are beyond my understanding.

Lee said...

I needed to hear this. My husband and I are going through the foster care system to adopt one day. These conversations scare me, but I know they're so important. Nice to hear the perspective of someone who's handled it gracefully.

Jennifer said...

Gaby, I read this post the other day, and I was just filled with awe at the wonderful job you are doing as a parent. The questions Isabel and Noah ask are tough, and will continue to be tough, I'm sure, but the answers you've given so far show such grace and strength in God. I'm glad you are willing to share.

Michelle DeRusha said...

Oh Gaby, such hard questions, and yes, scary, too. You did such a good job of answering her questions with honesty and love, and you gave her the security and comfort she needed at that moment. And I pray that God gives you the security and comfort you need in the time to come and as the questions resurface. Love your heart, Gaby!

Gaby said...

Lee, these questions can be scary, but thinking about them helps you prepare (although sometimes they ask questions that stop you on your tracks!)
Jennifer, thank you for your kind words. It is a result of lots of prayer and seeking wisdom. Nothing less than that!
Michelle, thank you for your prayers!