March 16, 2012

Not like Hannah but blessed still...

My sweet friend is pregnant after four years of trying unsuccessfully and a failed start down the path of adoption. It is a miracle to be sure. And to God be the sole glory for it. We rejoice when a barren woman finds life within and we call her “blessed.” And we remember that the Bible teaches that children are both gift and reward and we say “the Lord has bestowed favor on you, sister.”

And I look from the outside in wondering how God chooses those whom He blesses. And this (mis) understanding that the gift of life that we call miracle can only come from your own womb breaks my heart for I have not been favored.  Have I not been found faithful? Have I not asked with enough fervor? And forgetting that God’s blessing finds many paths I fail to remember there are miracles in adoption as well.  

I have watched friends eagerly answer the call to adopt after mourning the loss of their biological children never to be. I have watched them fill the paperwork, take all the right steps, answer all the right questions, and, finding themselves “paper-pregnant,” have gestational periods that last years. And years.  And years. Empty arms, once eager to be filled, now disillusioned again by yet another path to parenthood that does not seem to bring them the desire of their hearts. And still they wait, even today.

I have known of friends matched with a child, hope soaring high, nursery ready, only to be denied the dream at the last minute or, worse yet, after a few weeks of experiencing it. I have seen loss, and wait, and disappointment, and shattered dreams.

Yet I have experienced none. Our first adoption took two months. We had not yet settled into waiting. We had no nursery, no baby-gear, not even much of an expectation when the call came. Two days later we were parents. Papers signed. Full arms.

Our second adoption was a surprise. We did not pursue it. It fell on our laps and three weeks later there was a boy. Papers signed. Arms even fuller.

So I think about this as I ponder why I don’t belong to the favored group of barren women who have seen their tears wiped away by God in the secret whisper of life in their wombs. It’s true: I have not been blessed like Hannah, or Sarah, or Leah, or Rachel. 

But I have seen my children come to me in miraculous, unexpected, God-ordained ways that I could not have predicted. There may not be a great number of scriptural examples of my type of favor but you can definitely call me “blessed.”

We are daily aware of the ways God moves in the life of infertile women who beg to conceive and are granted their deepest desire. Our hearts are moved and turned to the Lord because of their stories of faithfulness and we praise Him for His love and mercy in their lives.

But adoptive mother, rejoice! 

Miracles happen in adoption too, and you have seen plenty of them. You have lived them; you are experiencing them now. And your story counts! You, also, are a testimony of His promises and His goodness. He has seen your tears and He has not forgotten them. He has answered your prayer and given you what you most wanted. 

Sister, God has blessed you, and favored you, and honored you as well. You have been gifted and you have been rewarded. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise!


heather said...

I believe God moves mountains for children to join families through the miracle of adoption. I also think we use the term blessed in too-specific ways. God chooses when/how/where he will bless us not based on anything we did or didn't do to "deserve" it. We deserve death, in all honesty. We don't deserve any of the things we have been given in this life. Thank you Lord for Jesus! A child added to a family through adoption should be celebrated and viewed as the same amount (and more!) of blessing as a pregnancy, especially for those that have walked the infertility road.

Kathleen T. Jaeger said...

Gaby, Your words are honest and heart-felt. I love how you come back to the realization that God has blessed you in ways that others could envy, too. Your thinking reminds me of me and how I can get caught up in the comparison trap of how God treats me vs. others but then He brings me back around to focusing on what He has done in my life and to be thankful for that.

Gaby said...

Thank you for your kind words, Kat. You are so right: it is easy to compare ourselves to others and forget how greatly we've been blessed. I do hope I'm not envied, though! I want to encourage. I was told by a friend, while holding Isabel in my arms that she would continue to pray that "it" would one day happen to me. "It" to her was become a mom the "right" way. So my point is to celebrate the home-coming of adoptive children with the same awe with which we celebrate unexpected pregnancies.

Chrissie said...

I love this post. My husband and I went through 5 early miscarriages, before moving onto adoption when we were blessed by a miracle pregnancy - we are now 20 weeks. I believe our losses and adoption journey opened my eyes to the truly miraculous way God build each family in His perfect and unique way. I have no answers for why some women can carry babies in their own bodies and others do not get that opportunity, but watching parents and children brought together through the miracle of adoption makes me certain of God's hand and perfect design at work. The miracle is even more obvious because these parents and children would never have been family through biology, only through adoption and the love that binds. I see miracles in every family, but I confess that watching so many families meeting their babies after waiting and hoping and praying, only to be matched with a baby who becomes a part of their very soul is truly, truly miraculous. Many blessings to you and your beautiful family.

Gaby said...

Thank you, Chrissie. And thank you for stopping by.

Mary Jo Brunner said...

Tears, here, my love. My heart is so moved by your beautiful, heartfelt words. You are a true guiding light to those who are hurting or feeling downhearted. Your family is just beautiful and your story is powerful. What a witness to others that family comes in many varied ways. Continued peace and joy to you.

Nancy Franson said...

Oh, girl! You know I get this. And yet God has graciously granted me contentment. And joy unimaginable.

Debbie said...

I had missed this earlier and am just reading it today.
I love your heart, Gaby. I just really and truly love it. God also gave you the incredible gift of words. I don't know if you ever read "At the Picket Fence", but Vanessa over there has a beautiful series about delivering her children through adoption called "A Labor of the Heart".

You remind me so much of the things she says.
I think there is a great more Hannah in you than you even recognize.

Kendal said...

this post made me smile, big. and i will see you at amy's house in april! so excited.

Kara @ The Chuppies said...

I love this post.
Love it.

We have 3 biological kiddos and 2 adopted and I honestly sensed the miraculous blessing just as much, if not more during our adoptions. So much had to fall into place. The emotions during the waiting and losses and was so much of what you described above.

Always hits me--
That God chose to describe his relationship with us through the terms of adoption.
That is huge.

Your little ones are so adorable and any time I read a post like this I immediately feel a connection. I look at their photo and it just shines with--BLESSING.

jennifer said...

Gaby , this post is beautiful, and I LOVE the picture of your kiddos. I know that not being able to carry a child in your womb has caused you pain, but I'm so glad that you understand that you are blessed just the same as those moms who had their wombs opened by God. After a friend of mine adopted, I remember her saying that God knew what he was doing--he had chosen her son specifically for her family. Had she been able to conceive, her husband and she would have never adopted. However, God knew that this family was meant to be together.

I love that idea--that God really does knit our families together. Thank you for sharing your beautiful and encouraging words!