How have adoption and foster care changed you as a mother? As a woman?
I’ve spent the last 24 hours thinking about this.
Sometimes I forget who I am – and whose I am. Yesterday my 18 year-old daughter reminded me.
Sunday morning, before our guests arrived, I was not in a good place. As Annarose pointed out, there was a lot of negativity out of my mouth. I hate to say it, but I hardly noticed.
Sunday dinner used to be a highlight of my week. Hospitality – welcoming people into our home, feeding them at our table – this used to be the way we lived.
I own stacks of plates, loads of extra silverware, dozens of glasses, all the things I need for feeding dozens of people. I used to bemoan my lack of a double oven, and we had grand plans for remodeling our home to include a larger kitchen and dining room.
Then we became an adoptive family.
Life changed. Our family changed. I changed.
We continued opening our home to crowds, but it became increasingly difficult. The circle of friends who understood our children grew smaller while the demands on us grew greater.
Still, we clung to Sunday dinner as a family anchor with our older kids and their friends. We may not have invited other families over, but we still filled our table and overflowed our dining room.
Now it seems I’ve lost my confidence. I love the idea of people filling my house and gathering around my table. It’s the two days before everyone arrives when I don’t feel good about any of it.
By Saturday I’m convinced we’re incapable of hosting gatherings – I doubt myself at every turn.
Adoption changed our family in many ways – we are not the family we were before.
The day Russ and I walked through the blue orphanage gates in Ethiopia, our family became something new.
Likewise, the mother I was before, the mother of the children I birthed with Russ, that mother also was forever changed that day.
Adoption changed me – I’m not the mother I was before.
I thought I was bringing children into the family we had created and I was going to mother them in the very best ways I knew. I would just add some trauma-informed parenting for good measure.
That was not to be.
We became a new creation, a very broken, messy, new creation.
God called us to a task far beyond our capacity. Every moment of our days, we depended on him.
We adopted because we loved children and loved being parents. We had something beautiful, a loving family, and we wanted to share it with children who needed us.
God’s plans were far greater.
He joined our lives with our new children’s for our good and for theirs.
Sunday dinner is a small thing in the face of so many changes, but it’s symbolic of who I was as a mother and as a woman. I feel the loss each time I try to replicate what we had.
Then a day like yesterday comes together, and while it will never be the same, I looked around my table, and it was beautiful. We sat elbow-to-elbow, talking, eating and I felt a little bit more like myself. God restores joy when I open my eyes and accept it from his hands.
Let’s talk about the ways we are changed through adoption and foster care.
I want to explore this with you, friends, and talk about the ways we are changed through adoption, foster care, and loving vulnerable children – the good, hard, joyful, sad, even scary – all of it.
Can we take a little time for this? For each other?
Maybe this will be two posts, maybe ten. We’ll talk about it until we’re done. I could probably pour ten posts out of my heart right now.
Tomorrow I’ll revive Tuesday Topics with a question for you about how you’ve been changed by adoption and foster care. Please jump in with your thoughts.
If you would like to contribute a guest post, take a quick look at the My Thankful Life information. I would love your contribution.
If only we could do this around my table, mugs of coffee and tea in our hands. You mean so much to me.