September 27, 2012

The Lie That Love is Enough

Five years ago today, I met my son.

No, I didn't bring him into this world five years ago, another Mama did that. I just met him. I went and got him.

So, we call today his Gotchya Day, and we celebrate it with a donut in bed. I tell him the story of his birth (the little that I know) and the story of our first meeting him. He loves every minute o it and thinks he is awesome.

Something in the back of my heart is keenly aware, though, that it won't always be this easy, or this fun, to tell his story. My guess is that he will reach a point in his pre-adolescent identity crisis where a donut and a story from his white mother won't cut it.

In a way I look forward to the day that we will hash this thing out, the day when we talk about the tragedy and the miracle that is adoption. It will almost be a relief to say out loud that being separated from the woman who grew you into a person is an actual tragedy. It will be a relief to affirm what I assume he will always feel but not be able to articulate.

I say it will be a relief because I feel so much pressure to do this adoption thing right. I just want to do it honestly, and give him permission to do it honestly. To grieve, to be angry, to be thankful, and to forgive... just to feel whatever it is, with authenticity and unabashed freedom. I will feel relieved when the temptation to shape his perspective on his experience is gone. I will always want to positively shape his experience, but I look forward to no longer having any say over his perspective.

Gone will be the days when he asks me "is it hard when you don't match your mommy and daddy?" By then, he will know that it is, his perspective will be formed and there is something freeing about that. As terrifying as it is, there is something appealing in just getting to that hard truth of it all and taking it from there.

I am certain that some of you may be thinking what many have already said to me: "Does it have to be such a big deal? Can't you just parent your adopted children the same way you parent your biological children? Isn't love what matters? Isn't love enough?"

The answer is no. Love isn't enough.

Sorry to blow the fairy tale wide open, but the way people love - the way I love - just ain't gonna cut it. People love too imperfectly to heal wounds that deep. People love with expectations and selfish motives and busy schedules and fearfulness and baggage of their own. At my best, I got donuts and a desire to do life and adoption honestly. At my worst, I am totally useless. I don't know what the fairytalers' lovin' looks like, but in my world... love isn't even close to being enough.

So, we did donuts and the story of how we "Gotchya" and for the first time, we watched the home video of meeting Harper. And holding him close while he saw himself as a newborn for the first time, it was sacred.

The thing I realized today was that not only is love not enough, but all of my intentionality and my effort and my communication isn't enough either. The bottom line is that nothing I try to do will prevent Harper from experiencing the pain he will eventually have to process. Love isn't enough, and neither are hope or good intentions.

So I thank the God I love for being enough. For being the one and only one Parent that has been with him, start to finish. I thank Him for His love, which is perfect and pure and whole. I thank Him for creating such a remarkably gifted boy, and for the joy and responsibility of raising him.

Saying "love is enough" is a joke and a lie and it sets us all up for some serious disappointment when we are loved well by another person, and still feel broken and empty. So, I thank God that He actually is enough, so that my love doesn't have to be.

September 23, 2012

Baby's First Blasphemy

Me: Jesus is who?
London: God!!

Me: And what did God make?
London: He made all thingth!!

Me: Why did God make all things? He did it for His...
London: ...For hith private awea!!

Ooooh... We were looking for "glory" on that one. Jesus did all things for His glory, never for His private area.

Perhaps this is indicative of the age, with all the focus on potty training and privacy and what is and isn't appropriate, but I can't help but wonder what on earth she could possibly be thinking!

Meh, two out of three is a good start. We will keep working on (survey says...) "glory!!" You don't need to go to seminary to know that survey doesn't ever say "private area."

September 13, 2012

My Daughter's First Real Kiss

Almost nine years ago, when I was in labor for Annalee, my firstborn daughter, I had no clue what I was doing.  I knew a few things: I knew that it was going to hurt (because during my whole pregnancy that seemed to be all people could talk about... but when it was actually game time, all I could think was "How come nobody warned me it would hurt this bad!")  I also knew that I wanted to have a natural delivery, with as little intervention as possible.  And, I knew that I wanted to be strong and controlled, and I wanted Tom to be proud of me.

I achieved my goals and was able to give birth three times with no medical intervention or pain medication, and I will happily speak for Tom and say "Was I proud!? (Guffaw) Proud is an understatement, Lara is my hero, and she should be your hero too. And she gets more attractive with age, in fact, I don't see any sings of aging at all.  And she is a delight to live with, and at weddings, her dance moves are superior to all others."

Aww, isn't he sweet?


I achieved my big goals.  Each birth was amazing and wonderful (except with Marlie, when I threatened to kill Tom because he ate pretzels.  In his defense, the whole thing lasted 32 hours and the poor guy needed a little snack.  In my defense, I made a person from scratch.  And her way of thanking me was by attacking me from the inside out.. for a day and a half.  Aaaand pretzels are the crunchiest food you could ever eat, and nothing infuriates me like a crunch while I am laboring.)

I knew that these experiences would be precious and rewarding, but one thing I did not expect to come away with was a little red dot on under my right eye.  This little red annoyance was a just a tiny capillary that had broken when I was pushing.  It really didn't bother me, I was even a little proud that I had a visible war wound as a reminder that I did it, I actually birthed someone.

It wasn't long after Annalee was born that my little badge of honor healed up and turned peach again.  At some point during the 32 hour delivery with Marlie, it came back with a new sense of commitment, and it hasn't even considered the option of going away.  It was not as tiny as the first time around, and I am not as pleased as I was then.  Now, it is just another reminder that 1) Not all concealers are created equal, and 2) Behind every pretty face there is a (proverbial) broken capillary or two.

This little flaw has been on my face for the better part of nine years, so I hardly think twice about it... or at least I wouldn't think twice about it if London didn't ask about it once every 48 hours.

She calls it my booboo and she is very, very concerned.  Tonight, when I was tucking her in to bed, she grabbed my face between her two chubby hands and she tilted her head to one side, and leaned in, like she was ready to give me the closed-mouth-Disney-finale-kiss, and she said "Oh my Mama LyLar, (which is how she says Lara) I love you and yoy sweet hoyt and all dis booboo in da whole whole woyld."  And she Disney-frenched my little wound with such passion that I think she might have made it worse.

She proceeded to kiss every possible bit of face that she could and tell me that I was "so happy bout dat."

And she was right, I was really happy 'bout dat.

I am so blessed to have had the gift of biological children, AND the gift of adoption.  I feel like I have been given such a rare, but full look at all the different ways that God loves us, and chooses us, and brings us to be known as His children.  I know what it is like to labor and wait and break parts of yourself to bring a child into this world, and I know what it is like to sacrifice your comfort and security and your finances to wait for someone else to bring a child into this world and into my heart.  It is such a picture of what Jesus did for us, to bring us into His family by blood and by choice.

I don't know if I will ever feel loved the way I would like to feel loved.  I honestly don't know if I am even capable of feeling loved the way God intends me to be, but one thing I am learning is that I AM loved, whether I am capable of accepting, acknowledging and feeling it or not.  The way I delight in my children, and they way London delighted in me tonight is such a picture of loving in spite of flaws and scars and broken places.  It is the spirit of adoption; loving by choice, and loving on purpose.

If I died tonight, I would go with a full heart and thoroughly kissed face, and I would rejoice in meeting the One that created me - flaws and all - the difference in that moment would be that when He held my weary face in his pierced hands, each kiss actually would heal and perfect me, and I will finally feel as loved as I already am.