Friday, July 10, 2009

Thoughts on my heart: Ways I didn't know I'd be touched through foster adoption

M's two new "teefers"
Styling some of Nan Nan's sunglasses on the 3rd of July
M's favorite place to be...standing against the ottoman, attempting to grab the remotes.

Watching Daddy play guitar during Family Fun Night at OC

It's been a weird past few months, working through M's adoption. I talk openly about a lot of it, the things that don't interfere with M's privacy and her story, to anyone who will listen. But, there are lots of things that I don't share, that have really been on my mind lately. I share the fact that her adoption will likely be finalized in September, I share that we fostered her first and fell in love and knew that God intended us to have her forever. But, what I don't share with just everyone are some of the behind-the-scenes emotions.

It's amazing how Josh and I have gotten where we are. What started as a struggle to get pregnant, going through miscarriage, fertility treatments and then the choice to foster earlier on in life than planned, with the intention of still having a biological child, but loving on some other babies in the meantime, led us to the adoption of our first child, who we love more than words could ever express (like that super long sentence:)). God really had to tear us down to get us to the point where we are now. I was one who never thought that adoption would be for me. I was supportive of others, I was supportive of it for myself as a "last resort," but I never planned on falling in love with the idea, more than the idea carrying my "own child" myself. That being said, God is still working on me throughout this process.

We hear so often what not to tell expectant mothers, but rarely, if ever, do we hear of things not to tell expectant (adoptive or foster) mothers. I'm writing these things, realizing that I had to truly be torn apart to be built back up and convicted of path my life is taking. A few years ago, I thought the things like I'm about to share frustration with. But, after living it and being torn down, I can say that I truly have a different view.

Old self:
I could never be a foster parent...I could never give that child would just be too hard for me.

New self:
I'm not on this earth to serve myself or my own emotions. I can sacrifice my own emotions to provide a loving and stable home to an innocent child. Christ has called me to a larger life than my own.

Old self:
Adoption would be a last resort for me; I'd much rather have my "own" child.

New self:
I'm beyond thankful for the opportunity to adopt MY child. To raise a child with a loving family, the opportunity to know Christ, and to love this child no less than I'd ever love a biological child.

Old self:
I would never want to foster or adopt because there is so much red-tape and training and invasion of privacy.

New self:
A few weeks, months or even years are worth every minute, to love a child, who is alone, otherwise. There is no amount of red tape that I wouldn't go through to keep my little M forever. She is worth every last homestudy, financial statement, reference letter, physical, home visit, travel request, interview, etc.

I have been humbled the past few years by all of my preconceived ideals about family and what that would look like for us. I am SOOO amazingly thankful for that! I thank God every day that he humbled me in that area. I am thankful for infertility, I'm thankful for our pregnancy loss, I am thankful for the red tape. Through the heartache, nights of crying myself to sleep, failed fertility treatments, and other emotional roller coasters, I can come out on the other side and truly say, THANK YOU, GOD!!

I know this is my calling, but with every calling I think there also comes a little hesitation. I feel like I've had to give up a lot to get to where I am. Most days I am at peace with that, but there are those moments where I struggle. There are times that I realize I am giving up the ability to tell friends and family that I'm pregnant, or wear maternity clothes or hear my child's heartbeat, or find out the sex during an ultrasound. There are times that I get teary-eyed, realizing I've missed out on the first 3 1/2 weeks of my precious baby's life. I get tears in my eyes, not knowing where my precious baby was for those 3 1/2 weeks...did her foster family love her? There are times when I get hurt that people can't see beyond the color of my baby's skin. There are times I am saddened by the stereo-types placed on my child. There are times that I worry where are future children will come from. There are times that I feel like I don't fit in with others in conversation or phases of life.

However, even through it all, I still have the greatest sense of peace, because IT'S NOT ABOUT ME!!! It's about the baby who I hold in my arms every day and forget that I didn't give birth to. It's about the baby who calls me "momma." It's about the baby, who I look down at and forget that she's a different color until I see my bright white skin against hers and for a split second, think she has a tan (this really did happen!!). It's about the baby who I long for people to see as I do, as WE do, as OUR baby. It's about the baby that God has graciously given to me.

HE has broken me down. HE has lifted me up to a new place. HE has taught me it's NOT about NEVER has been. It has always been about HIM and my service to Him. Thank you, God, for breaking me and shattering all of the hopes I thought I needed and allowing me to realize it's about YOU!!!



Allison said...

amen, aubrey. what encouraging thoughts to think on tonight.

God bless the journey you're on!

Anonymous said...

I was so touched by your words. M is so blessed to have you and Josh, and I am so thankful you CHOSE her. She is a wonderful blessing for all of us.

Pam (aka YaYa)

Dara said...

You and Josh are such wonderful parents. M is the sweetest little girl and I can't imagine a more precious family. She is so blessed to have you as a mother and you are so blessed to have the daughter God chose for you.

Clint and Marilyn said...

Thanks for being open and willing to share your heart Aubrey!

Morgandi said...

Wow, Aubrey. Thank you so much for writing and sharing your thoughts. I'm sitting here with tears in my eyes. I have not thought about your journey in the terms you expressed, and I thank you for explaining your perspective. You are quite an example and you should be proud of what a wonderful family you and Josh have made. Your little girl is so lucky to have you all as parents. God knew that she was just for you.

Molly said...

Whoa momma. Great post! I love how you kept saying THIS IS NOT ABOUT ME! I get frustrated even when couples are adopting and they make it about them, and not God. I so wish I would have known you for years and known what you have been through, but I am so thankful that I know you now! I can't wait for years to pass and you can have conversations with M about her's so cool!

Thanks for sharing this most beautiful post about a momma's heart and Gods calling for all of us as Christians.

Angie said...

What a heartfelt post. God is blessing us all with your words. Thank you and Josh for your heartfelt decisions. God has blessed you and will continue to bless you. We pray for you all and that baby M will soon be wholly and completely yours. God chose baby M for you and you for her. God is good. God is perfect. God bless you all. <3

Jessica said...

Love this post! It's not about us, it's not about how WE feel, it's about our beautiful babies. It's about making life better for a child, making their road a little easier, blessing them. Every child deserves to have parents with this kind of attitude in mind.

M is blessed, and it's awesome to see how changing your attitude and opening your heart to bless her has ended up blessing you guys a thousand times over. Life will never be the same, will it?

Love you guys!

Emily said...

Well, I'm bawling my eyes out at 8:30 in the morning. So thank you for that.

I consider myself blessed to have seen two families I hold very dear be created through this process. I also take great comfort in the fact that God knows what we need more than we can even know ourselves.

I hope you know how much you and your family mean to me!

Melodie said...

amazing post. i agree on so many levels. i could comment on each one, but that could get lengthy. love that heart of yours and how God has completely transformed it into more like his. amazing how he works on us through tough processes!

Kayla said...

That was beautiful, Aubrey.

Lesley said...

you are amazing! thank you for those thoughts. you all are a beautiful family! no doubt God works in our lives!

Janell said...

Wow Aubrey, that was wonderful. We began this journey of fostering with you and although we are in totally different stages of life we have been traveling it together. I really appreciate your thoughts of when someone asks how you could give the babies up. It is probably the hardest thing I have ever done, but you are so right, it's not about us, it's what we can do to glorify God. Love you and Josh and Baby M!

Gena said...

Aubrey, that is beautiful. Baby M looks so natural in those arms of yours, even on the palest of days. ;) But really, thank you for expressing your thoughts so openly. I think it can only help others to be more understanding. We love your newly-forming family!

Chellie said...

Thanks for sharing from your heart, it was truly a blessing to read

HaleyP said...

Awesome! I love the openness. I know that feeling of having your heart changed for these children. And I love that there is another mom out there that is colorblind too!

RachelSoper said...

Beautiful. God is so good.

Elizabeth Mullins said...

Aubrey, I have thought of you often during this journey you have been on with M. She is precious and I know personally from being adopte that you are giving her the most unselfish, amazing gift. Thank you for sharing. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

thank you for writing that. I have for years thought about adopting and realizing that I(we) should.

Reading what you just wrote cemented it. It may take a while God can make it happen.

M is truly blessed to have ya'll as parents.

Suzanne said...

Thank you for this post Aubrey...thank you for sharing your heart

ann said...

Loved reading this, Aubrey. I praise God for the faith you and Josh had through all of the heartache to get to this point. Truly He has richly blessed you and us through your testimony. And most of all, of course, baby M. :)

Elizabeth said...

Sorry to come in so late on this. We were out of town.

These were beautiful words, Aubrey. Thank you for sharing them. But mostly, thank you for sharing your journey with me. I feel so lucky that we are friends and that I have had the opportunity to see your family grow.

Before becoming a mother myself, I had no idea how much I would depend on my friends for support and guidance in raising Anna Jane. You are such a great mother to M and I'm not quite sure how different my life would be without the wonderful examples of mothers like you I ahve to look up to.

Anonymous said...

You guys are so blessed. She's a doll.

Holly said...

Aubrey, how beautiful. What a wonderful mother you are! Thank you for sharing your heart.

Andrea said...

I have watched you on this journey and I have been blessed to see God through it all. This is your birth story, God is using you, and everyone around you has been blessed by your faith!

Lisa said...

What an encouraging post, and straight from your heart. Thanks for sharing these things. I've been blessed recently getting to know you better and I'm so thankful for that. You are a wonderful example to so many and I'm so glad God has given you M. She is precious and is blessed to have such wonderful parents! May God bless you as you serve Him!

Dr. Erin and Mr. Heath said...

Beautiful post. I feel like I could have written these words myself. We still have a lot of learning and growing to do, but I am so inspired by your personal journey. M is a lucky lady. Hopefully her and our J man can meet up at one of these play dates soon!

a Tonggu Momma said...

As an adoptive parent who refused to ever consider fostering, I wanted to share that I NEEDED to read these words of yours:

Old self: I could never be a foster parent...I could never give that child would just be too hard for me.

New self: I'm not on this earth to serve myself or my own emotions. I can sacrifice my own emotions to provide a loving and stable home to an innocent child. Christ has called me to a larger life than my own.

Thank you.