This is gonna be a long one...I have had so many things swirling around in my head lately. I want to share them ALL with you, my sweet friends who actually read the blog (as always Courtney, Mandy, and momma- I see y'all cheering me on)
Some six years ago, Brian and I journeyed to Moldova on our first ever international mission trip. The circumstances surrounding that mission trip included a whole LOT of His voice and a whole LOT of His miracles. We both went into it thinking that we knew exactly what God would show us. The whole week we were in Moldova the summer of 2011, Brian and I were praying fervently...begging God to just use us however He could....and to show us His plan. I just KNEW that His plan was going to include immediate adoption. So, I was praying for what I thought was His plan (AKA- I was praying for my plan and trying to make it His plan). I just knew that the precious little faces that surrounded me...faces that had no constant momma in their lives....I knew God would make one of them mine. I just knew that He would make one of them part of our family in Alabama. I had planned it all out like a lovely movie in my head. I just KNEW that it was HIS plan. My heart and my plan. I was already thinking about the joy of awaiting the little one's arrival. the joy of their actual arrival, the first time to hold them in my arms as OUR child, picking out clothes, introducing them to their family, being up late at night with them, worrying if they are sick or not, sharing our name with our child. It was all running through my head like old home movies. It was quite beautiful and perfect. Little did I know how different life would be.
God's plans were quite different than ours. We didn't have that time of expectant anticipation of the little one's arrival. We haven't been able to introduce the little one to their family in Alabama. We became parents to 18 girls (really 36) over night. Not one of these girls shares our name. It happened through tragedy and hurt. While we missed a lot of the transition time to parenthood...we have had the joys and the sorrows of parenthood. We do have the late nights wondering if they are ok and safe....wondering if they know how much they are loved. We do worry if they are sick or not. We do experience the immensity of understanding how our every decision affects others. We do experience failure. We do experience the importance of being able to apologize when we haven't handled a situation correctly. As with actual legal adoption, we recognize that our relationships with them came from loss in many forms-from death of parents to termination of parental rights. We recognize the extreme loss that brought them into our house. We look around and physically see 15-22 year old young women...but with our hearts we look around and see little girls who need to express themselves, to test boundaries, to know that they are loved, and to know that they are safe.
I have shared many times that I don't always feel like I have the right to call myself mom. Parent feels like a safer word. Momma is such an intimate word and communicates years of life together. I don't always give myself the right to say that. This last week I have been feeling exceptionally nostalgic and emotional and overwhelmed with gratitude for God's plan. His plan is so much more beautiful than mine ever could have been. He made room in our hearts for not one beautiful child...but 36. His ways truly are higher.
This past week we celebrated Women's Day in our houses and the girls showered me with flowers and love and precious words. On Sunday, they invited me to one of the churches they attend to celebrate Mother's Day. On the way to church, I rode the bus with three of our precious ones. It is about an hour and fifteen minutes with public transportation to arrive at their church. The ride to church was so special to me. I catch myself watching the girls and praying over them the most in public transport. As we were riding, I found myself contemplating the beauty of the three precious ones that were with me. I sat gazing at their thoughtful faces that can easily express a range of beautiful emotions. These girls feel like they are such a part of me. Rather subconsciously to begin with, I found myself searching for genetic similarities. You know how birth parents do. I was looking for similarities- my eyes, Brian's broad and easy smile, the same hands my mother, my grandmother and I have- not long and elegant but more utilitarain. I searched and searched and came up without a single genetic similarity- but I saw a more important family resemblance. I saw glimpses of our heavenly father in the way their hearts break for those in need, and seek peace, and choose to love those who have hurt them. I saw family similarities that will mark them as His for the rest of their lives. I sat there and teared up about how beautiful God's plan is (this is not acceptable on public transport). When we finally arrived at church, the girls proudly introduced me as their Mamica (momma) and mamasha (another word for momma). I cried more. Then there was a special time to recognize mothers...I was still sitting quietly...believing I didn't quite belong in the presence of other mothers who had carried their children for nine months. One of our precious ones stood up and told about losing her mother and how she had not experienced love until she met Brian and me. I cried and cried and cried and thanked God for changing my plan to be His. I cannot imagine missing this. I cannot imagine missing any day with them...even the days they are grumpy and difficult. I love those days too. I am so thankful that God called me to the table and He said, "Kathryn, I know you had another plan...but I've got something better for you. It won't be easy...it will be very hard. .. But, you can do this, Mamica!"
|No genetic resemblance...but full of the same Joy:)|
|"For my precious Mama, I love you"- a sweet treat left by one of our girls|
|Our rowdy crew at Mother's Day celebration-this wasn't even half of us:)|
|I am a spoiled woman. This is the girls surprising me with flowers and my favorite beverage and candy:)|
|Just after school share time...this precious one always has an ear full about her day.|
|Love love love her!|
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