Monday, July 19, 2010

Through His eyes

I love adoption. I am passionate about adoption. I am blessed by adoption. I look at my adopted kids and know it is a miracle that "I" get to be their mom.

Yet I have a confession to make, and I am kind of embarrassed to admit it. I often forget that at the expense of my miracle, there was a birthmom who was left empty handed.

When you adopt from the foster system, it's easy to dismiss your child's birthmother as simply 'unfit'. Because after all, that is why their child was taken way. You get to just tell yourself that they didn't 'deserve' to parent your child and leave it at that. Truth be told- it is easy that way. A clean sweep. They are unworthy and you- you went through all of the training, you went through all of the inspections, you were fingerprinted, homestudied, background checked and APPROVED. You have the mounds of paperwork to prove it. With excitement you move forward, dreaming and praying of your new little miracle.

Yet behind the scenes there was a woman who brought your child into this world. A woman who has probably faced more than most of us could ever bear to in this life. A woman, who for whatever reason- yes, made a lot of bad choices. I can't pretend to understand or agree with the decisions that were made. But neither do I believe it's fair for me to judge her when I have no idea what the day to day, minute to minute life was like for her. I have no idea the things she faced, the things she went through- to get to a place where she would choose drugs over your child. To a place where she would physically harm her child. Or to a place where she would just simple walk away. But one thing I do know is that she is a human being- and God loves her- so I need to as well.

This past Friday Addisyn, Kal, Mya, Aleigha and I were blessed by serving along side others from our church at a homeless shelter.

As the men, women and children slowly began to drift through the door of the dining area, I couldn't help but notice that many of them had the same look of hopelessness in their eyes. It seemed as if it was an effort to put one foot in front of the other to even make it through the day. At the end of a long row of tables there was a lady in a bright yellow shirt with writing across the front sitting alone. Trying to do my job as best as I could, I mustered up the courage to say hello. My intentions were to just, you know, go through the motions of getting her a glass of water, throw a smile her way and continue on my way to the next person. Then I would greet them with the same plastic smile in the same way. It seemed safest that way on my part.

Yet, there was something about this woman in the bright yellow shirt that drew me in. I noticed her name tag read Vivian and I noticed a hospital bracelet that said the same. And then I noticed the tears in her eyes, the look of pain etched into her face- a look that spoke volumes. I found myself unable to move away.

Almost as if in slow motion I pulled out the folding chair next to her. Vivian straighten herself, eager to have company. In her right hand she gripped a white paper napkin, almost as if it was her only security. At first eye contact seemed difficult. Yet as we began to talk, I reached out for her hand and she looked me directly in the eye- and deep into my soul. Vivian shared parts of her story with me- parts that caused the pain she carried with her today. For you see, Vivian had three children removed from her care. Three children who had been placed and adopted into another family through the Foster system. Three children she brought into this world and loved with her entire heart. And yet, despite that love, lost, due to mistakes she made along the way. While it was clear to me, and even to Vivian, she was indeed not able to care for her children properly, my heart couldn't help but break. Her life had been an endless cycle of abuse of all kinds, failure, lies, rejection and loss. Yet I knew that Jesus loves her, despite the sin.

Sometimes we don't have to have the answers. Sometimes all we have to do is show up and take the time to care. I cannot change the circumstances of Vivian's life. But what I can do is show her the love of Jesus- just as she is.

I left there that day knowing that God wanted me to see things in a different way than I had before. I left there that day able to forgive.





image signature

17 comments:

Andrea H. said...

Wow Amy, thanks for always being you, the real Amy, not a fake one ever to make yourself look good. Also being the hands and feet of Jesus. You are teaching your little ones at an early age which is the ONLY way to walk. I love you dear friend with all my heart and soul.

Angel said...

Thank you so much for your honesty. This was such an important post to write. Thanks for being brave and real. Hugs, Angel

Lindsay said...

So awesome! I would love to do this sometime and was just talking to my mom about serving downtown sometime (theyre going to serve down there this weekend) but wasnt sure about bringing the kids. Seeing that you took Mya and Aleigha is encouraging!

Mo said...

So true and a great perspective to bring to the attention of others. My husband is a child welfare social worker. He works to come along side his clients so they can be most successful. They do have some hard issues to overcome. It is heart breaking. Thank you for being real.

Dardi said...

I will never forget the look I got in the waiting room of DJFS when I hugged our sweet girl's birth mom. There was a lot of shock. But I am so thankful to have developed a loving relationship with her b/c I can always look my daughter in the eye & tell her that I loved & respected her birth family. It wasn't always pretty & it wasn't always easy, but God put that on my heart from the beginning that all I needed to do was love them. I am so thankful that I was obedient, b/c where there is love, there is no room for judgement or bitterness. It also gave me eyes to see that life is not always fair to people...it's still something I have a hard time talking about to this day b/c I get very emotional. Thanks for making such a great point b/c I think so many are quick to judge where our babies have come from.

Andrea said...

Amy thank you for sharing! God totally has a way of showing us those places that He would have us open our eyes...to the things we wanted to close our eyes to.
Blessings
Andrea

Dawn - "Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

Our birth moms of our children that came to us through the foster care system....yeah- in foster care themselves...grew up with violence....abused....unloved....abandoned. Then we wonder why they don't know how to care for children they have......It breaks my heart. We because it is safe..still have contact with them- from us- letters and photos. We pray this helps healing for them, and our children.

Kristin Ferguson said...

Amy, I so get what you wrote about here. We have recently adopted and we ended up using our daughter's birth-mother's name for her middle name. I could completely identify with this young woman who gave birth to a child with Down syndrome (because I did too) and I knew the pain and confusion she must have felt as she handed her baby over to allow someone else to raise her. I'm so glad you also have a heart that sees the heart of each birth-mom of your precious adopted children.

Kristin

Holly said...

I love you Amy. Real, vulnerable, surrendered, teachable, compassionate, precious.
Thank you for sharing you with us.

HollyAnn said...

I so agree with you! People think I am nuts when I say that my heart breaks for Baby Girl's mother. Yet, she is a mother. She loves baby Girl the only way she knows how...and she misses her when she is not there. Only but by the grace of God was I raised in my family with my priveledges. Great post!

Anonymous said...

Oh, Amy! I am so happy for you to have had this experience and this growth!!! You and your children will be blessed by it for years to come.

So many times people shake their heads and tell me that I am crazy because I write frequently to J & C's birthmom and because I have visited her in prison. They really went balistic, some of them anyway, when I took B to see her birthmom for Christmas last year.

While I would never jeopardize my children's safety, I do feel called to extend the love and compassion of Christ to their first-parents without a doubt. They may have made some very poor choices and certainly are not capable of properly parenting our children but they ARE human beings and God DOES love them.

So, so happy for you!!

Christina

Mama Kat said...

just started reading your blog...you are incredible, and I admire your strength. I just read an article in the Christianity Today magazine on Adoption, and wondered if you had read it...its incredible.

Kelly said...

This is a really great post...It is easy to get wrapped up in our blessing and forget that it came at such a sacrifice! Thank you for making me realize and remember the whole picture of adoption.

Jocelyn said...

being a foster mommy, yes... yes it is easy to dismiss these mothers. easy to dismiss what their lives were like, dismiss who they are at the core- children of God. thank you for the reminder that behind every single person is a story, a hidden sorrow that we may never truly know. what a sweet, heartbreaking reminder. thank you.

Amanda said...

So I thought of your beautiful family today as I passed Dallas Life on my way to work. Said a little prayer for y'all. :) Thank you for opening up your "home" to us. You've truly opened my eyes to something I really didn't think I wanted to see. Now I'm praying God does the same for my husband!!!

~ Lisa @ AbidingThere~ said...

This is a great post, Amy. I have found it quite interesting as we have gotten to know the birth parents of our foster kids; each one of the moms has spent some significant time in foster care herself as a child, and each one spent time homeless at some point. While there are definitely aggravating things and questionable decisions which sometimes make me angry or frustrated with the moms, I mostly try to remember to ask myself how I would want to be treated by my child's foster parent. That reminder is especially helful right about the time I'd like to wring someone's neck ;)

triplehmoms said...

I'm a bit behind on my readings with the Block Family, but this post is oh so true. During my first adoption, I sadly thought little of the birthmom. During my second adoption (which seemed to take forever to me--9 months), I thought of the birthmom all of the time. I was on the happy end and yet anxious about having the process completed somewhat fearing that the birthmom would "reclaim" the baby and want to parent her. But then I realized that my fears were also probably some of the fears of her mom--what if this adoption doesn't go through and I am forced to take this child that I cannot parent? Oh that thought stayed with me the whole time. And it changed my perspective on the whole adoption triad.