Friday, December 09, 2005

Children from the Heart

As a counselor, I hear many stories from people who have struggled with infertility issues. In fact, I tend to get a lot of referrals from infertility specialists who send their patients to me so that I can help these couples through the process of their treatment for infertility.

One of the options which we discuss in these sessions is adoption if the infertility treatments fail. Invariably, one of the fears raised by most of my clients is wondering whether or not they could love a child who is not biologically theirs. In all honesty, it wasn't necessarily a fear of mine so much as it one of these questions I had to ponder just to make sure I would make a good adoptive parent.

What is it like to love a child which you have adopted? I hear stories of pregnancies and labor and births, and I know that I am not able to share those kinds of stories with others. But, I did have my very own form of this process - a unique form of growing a child in my heart rather than in my womb. Like all women, I loved my children even before they were born. I didn't have sonograms, or hear their heartbeats, or have the morning sickness - but I did know that another woman was experiencing those things in order to give birth to OUR child. I didn't have labor pains, but I did have the pain associated with infertility. I couldn't give birth, but I could give love to a child sight unseen. To me, it was like I was CHOSEN to be my kid's mom - that I was predestined to be the one who was given the gift of having these lives entrusted to my care. I have always been very cognizant that another woman suffered a huge loss in her life so that her child could become my child, so that her baby could experience a "better" life with me. How could I not love a child under those circumstances? A baby needed a mom, and I needed a child.

Do my kids look like my husband or me? Not in the least! Did that stop us from loving them? Again, not in the least! How shallow a love would be if we loved only the basis of looks. What is amazing to me, however, is how much the girls act and sound like me. They have so many of my mannerisms, and their voices are so similar to mine to the point where when people call us on the phone they can't tell us apart. Nonetheless, the girls have other mannerisms, certain talents, and unique characteristics which I know didn't come from either my husband or me. And, I absolutely love the differences they possess as much as I love the similarities. The differences make no difference at all, if that makes any sense, because those differences are what makes them special. And, isn't that true for ALL families?

I think I am going to start chronicling a little bit more about adoption issues. It's an incredibly special experience, and it would be my hope that I could dispel some of the myths and/or bad hype it receives, and I would also like to encourage others out there to consider it as a wonderful way to form a family. After all, God has adopted us as HIS children!


At 12:50 PM, Blogger Darlene said...

You have this in common with Shannon from I just read about these issues in her book.

My neice adopted a beautiful little baby this past summer. I am a Tyler fanatic now. I love him so much. He was born on her birthday, and like you say, we knew God had chosen them for each other.

At 8:01 AM, Blogger BHGA said...

Your words, "growing a child in my heart" said it all for me. I will be back to visit you. Bless you !

At 10:45 AM, Blogger Mrs. Diamond said...

I loved this... It is highly unlikely that we will ever have any more children, and the idea of adoption has crossed my mind more and more.... I loved what you said about 'growing a child in my heart'

At 5:23 PM, Blogger Julana said...

I think this is a topic that can bear more development. I have seen Shawnda at Spirit of Adoption wrtiting about it, and been surprised at how much there really is in the Bible about it. The model of adoption is right up there with the model of marriage as an aspect of a family unit that teaches us about God's relationship to people.

At 5:54 PM, Blogger bigwhitehat said...

From an adopted child to an adopted Mom, I love you Val. You keep telling these folks how wonderful it is.

I don't get the "growing a child in my heart" thing. I guess it is just too feminine for me to understand.

An adopted child feels a special kind of love nobody else can comprehend. I seems like adopted parents do too.

At 11:21 AM, Blogger Barbara said...

I would really love to hear more from you on this topic Valerie. It is outside my experience zone and to hear you share more would be such a blessing.

I am back in the land of blogging after a very busy week....

God bless and hope you are all well.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

HI Darlene: I am going to spend some time looking at Shannon's blog - I glanced at it and thought "wow"!

Donna: I look forward to your visits and comments. Blessings to you, too!

Mrs D.: If you get to the point of seriously considering it, please email me! I'd love to let you know more about the whole process. . .

HI Julana: Yes, I've read Shawnda, too, and I loved what she has written so far! Adoption is very bibically oriented.

Dear BWH: Thank you, kind sir. Your words mean so much to me. I think the "growing a child in my heart" IS more of a "mom" thing - we just feel love for these kids even BEFORE they are born, even if we didn't bear them.

Barbara: Welcome back, dear! I've been a little hesitant to write about adoption in depth only because there are certain "trolls" out there in blogland who tend to leave nasty comments on blogs which talk about topics which are out of the realm of what THEY consider to be "normal". I've seen it happen before on other blogs, and I guess I just don't have the patience for that kind of thing. So, I'll just kind of do this off and on, and see what happens.

At 6:26 PM, Blogger Nettie said...

Sounds like you're beautifully suited for the job you do!

At 9:14 AM, Blogger Tyra said...

I think adoption is such a wonderful, loving thing to do for a child.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger Paula said...

What a great post! I believe it would be awesome for you to start writing more about your adoption experieces, both professionally and personally. It looks like God is stirring you up and using you to minister to people in this way. You go girl!


At 8:18 PM, Blogger HeyJules said...

My first chance to see adoption work was just a year ago in May. My friends, after years of realizing they would never have children of their own, had given up and decided to live without them. They had had one run around the block with adoption and it had ended very badly.

Then, a decade after my friend had seen a particular fertility doctor, this woman called my friend at the age of 39 and said, "Don't supposed you still want a baby?" They did. Two weeks later (YES, I said two WEEKS later) the young girl gave birth to a healthy baby boy and we have all grown to love him in the most wonderful way.

Does he look like them? Nope. Do they love him more than their own lives? You betcha!

At 1:35 AM, Blogger Ann said...

I think adoption is a wonderful thing and your children will be blessed to have you as their parents.

At 9:28 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

My brother and his wife adopted due to infertility issues. She just returned in April from Guatemala where she had been for 14 months with their daughter. They had tried for 8 years to get pregnant and went through 14 months of stress, separation and heartache to finally bring home their baby girl. (By the way...4 weeks later my sis-in-law was pregnant!) is the website. They journaled the whole time and now have a blog. She is 2 and no one would ever question whether their love for her could be stronger if they were her bio parents.

When I married my hubby he had a daughter that was 7. She calls me mom and I never even think of her not being my birth child. She's my baby. My mom is her gram gram and my brothers are her uncles. She is with us 3 nights a week and I miss her like she was my birth daughter that has gone away for a few days.

There is really no way to explain how love like this forms except by God's hand on our hearts planting the seed and just seeing these children smile and having them throw their arms around you is enough light to let that seed grow.

Sorry for the long comment. This is a topic I hold close to me. I want to share with other parents how possible it is to have this love.

Thanks, I love your blog. I found you through your comment on Ann's site.

At 10:51 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Nettie: Thank you so much - that means a lot to me.

Tyra: I knew you would understand because you're such a great mom to your three!

Paula- And God is calling you to minister to others in your own special way, too. Blessings on your new blog!

JUlie: You know, I am convinced if we could get more stories out there like the one you just wrote about, that there wouldn't be such a "stigma" attached to adoption. There are so many news stories which chronicle some bad experiences, and I think to myself "Well, yeah, that kind of stuff happens in "regular" families, too!". Thanks for your comment.

Ann: Welcom back - and thank you for your support, I appreciate it.

Stephanie: Thank you for those two wonderful stories. I loved your analogy about God planting the seeds - it's beautiful. Welcome to my blog, and I look forward to getting to know you!

At 1:04 AM, Blogger Sarah said...

My best friend can not have babies. I know she wants to adopt when the time is right. She loves kids, she is a nanny and has been for years. She treats these kids as though they were her own. She worries about how she will feel to raise a child that is not biologically her, but I tell her that she does already!

At 10:06 PM, Blogger Shawnda said...

As you know :), you are speaking my language and tugging at my heart! Thank you for posting on adoption - it's my hearts desire to see the body of Christ understand adoption as HIS heart! Because WE'VE been adopted by HIM, we have an eternal Father whose love is unfailing!!!! Praise HIM!

You had mentioned on my blog that you tell people that you went through your own sort of "labor"! YES, YES, YES! I didn't have to tell people - my emotions were was like being pregnant! And then bonding was an amazing act of GRACE from our LORD! We were expecting a newborn (ONE!!!). And we got 2 toddlers! Well, the LORD knew all along, and He prepared our hearts all along the way! He gave us their names (both of them!!!), and I never got it....till the day we got "the call" - it's like your water breaking, right?! : ) More emotions and a LOT of prayer!!! The "labor" of adoption is not physically painful (as in the labor of having a biological child), but the "waiting phase" was one of the most emotionally painful experiences I have had (drew me right to the throne of God to dwell at His feet and cry before Him....often! Hannah, which is why we have a Samuel! : ) Yes...Samuel and Keziah were born from our heart - by the GRACE of our LORD (as any child is born!!).

At 10:28 AM, Blogger My Kid's Mom said...

Hi Sarah: It's natural to wonder about that, but I think you overcome that fear as you go along in that process. Invite your friend to read a LOT about the whole process - then she'll understand how wonderful it is.

Shawnda: Oh, how I love your description of your "pregnancy and labor". It describes my feelings to a "T". I am SO excited we've met - and that we can share this awesome experience together!


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