Today I went to see a movie by myself. Years ago you would have never caught me in a theater by myself. But, in this season of mothering little ones who need my constant attention, I crave the chance to get alone by myself for a few hours to recharge. Little did I know, my movie choice would be a hard one for me. I watched the trailer for The Light Between Oceans and thought it would be right up my alley. A movie with adoption undertones – sign me up! What I wasn’t prepared for was the deep emotions that would be triggered by the storyline.
Let me start by saying our family’s story is far different from the plotline of the movie. Our precious children’s birthparents chose us. They had an incredible love for their babies and wanted nothing but the best for their futures. They made a brave and difficult choice. One I am constantly reminded of as I brush teeth before bed, rock babies to sleep, and watch them giggle at their silly daddy. Sometimes movies (and music) have the ability to reach deep within us and awaken memories and feelings. And as I sat there watching the movie, the tears welled up in my eyes and the lump in my throat grew. Get it together Leah. No one else is crying. Why is this so hard for you? Inside I know why… it’s a reminder. A reminder of the war of emotions that silently wages within me that surfaces with almost every milestones and then again at the most unexpected times.
Maybe it’s a war I only struggle with. It’s one that’s not talked about often. But, I have this feeling, that if I feel it, there has got to be some other adoptive mama out there who feels the same as I do. And so, I share for those sweet mamas who wonder if they are the only one who feels this way.
This war of emotions I am talking about is the deep-seated tension that battles within me that is completely overwhelmed with love and gratitude that I have the honor of being the mommy to these precious babies versus this incredible grief and sadness that their birthmom isn’t right next to me to see it all. To experience every giggle, boo-boo and first step.
Why me and not her?
The first time this wave of emotions hit me was the day our daughter’s birthmom signed the paperwork terminating her rights forever and entrusting us with her beautiful baby girl. It was a day I thought would come with feelings of such joy and relief. And while I did experience those emotions, at the very same time, I grieved deeply. Minutes after our daughter’s birthmom signed paperwork, we went to spend time with her and say goodbye. It was by far one of the hardest days. The tears streamed down her face as she kissed her precious baby. She told us that while it was so difficult to say goodbye, she was so happy that she chose us and that Haven would have us as her family. That same war of emotions waging in her was so evident. In those moments, the brokenness of this world was never more real to me. The grief that overtook me was so unbearable that Ben literally had to hold me up and help me walk back to our hospital room. I wasn’t prepared for it. I don’t think anyone can be.
These feelings swell up inside of me at the times I would expect like birthdays and milestones, but even in the little moments when we are simply living life together.
Gratefulness versus grief.
Beyond thankful, while equally so sad.
I think these feelings I am feeling are a small glimpse of those my kids might feel one day as they grow to understand their stories. While I can never anticipate how they will truly feel, I’m grateful that the Lord is preparing my heart for the ways I can love them and point them to Truth through it all. That through the brokenness, we can fix our eyes on Jesus and long for the day He will return and restore all things.