When a Christian thinks of love, often the following verses come to mind…
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
And now these three remain: faith hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.”
These verses are often recited at weddings, printed on Valentine’s cards, and etched on wooden farmhouse décor for your home; however, when I read them, I reflect on their impact on my journey through motherhood.
The summer before my senior year of high school, I found myself pregnant. I was caught in a confusing time of stepping into my future (which I felt I had worked so hard for) and the crashing reality that things were about to take a very unexpected turn. I was scared, denying the reality of the situation, and I hid my pregnancy as best as I could. I felt alone, afraid, confused, ashamed, and hopeless. I wrestled with “what ifs” and “what should I do” by myself for months.
When I was about six months pregnant and my body could hide the denial no longer, I wrote a letter to my parents, left it on my bed, and went to the Friday night football game. Within the letter I shared my choice of placing my child for adoption. During the difficult months that followed, I was filled with inner turmoil. I was gripped with fear. While wrestling with the Lord about why, the fact still remained that I had been given a precious life… a precious little life that I loved. A little life I desired to honor, to protect, and hoped the best for. I didn’t know much about adoption at the time, and I certainly knew nothing about being a birth parent. But, I knew my desires for this child. I knew it would be the hardest decision I would ever make, yet I truly believed I was entrusted with him in order to entrust him to another.
The love between my son and I, as well as between his parents is steadfast. Our relationship is one of trust, honor, patient, hope, perseverance… not self-seeking, not easily angered, keeping no records of wrongs. I have faith that my decision was the right choice. And I have hope that my son will always know I am there for him will love him forever.
Years after placement, I met and married my husband and our family began to grow. We had two boys and we were content, but not complete. The desire to adopt was pressed upon my husband’s heart, which I quickly dismissed. Adoption was in no way an option for me, a birth mom. I had an open adoption with my son, two beautiful boys in my home, I was just fine. But, love is not self-seeking, and my husband continued to pray and I continued to listen. I found myself again in a position of wrestling with “what ifs” and “what should I do.”
The road that led us to international adoption was one paved with many questions, prayers, answers to prayers, and miraculous intervention. Ultimately, we said yes when asked and put one foot in front of the other. The journey to our third son was so hard and full of unknowns, but when we met him for the first time, I knew it was him all along. I would love to say the patient, kind, not easily angered qualities of love came to us easily during the rocky journey, but we leaned into the Lord and trusted that He would provide where we fell short. And He has, because He is good and faithful.
Our son is home, and our understanding of love has grown even deeper because of him. We have faith that he knows he is forever part of our family, and we are hopeful he grows to know the Lord and his place in his eternal family.
My choice for adoption twenty years ago changed the trajectory of my life. Adoption is intimately woven into my story and when reflecting, I am grateful for the lessons learned about love through adoption.