Monday, July 30, 2012

How Do I Bring Her Back?

Life after placement is a no man's land.  I came home to my daughter who was relieved to see mom not in a hospital bed.  My mother did her best to try to keep things 'normal' so we could just go on and live our lives.  The hormones, the loss.  No one ever talks about postpartum depression in birthmothers. How could there not be?  Your body is its usual upside down pattern when you give birth but there is a baby that is supposed to help with that.  Not in this case. 

If I couldn't have a baby to show the world for my out of shape and pudgy frame, I wanted to snap back to normal like an elastic but it doesn't work that way.  I resented my breasts for being heavy with the sustenance it was producing for a child that was no longer in my care.  Why couldn't my body just be like it was the day before I got pregnant?  I hid in baggy things and tried not to notice.

I felt happy and purposeful before Alex was born. What was I now?  I felt like a work horse that had been sent out to pasture.  Did anyone in my adoption have a need for me any more?  Could I ask if I was still needed or loved?  Will they still reach out to me now that we're done? 

All these things circled in my mind like fish in a tank.  I was secretive and reclusive.  I didn't know what to say about what I'd been up to for the past 10 months.  I kept to myself and hoped that no one would ask much or require great detail.  Who could I share this with? What would they think of me?  The church I had been attending persecuted me for having the gall to get pregnant out of wedlock as one of their members.  When the oppression from the leadership got too much, I resigned my membership on the advice of pastors outside the church.  I felt hated and dirty.  I felt rejected and lied to.  They were supposed to love me and support me and instead I felt like the woman in 'The Scarlet Letter'.  If I couldn't talk to my church family, who could I trust?

The answers came one morning as I watched television with my mother. We had been staying with her in her home while I looked for a house to buy back in New England.  My daughter fluttered around the house as usual. I tried to ignore the noise and the business while I focused in on the Today Show. A woman came on for an interview.  She was a strikingly attractive woman with blond and pink hair.  I became interested in why she'd be interviewed. She was not an average guest.  She went on to describe what she did. She was a former prostitute who had now escaped her old life and found a new one rescuing women caught in sex-trafficking. She would comb the streets of Las Vegas looking for women out at night and she'd talk to them, pray with them and encourage them to come to her for help.  I was enthralled with the conversation. I hung on every word.  I felt like the TV would suck me right into the room with her if I stared any harder.  My heart burst open with hope.  If she could use her old life for something so wonderful and useful I could too!  She was not ashamed.  She didn't cower over her story.  She could have just left her old ways and gone about life silently, hoping no one would find out about her but instead she let God use it for something too marvelous for words.  It was in those moments that I uttered a silent prayer for myself, "Lord please use me too." 

Now I am the Founder of 4 The Love of Alex.  Me and my ministry partner, also a birthmother, are working to raise up the voice of the birthmother to her rightful place on the platform of pro-life.  The life of the birthmother is largely silent with little healing after the fact.  I am burdened to fix the broken pieces of the adoption process for the birthmother.  I want to offer the hope of Christ for the woman facing such a difficult decision and show her that the only healing that can really come is from the loving arms of Jesus. 

How did I get me back?  I stopped letting the enemy duct tape my mouth shut.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Permanent Like Super Glue

Something fills your lungs when you are about to make something permanent.  It's like a gluey coating when you inhale.  Exhaling it makes it all stick in some cosmic way, I am sure of it. 
I felt that way when I got married.  It was exhilarating to get ready for my wedding. I remember having the whole day to primp and celebrate with my bridesmaids.  We sang in the limo 'Chapel of Love' all the way to the church but when I stood with my dad and the doors to the sanctuary as they  opened, I inhaled and the sense of permanence filled my body. I knew I was making a decision for the rest of my life.  But that was a happy kind of sticky. 

Any feelings of more time wafted out the door as soon as my adoption counselor arrived.  Upon her greetings and minutes of small talk, Brett and Kayla were asked to leave the room with Alex and it was time for us to get down to business.  It was time for paperwork.  I tried to slow my breathing as she pulled out the papers.  The weight of anticipation made my whole body feel slow to move.  She tried dutifully and carefully to explain but what was the sense?  Anything I didn't agree to or couldn't sign off on meant the deal was off.  She read and pointed and I had my pen in hand and tried to lightly lift my clammy fingers off of the paper with each sign so they wouldn't stick.

I didn't ask any questions, I just wanted to get through it.  I hadn't changed my mind but I wanted more time.  If I had a thousand years, I still would have wanted a thousand and one.  Sooner or later, I was going to have to say "good bye".  Every page made the decision stick a little more.  The last page and it was done.  A fixed decision in my life.  There is no divorce from this covenant unlike marriage. 

People have asked me what was more painful, having to bury my husband or letting Alex go. The honest answer is that I don't really know.  Both of  them were equally painful but how I feel about those losses are incredibly different.  Although Greg and Alex will never be mine again, I can still see Alex.  In fact, I have had two great visits already.   I didn't have any warning for the day I'd lose Greg.  I had several months to see the day I'd terminate my rights to parent Alex.  That didn't make it any easier though.  Greg is in Heaven with Jesus right now.  Who could ask for him to be anywhere better even if it isn't with me?  Alex is with two of the best parents I could ask for who love her more than their own lives.  Could I have wished for anything more for her? 

In the cases of my widowhood and my birthmotherhood I can say one thing about them both. They are both losses, they both hurt sometimes but I have healed by the grace of God and I can see the beauty in it all even though I wish sometimes that it could have been different.  I wouldn't change either one of those covenants.  I can sleep well in that.