Friday, September 28, 2012

Making Grief Good

My mind has been drifting back lately.  Even though I am in a good place now, it wasn't always like this.  The days when Alex's adoption was new were a great swell of sadness.  I hadn't had proper time to grieve the loss of my husband when she came into view. Both losses threatened to drown me in their riptides.  I was trying to swim above the swell.  I knew that I'd made my decision.  I'd done so much talking it up that I didn't want anyone to see how sad I was. Tears made rivers on my face at a moment's notice and at unpredictable times.  I would run to the bathroom to try to clean myself up rather than let anyone see.  I didn't want anyone to worry that I'd made the wrong choice or changed my mind. Even if I had, it was too late now.  I had such little aftercare.  In fact, most birthmoms do. Either because they don't seek it or it is non-existent in the first place.  Such a great loss and so few options. 

I did a lot of equating the loss of my husband with Alex.  The intensity was the same.  Although, when you lose a spouse, everyone expects you to fall apart. That is normal.  In the instance of choosing adoption the dogmatic response to a grieving birthmother seems to be "but you did a great thing".  Let me tell you something. There are a lot of things that one could say to someone who is suffering a loss but trying to help them see the sunny side when the sky is falling is not the right thing to do.  It was of little consequence to me to hear that I'd done anything of merit when what I'd done was hurting me to badly.  I felt the same way when people would pat my back, hand me a tissue and say "at least you have his daughter" or "be grateful for the time you had".  Well meaning things that fail to comfort.  You want to  make someone feel better? Cry along with them and give them a hug. That speaks volumes without saying a word. 

When I started to rally I began to feel guilty. To me, feeling better was the same as not caring as much but I still did and I didn't want anyone to feel like my feelings had changed based on my demeanor.  Finding myself walking out of the surf of sadness almost made me want to run back into the tide!  Why did I feel that way?  I suspect that the grief was a way that I could still feel connected to what I'd lost.  Somehow I was afraid that if I let go of the pain that I would forget.

Now that I am in a better place I can look  back and see how flawed my logic was.  How I could systematically forget about two people who have left an indelible mark on my life is almost laughable.  Now I can see that these experiences can be used for more good than upping the stock prices of the Kleenex company.  It's not to say that I don't have my times of revisiting the feelings of loss, of course I still do, but I don't let it fool me into thinking that this is the only way to show love to the two people who are no longer in my life.  I can take these experiences and channel the feelings into something worthwhile, something that can benefit others.  In this way, I can still remember them every day and show everyone else how much they mean to me in a way that lets people know it's okay to feel better even if their world will never be the same. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Birthmother Superior

Coming off the stiletto heels of my debut speaking engagement in Atlanta at Together for Adoption's National Conference, I was welcomed that Monday morning to a flood of emails, tweets and requests to have me come and speak at other conferences and events. Of course that was exactly what I was hoping for. I even had a job offer at a local church thrown in as an added bonus.  Voila!  Even just the other day our ministry had its first 'ministry baby', a little precious named Christian came into the world and into the arms of his mother and expecting adoptive family.  You couldn't write a better script and gifted as I am, I only wish I'd be so creative as to make it up. Still, I felt some emotional pull inside.  Something was not quite right but I couldn't articulate the 'what' in "What's wrong?". 

As the week continued and I followed up on emails and calls for my attention, I shared and shared my vision some more.  Accolades, tears, and "atta girl"s flooded my ears and my heart. In a former life, I'd have sopped it up like a dry sponge but now I am not so anxious to soak in it.  There is a heaviness and a somber air around me. 

I finally figured out what it is.  I am unwittingly being attached to an ideal of something that isn't real.  I am sure it can be easy to hoist my clay feet onto a marble pedestal and call me blessed.  Please don't.  I am not courageous half as much as I am driven to deliver a message.  I have been given a great assignment and my job is to carry it out. The courage belongs to Him and so do the compliments.  I am a girl who got it wrong, screwed up and asked God to fix it.  He is the one who brought me through the pain, dried my tears and helped me see how something so destructive could be made into something amazingly beautiful.  I didn't put it together, I just marveled at the work and asked to have it.  I am not a gifted speaker. I've been given a voice by the One who needs the message said.  It is Him that says the words, I just yield my mouth and my mind.  The glory does not belong to me. 

I don't want to take hold of something that is not mine.   This is new.  I will make mistakes.  I might put my foot in my mouth as soon as someone pats me on the back.  In fact, I may do it tonight.  I am sharing my story and my vision for my ministry on "Pro-Life Friday".  It's a blog radio show that has featured such pro-life speakers such as Melissa Ohden, Abby Johnson and now me. 

Please tune in if you can at 6PM EDT:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

We Have Lift Off!

This weekend I will embark on a new mission.  I will launch my career as a Pro-life speaker.  I never saw this coming from 5 years ago. Who'd have guessed I'd write a book and want to get involved in all the hullabaloo.  As I sit in a hotel lobby, I realize I can't step back from the launching pad. We are all systems go.  The countdown is on.  I will sign in tomorrow at Together For Adoption's National Conference and take my name badge entitled 'Brittany Hudson' Executive Director for The Vessel -For Life and Speaker. 

What on earth possessed me to take on such an endeavor?  It wasn't part of my initial plan at first. I just wanted to write a book and let that be that but as I started looking into the writing world,  I realized that there was so much more to making a statement than penning some pages.  The privilege of author takes a commitment to building a platform.  I got it, you need to be out there promoting your message in order to sell books but what was my message other than sharing my testimony?

I had such a profound experience with my adoption that I never slowed down enough to consider that others might me a lot less fortunate than me.  As I researched blogs written by other birthmothers it became clear, I was not so much the norm as the exception as far as the bloggers out there.  What a hole in my heart, my tears poured through as I read the stories of birthmothers who'd felt coerced, lied to, rejected, dismissed and left to suffer to the scoffing of a public that wanted them to keep quiet and tow the company line, should anyone care to ask.  It shouldn't surprise anyone that as I made myself know out there on Planet Internet that my very experience would make their skin wrinkle.  Obviously I was a religious delusional who'd not been made aware of my harsh reality, poor dear. 
I expected to be embraced by my newly found nation only to be rejected and rather unceremoniously.

So what was different about me?  Why was I doing so well when others suffered seemingly endless grief and loss?  The answer is clear to me.  I understand that my adoption story had amazing purpose.  It was ordained by my Creator, loving handed to me to carry out and I chose to respectfully and reverently bow my knee and take my assignment. 

Do I feel any pain in my adoption even today?  Of course I do.  I pain for my daughters who unwillingly take my choices on as part of their lives.  I regret that they may grieve because of me.  I have times of reflection where I wish this wasn't part of my life, because it isn't easy to live with this story you see. 

I get up every day with a commitment to honor my life assignment. I use my pain to bring hope and healing to others but I am not the message. I am the messenger sent by the only one who can make something like this whole.  Jesus is the Healer and I get to bring His love to every woman and unborn child I touch.  I would cry a river every day to share in the joy for 10 minutes that I have with these woman when they understand that this time, even for the first time, someone loves them unconditionally.  I get to let God's love pour out of me and into the hearts of these beautiful people.  What a joy it is to serve!

Together for Adoption's National Conference will focus on the reality that every adoption involves suffering. The joy that comes through it is promised in James 1:1-4.  Read it and may you understand, what He promises is what is gained in the trial.  If you can't join me at the conference this weekend, please pray for me as I share my story and the ministry's vision for how I bring healing and what needs to be done for better aftercare for women who have placed.  Launch will commence in T-Minus 12 hours...