Tomorrow…

Tomorrow, my daughter Mary, who I placed for adoption, will turn 24 years old. When I think about this, I wonder not necessarily as a mother but as a woman what she struggles with. Does she have friends in her life that speak truth to her and encourage her when she is down? And in light of my last post does she know she is significant and has an irreplaceable role in this life?

The irony of all this is that I didn’t know I had an irreplaceable role and beauty that no one could take when I was her age. I exchanged it all for a lie. I bought the lie that boyfriends, sex and being the bad girl would give me significance and beauty.

prom mom 2

As a result of believing this I ended up with all types of troubles including two unplanned pregnancies among other consequences. I say that carefully and very lightly. To be clear, both Mary’s life and Xaviar’s are precious and planned by the Creator. He makes no mistakes!

Surely, my consequences could have been something different than pregnancy, after all, there are plenty of women we know that can’t have children, couldn’t God have closed my womb and caused it not to bear life? Absolutely! But he didn’t.

The acceptance and affirmation we seek in this life can only be met God. I am not saying God can’t bring people into your life to speak into these places, he did for me, especially as a young woman who didn’t have a father, but apart from God’s will, seeking this out how we think best will only end in grief and disappointment.

Unfortunately, even after two pregnancies, I still struggled to see my worth and ended up remarrying with lots of baggage only to discover that I still through marriage was seeking something only the Father could restore. I remember when all the disappointment was laid bare for me to see! Years of seeking temporary fixes to my unmet need – all along my beauty and irreplaceable role that gave me significance and affirmation I already had, it is who I am and always was.

Cool pic with Sam

The story isn’t finished, as I am still walking out marriage and womanhood, but one thing I am sure of now, I don’t need a husband, friends, money, or success to tell me I am beautiful and worth it. My worth is found in God alone. God is and has restored the broken places of hurt and disappointment.

We are worth more than selling ourselves to an empty lie… whatever the lie is you are tempted to believe.

I pray that every woman who reads this will seek and find the truth, know your worth, that your choices don’t have to make or break you, and God is a Redeemer!

I would certainly be blown away if she sought me out! I would be honored to have that place in her life to remind her who she is. For now, I pray the God who delights over her and celebrates her life keeps her pure and holds her in the palm of his hands!

Part II: My Story

I decided to write Part 2 of My Story. Where I come from is related to where I am today – for better or for worse. What I am discovering in my adult life would have been helpful to know in my 20’s. I am sure on some level we can all relate. It certainly would have helped me work through the unresolved fact that I had black hair and my sister did not. I am not so caught up on this any longer but early on, I couldn’t help but notice!

The paradigm of it all though troubles me on occasion. I was adopted by my step-father when I was about 2. At the age of 15, I gave birth to Mary to be adopted. Then I became the proverbial blended family where my ex-husband was a step-father to my son, Xaviar, and I was a step-mother to his children. While neither of us adopted either of our step-children, we have experienced and continue to experience the world of step-parenting. I say that soberly and with great tenderness because clearly divorce hurts and mostly the children involved.

I called this Part 2 for two reasons: 1. Being a step-family made up the last 17 years of my life and; 2. It was an ever present area of conflict (purposeful smile). Conflict not so much in the way of it being negative as the word denotes rather in a stretching-of-the-soul kind of way which doesn’t exactly feel positive either.

Sibling funBecoming a step family was a process, hence the word: becoming.  I imagine, as with any hard place in life there are good memories but not without cost.

Approximately one- third of all weddings in America today form a step-family. What makes this so challenging is no step-family looks the same. I have found common experiences among other step-families but overall there is no one size fits all.  To make matters worse, the findings add that one third of Americans who got divorced were doing so for the second time – and I understand this all too well however my goal is to stay married.

Setting the stage for what feels like an insurmountable struggle up a steep cliff I have hope. I may not have been able to say this a week ago and it pains me to know I am far from the top, but I am still climbing. Most of the struggle comes from the conflict over feeling that my step children are intruders to my traditional family within our blended family. Meaning for the first time in my life, my family consists of my husband and me and our three biological children. My son no longer lives at home either. Though when he did it was different because he is an adult, with his own life, plans, etc. (like that of a room-mate). My husbands children have never lived with us so they are not part of our daily lives.

cliff-photo

A few simple things have helped me from falling off the cliff, perhaps you may find one helpful:

Remembering we are not each others enemies – we each have feelings, viewpoints, and experiences. I’ve had many an argument with myself regarding this because everyone feels like the enemy quite frankly.

Being honest. Somewhere along the way, I decided that most often it was safer to not be (of course there is something to be said here). Despite what I think the response will be as a result of my honesty, I do well to be real and honest. I am the only one that can share what I am thinking or how I view what is happening to me or around me.

Although to balance honesty, there are times to be quiet. I always think of when God told Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, we are told that she held all these things in her heart and pondered them! Along with several other verses in the Bible that speak about the right timing of your words.

When I think about where I come from and the struggles against me it gives me perspective on how to handle today. Furthermore, the obstacles we each faced walking into our second marriages challenges me. And yet, I find courage in that. I know that God can work through the poor decisions of others that have hurt me and those decisions I’ve made that hurt others – past and present. I also know that I will continue learning how to support my husband’s relationships with his children and becoming a blended family. I am certain of Gods promises to change my ashes into beauty.

Celebrating Mary

Today is Mary’s birthday, the daughter I placed for adoption 22 years ago. She was born at 2:01 A.M., weighing 7 lbs, 5 oz and 21 inches long. When I decided to share this part of my story I was quite reluctant. To my surprise, it has been a timely and freeing experience!

This was the last picture I received of her through the semi – open adoption.  Her adoptive parents didn’t feel comfortable sending pictures through the age of 5 as originally agreed. At first that was hard to accept but after having my own children I grew a little understanding.

I think of Mary often. I look forward to meeting her one day. I am encouraged by other stories of adoption – those that have re-united and those that are still waiting. I am also encouraged by the hope adoption gives to mommies and daddies that aren’t able to have children. Adoption is the essence of hope and what is life without hope!

When I reminded Xaviar, her biological brother, that her birthday was today, there was a sense of curiosity and wonder in his voice. I do encourage him to seek her out in his own way and time. When she turned 18, thoughts of what it would be like to find her became more real for me; four years later I still haven’t found her and I am okay with that. Meanwhile, we are registered with the Florida Adoption Registry and hope one day she will seek one of us out.

Unplanned pregnancy? Afraid?

When I decided to share my story of adoption, I realized I would need to talk about the details of the story at some point –  like when I would walk two blocks from my house to a pregnancy center for the pregnancy test; and how I would feel after being told; or when I would tell my mother, and how she would respond; or what it was like to go to the first doctors appointment.

I don’t remember all the details surrounding this time in my life. However, certain things trigger the emotions and memory, strumming the strings of my heart that often lead to a sad melody while others just down right hurt. While emotions are what they are, what holds me up every time is that I have never regretted the decision to place Mary for adoption.

Yet still, every year on February 27, I wonder how much more beautiful she is, whether she has pimples, what she wants to be when she grows up, what she is good at, and all the things that stir a mothers heart!

The same block the little girl with skinny legs and un-brushed hair ran down was the same block the afraid and pregnant young lady would walk down to face the reality of her choices. I don’t remember what was talked about or even being told the test was positive. Clear as day, though, I remember standing with a family member as we discussed my options, and her telling me that my beautiful skin would be ruined for the rest of my life by stretch marks, if I had this baby.

When I came to the decision that I would choose adoption instead of abortion, I knew in my heart it was part of the plan, and that indeed the God I learned about as a child was real. I felt a part of something greater than myself and bigger than my 15 year old mind could fathom. I am reminded that God uses our finite minds to weave the infinite plans designed for each one of us. We are not puppets or aimless beings rather creation – purposefully designed for relationship and love with one another and God Himself.

photo 4 (3)

When I left the hospital that day, I wouldn’t have known that years later I would have the privilege of raising 4 children to include two beautiful girls, surely I hoped for this. I didn’t know what the next day held, or that I would still have a long road to pave, but what I did know is that I had made the right decision to not get an abortion.