Peter Pan was onto something when he said…
“Little boys should never be sent to bed. They always wake up a day older.”
And before you know it those days turn into weeks, and the weeks roll into months, and then one day you wake up and your little boy is 8.
I still can’t believe it.
Tyler moved in with us weeks after he turned 6 years old. As I look back on where we started and how he has blossomed I am humbled by God’s grace and goodness. I fell in love with Tyler from the first moment he stepped out of the social worker’s car to visit us for the first time. He was so little, so sullen, so heartbroken. All he wanted to do was play with the farm animals and water my garden. He didn’t speak. He wouldn’t look us in the eye.
After moving in we went through a challenging year of adjustment and testing. He was so sad, so angry…so lost. He just wanted to move back with his old family and we all felt the repercussions of that sadness and frustration. It was a challenging year but even with the tantrums and meltdowns I found myself falling more and more in love with this little soul.
I could never have anticipated the overwhelming love that I grew to feel for this little boy born to another woman.
I found myself delighting in the characteristics that made Tyler unique from my other children. Characteristics that developed from someone else’s genes.
Like his beautiful brown eyes (all my others have blue) and his amazing natural athleticism.
I admired his independence, confidence and complete lack of need to impress others. (That is so not me)
As time went on our bond grew, his security grew, and our love grew, and then our adoption was finalized.
I once heard someone say,
“Yes one of my children are adopted…but I can’t remember which one.”
I smiled at those words, thinking it was a charming thing to say but not giving it much merit. But I get it now.
It is a process, not an easy or effortless one, to bond and become “Mommy” to another woman’s child. You begin by going through the motions of motherhood waiting for the feelings to follow. One day you realize that at some point the emotions of mothering replaced the responsibility of mothering. The love is there. The bond grows. Then you realize you are there.
You can’t remember life without that child and you sometimes forget that he wasn’t always there. He is yours and the love and connection you feel is no different from the children you gave birth to. It is though God knits you together with that same connective thread that bonds new moms to their newborn child.
I found the idea of not remembering which child is adopted silly until recently when we were talking about the day each of the kids were born. Rusty wanted to know what time he was born and what happened. This led to a discussion about each of their “birth” days. Tyler then asked, “Well what about when you birthed me?” For a moment I paused and was wracking my brain for the memories of when I gave birth to him. I couldn’t remember and then it hit me…”Oh yeah, I wasn’t there.” 🙂
It was just for the briefest of moments but in that moment I forgot he was adopted…that he wasn’t always mine.
That is the gift of adoption.
It doesn’t come quickly. It certainly isn’t easy, but it is miraculous.
I would encourage anyone that is feeling God’s pull toward the walk of adoption to take that first step of faith.
I am so grateful that we did!