We have had a crazy busy couple of weeks and I am still trying to catch my breath. The end of November culminated in a series of celebrations for us that left me unexpectedly emotional. We celebrated Logan's birthday on a Wednesday, Thanksgiving the next day, had a Forever Family Celebration that weekend and then the next Wednesday celebrated Perri turning 4! Not to mention the all nighter spent with my sisters Black Friday shopping and you'll know why I'm still trying to catch up on sleep!
Perri and Logan's birthdays had me feeling extremely thankful for them. I was even more appreciative of their birthmom's choice to give them life. I felt even more sad that she was missing them and they missing her. I felt even more conflicted within about how to wade the waters of an open adoption and what that looks like now and will look like for our family going forward. I thought about all the amazing victories along the way...How far these two children have come in the security of a family. I thought about the first days here and the steps until now and I wanted to scoop them up and freeze this time in our lives.
Thanksgiving found me waking with a lump in my throat as if the thought of the kids birthmom had sank into my brain while I slept. That day marked one year since they had seen her. One year since we had seen her or she them. I looked at their puffy little faces at breakfast and felt immeasurably sad for her. That she was missing this. I remembered how the last Thanksgiving was spent with her after we invited her to our family Thanksgiving. I remembered how loved she felt that day. I remember how brave she had to have been to accept our invitation. I remembered how many days Logan was out of sorts after that and how hard Perri cried for her when she left. I remembered how about a month later she wanted to see them and never showed up. I remembered why we are their family. I thanked God for our lives, our blessings. But the entire day, I could not get her out of my head. I wondered where she was and if she had a meal. I wondered if she was alone, safe, warm, or on the streets and lonely. I wondered if she was at a shelter or in the company of someones loving home. I wondered how I resolve her life to mine in my heart that tries so failingly sometimes to love like Jesus. It all took me by surprise. Not that I love them so much but that I love her. That is the most surprising element of this entire process to me....how intense and odd this love I have for her is...
how utterly ironic it is and emotionally draining and difficult to love the woman that I often feel like I am protecting them from or has been the cause of their heartache. It is my prayer that they someday feel that love I have for her and it directly shines on their own feelings of worth.
Thanksgiving has always been my favorite time because I love to reflect on our blessings and this year was such a celebration of knowing that no person can ever take our family away now and how faithful we stayed on this journey but it was also a realization and reflection on the fact that very few people have what I have. That there are many who went hungry that day.....even if they had a plate full of food.
We were then humbled on the weekend by over 100 people coming out to celebrate our forever family with us. It was an amazing time for us. We had a wonderful conversation with our children that night about how many people came to celebrate that God chose us for each other. That each one of those people present were there to root for us and to love us and that those faces were not just friends and family but had listened to God's call on their life to encourage and support our family. We talked about how God often works through others to bless us and that if there is ever a time you feel far from HIM, that you can simply look around you and see His face in the face of others that love you. The blessings are family feels from you cannot be put into words. Angels comes close.
So we go into this season of celebrations with hearts overflowing. As I was preparing a picture board of photos from the past year and half for our Forever Family party, I realized how tiny Perri and Logan were when they came. All I could think of at the time was how big they were and how much I had missed already and now I see how small they were and how much they've grown and have challenged myself to stay in each present moment with my children. No more what ifs or what coulda shoulda woulda. We are infinitely blessed.
The past few weeks have brought an idea to mind....I am thinking that instead of MOM or bio or birth mother....I am thinking since she gave them life, I will call her their lifemom. And I will call MYSELF their mom for life! Their. Mom. For. Life.