Posts Tagged ‘Adoption’

The Birth of a Baby

Sometimes the birth of a baby connects two families in a way so intimate that words cannot begin to portray. Sometimes the birth of a baby connects strangers… forever binding them around a single beating heart. Sometimes the birth of a baby forever connects two women’s souls for eternity, two mamas who share a deep mama-love for the same tiny human being. 

And I was lucky enough to experience it. I am fortunate enough to be a part of a bond that I struggle to explain… that I struggle to understand. 

The bond? With a woman 4 years older than me. 

The tiny human being? Zachary, born prematurely… tiny and sick, struggling through his first days of life. 

The woman? The birthmom of my son. The life-giver. 

The story? Adoption. One mom choosing life and love for her tiny, sick baby. Another mom, me, gifted, honored, and blessed with the tiny bundle she had prayed for. 

And, just like that, two women are connected forever, sharing the love they have for the same son. 

Don’t misunderstand. Adoption includes brokenness, and our story is complicated. Our story includes pain, struggles, awkwardness, questions, confusion, fear and loss. Adoption always does. But our story involves a grace and love from God that heals and soothes and accepts and loves. It’s what makes our story beautiful. 

The gift of life. The gift. The life. 

Separate lives. Separate memories. Separate families. 

But shared connection. Shared love. Shared bond. Shared hearts. 

Our communication wasn’t often. So much was left unsaid, unasked. But the honor and gratitude we shared was yet another gift. I mean, how could either of us ever truly express our thanks?

But we knew. We both knew. 

The few shared hugs, the few shared words, the few shared letters and texts, the few shared days together. The prayers, the thoughts. 

But the deep unspoken things of the heart were just felt, were just known. 

And then this week, the call that she was gone stole my breath. It stuck in my gut and swelled in my chest. She left so quickly, so unexpected. This part of me that she held, that we shared, was yanked away in an instant. How had I never prepared myself for the possibility of her death? How had I not prepared my son for the possibility of her death? And what did it mean for us? That part of me, that part of my son was gone, and the hole it left was surprisingly painful and sad.

The reality is, our lives won’t really change much. I’ll miss my connection with her. I’ll miss bragging on my son to her. I’ll miss picturing the joy that updates from me brought her. I’ll miss thanking her for the privilege of being his mom. But I’m still touched and moved. I’m blessed to have known her and mostly blessed by the gift that we shared. 

I was privileged to attend her memorial service today, to experience the celebration of her life with those who loved her most. Another sweet gift. 

My family and my heart will forever be connected to her family, to her other children… because of DNA, because of adoption, because of striking similarities in facial features, because of love, … because of the birth of a baby. 



Beautiful New Body

Recently, conversations about heaven, about loss, about death have been more common than before around our house. With the loss of my dad, my kids’ Papa, have come conversations and thoughts that before were unfamiliar to us. And, frankly, didn’t matter as much to us.

When Zippy recently talked about heaven and the new bodies we will receive when we leave these tired, for-earth bodies behind, he made me smile at his confidence and self-love.

“I hope the new body God gives me will still have brown skin.”

And with that one comment, I smiled knowing that we have succeeded (for now) in making him proud of himself and of his race and of his body. Maybe gone are the days of his wishing away his dark complexion so he could look more like his family.

While I know transracial adoption will continue to throw difficult issues at us and at him, I was encouraged with his confidence. And, yes, I smiled. And I agreed that I hoped for the same thing – I hoped for him a new body with beautiful deep dark skin when that day comes.

Sweet family moments. Sweet moments with my son for whom I’m forever, forever grateful. A quick peek into his soul — his beautiful, innocent soul.

Adopted?? Really??

A pet peeve of mine.

I know that surprises you that someone as un-opinionated as I am would even have a pet peeve. Ha.

But, yes, this is a huge, ginormous pet peeve of the worst kind.

It is again a word choice issue.

I am an English major. I taught English for 6 years. I like words. But I also very much understand the power of words. And I know that words can oftentimes be hurtful and misunderstood.

Today’s pet peeve is the overuse and misuse of the word adoption.

These days people adopt a highway, adopt a pet, adopt a school, and adopt a family for Christmas. I hate it.

Companies or families that adopt a highway or a school can do so and never really even do anything of worth to benefit said highway or school, and guess what? The next year they may change their mind and adopt a different part of the highway or a different school. They may decide to just not adopt anything this year. Maybe the budget won’t allow it. Maybe their mission has switched its focus.

Families adopt a pet and then change their mind a year later when the dog is not the cute puppy it was a year ago. Or if it doesn’t work out, if the dog bites a family member, then the family gets rid of the dog. See ya.

A class or a church may adopt a family for Christmas one year and lavish them with fine gifts and a meal for the holiday. But guess what? There’s no guarantee that that class or church will show up the next time Christmas rolls around.

These examples of “adoption” send the wrong –absolute wrong meaning of the word to my adopted child, his siblings, and his friends. How confusing to him when we had to get rid of the dog we adopted because we were unable to train him. How confusing to see 2 dozen signs on the highway saying this section adopted by Such n Such Company. Adopted? Really?

I know the English language well enough to know that adoption is not the only word with multiple meanings and uses. I know that.

But something as precious and sensitive and personal as adoption should have its own word. Its own word to clear up any misconception.

It’s important to me that my son understand that adoption is forever. It’s important that he know that even if he growls at a family member or destroys a prized possession, he is still forever mine. It’s important that he know that even if there’s more trash strewn alongside his median than we had planned for, we will continue to care for him. It’s important for him to know that his name isn’t going to go back “into the pot” when we’re done with him.

A pet peeve? Yes. Yes, it is.

One that I’m willing to fight for and shout out against in hopes of change? No. I think my audience would not be very sympathetic to my pleas.

But you can be sure that I won’t use the word in those other contexts. And you can be sure that if you use the word in those contexts, I will surely cringe and silently wish that you’d used a different word.  That’s all.


Proud to be Me!

While swimming recently, Meme told Zippy that his black curly hair was pretty. “The water drops in your curls look like diamonds in the sunlight!” she told him.

He thought the compliment was pretty swell! Diamonds in my curls! That’s awesome!

A little bit later, his usually-pale but presently very-sunburned cousin came to the pool. Everyone oohed and aahed about the painful looking sunburn.

Zippy said to everyone listening, “I’m glad I have dark skin so I don’t get a sunburn that bad!” And then he added, “And I’m glad I have black curls since it looks like I have diamonds in my hair!”

It’s wonderful to feel so great in your own skin and your own hair. And hopefully on the days that it doesn’t feel so great and he wonders why his skin and hair is different than his brother’s, he will remember the diamonds!


Taken By The Color

Taken by the Color

by Kelly Mastin

There on the homework so mundane,

My fingers pointing at the words we read,

I stop, surprised by what I see, sitting there in front of me.

There atop my hand, sits his.

Connected — mother and son are we.

But once again I am reminded. Once again I am surprised.

Can we be so different? My son so different from me?

My hand is pasty pale, but his is dark and brown.

Mine shines bright white, nearly pink,

While his is warm and brown.

How did I forget we were different? How could I be surprised?

I stare at our hands: So different. So diverse. So beautiful. So right.

And my heart interprets: It’s unity and sameness. It’s family and love.

Our hands tell our story — of adoption, redemption, and love.

I capture a mental snapshot of our hands there together.

Light and dark, white and brown –contrasting yet entwined.

Then, poof!  The flash of the bulb causes the clock to tick again.

And we’re back to doing homework, back to the mundane.

Back to being just my son and me.

My Heart Rejoices . . . and My Heart Aches


I LOVE it!

I encourage everyone to do it.

I hope to do it again someday.

It is a beautiful thing.

Just saying the word stirs up a powerful emotion within me.

The experience of adoption is an instant friend-maker.  You find out a stranger has adopted, and you’re instant bosom buddies.

Celebrating Zachary’s tenth birthday this weekend was a reminder of how blessed I am to have him — how honored I feel to call him my son.  And how thankful I am for adoption.

I seriously love adoption.

But my heart is torn and my heart aches this week.  My heart rejoices . . . but my heart mourns.

It was a crazy week for us adoption-wise.  From one emotional extreme to the other for our friends this week.

I celebrated to the point of tears as a friend’s adoption was finalized this week!  Oh, I am so excited for the new beginning that adoption has given this child.  A child with significant disabilities who has experienced much neglect and abuse in his 7 years is now with a loving adoptive family who will give him the support and the love that he needs and deserves.  Forever.  It is beautiful.

I love adoption.

But a different friend this week is filled with a hurt so deep that I can’t even begin to understand.  This friend brought a baby boy into their home over 6 years ago, and for the last 6 years have loved and cared for this boy — their son.  Yet, their story is taking a horribly sad, cruel turn.  Because of a very confused and corrupt civil court system, their son is being removed from their home and is being returned to his birth father this week — after 6 years.  Of course, their story is long and complicated, but suffice it to say that their son is the victim here — being removed from the people he loves and knows as Mom, Dad, and sisters.  It seems criminal to me.  Shame on the courts for allowing it to happen.  How can something so beautiful and so God-ordained be so cruel and hurtful?  (I won’t go into the details of their story, but know that we are still hoping and praying for a miracle for them.)

My heart so aches for my friends.  It is such a desperate situation.

But my heart rejoices with my other friend for their adoption. . .

What a crazy mix of emotions . . . what a crazy difference in outcomes. . .

Lord, will you lead and guide?  Will you comfort and protect?  Will you cause Your will to happen?  Will you “change the hearts of kings” to rule for the hearts of children?  We are desperate for You, God.  We need you, and our children need you.

Children of God

Here’s an awesome video for you.  Let me know what you think of it.

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