“What if the very act of receiving a child into our arms was an image of God receiving us into his arms? No judgment, no criticism, just pure love and acceptance. … If God is a God who is about restoring all things, he must be passionate about restoring our child’s missing pieces and his or her heart.”
–from “Before You Were Mine” by Susan TeBos and Carissa Woodwyk
These women talk about creating a “Lifebook” for an adopted child. Basically, it’s a way to compile all the facts about the beginning of life — from conception to adoption — and have a guide for when the time comes to talk about adoption. Unlike a scrapbook, this type of book would be more private with the details about the birthparents and their reasons for deciding not to raise the baby.
The whole time we’ve had Cate, I’ve been developing a similar idea. I want to make a book for her called “Chosen.” I want it to be her story, leading up to her birth. Well, maybe leading up to us coming home with her. Regardless, I’m totally on the same page with these women who wrote the book.
Susan TeBos has three internationally adopted children. The processes to adopt internationally and domestically are different, so I’m having trouble relating when she keeps talking about the missing pieces and the loss the adopted child must feel. But then I think, maybe I’m just naive. Maybe Cate will experience some feelings of loss when she finds out she is adopted.
My prayer is Cate realizes she gained much on May 6, 2007. On that day, another woman — a brave, giving woman — birthed her. She had our baby. But in her words to us throughout the weeks leading up to May 6, 2007, she was thankful this baby was going to have a home, particularly our home.
We’ve had Cate in our arms since the day she was born. Her life hasn’t been disjointed in a way that children who begin their lives overseas with one family or in an orphanage experience before they’re relocated to another, more permanent home. Again, maybe I’m naive, but I think the consistency of this being Cate’s home is worth something.
(I’m analytical. I tend to wonder if I’m processing everything appropriately. Like this. Nervousness wasn’t an emotion I experienced in the weeks we were waiting for Cate. Maybe I should have been. But I wasn’t.)
Like before and now. With Cate, I have God’s peace in a way I’ve never experienced. She’s made Greg and I better people, individually and together. And we gel as a family.
Now, that’s not to say we’re not going to talk to her about her birthmother and how she came to be in our family. We are. I’ve thought about it many times, and she’s only eight months old. BUT I believe God gave her to us for reasons we know, reasons we’ll learn as she grows and reasons we may never know.
I also pray that whatever Cate’s perceptive and emotions are will be real to us and we’ll have the wisdom and insight to deal with them appropriately. I’m almost ready to start on her book so her story will be bound in the pages that will be hers.
And, just for the record, “Before You Were Mine” is an excellent resource of questions to ask yourself as an adoptive parent so the information included is thorough. There’s also great scriptures used to help relate the idea of adoption to the way God accepts us into his family.
“From what we could tell they were well adjusted and doing just fine. We could see no signs of pain or loss now nor did we anticipate any in the future. In hindsight, we were naive. We now understand that every adopted child will process her adoption her own way. … What is important is that they know they have a story and that it began at conception, not adoption.”