The Greatest Sacrifice

Adoption.

It truly is a miracle.

We’ve had Xander home for two weeks today. 

He is growing and changing every day. His very dark eyes are showing hints of perfect blue that no doubt come from his birth mama. He is getting a double chin and his legs are looking less scrawny…well maybe not. And Noah is so very pleased that that THING has come off of his belly button.  

We are good.  

Noah Simply cannot get enough Xander time. He says “I just love him so, so, so much. I’m so glad he is finally here.”

Georgi’s “mommy instincts” kicked right in. Her daily hope is to feed him, snuggle him, and make sure he has his paci and blankie. She gently refers to him as “sweetie.”

Brett and I are good. We are in newborn mode. We are wiped and our ends tend to be a little frayed. We remind ourselves to enjoy this season, knowing it simply does not last long.    

Our time in the hospital with Xander and the birth family were some of the richest days of our lives. We experienced the full gamut of emotions: excitement, fear, love, heartache, joy, peace, grief, worry, confusion, hope, hopelessness…it was all there, and all real.  And in it all we saw the hand of God.

We expected several things of the time we would spend in the hospital while Xander was waiting to come home – getting to hold him and feed him, adoption paperwork, nurses and social workers…those type of things.

But there were two things we couldn’t have anticipated:

  1. Getting to spend countless precious hours with Xander’s birth family and falling in love with them
  2. Experiencing the grief of the birth family.

We simply were not prepared for #2 – I don’t think one can prepare for it. For months I’ had this “pie in the sky” screenplay in my head of how we would bundle our new babe into his car seat and walk out of the hospital radiating joy. Ready to stop at every friend’s house on the way home.

But instead leaving the hospital with our sweet boy was the hardest thing I have ever done…and it doesn’t even compare to the level of “hard” the birth family faced in giving him to us. It was just plain gut wrenching.

Xander’s birth family, they love him, they love him fiercely. Giving a baby, a son, a grandson, a nephew up for adoption wasn’t something they had dreamed of or hoped for.  It wasn’t something they planned or even wanted to do. They did it because life has them in a place where adoption was the best option for Xander.

The sacrifice they made was one of love. It was heroic. My God, it was hard – I saw grief on their faces that day that overwhelmed me. It got the best of me.  At one point, while they handed Xander to Brett, I walked away. I couldn’t bear their grief. Or make any sense out of their sorrow being our joy.

The first 4 nights of having Xander home I dreamt I was sitting at my kitchen table, Bible open, crying and pouring over and over these two verses:

He (Jesus) withdrew about a stone’s throw beyond them, knelt down and prayed, 42 “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”  Luke: 22:41 – 42  

I’m sure our birth families prayers and thoughts we extremely similar to Jesus prayer and grief in this passage – Take this cup God – please, if there is any way for this to be good without us giving up this child, make it happen – but if this is best we will do it.   

While no sacrifice is equal to Jesus’ death on the cross – but to give a child that you love away for others to raise, and call mom and dad, so that he or she may have the life you aren’t able to provide, resonates with similarities that I cannot not ignore.   

Adoption is beautiful. It is a miracle. It is the heart of the Lord. It comes with great joy and anticipation. But it also comes with sorrow and grief.  Let us not forget the birth families that make such a sacrifice as this. The birth families matter. They matter as much as the child. It is our prayer that in time joy would come from their sorrow and that birth families would experience beauty from ashes by the goodness of the Lord.

Through all of this I will celebrate this Easter with a greater understanding and humility for the sacrifice God made when he had his own son die so that I could have hope and life, and know love.

Friends, don’t forget the cross this Easter, but look to the resurrection for the promise of hope.

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2 Responses to The Greatest Sacrifice

  1. Cindee Johnson says:

    Your heart is so beautiful, Angela. I thank God for placing you and Brett and Noah and Georgi not just in Xander’s life, but in the birth family’s lives.

  2. beth says:

    I am a friend of Stephanie Anderson’s – she passed this on to me as my husband and I just went through this very similar experience with our adopted son, Keaton. You explained this so beautifully. I never expected to cry for our birth parents. I did. I never thought anything could damper my joy the day they left the hospital – because our baby was “ours!” – I was heart broken for them. I ached and cried and hurt for them. You. are. so. right. Adoption is a miracle of God – but – not one without a price.

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