Three years ago today.....
We were at Target picking up groceries when we got the call that sent us into a frenzy of excited movement. It was time to go to the hospital. The child that had been matched with us was here. It was time.
Three years ago today---we held Miriam for the first time. I was elated----and terrified---at the same time. She was so small---she seemed fragile--(Don't break her---don't break her reverberated in a silent chant through my mind) She was beautiful---with her dark hair and big eyes. Tiny, wrinkled fingers. Tiny, wrinkled toes. How could anything be so small---so precious. Stuart's face was gentle---kind---in love with his daughter. Stuart is a quiet person---but one should never mistake a quiet person for an unfeeling one. I have never known a person one who loves--- as unconditionally, without any regard for himself whatsoever---as wholly as my husband. And in that quiet moment---which wasn't really quiet---but surrounded by a flurry of activity (sometimes quiet is something that happens on the inside---I really believe there are times when God slows everything down---just for you---and says---don't miss this---because it's Good)----Stuart met the tiny person he'd loved all along---and so did I. And it was Good---it was beautiful.
Three years ago today----I paced the halls of a hospital for the entirety of the night---awake and unsure what to do with myself. C had asked that I stay the night---so I did. I watched M through the glass. I watched the other babies---I watched the other mothers rolling in wheelchairs through the hallways. Three years ago today---a lot of things happened that were frightening---coming really face to face with the brokenness that is at the root of adoption is an experience I will never forget---it is forever a part of me. It was heartbreaking, scary----and a little lonely.
Three years ago today---God took care of me. Even though whatever heartache I had must have been insignificant when compared to the heartache of Miriam's biological mother----God still was undeniably with me. He was present in my family---He was present in the nurses----He was present. And when I wasn't looking for Him---- He was looking for me. Three years ago God cared for me in my weakness---and He cared for Stuart.
Three years ago-----C told us---"This child was conceived in your heart long before she was conceived in my womb. She is your child----don't let anyone ever tell you differently." Three years ago----in a hospital room---there were a lot of tears.
Three years ago----not to the day---but it all runs together----we heard from the adoption agency that there was a very real possibility that C might decide to parent Miriam after all---(there is a revocation period where the biological parent can change their minds about placing the child for adoption)---that she was having second thoughts. The adoption agency asked if we would like to put Miriam in interim care to protect our hearts. But we couldn't do it----we said again----we will love her as if she is ours for as long as she's ours-----and we hope that will be for a very long time. Stuart sat in the recliner holding Miriam----her fingers reached up for his face---curling and uncurling----and I watched my husband cry in silence. Three years ago---we learned that the deepest vein of love doesn't taper off just because there's a possibility that a beloved person might not always be nearby---the deepest vein of love runs without ceasing----cannot be deterred by any circumstances----it is an unconditional love----the one we can only really understand when we reflect on God's unconditional love for us.....we got to feel a shadow of that kind of love when we first loved Miriam....
Three years ago----we learned that Miriam would stay with us---that she would be our family. Three years ago---we celebrated Miriam.
Today---we celebrate her again---we thank God for her again. Miriam is spunky--determined---sassy. She is already full of compassion. If she sees another child hurt or crying---she is always running over to them---patting on the back. She has been known to kiss boo-boos---murmur soothingly---"It's okay."----or just be sad with them---"Baby's crying"---she will say sadly. Miriam is outgoing---everywhere we go---she greets everyone with a cheerful "Hi!" and a wave----and when they leave (the restaurant, the store, wherever)---she tells them "Bye, bye!" Miriam loves to sit on the "big bed" (our bed) and cuddle up for Backyardigans or Angelina Ballerina. She loves her grandparents---her aunt Nikki---her Uncle Jake---and Aunt Kelly who she rarely sees but she remembers from past meetings and asks to look at pictures of--- to the umpteenth degree---I sometimes think she will burst from the excitement she feels when she sees them. She loves her friends---who really should be called family---like Karen, Penny, Kristy, Ashley---to the same crazy degree. I love that she loves---so stinking hard---and with every fiber of her little self. She just loves totally---without abandon. That's my favorite thing about her--- that she loves fiercely.
Today---I say a prayer---thank you God---for our little firecracker, Miriam. Thank you for making her just the way she is. Thank you for letting us be her parents. Thank you for walking through every step of the adoption journey with us. Thank you for loving us unconditionally. Thanks be to God for the family you have brought together----and simultaneously---I pray for Your peace---the peace that surpasses our understanding---to pass over what was broken----what was lost---and may Your hand heal.
Happy Birthday to Miriam. We love you 8 better than a snake. :)
For years now I have waited
For you to come around
And you have left me nothing
But a dusting on the ground.
Or you’ve blown in with the wind
For Friday afternoon bus duty
Did anyone ever teach you
Mockery’s just snooty.
Ok--you’ve had your fun
But it’s time to mend our fences
Just pop on over for a visit
Come back to your senses.
I just want to tell you
That hey---there’s no hard feelings
I still love you—I still care
I still find you quite appealing.
And should you show up casually
On Monday afternoon
I would welcome you with gladness
That’s all—hope to see you soon.
But since the composition of this poem----I have come to the conclusion that there are hard feelings towards snow----many, many, many, many hard feelings. And even if it DID snow at this point---I wouldn't speak to it. Bring on the spring---that's right snow---you heard me---spring---warm sunshine I'm rooting for you now---down with snow and all things icy (Do you think my reverse psychology will work on snow? )
Anyhow---nutrition and exercise wise---still hangin in there. Lately---I've caught myself thinking---Ok--my goal is to be down this many pounds by the end of the week. All the while---the truth of the matter is---that's the very mindset I wanted to avoid when starting out with this whole thing. If I don't lose even one pound----but am making healthy choices and learning not to lean on food as a crutch----if I can---remain at war with this idol in my life----at lean on God the way I'm built to----well, that would be the point. And nothing else. So---this is a nice place to remind myself of that.
Miriam is saying more everyday----and she adds people that she loves to her ongoing monologues every day too. God bwess Ashwey and Kwisty. God bwess Jackie and Janice. God bwess Banni-G (whose name is actually Giovanni, but Miriam has renamed him Banni-G) I am proud of how much Miriam loves people. I am such an introvert----and though I often admire people---pray for them on an ongoing basis---and hope for God's blessings on their lives---I do poorly with communicating my feelings towards them. I am not at easy person to be around socially----it's awkward---for me---and I imagine for the people around me as well. And I am at a place where I'm ok with that---but I love that my daughter is different from me is this respect. I love that she hugs people without abandon----that she loves people in general---and is sooo stinkin' excited to see them. I'm going to be real for a minute---and hope it's ok. Sometimes these differences are a reminder to me that Miriam and I don't share genes---that we lack that biological connection. And at times, I won't lie----that can hurt a little---scare me a bit---because I wonder---will we be able to relate well to each other as Miriam grows up? But then---at the same time---I know that although I am certain our relationship will have challenges that are specific to adoption related issues----at the same time---these differences that I notice---Miriam being an extremely extroverted, active (really turning out to be a tad athletic---the kid can make a basket 9 times out of 10) little girl----they are what make Miriam Miriam---and I love Miriam. I wouldn't want her to be anyone else. I'm proud of who she is---and even if I am the introvert who would rather sit in the chair with my knitting and a book on tape----I'm glad Miriam is the kid who is telling me "Mommy--pway ball. Pway ball. Pway mommy pway." I'm glad she isn't afraid to get in the game....and I'm glad God blessed us with our daughter. This home---this family---is changed completely because of Miriam----and though the insecurities that are intrinsic to an adoptive family are certain to crop up now and then----beneath those ripples on the water---the deep is still, rich, and brimming with beauty.