Something to listen to while you read:
"Arise My Love" by, Newsong
In many ways they should not "get it" for many years. They should have a child-like faith and innocence to go along with it.
The problem is they don't. They get loss and grief. They get the pain in Mary's heart as she lost her son so precious. They get losing someone whose identity was so integral to their own, they don't know where that person stops and they begin.
The week before Easter we celebrated the 14th anniversary of a judge making us a forever family, Gabby, Tony, and I. April 10, 2000. Just shy of her 2nd birthday.
The day before Easter we again plan to celebrate. This time it's the "Gotcha Day" for Will, Lydia, and Madi. They are eager for Saturday to come because they know it means a treat. :)
I am more hesitant because I know it is really a day about loss wrapped in joy. We joyfully added three new children to our family. They gained safety and permanence.
They however, also lost. Lost a foster family they had lived with for almost two years. Lost the last possible contact with their birth parents, grandparents, cousins, a big brother, familiar places, school and neighborhood friends. To call strangers mommy and daddy. I'm not sure any of us can truly understand who have not experienced.
I know that in celebrating this, there needs to be explanation. Explanation of loss and celebration. Explanation and processing for our newest kiddos about their own lives. They are still trying to grasp what adoption is. Why they can't just go home. Why won't we let them?
And inadvertently the truth of Easter begins to dawn in our house. This paper. It came home in the Friday folder. My freckle-faced ninja with curly auburn hair. When I asked him to read his writing to me, he eagerly did. Until the last line. Then his eagerness dissolved into tears of loss. We rocked as he cried and my inadequate words struggled to comfort a pain that is with him every waking moment. I don't know if you can see the little person at the top with his hands raised up and tears on his cheeks. Pleading and mourning.
|Title: Me Missing My Mom|
"I love my mom but I got take away. I felt sad. Then I went to 5 homes. The 5th one I am at it right now. And I'm having hard times. I was feeling angry so badly. Guess what? I do care."
The next day is Saturday. The day that for the disciples the world looked black. And we gather around a table to eat cookies and remember. "This is a special day!" I told them. "It is the day Lydia, Will, and Madi came to live with us. We call it their 'Gotcha Day' because we 'Got' to bring them home.
But it is a partly sad day.
A long time ago I wanted to have a baby in my tummy but my tummy doesn't work that way. God had a different plan for me to be a mommy!"
"Weren't you sad?" Lydia asked? "I know you had a baby in your tummy once and it went to heaven. Do you feel sad?"
"I felt sad when I didn't have any babies but instead of having babies in my tummy, God brought me seven babies that needed a family that are sitting here around this table. I had to go through sadness to get to the blessings that is you guys!"
"But the reason you were able to come into our family is a sad one. It was because your first mommy and daddy weren't able to keep you safe enough."
Mournful faces, "I miss my old mommy."
"I worry that my dad is back in jail."
"I feel guilty because I told him where she was. And he hurt her."
I ache when I remember this conversation. I hurt that these precious children remember things I cannot even conceive of experiencing. But I also know this is an integral part of our healing, becoming whole together.
In the context of their pain, I am able to explain some of Christ's sacrifice to them. Explain the reality of sin and how it hurts us. And how Christ died to free us from that sin, to cleanse us of guilt and shame from our and others' sin. How God allowed His son to make this sacrifice, that God "gets" their pain because He was separated from Jesus for a time.
I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. Matthew 10:10-11
He came to give us life. Abundant life and joy. And He sacrificed his life for it.
Sunday dawns. The day of life. Easter Sunday. We sit in church, a wiggly ninja snuggle up to me, decorating a program. After a few minutes he giggles and hands me this note, "It's for you!" he whispers. "And Daddy! Show it to Daddy!" The capacity for joy in this boy. I am in awe.
|"I love mommy because she's nice. I love daddy."|