Many adoptive moms are hurting. Perhaps this journey and our children have not turned out like we expected. We question our self-worth and adequacy as moms. Sometimes we get lost amidst the demands of everyday life or drown in the sludge of our blame-and-shame self-talk. Isolation or busyness masks our fear. Depression lurks. I know because I’ve been there.
But it’s not a final destination! We can be OK even when our children are not. We can love them, pray for them and guide them on their journey…but their journey is their journey. And we don’t have to go on all of it with them.
I offer tools for emotional healing and spiritual renewal in my book A Place I Didn’t Belong: Hope for Adoptive Moms. One journaling question asks moms to remember who they were before they began the adoption process and then to write a letter to themselves, something they’d like to tell their pre-adoptive self.
One precious mom recently wrote and shared her letter with the women in her healing support group. And I’m sharing it, with her permission, because it offers hope and grace to adoptive moms in all stages at all ages.
For some reason you still believe that the fate of your children is all up to you. If you say the right things, do the right things, look the right way, love hard enough, laugh often enough, control your temper 24/7, respond with unending patience, pray enough, study the Bible enough, hug enough, teach them enough…somehow all of those things will heal your children, will keep them from being lost, will stop them from going over the deep-end, will make them upstanding citizens of society…will save them. But all God asked you to do was say “yes.”
He knew you would grieve and mourn the loss of your hopes and dreams. He knew you would respond with fits of anger, impatience, compassionless selfishness, and distrust toward both Him and the children. He even knew you would brand yourself a failure, wracked with guilt over your imagined inadequacies. But He didn’t ask you to be anyone you couldn’t be. He just asked for your obedience…and you gave it. Your work is done…now it’s up to Him. Quite frankly, His plans are none of your business…and you may never see the big picture this side of heaven. But you really are right where He wants you to be. You really are the perfect mom for them.
Throw away your definition of what a “good mom” is. It simply doesn’t matter. Every mom in your group was and is a good mom. None of their efforts changed how their kids reacted to their own Five Story Fall. They just did their best and continue to do so. They said “yes” and that is all that matters. Rest knowing that your “yes” is enough.