I thought that question might get your attention. Either you’ve adopted or you’re adopting—and you’ve been asked this question and not quite known how to explain…you have felt strange answering it…or the question just caught you off guard. You’ve started to talk about your child’s birth mother and then stopped…or chosen not to, because you don’t want them to ask and you feel as though they might not “get it”. And then—as you were quiet, you also failed to hold your thoughts captive, and you allowed yourself and your child’s birth mother to be judged or feel like you were…and then you felt feelings you can’t explain—which led to an inkling of doubt…UNTIL you came back to the gospel and you were reminded of the truth that first led you on this journey in the first place.
OR this question caught your attention because you’ve asked it yourself…or you’ve wondered it–and wanted to ask….but you were too afraid to, because something in the question just didn’t feel right.
I don’t have all the answers, and everyone’s story is different—but I hope this answer can shed some light on this “so often asked question” whether spoken or not that is rarely answered. So, here goes…
I am adopting. And my baby has a birth mother.
To answer your question in a more simplistic way—all babies have a birth mother. Seriously. But, we have to start there. Do you believe me so far? This is the first truth–and I like to stick to what is true and let the way I choose to live flow out of that. So, every baby has a birth mother. BUT…
…some times–a mom can’t take care of her baby. It’s true. This is really true too. It doesn’t change how much she loves her baby. She does—so deeply. And adoption for any mommy, is always—always—always last resort. Are you a mommy? Do you remember what it was like to hold your newborn baby in your arms? To be the only one who could make him stop crying? To be the only one who could feed him? To be the only one who could, other than God Himself, give him life and nourishment from your very breast? There was a connection…one that made your heart beat faster. When someone else held your baby, you felt as if they were holding part of your heart–and it ACHED until they handed him back. The mother who chooses adoption for her baby…shares the SAME heart…it is no different…BUT…
…some times–a mom loves her baby so much that she is able to seperate herself…and realize when she is actually unable to give that baby life. And she makes a difficult decision based on love. Each mommy who makes this decision has a story that looks very different. The 15 year old who was filled with insecurity who slept with a boy who told her he loved her…she chose to be rediculed–gossiped about–and to give a baby life. She feels like her life is ruined…but she doesn’t give up hope–and she cries out to God for help…
The 32 year old newly widowed mother who just buried her husband and is left in tears as she sits in her mud home wondering how she will feed her seven single orphaned children…as she feels the baby inside her kick…the one babe that her husband never got to see…and finally A SON! Yet, she knows what will happen to him—and the rest of her precious ones if they can’t find work…and fast. They cough at night (do they have the same sickness their daddy had?), she begs for money not knowing where tomorrow’s food will come from…let alone any medical care–and she cries out to the Lord to rescue her…and her unborn child…
Across town–a couple who has tried for seven years to have a baby…test after test…poked and proded…their hearts are tired. They are tired of the questions. Tired of the baby showers. And they, too, cry out to God.
Across the world–a couple with 7 children…four biological and three adopted…feel a void in their life. It’s unexplainable…but their hearts ACHE. They cry out to God…and again…they know what He is asking of them.
The answer seems simple enough.
You can see the Lord working if you allow yourself to.
…you can question Him.
If you ever want to be handicap from living the gospel–begin to question instead of encourage people to walk by faith (walking by faith rarely makes sense…that’s why it’s called…well, walking by faith).
Wouldn’t it make more sense to give your baby’s birth mother the amount of money your adoption costs? Maybe. But I wasn’t called to make everything make sense. AND that is not what God is calling me to do. (But…believe it or not, this is a question I have been asked. With our school in Africa, we have also been asked similar questions…like—wouldn’t it make more sense to give the money it costs for you to go see them rather than spend all that money on that expensive plane ticket. Actually…no. Because God called me to visit the widow and orphan…and we are called to follow Him in what He asks us to do—not what might make sense to a human brain. I serve God, not man—so I fully expect what we do not to always make sense to man…our brain’s are quite different than God’s…thankfully so—I want to serve a God whose mind I can’t comprehend! The beauty…when you follow God to sit in the widow’s mud home, His ways begin to bring understanding—and you GET IT. Unless you’ve followed Him in this way, it just won’t make sense until you do. When you are stting there in that mud hut, holding the hand of the widow…listening to her story—it is only then that visiting the widow in her distress really begins to bring understanding why God’s holy Word tells us to do just that. And unless you have followed Him in adoption…it won’t quite make sense either…but I’m going to try and explain the best I can…)
Allow me to entertain the question just for the sake of it. What would it look like to actually give a mother in a hut $25,000? Think about it. How long would it last? What would she do when it was stolen? Because trust me, it would be. Would she know how to save it or hide it–or even make it last? What would happen to it when she died? What would happen to her children? Better yet, have you ever given someone in a 3rd world country that kind of money? I can tell you from our experience–that it wouldn’t last long. And I can also tell you from our personal experience that there are, in fact, ways to give that kind of money and make it last in Africa—but unless you know Africa, know the pain of a pregnant teen or unless you have really had your hands very deep in these issues…asking the question is much easier than being a part of the solution. What it boils down to–is that the Lord loves these babies and as believers–those He calls must be obedient. And that, my friends, is called living the gospel…being obedient to WHATEVER He calls you to do.
It’s always interesting to me the questions that I am asked and what they mean. Does your baby have a birth mother? Oh she does…well, I didn’t know orphans had birth mothers? Well, it’s true. Every baby has a birth mother. They just all have different stories…and really—the only thing about one orphan to the next is some times legistics…the LOVE is the SAME…it’s there—it’s strong…it’s just the legistics that are different. Some leave them at the hospital down town. Some call places like Bethany Children’s Services and their heart ACHES…the pit in their stomach feels like they could vomit…yet they let their heart lead and let trust love surpass their own flesh for the entire car-ride to meet the kind lady on the other end of the phone. Some leave their precious little loves…a part of their heart…to the local orphanage after walking 10 miles barefoot. And some are too ashamed—and leave them outside on the church steps…and like Jechebed and Miriam in Exodus…they hide watching and PRAYING that someone…ANY ONE…will rescue their love—and that HOPE will be waiting around the corner wherever the stranger takes the child. Trust that they, do all in fact, love their babies deeply…trust that for each of them adoption was their last choice…and trust that the Soverign God above all creation will hear their cry, answer their prayer and be their refuge.
This…this is exclusive truth. Every mommy deep inside her deeply loves here baby. We were created to love that way. But not every mommy can care for her baby, and we can’t solve the world’s problems with dropping a big check on a doorstep either. We also can’t ignore how the Lord may be calling us to be used…or maybe we can. Maybe we can even hinder someone who is being used and feel better about what we are choosing to do or choosing not to do by shedding doubt and hiding behind questions as if our ideas our better than God’s…
What if you did _________ instead? What about __________? Oh honey, do you and your spouse really feel this is necessary…I mean—your dad and I are just uncomfortable with this…what about if you __________ instead. You really don’t have that kind of money to be adopting dear…and your father and I would love to help you—but we just really don’t agree with it. Should you be adopting if you don’t have that kind of money…you really think the Lord is going to provide? Don’t you already have your hands full? Do you really need more children? Do you have any idea how much it will cost to send a child to college in 20 years? Transracial adopt…oh honey, isn’t that going to be hard for everyone?
I have to say that I am blessed and fortunate enough to be SURROUNDED by parents, family and friends who are cheering us on and supporting our decision to adopt…even if—yes, our baby does have a birth mother. She also has a beautiful story—and I believe when we adopt Isaac that I will have opportunities to bless her…simply because I am choosing to seek them out. For our Isaac, his mom waited until it was hopeless to give up…but the Lord had already lassoed my heart…I am His and His will is my heart’s desire. I am so thankful to be surrounded by support…but this is unfortunately not everyone’s story. And it’s a shame.
Because the mommy who gives up her child should not be put to shame. Nor should the mommy that opens her hands to the Lord and says, “Thy will be done…use me…I’m all yours if you want me to do this for Your glory.” Both mommies are doing the best they can…and if we are also believers…we should rally around them, cheer them on and by golly–even SUPPORT and SERVE them. Those who need financial help…we should help them. Those who need prayer and are struggling to follow…we should pray for them. Because what it all comes down to—is that both mommies are not only doing the best they can…they are also trusting in the Lord for His care of these babies. And it’s a beautiful picture of how God gave up His son so we might live…and how He persued us and loved us before we ever knew Him so we might have a relationship with Him.
So in short—yes, my baby has a birth mother.
And I am the other mother. And very blessed, thankful and awe-stuck that God CHOSE me! I’m giddy, excited and overjoyed! (When we surrender…and our hearts collide with His will—this is what happens!)
And she couldn’t do it…with or without money. It was part of the Lord’s will and His plan for us to be Isaac’s parents. His ways are not our ways…they are higher. And it doesn’t have to make sense to you—or to me. Who am I to question God? The other truth is–is that I am following God and this is what He asked us to do. I am so thankful that there are many other mommies and daddies that are also joining us in adoption…serving the poor…visiting the widow. Some have support and some don’t. And that’s OKAY. But lemme tell ya—it’s way more fun to join someone in serving the Lord than to hinder them. Our choice to follow the Lord even when it doesn’t make perfect sense…even when it’s hard—and yours can be to support us–or you can hinder. Hindering won’t be fun for either one of us…and it won’t stop us from following the Lord either. And it won’t stop the Lord’s plan of prevailing either. If you know of someone adopting and it doesn’t quite make sense to you YET…be patient and ask the Lord to help you. And be very cautious not to be judgemental. It’s one thing to ignore the truth. It’s another to not support someone in following how the Lord is leading them…and it’s quite another to be judgemental about it…
[Confession side note: And being judgemental…I totally get it. I’m quilty—but thankfully saved by grace and I have confessed this sin to the Lord and walked from it. But lest you think I don’t sin…which I do…I have a confession—an ugly one to make. I struggle some times with being judgemental of those who question serving the poor or those following the Lord in things like adoption. A few years ago, before we started a school in Zambia–my husband and I were at our favorite vacation spot in Hilton Head Island, and we were talking about how much sense it would make to purchase a beach house—we could split it with 3 other friends…it’d totally make sense…and it’d totally be so much fun. We could rent it out…everyone would take a week out of the year…and we could even all go down together now and again. It’d be an “investment” Then–we met Africa. And our beach house plan…quickly lost it’s luster. We saw something that was much more worth our investment—we were sold and there was no question which had better returns…that is if you believe in the gospel and are choosing to live for the kingdom of God. For awhile, I was judgemental of those who invested in things like fancy cars, beach houses, luxurious vacations…I’m just being honest. I was immature in my faith—and I was looking at what others were doing, thinking about how that money could be used to save lives and being judgemental. Now, there is NOTHING wrong with owning a beach house or a fancy vacation if you are a believer…as long as you use it for the glory of God—as EVERYTHING we have is HIS and should be used for His glory…and it made my brain hurt to figure out how I could use those things for the kingdom…so I just gave up. The TRUTH is that I don’t know what those people are doing with what they have been given—and truthfully it is none of my business. The enemy would want me to judge—but that is not my place. I am accountable for myself—and we must be VERY careful to not look to the right or left—but to keep our eyes focused on God and what He is asking US to do! I can’t judge how someone spends their money on something any more than someone judges us for how we spent money on adopting…or a playset (one day…and I promise we’ll use it for the glory of God;). We must keep our eyes focused on the Lord and NOT let the enemy distract us by judging one another. USE what YOU have been GIVEN by HIM for HIS GLORY…whatever it is…and let us as believers–instead of judging and hindering—let us encourage and support one another toward obedience in Christ! EVERYTHING WE HAVE IS HIS…LORD, HELP US TO HAVE OPEN HANDS, SERVE THE POOR AND OTHERS…AND TO FOLLOW YOU NO MATTER WHAT! End of confession;).]
OK…gettin’ back on track…
Let’s also remember the other side…besides the fact my son has a birth mother…you didn’t ask, but I want to tell you anyway…
I am BLESSED to be the other mommy.
It hasn’t been easy. And it’s not finished. Being Isaac’s mommy will be an honor, and it will also be a challenge—as this has been true for my other babies as well. And for me—it doesn’t really make sense. I was surprised by ALL my pregnancies…each is a funny story because I am convinced God just has a since of humor with me. I was just as surprised with my pregnancy with Isaac as I was Parker, Laney and Frank. When God called me to get “paper pregnant” with Isaac, I had a 4 year old, 3 year old and a 7 month old. I sat at my dining room table and cried just as I did with my other pregnancies and said, “Lord, I am sooooo excited! But…are you sure me? Are you sure I can do this?!” Both good and hard times are ahead. BUT…I’m trusting my Savior for the journey. And I’d love to have those I love join me.
For the reader who is not the “other mommy”…Is there someone in your life who is following the Lord in this way, but it’s been hard for you to join them? Take a moment to think about how this is much harder for them than it is for you—how their world is changing and they are sacrificing things in their own life to follow the Lord…and realize…that they are doing the best they can to be obedient to the Lord. How beautiful it would be to die to what “makes sense”…to your own will…to what you want—and hold your hands up in the air and say, “I give up Lord…I don’t get it…Your ways are higher than my ways…thy will be done!” You have a choice…to support or hinder–and you will be choosing between joining them in what God is doing—ultimately to join God Himself in what He is doing…or you can chose to create hardship, adversity and to be a stumbling block instead. Either way, the Lord will always prevails. And by golly, life is just better when we surrender to Him, join His people in what they are doing—agree that it just doesn’t make sense…but life is just too short not to give up…and live for His kingdom!
For those of you on the journey…having a hard time answering the questions—or for those of you on the other end…trying to make a decision whether to keep or give up your baby…remember you don’t ever have to have all the answers right now. Remember the Lord loves you and loves every child He creates. He will give you the strength to parent your child should you chose to. If adopting, the Lord will place the right child that He has chosen for you in His timing…and He will be over every detail. He always is. And just as He finds the sparrow a home and clothes the lillies of the field…He will always provide for those who seek His face.
The Lord’s ways are not our ways—and He can be trusted. Seek Him with all of your heart, lean not on your own understanding and trust Him to direct your path.