My husband, Charlie, and I are in the "waiting to be matched" phase of adoption after trying to get pregnant for five years. I really want to be a mom. I’ve taken several rounds of medication, I’ve stuck needles in my stomach, I’ve tracked my cycles, and I’ve even gained weight to achieve a “more suitable” body for pregnancy. Many tests have been ran, we’ve had an adoption profile at our local Crisis Pregnancy Center, and we’ve talked to several adoption agencies before landing at Quiver Full. More importantly, we have prayed a LOT of prayers. The list could go on for days, but you get the idea.
You’d think by now that I’d say I am prepared to be a mom, but I’m honestly not. There are so. many. things. that you are expected to know the answer to even though you don’t know the child you are answering them for. Just to name a few: breast milk or formula, co-sleeping or no, daycare or stay-at-home, immunizations or no, spankings or no spankings, cloth diapers or convenience. For those of us in the adoption world, you need to think through if you want to have baby showers, set up a nursery, and pick out names before you match or wait until after. I’m barely tapping the surface, and I legitimately got overwhelmed even typing those out.
After years of hoping and waiting, I still imagine bringing home our baby and thinking, “so... what do we do now?” Don’t get me wrong, we’ve done some reading and I have served a fair share of days in the church nursery, but I mean, are people really ever ready to be parents?
When I was eighteen, I got super sick. I was eventually diagnosed with a severe case of mono that shut down my immune system and led to a whole host of problems including my personal favorite, jaundice. So not only did I feel horrible, I was yellow. It wasn't the best way to end my senior year of high school. Anyway, unbeknownst to me at the time, the doctors told my parents that they suspected I had leukemia. Thankfully that wasn’t the case, but Jesus used that to really get some things straight with my mom. I was dedicated as a baby in front of the whole church with my sweet, white dress and my proud parents. We’ve got pictures and a little Bible to prove it. But, that day when my mom heard a scary (and thankfully incorrect) diagnosis, she remembered that dedication. She realized that I didn’t belong to her. She raised me every second of my life and I even share her DNA, but I wasn’t hers. When my parents dedicated me to Jesus, they were recognizing that they were stewards of me, but they were not owners. This meant that as long as we're on this earth together, they will do their best to raise me, train me, and prepare me to be the woman that God wants me to be, but ultimately they acknowledge God’s sovereignty over my life and trust His plan for me. I don’t belong to them, I belong to Him. In that uncomfortable hospital chair, she had to decide if she actually meant what she said when they dedicated me seventeen years earlier.
In a lot of ways, I am not prepared to be a mama. Our future nursery is an empty room with a few boxes that I still haven’t unpacked from when we moved in a few months ago. However, I have decided to dedicate my children to the Lord before they even exist. The only way I know how to really prepare to be a mom is to acknowledge that the role of a good mother is to be a really, really great steward. Realizing that I am not in control, and surrendering everything (even my future children) to God is the most freeing posture I have ever had. This means that even when we are matched, that baby is not ours. From the minute we are matched, God is allowing us to steward that baby and it may only be for a few months, or it may be for the rest of our lives.
* Post contributed by current client, Amy Bagwell