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Thursday, April 23, 2009

My New Mantra... Perfectly Chosen

Below is something I wrote to a new mother that used the same agency we did and adopted a baby girl. She has recently returned from Vietnam and is no doubt sleep deprived and overwhelmed being a first time mother. In an on-line yahoo group for our agency, she expressed her concerns of wondering (doubting?) if she was the best parent for her newly adopted daughter. I felt compelled to reply-

Oh Carol, my heart reached out when I read this. Welcome to real motherhood...full of worry and doubt and uncertainty and surrender and joy and hope and promise. And I don't think it matters at all if your child biologically came from your womb or came to your family through divine intervention and adoption. I want to very very purposefully say that being a mama is not without it's uncertainty and even mistakes. And in the long run, ironically it is these difficulties that make the rewards so very great. The love you have for your daughter will suffice and carry you through the tough times. As mothers, we do the best we can, with what we have. Sometimes that means making mistakes. Sometimes that means putting yourself first so that your sanity can stay in check. Sometimes it goes against the advice given from others or what's written in the know-all books. It certainly means wondering if your making the right choices as a mama and wondering if perhaps a better choice could be made next time. And later, we mamas will look back and may wish we had chosen differently. But the best we can do is all we can do, and it will be enough.

I'm not sure if your a woman of faith or not, so if you are offended by talk of God, stop reading here. I've always believed that the Lord places His children with just the right mama. And this really really made me wrestle with the concept of adoption. And I'm not sure that I entirely get it enough now to articulate it. But as soon as I was handed these sweet babies, I knew, that God placed these sweet children into my arms so that I could be their forever mama. I wasn't certain that I could do it better than someone else, (actually I'm certain I can't) but I was certain that I could try my best. God selects the perfect parents for His children. Perfect... with no mistakes. This is certain and makes me know, that even when I make mistakes and times are tough (and oh my has our family had our fair share of tough times) God chose me, perfectly, to be my children's mother.

Maybe I needed to hear this from someone else a while back. Maybe I just needed to write it down to assure myself. I hope you find some comfort in it.

As if I was looking in the mirror, I could feel her soul wondering if she made the right choice to adopt her daughter. I recognized those feelings. To me there is something so unnatural about "choosing" or rather even "ok-ing" a possible child, yet at the same time, so necessary. And after thinking about it a while, I realized that I had these same feelings with each of my children. With our first daughter, 15 years ago, I worried I was too young. With our second daughter, I worried they would be too close in age. With our 3rd child I was consumed with guilt when he was born prematurely and in the neonatal ICU. With our 4th I succumbed to the pressure of others and worried we would have too many children to spread our love. And the same was true when we adopted and were faced with an uncertain future for our newest daughter. But it truly is this knowledge that the Lord chooses the PERFECT mama for each of His children that gives me the reassurance that even though I may not being doing my job as mother perfectly, that at least I was perfectly chosen for the job. Thank you God.

Our Sunny is now at an age that she's starting to spread her wings a bit. She's off to get her driver's license in the next few weeks & will start dating soon. So many scary things in this big world. This leaves me to wonder if I did it right. Probably not. Certainly not all the time. My mantra... not perfect but perfectly chosen for the job, perfectly chosen for the job... Boo and Patch give us opportunity to correct many of the parenting mistakes we made the first times around. But these are all questions I've been wrestling with recently. Homeschooling? Was that the right decision? Tackle football or touch? How 'bout shaving? Is above the knee acceptable? What about shaving your arms? Repeat after me... not perfect, but perfectly chosen for the job...

The answers seemed to be so much easier when they were littler. Don't put things in light sockets. No you can't have dessert if you don't finish your dinner. Yes, you have to taste broccoli. Don't throw sand. But as they get older the answers get less black and white and I find myself thinking in grey. I want and need to carefully watch the women in my life that have children older than I do. Watch how they do it, what shades of grey they think in. I think I'll be repeating my mantra a lot more frequently in the future.

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