Do you know what I have been trying to care less about lately? What other people think.
At no point have I faced that dilemma more than in the area of announcing our adoption journey. It reminds me of when I announced our engagement over a decade ago. Do you know some of the things I heard? Rumors that I must be pregnant (NOPE). Skepticism and reminders of how high divorce rates are for young married couples. Sheer disbelief that anyone would want to get married while still in college. Essentially, we made one of the happiest decisions of our lives, and it was not uncommon to be met with, “Okay, but why?”
I fear this story will begin the same way. I want to address some of the genuine whys later, but first, I am going to just shout at the elephant in the room. The “why” that gives me the most hesitation, that stirs my greatest insecurities, that cuts the deepest.
I know I am not going to win any awards for being the world’s greatest mother. I know there is likely more than one person out there questioning our sanity. Maybe it’s polite concerned questioning. Maybe it’s the fear that runs through my own brain, shouting at me: “You can’t even handle the kids you have. Why would you be qualified to handle another?” That’s just fear though. A little insecurity and self-doubt. It’s not based on truth.
Truth looks a little different in our home.
I wish you could have been there tonight at the kitchen table when Jackson said “Go” clearly for the first time in his life, and Josh and I beamed from ear to ear. I wish you were a fly on the wall this afternoon when I paced from dining room to kitchen to living room and back again as Elliott followed me, screaming his sweet little face off because he wasn’t getting his way. I wish you had noticed when I picked him up, held him close to my heart with his little head tucked into my shoulder, and rubbed his back while standing firm on our house rules.
Often times in public, you see the worst of me. I’m not great with people. I wear my stress and my strain on my sleeve. My kids take off across a crowded room without me, and I chase them down. One of my boys throws themselves on the ground and refuses to move. He cries when I pick him up. I make a remark about the joys of children. Even on social media, I am less inclined to paint a pretty picture and more inclined to keep it way too real. Maybe I sound jaded and overwhelmed. Sometimes I really am just jaded and overwhelmed.
But for all my failures, I have this one thing going for me: I love my kids with every ounce of my being. I apologize when I am quick to anger. I rock them an extra few minutes when they don’t want me to leave their bedrooms. I tell them how proud I am of them and their big hearts and imaginations and ideas. I teach them the value of hard work and a good book. I prepare their meals, buy their clothes, wipe their bottoms, refill their sippy cups, and sing them their favorite songs. If you are doubting my capacity as a mother today, by all means, that is your right based on what you have observed.
However, I have no doubts about my capacity to love another child as my own. Hear me now and hear me loud: I have NO DOUBTS.
My hands are not too full. My kids are not too wild. My home is not too disorganized. My discipline is not too inconsistent. My budget is not too strained. My spirit is not too overwhelmed. I am just fine over here. I love being a mother. I’m not perfect at it. Sometimes I’m not even good at it. But I am just fine, and for today, that is enough.
Years ago, I often heard it said, “God doesn’t call the qualified. He qualifies the called.”
I am not the perfect mother. But I will be the right mother for my kids. I will be the right mother for the child God has placed on my heart. I am uniquely suited for a time such as this, and I am prepared to rely on Jesus for all of the fears or failures along the way. I am not the perfect mother, but I have been given a perfect Father who has taught me to love fiercely and forever. That is more than enough. That is everything.