I just finished emailing our social worker to get our 3 home visits on her schedule! It feels like the last month has been a mad scramble just to get to this point, but I am so ready to get our dossier to Korea as fast as we possible can.
Parts of this process feels emotionally similar to pregnancy. I can remember well the excitement of finding out I was pregnant and then the weeks that felt like years before our first OB appointment. And then after hearing a little horse-galloping heartbeat, the months that went by feeling so connected to this little person, but not knowing a single thing about that person. No name, unknown gender, no idea of likes or dislikes or personality or hair color or eye color or health.
There’s a song I sang to both of my boys that says, “How can someone so small hold my heart so tightly? I don’t even know you. I love you completely.”
Elliott and I still sing it together before bedtime, but now I’m thinking of our third child. I’m thinking of the love that’s growing in my heart for this person I don’t know at all. And I’m reminded that he or she is not growing in that same love. Both of my biological children heard my voice and knew my heartbeat. They had a sense of connection from the moment they took their first breath. For our third child, I will be a complete stranger. It’s definitely a new dynamic, and it adds a different depth to this time of waiting.
I’m reminded lately that beyond all of the paperwork and interviews and making room in our house, the most important thing I can do for the fifth Sewell right now is to cover him or her with prayer, as well as his or her birth family and foster family.
The chorus of the song I mentioned is so sweet and appropriate:
“I get to be the one to hold your hand. I get to be the one. From birthdays to broken bones, I’ll be there to watch you grow. I get to be the one.”
Sometimes our adoption news is met with sweet words about our kindness as a couple. While we appreciate the sentiment so much, I just want to take a moment to say that we truly feel like the lucky ones to be in a position to welcome a new child into our home.
I struggle to find the right language for it. It’s not “meant to be”, I don’t think. I rarely think things are “meant to be”. I think people make choices, and the most powerful choice you can make is to love someone forever. Josh and I make that choice every day — to wake up and love each other all over again day-after-day, year-after-year, despite emotional feelings, tough circumstances or whatever life throws at us. We weren’t “meant to be” so much as we are “committed to be”.
We chose to have our biological children, and we choose every day to parent them to the best of our abilities and to demonstrate love with our actions, words and care. If they were “meant to be” because God grew them in my womb, then that means our adopted child would actually be “meant to be” with his biological mother. That’s the “natural” order of things. It would put a limit on love, and I don’t think love has limits. I think love multiplies. We choose how much love we give to the world, because love is action, not feelings or phrases. I think that’s what give me such confidence at my ability to love this child; I measure love by what I do, not by what I feel at any given moment.
So it’s not meant-to-be, and we aren’t noble people for doing it. It’s a choice that we are making with the hope that one day, after time and consistency, our child will accept that love and choose to reciprocate it as a member of our family. It’s a choice that has the potential to bring so much joy and hope to our family. The act of placing this child for adoption is a choice by his or her birth mother on how to best love her child. I don’t know the circumstances; I just know the choice is driven by love. That’s what mothers do. She and I will share that maternal bond forever — the choice to love this child as well as we know how.