The Fraudulent Card CarrierJuly 16, 2017
James 1:17 – Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.
I am an adoptive mom. I love that God chose this role for me. He allowed me to struggle and strive for years while we fought an unsuccessful battle with infertility all because He had this blessing planned for us. Ten years ago this fall, a teeny, tiny baby girl was placed in my arms and an invisible card with my new title – Mom – was issued. After years of it being my sole desire, my dreams had come to fruition and I was finally a mom!
Upon being entrusted with this new human being, I understood my life would change drastically. I was unprepared for so many aspects of motherhood. Like any mother experiences, the dream of motherhood does not exactly mimic the reality of it. Regardless, I knew that our daughter was a planned gift from God and I would try to enjoy every minute of the blessing He sent my way.
Experiencing the wonder of adoption is life altering to say the least. One minute you are half of an infertile couple that the doctors have written off as 99.9% impossible to conceive, and the next minute you are a parent – still infertile, but holding a beautiful, thriving baby girl. For years my identity was defined by my struggle. I was infertile. I was one to be pitied. And then, we were given a child and the world rejoiced with us. I had grieved over my inability to have children for so long that the joy of receiving a child was accompanied with shock. I simply couldn’t believe that anyone would entrust someone so ill prepared for motherhood with another being’s life.
Now, I recognize that every mother feels inadequate at one point in time or another. No one is completely prepared for what lies ahead of them in any aspect of life. I tend to wonder if, for the adoptive mom, this inadequacy is amplified because of the glaring inadequacies felt throughout an infertility journey. I can’t speak of life from any other point of view so I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I believe, at least for myself, that the feelings of inadequacy in regard to motherhood are stronger for an adoptive mom – particularly in the infancy stages of development.
1 Corinthians 12:12 – Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ.
I can still recall attending my first mom group. Engraved on my heart forever will be the mixed emotions I experienced in that setting. I was so excited that I finally was part of the group. I finally would fit in because, after years of waiting, I was like the rest of them – a mom. I was welcomed with open arms and common rejoicing over our gift from God. A few of the women in the group had prayed alongside us as we journeyed to parenthood through adoption so they knew how monumental this outing was for me. As the group settled in for a time of relaxing and fellowship, the conversation that began to flow surrounded all the joys and struggles of these new moms. Unsurprising, these highs and lows focused on post-birth struggles, breastfeeding, losing baby weight, etc. Having adopted, these were not experiences I could identify with. So, as the conversation swirled around me, I felt completely out of place and realized that, even though I was now a mom, I wasn’t like these other moms. The “Mom Card” that I had been ecstatic to receive only days earlier, now seemed like it had been fraudulently earned.
I am absolutely confident that these fellow moms meant no harm to me that day. They were sharing their experiences with like-minded people that would understand. I was the sole anomaly in the room who had a different story to share. In retrospect, I should have made more of an effort to locate other adoptive parents who would better understand my perspective. I continued to attend mom groups during my daughter’s early years mostly because I felt, as an only child, she needed the socialization. In attending these mom groups, I became more sensitive to the differing needs of the women that surround me on a daily basis. We are not all the same. We do not all have the same story. We do not all have the same perspective on the multitude of issues that bombard us as parents. The mom groups I attended had one common denominator – Jesus. I made a point to surround myself with sisters in Christ so that, regardless of our mothering differences, we were one in Him.
Proverbs 22:6 – Start children off the way they should go, and even when they are old they will not turn from it.
In the years since the newness of motherhood has faded away, I am more at home with the label of “Mom”. It is a high calling in life – one in which my failures or successes will only be on my shoulders. In this calling, it doesn’t matter if you’re an adoptive mom or a natural mother. We are all responsible for our actions – or inaction – when it comes to parenting the children God has entrusted us with. Our greatest responsibility lies in being an example of Christ in such a way that draws our children to fall in love with our Saviour and to follow Him. All else pales in comparison. We moms need to bond together and encourage each other on in this endeavour.This adoptive mom’s heart desires no less for my child. May she always have three families – one by birth, one by adoption, and one by being born-again into the family of God.