Tuesday, July 23, 2013

"Whose tummy did I grow in?"

We’ve been talking a lot lately about my growing belly and the baby that resides there.

Samuel and Lauren are trying to convince their dad and I why they should have a brother or a sister. We’re trying to explain that it’s not up to us to decide….but they are relentless in their persuasions: “I already have a sister, I want a brother!” or “I have a brother, I hope it’s a sister!”

Last week Lauren said to me, “Whose tummy did I grow in?”

I love that she asked that question.

Why? Because it means that she is aware that not everyone grows in their mother’s tummy. Yes, everyone grows in their birthmothers tummy, but not necessarily in the tummy of the mom who daily raises them and loves them to pieces.

I don’t think “Whose tummy did I grow in?” is asked in households with all biological children. But it's talked about in our house. For example:

We had our friend Chloe over for dinner the other night and somehow the conversation led to whose tummy Chloe grew in…"Elsa’s tummy," she said. Samuel said he grew in Samantha’s tummy and Lauren said she grew in mine. It was a precious moment to celebrate that the three children around the dinner table grew in three different tummies. Each child is unique and all are part of God’s amazing plan and amazing story.

As an adoptive mom I feel as though some people believe these types of questions and conversations should be off limits or shhhh’d and avoided.

I couldn’t disagree more. While I know that our story is not the norm, every adoption story should be celebrated and acknowledged and treasured—because it’s part of your child’s story. It’s not his or her identity, but it’s their story and every story deserves a time and a place to be told and shared and celebrated. And each child needs to feel the freedom to ask questions…without shame and with complete honesty.

So, yes, baby girl you grew in my tummy. And your brother grew in my heart. And dare I say this next little one is growing in both my tummy and my heart? Because as I watch the two of you love this baby you haven’t even met, my heart grows and grows.

And the closer we get to meeting this little one, and finding out if it's a brother or a sister, I find myself even more thankful for the gift of adoption...and the gift of pregnancy...and the beautiful story that our sovereign God is weaving and writing for each one of us.  

Monday, July 8, 2013

Love delivered in green containers

It was early afternoon when the doorbell rang. Four of us were up to our ears in house projects while the kids were with their cousins for two days. I was in the midst of cleaning out a closet when I opened the front door.

There he was with his green containers stacked high on my front steps. And there I was, hot, sweaty and nearly 6 months with child, telling him he had the wrong house.

Is this your street?


Is this your house number?


Well then this is your food.

But I didn’t order anything from Coborn’s Delivers. There must be a mistake. Whose name is on the order?

It says ‘To My Friend.’

Can you tell me who ordered the food?

He shrugged and gave me a half smile: There’s no way to know. 

That's when I became undone. I did not order one single food item from Coborn’s…and yet there  were containers stacked high and filled with nourishment to feed my family: bread, deli meat, cheese sticks, apples, lasagna, salad, waffles,  rotisserie chicken, ice cream.

I explained that I had spent the last four days at the hospital with my father who had surgery and that my husband’s collarbone was broken and we have two young children and a third on the way.

I pushed back the tears as he handed me bag after bag of food.

Living like Jesus isn’t about spewing out Biblical truth or going through religious rituals—it’s about loving like Jesus did when he came across those in need. And as much as I didn’t want to admit it, this self-sufficient, responsible and capable woman, was in need of a little help. Because sometimes life happens and you’re just trying to make it through.

It unlikely the Coborn's man will ever know that he was the hands and feet of Jesus that day delivering love in green containers. Along with the person who cared enough to click send and put food right on our doorstep. And the people upstairs loving us enough to spend two days sorting, moving, drilling, pounding and the like. And the guys who came for 10 hours one summer Saturday in June to turn an old, never-been-used bathroom into a workable place for children to bathe and brush their teeth. And with those who came and mowed our lawn and dropped off meals and delivered fresh fruit and veggies all cut up and ready to be eaten. And the people gifted with organizational skills who help turn chaos into calm. The sister who spent weeks organizing a garage sale and collecting donations and raising more than $1,000 to gift to her sibling. Those who pray us through the surgery, the doctor’s appointments, the hospital visits and the long days of recovery. The friends and family who lovingly care for our most precious littles—sometimes planned and other times with only a moment’s notice. 

In John 13 Jesus tells us to love one another as I have loved you. Often times that means loving in real, practical, tangible ways. And that's when we see the face—and the grace—of God...through watermelon and taco salad and lawn mowers and sleepovers and painted bathrooms and organized closets and continuous intercession on our behalf.

It's these things that teach us and remind us and leave us forever changed.