Stretch Marks = Battle Wounds

I’ve been a “government recognized” mama for one week. Well more than one week, but I have been in our home with our child for just over one week now.

This week has been weird. Like good weird.

I feel so discombobulated and like I am in someone else’s body, yet I am so incredibly happy.

Someone’s child is following me around incessantly and calling me mommy. Oh wait, that’s MY child. {pause to catch your breath} I literally have this exchange with myself 17 times a day.

The first time I had a chance to take a shower once we arrived home from our adoption trip, I found myself smiling and humming. For the first time in 2 years, 10 months, and 13 days, I was breathing easier and the weight of my shoulders felt lighter.

When I started this journey to adopt a child, I walked straight into a battlefield.
The first child we pursued was in Russia and the doors to Americans closed quickly leaving me very stressed and worried for her.
The second two children were in war-torn Ukraine and were in orphanages that didn’t take very good care of them. I was stressed and so uncertain of their well-being all the times.
I don’t know how to be any different with an adoption.  With this last attempt to adopt, I was still on edge all the time. Then FINALLY, the day came.

I walked through the front door of my home with the child God planned for me to be a mother to.
He was actually here. He doesn’t have to go back. He is my baby boy forever.

Finally, I wasn’t holding my breath.
I forgot how good it feels good to breathe.

I cannot tell you how many times I walked past the “kid” bedroom in our house and imagined…. laughter.
We had the unique perspective of having hosted one of the little girls we tried to adopt, so I knew what laughter and giggles all sounded like in my house. The echoes are sweet.
When I redecorated her room before our trip to bring her home, I would walk by and lean on the door frame and just imagine her reading on her bed; imagine her laughing as her daddy tickled her; imagine her once again rolling her eyes at me and sighing.
Sadly, that day never came again within the walls of our home.
My memories with her are now only that; memories.

When our opportunity to adopt Aiden came along and I was changing a little girl’s haven into a little boy’s playful kingdom, the pain and flood of sounds in my head were almost too much to bear. I would redecorate at a rate of 45 minutes a day, because it was all my heart could take in 24 hour periods.
I was imagining the good to come, yet mourning the good I missed as well.

Once his room was fully set, I had 4 months to wait until he would inhabit it.

I would go through the same paces. I would walk the hall, lean on his door frame, imagine him laughing as his daddy tickled him and saying “choo choo” as he played with his trains. I just couldn’t wait to hear the sounds in my head come to life.

Very late on July 10th, I finally got my heart’s desires. I heard his laugh as he watched an episode of Thomas the Train in his new bed.

Aiden's First Night Home

What do I know after being a mama for a week?

I know what it feels like to get up all night with a child because our little one is still becoming familiar with his surroundings.

I know what it’s like to have your name called so many times in a minute that you feel like applying for the Witness Protection Program as soon as possible.

I know what it’s like for your child to touch every button possible and you secretly want to chop their fingers off (you know, because you wish they had the ability to grow them back like a lizard’s tail).

I know what it’s like to have these little bitty hands reach up and grab your face so he can kiss you and tell you he loves you. {I completely melt into him every single time. Ahhhh.}

Most mama’s may have stretch marks on their bodies from bearing their children. I’m a mama with a million stretch marks on my heart (and I am sure some on my body, just because life likes to hand them out like freckles your body forgot in the womb).

I get double the stretch marks and I am so ok with it.

I get double the stretch marks and I am ok with it because God used me to rescue a little human.

I guess these double stretch marks equal battle wounds. How cool is that?

Graft(ed) In

At an adoption conference in early May I was searching for a tee just the right size for my little man. I only found one.

This tee that says Graft(ed) In (from the ministry Hope Graft(ed) IN) seemed so perfect. I asked the girl working the booth what it meant and she said, “Being grafted into family; grafted into the family of God.” Sufficient enough of an answer for me to purchase; so I did.

I didn’t think much about the shirt until the other day as we were getting ready in Grenada to go and apply for Aiden’s passport and pick up his official Adoption Certificate. As I was asking him what he wanted to wear, he picked out the Graft(ed) In shirt.

Graft(ed) In 1

I got to thinking about it’s meaning in light of what we were doing that day; getting his official adoption papers and applying for his pass to a bigger world. I got to thinking about the “skin graft” that Aiden received last week.

Usually when you need a skin graft, you are getting it following a painful tragedy of some sort; surgery, burns, etc. Aiden has a painful past in that he was abandoned. He was gladly taken in by a sweet home of people, but these people could not heal the wounds he had. Only a mommy and daddy can heal them. So on June 25, he got the skin graft he had been waiting for, he got a mommy and daddy to call his own.

Receiving a skin graft doesn’t immediately make things better. It takes time to heal. Aiden’s skin graft won’t take away abandonment issues overnight, but it started his journey to healing.

You know my favorite part about the healing? Two skins becoming one.

I strongly dislike talking about tough current issues in our US news because I feel they get blown up so easily and honestly, dangerously. Social media is a wicked forum for people to spew hate and opinions that amount to nothing; no love, no grace, no Jesus to be found at all. I have sort of been glad to be away from the US during these past couple weeks. However, this whole “skin graft” we have been going through got me to thinking about the very thing so many people thought we had left behind; racism.

I have head knowledge of racism and my own eyes have seen it, but my heart doesn’t understand it. Not even one ounce of me “gets” it.

I grew up all over the south. I spent the larger portions of my childhood in both South and North Carolina. I know what racism looks like.

My dad tells this story of waking up when he was a little boy to the light of a cross burning in his front yard. My grandfather, a minister and acting principal at a school in a small North Carolina town, had allowed a young African American boy to be a participant in something and somehow, that equaled a burning cross on a dark night. I KNOW what racism looks like.

My heart doesn’t get it. And you know why? I look at this “skin graft” I have just completed called adoption and I can not tell you where my skin ends and where my son’s begins.

Graft(ed) In 2

His flesh is mine; and mine is his. We are forever bound as family and I love every ounce of that statement.

If we want to find perfection in the pigmentation of our skin, we have missed the boat completely. Jesus isn’t IN the pigmentation. He may have created it, but he isn’t there dwelling and making it a thing. He is in my heart. The same heart that loves this little West Indian boy; and to me, that requires no filter of pigmentation.

My son has been Graft(ed) In to my family.

That’s my two cents.

-Aiden’s Mommy

**check out Hope Graft(ed) In and all they are doing for the Kingdom. www.hopegraftedin.org **