Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Shred of Bitter.

Building your family through foster care and adoption is tough. In our stories there is always a shred of bitter in the mix of all the sweet. I love adoption, it is a beautiful picture of fierce love and redemption. Open adoption takes everything up a notch, you see redemption in a whole new way, not only in the lives of my children but our birth parents.

The Baby Mamas in our stories will all have different roles in the lives of my children. Baby will unlikely know his birth mom while my older crew sees ours almost weekly for just a moment as we pick up and drop off Little One. There is no “one size fits all” approach to this. It’s a juggle and a struggle, as we sift through the layers of life. Layers of feelings, emotions, fears and responses.

This past week we had a planned visit with our birth mom, we set it up about a month before. We made plans and as the day approached I began to feel uneasy and bothered. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, I had no real reason to feel that way. I started to feel territorial again, I felt out of control, I felt insecure and wanted to cancel the whole thing. I did a heart check about it all, was there a legitimate reason why I felt the way that I did? Two of my three older kiddos choose to attend these visits the other one gets to go do something else, they don’t feel they are ready to forgive quite yet. Birth mom has been honoring and respectful in the midst of name changes, role changes and reality changes. I had no real reason to feel what I did, yet I still did.

I went to the visit feeling all of the same feelings that I struggled with all week. I went feeling nervous, territorial and honestly feelings of inferiority. I will never have the joy of knowing the first few years of their life, hearing their first breath and knowing what their first words and favorite foods were. I will miss that but I do get to see what these years bring, I get to hear their dreams, hearts and learn about their crushes. Bitter and sweet, a moment for birth parents and a moment for me. A moment to grieve the reality of our situation and a moment to celebrate our situation. 

We show up to the visit and I decided to just take a step back and just watch for awhile. I did not see a woman encroaching on my territory, or a woman who was trying to win them over or a woman who was trying to win. I saw a woman who loves her children very much, a woman who is able to delight in them when she isn’t consumed by drugs. I saw a woman who I did not need to fear but a woman who I needed to thank. Who brought these babies into the world so that someday I could be their Mama. I saw a woman whose age is 25 on the outside yet is still a 10 year old little girl on the inside who just wants to be free.

I sat on the bench just watching as tears ran down my face, tears that showed my own insecurities. Tears that reflected my fear of being enough for my crew. Tears that show just how much I love our story yet feel the bitter side of it all. Tears that know open adoption is right for us, this time but tears that are very aware of our redemption story.


  1. Juliana, you are doing a terrific job and these blogs are showing love in a very different way. Hats off for the courage and spirit you possess. May the force be with you.