Thursday, May 9, 2013

A Call to Mothers: Seeing the Hurt on Mother's Day

Greeters stood at the doors welcoming, hugging, and handing out carnation flowers to all the mothers. I tried to time my entrance, waiting until all the greeters were busy with other people so that I could slip past unnoticed, but sneaking into church is not so easy. More than anything on this Sunday, Mother's Day Sunday, I just wanted to be invisible.

photo courtesy
One lady saw me and handed me a flower. "But I'm not a mother", I said. "It's for the future" she replied with a warm smile. I took the flower, smiled in return and went in to find a seat. Hiding the flower under my bible I fought hard to resist the increasing urge to rip it to shreds.

The music started and that menacing flower opened up all kinds of hurt. The deep grief of miscarriage and the sickening pain of infertility. I couldn't take it any longer. Struggling to maintain composure I ran out of the church and down the street. Finding an isolated parking lot I sat down on the dirty cement, pulled my knees to my chest, and wept.

Amazing how much can change in only one year. This Sunday when I walk through those same church doors I'll do so holding my son's hand. But I won't do it naively.

Many men and women will come to church this Sunday and instead of finding a place of comfort and healing, will endure wounds opened all over again. Will we see their hurt? Or will we be caught up in flowers, cards, and celebrating ourselves?

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”- Jesus (John 13:24-35)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Nama Saya Mommy

In adoption circles the process of developing attachment, the deep connection between families, is often described as a dance. Two people coming closer together, working in rhythm around each other. For me, attachment was more like tug of war or tag. Pushing and pulling, running and chasing. My experience of attachment was mostly sweaty, tiresome, hard work.

Early on, as we planned for adoption we decided to keep in contact with any safe family members of the child we brought home. We weren't interested in co-parenting, but felt strongly that these people would be important for our child to know growing up. We understood that our child would have a history and that part of understanding who you are is to understand where you come from.

When matched with Isaiah we asked about family to keep in touch with. For our little one, his only solid connection was to his foster family. So we set out to make sure his foster mother knew we wanted to maintain a relationship and regular visits.

But how do you explain to a two year old that your mommy is no longer your mommy and now you should love this new lady? How does the new lady become mommy when the old mommy is still in the picture? Would Isaiah ever love me or would his heart belong to the mother who brought him home from the hospital?

The amazing thing about attachment is that once the skill is learned the ability is there to use it again. So despite the scary "what if's" I kept my son close and day after day opened my heart to him. For Isaiah, attaching meant play as well as cuddles. Playgrounds, hiking trails, beach days, swimming pools, all became prime locations for developing attachment. Play and laughter hooking our hearts together.

Today, during our most recent visit with Isaiah's foster family, Isaiah was knocked by one of the swings and started to cry. He ran past him foster mother and into my arms for comfort.

Isaiah's foster mom had told me this would happen with time, but still it caught me by surprise. In that one moment that saw that I am Mommy now. Not just by name or by law, but truly, deeply, Mommy.

Pre-adoption picture from Isaiah's first over night visit.

Friday, May 3, 2013


Melt down of all melt downs. I didn't see it coming either. Wanting to spend some quality time with Isaiah I took him to the Adventure Zone at the Dinosaur Store after school today. We had a great time with the science displays, digging for fossils, whacking ground hogs with mallets and the never ending game of air hockey.

I so didn't see the melt down coming. And it was a big one. I'm talking bamboo under your toenails torture screaming melt down. 

These tantrums started a couple months ago and the smallest thing can set the off. This morning Isaiah freaked because he didn't want my help putting his shorts on but couldn't do it himself when he tried. 

The major melt down this afternoon reared its ugly head when it was time to leave the Adventure Zone. Now please don't try to council me on how I could have done this better, I gave him a 15 minutes to departure warning, then 5 minutes, then 1 minute and a last game of basket ball. I don't know what else to do.

Isaiah flopped down on the floor and just let loose. I asked him to come with me and said I'd had a fun time too. We would one back again but now had to go home. I turned and walked away. He didn't follow. In the end I had to drag Isaiah, kicking and screaming, out the door to the car. It was not my finest moment. 

I hope these tantrum eventually stop. This is the "terrible" two's, right? I mean, they didn't just start with my toddler, plenty other parents have survived this stage, right? Right? Please tell me I will too.