Monday, November 5, 2007

Vocation

Every so often I receive advice from other moms who, upon learning of my experiences with infertility and adoption, wish to help me conceive a child. Such words of wisdom are very familiar, and are certainly not limited to the mouths of acquaintances. Friends, family and strangers on occasion will recommend - always very kindly and with the best of intentions - various fertility-inducing methods ranging from dietary changes, the use of NFP, yoga, progesterone, vitamins and herb supplements, acupressure, and a whole host of other treatments.

Such an occasion occurred recently, and though I won't bore you with details, I will say that my daughters were with me at the time. Unfortunately the elder of the two is now capable of comprehending more than she could in the past, and thus the questions later arose. "Do you want to have a baby, Mama? In your belly?"

Gianna's curiosity was good and natural for a child who was borne into her family through adoption. I responded to her in plain truth and with great satisfaction, "No, Gianna. I'd like to have all my babies just the same way I had you." As was shown on her face and in her loving smile, she was pleased with my answer and went on about her business of imaginative play (shepherdess style!) with her sister. As to the well-intended fertility advice from others, I give them the same response: "Thank you, but I no longer desire to conceive a child. I am happy with adoption as my means to motherhood. "

Before Gianna the stirring desire to be a mother was in part about raising and nurturing children from birth to adulthood, and in part about the experience of bearing a child in my womb. I wanted to feel a baby's kick in my belly. I wanted to experience morning sickness, wear maternity clothes, and to give birth gloriously (at least that's how I imagined it) at the end of nine months. And out of all that would come a baby resembling me or my husband, both physically and temperamentally. Perhaps she would have my smile and my husband's eyes, or my optimism and his perseverance. Such child-bearing experiences and such genetic qualities passed down seemed very important. That is, until the day I adopted my first baby.

We brought baby Gianna into our home for the first time on a cold, snowy Michigan afternoon, the natural sunlight dimmed by heavy grey clouds outside our patio door. But inside our one-bedroom apartment was a warmth, coziness, and love abounding from a tiny, eight-pound sun ray that lit up my whole world. Our small home which had once felt at times lonely and cold, as though it was missing something, transformed instantly into the home of a family, its walls containing a fulfillment before unknown to me. Just one new life, and so much change.

I remember holding Gianna in my arms that first day home pondering, "Is that all I had to do to gain this reward?" The years of childlessness and suffering which accompanied them seemed insignificant. Certainly, they were. I would have endured them another six years for the happiness that came from those first moments of motherhood. I imagine it is something like the moment we enter Heaven.....to see God face to face and realize how little was asked of us for such a reward.

I never anticipated my desire to bear children naturally would ever disappear. After all, I knew adoptive mothers who felt they were still missing something, even after having adopted. I don't fault women for such feelings - I do recall the pain of childlessness - but I haven't any experience of resentment or wondering. The beauty of adoption is what I know. It is the way I have children and the means by which I've received every moment of motherly fulfillment. It is how my life and my home transformed into blessings I appreciate each and every day. It is what brought me peace and contentedness, and removed the desire for anything other than what I already have. It is my vocation.


25 comments:

Sarah '97 said...

Beautiful post.

For what it's worth, in the first few weeks after I gave birth to my daughter, I thought to myself many times that I now understood how adoptive parents could love their children (immediately) as much as biological parents did. My daughter looked absolutely nothing like me and to this day has no identifiable traces of me in her. She didn't much resemble her father either, though her parentage was never in doubt. For all practical purposes we could have been unrelated by blood! And yet, she was my daughter, and it was my pleasure to care for her.

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

What a beautiful post. Thanks for sharing your heart. My husband and I have huge hearts for adoption. I was quite touched by your vulnerability. You are quite inspirational.

mother of 5 said...

Thank you for sharing your heart so beautifully. You inspire me! Your soul is so graceful...the stuff saints are made of. I thank God for you (I lurk often :) Blessings to you and your blessed family!

Amy said...

Thank you, Kristen, for writing such beautiful, wise and true words about the miracle of adoption. So many happy memories about Lucie's birth came back to me while reading your post. When Lucie is old enough, I hope to share this post with her to help explain the love and miracle of her birth and God building our family through her. A million thanks for such a lovely gift your words gave us all today! -- Amy Dragoo

Rose said...

Thanks, Kirsten, for your lovely testimony! As an adoptive mom, I totally agree with you. God fills our hearts when He fills our arms with such beauty!

Meredith said...

Such a beautiful post, thank you for sharing your incredible experience with adoption, although I'm sure this is only part of the story, it tells alot, God Bless you and your totally sweet family!!

Gina said...

Beautiful!

Matilda said...

Such a lovely post Kristen!

Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree more. Friends will apologize when discussing their childbirth experiences in front of me. I share them with joy, but I don't envy them! I have my own "child birth" stories. They're just different. My children have fulfilled every need I have ever had. I never even longed for the child kicking in my womb. I just wanted to be a mother. I won't deny that that urge hasn't ended. I still long for more children. But I don't wish for them to come by birth. If I envy expectant mothers, its that they know that a child is coming. I don't. I long for another situation, brought to us by God, that would add another abandoned, abused or neglected soul into our fold to love and care for. As always, Kristen, your thoughts are beautifully written and I feel a kindred spirit. Sharon, Adoptive Mom of 4

Dee (www.Xanga.com/GraceatHome said...

Kristen,
Our daughters came to us through adoption as well. It's a beautiful gift from God. For that matter, we are all adopted...adopted into His family when we accept Him as our Savior. I know that our children were created just for us whether they are biological or adopted. Thank you for your post. Dee (www.Xanga.com/GraceatHome)

Diane said...

Kristen, this is so beautiful. How very blessed you and your family are. Thanks for the inspiring thoughts.

Melissa said...

Kristen,

I enjoy reading your posts. As an adopted child I know that your daughters have a deep love and respect for you and your honesty. Just as a child loves to hear their birth story on their birthday I still love to hear my mother describe the first time she took me into her arm's on my "gotcha day".

Jill said...

Beautiful.

Julie said...

What a beautiful post... I love reading about your love of motherhood and adoption! As I've said before, we hope to one day add to our family through adoption.

Ma Beck said...

Right on.

My response to those well-intentioned folks is, "Now why would I want to do a thing like that?"

That usually suffices.

You said it better than I could have.

Jen in Maine said...

Kristen, A beautiful post as always. Since my parents don't have a computer, this will be another one of your posts that I will print off and mail to my Mom. As you know, my first two children came to me through adoption when I married their Dad (their birth mother had died in a car accident). When I conceived shortly after we were married, I dreaded the fact that I might feel differently towards the baby versus the older two kids. In the end, I discovered something: I am Mom to all three of them. I would be lying if I said that becoming an instant mother to a 4 and 6 year old has been easy, but it is the path that I freely accepted from God. Interestingly enough, my daughter reminds me more of myself than the mischievous little boy that I gave birth to! Thanks again for sharing.

Gina said...

I also became an instant mother when I married a widower with four children. We conceived shortly after we married, and now have two children together. I must say that I love all of my children, but I love them all differently as they are each SO unique! Sometimes I even LIKE my adopted children better than one of my birth kids!

Amy Parris said...

What a gift from God to have your heart in this place!

B-Mama said...

What precious love you represent, dear Kristen! I just love reading your words--they are beyond heartwarming... Thank you for sharing.

jordin said...

This is a wonderful post about adoption. I, too, have adopted and would like to do so again. I would like to pass this post onto a family who is struggling with waiting to adopt, with your permission.

Cay said...

How beautiful, Kristen. You made me cry.

Karen said...

This evening I discovered your fair realm, Kristen... your treasures are great as well as small! I am enjoying your journal so much.

After seven years of marriage, my husband and I still have no children here on earth (though two in Heaven, for which I am more grateful than I can say). I see no way to contact you besides leaving a comment, but was wondering if you might share with me the adoption agency that you used to bring home your babies. My email address is springsea a t comcast d o t n e t

Jen said...

I just found your blog from Conversion Diary. I have four children all through the blessing of adoption. Your post is excellent! BTW, we also live in MI :) God Bless.

Alishia said...

I appreciate this very much. While I am nearing the end of my third pregnancy, I have always wanted to have more than three children. However, during my second pregnancy I was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. We named our second baby Gianna Maria as a result of learning of that saint just before my diagnosis and some of the similarities. Some close to me have thought it selfish to keep my one healthy ovary in hopes of having another child. Now that the "other child" is almost ready to join us, my husband and I have the difficult decision to make regarding our future fertility. Of course adoption has been mentioned to us and it's not something that I am opposed to, but something that I would want only if called to it. So thank you so much for your story. It helps to know that when adoption is a calling that God provides peace and joy in all aspects of the process.

Kaitlin @ More Like Mary said...

I just found a link to you through Grace in my Heart. This post is beautiful and brought tears to my eyes. It assures me that if adoption is the path God wants for us then we will truly love it. Thank you!