We've had a pretty crazy month so far, and my house is proof of that. Between all of the packing, unpacking, and crafting, my house is in desperate need of a deep cleaning. On top of that, Lucy has been sick with what appears to be a horrible case of strep throat (DH actually has pictures of the back of her throat, but I'm going to spare ya'll from those this time!) so my house is also needing to be disinfected. The only thing keeping me sane is I've managed to stay somewhat on top of my kitchen. No, the sink hasn't be shined lately, but the dishes and countertops are cleaned, and as long as my kitchen is in decent order, I can survive:) (I'm really not sure what that's about, but for some reason I just feel a hundred times better about life when my kitchen is clean.) Of course, I'm sure within 20 minutes of everyone getting up tomorrow morning, the kitchen won't look so clean either, but I digress... Another area of the house I try to stay on top of is my dining room table. I used to not care so much about whether or not things were piled on top of it, but then I met one of my friends who is super anal about her dining room table always being cleaned off, and I realized what a big difference it makes. So, throughout the day, I try to keep things cleaned off from it. But as I scan across those two areas tonight--the kitchen and the dining room table--I'm finding a few items that need to be put away: a DVD, a book, and a manilla envelope containing some very important legal documents. At first I figured I just needed to go put everything away, but then I stopped for a moment and realized that those three items, though put in their places at different times throughout the week, all have something in common...
The DVD I'm referring to is "October Baby." You may remember my post from when DH and I went and saw it in the theatre back in April. But if not, it's a Christian film about a girl who survived an abortion. It's really a well-done film, and the message is just so eye-opening and important. I HIGHLY encourage you to check this movie out!
And then there's the third item I spoke of: the manilla envelope. Lucy had asked if we could have a REAL tea party today, so we got out her special bandana picnic blanket I made for her, brewed up some lukewarm tea, and cleaned out her plastic tea set she had received as a gift for her first birthday. Gabriel laid happily on his tummy on a blue square of the blanket while big sissy and I sipped on tea and used funny accents and "cheered" with our little blue tea cups. Towards the end of our party I saw the mailman drive up and could tell he had a package of some sort for us. He walked to the door and had me sign for the manilla envelope in his hands, which was from an attorney. I immediately thought of an Email I had received from our caseworker just a bit earlier that morning stating we should be receiving something from the attorney that will be handling the consummation for us adopting Gabriel. I was very thankful she had told me that, because I think I might have freaked out about needing to sign for something from an attorney! lol:) I immediately sat back down on the quilt and tore into the manilla envelope and began reading over its contents as the tears just began to flow down my cheeks. In my hands were the papers needed to begin the last step (so to say) in this adoption journey. My eyes scanned over phrases like "in the best interest of the child," and "parental rights have been terminated." You would think my immediate reaction would have been total excitement, but instead I found myself rather sad about the whole thing. I guess I was reminded that as much as Gabriel is mine in my heart and my mind, he isn't viewed that way by the court just yet. And then I thought about his precious birthmother, and I wondered how she would feel if she knew I was holding those documents at that moment? I just grieve so much for her. I was telling DH this evening how it's interesting when you have children--you worry about them for their whole lives, and with adoption, that extends to the birthmother, too, or at least for me it has. I think of her every single day, and pray for her so very much. She has given us the most precious gift anyone could every ask for, so my heart is just so full because of her. Not only did she choose life for her baby, but she chose a whole new life for me as a mother, too, and I will forever be thankful beyond words to her for that.
So back to the book and the movie...their taglines read this: "Caring for the Unborn and Their Mothers," and "Every Life is Beautiful." You see, that manilla envelope sitting on my dining room table is filled with documents to help my baby boy legally become my son, all because his birthmother made the CHOICE that his life was indeed beautiful, and we therefore accepted the call to truly care for the (then) unborn and his mother. I was telling a friend the other day how blessed I feel that God called us to travel this road of adoption. This is basically what I texted her:
"Gabriel feels like he is mine in every sense of the word. He's my son. Period. But I also know that possibly for the rest of his life, he will have questions about where he "really" came from. It hurts to think of it one day causing him to hurt to think about it all...there's this fear of what if he never understand how much I really love him? It so brings things back to our relationship with our Heavenly Father though, because He has adopted us, too. He says we are His, and He doesn't just SAY He would do anything for us, because He already DID do everything for us, and yet we still doubt Him and we still go out seeking fulfillment from our former life in the world. But no matter what questions arise in my Gabriel's mind in the coming years, one thing is certain: God brought Gabriel to us, and it is our job to love him in every way that we can. So that's what I'm doing--I hope! When he cries, I respond to what he needs. And I tell him over and over and over again how much we love him and how thankful we are that his birthmommy chose us to be his parents. Right now, that's easy to do, because I can cuddle him close, feed him, sing to him, etc. But, as he gets older I realize it may not always be so easy to respond to his needs. But, I do know without a doubt that we are called to give this little boy love, so that's what I am going to do for his entire life!"
I was reminded of that conversation as I held that manilla envelope in my hands today. I was reminded of the amazing sacrifical choice Gabriel's birthmother made to let us be his parents; I was reminded of the incredible calling God has placed on our lives to care for this boy and to be an advocate for mothers; and I was reminded of the calling God has placed on my life--not just as a mother, but as a Christian who is called to show Christ's love in every sense of the word. In the "pro-life" movement, I think people often think we are so focused on the unborn babies, but I'm learning more and more that it is so much broader than that. Promoting life isn't just about putting an end to abortion--it's about caring for those women who feel abortion is their only choice. (Isn't it interesting that a movement that claims to be "pro-CHOICE" so often preys on women who feel they have NO choices??) Every life is indeed beautiful, and what an amazing opportunity we have to care not just for the unborn, but also for their mothers.