I woke up this morning after long night of tossing and turning. I was up sick almost all night, back and forth to the bathroom until I finally fell into a deep sleep at 6am, one hour later and I’m woken up by the precious sound of Annabel’s voice. She never cries when she wakes up anymore, she just sings…she always sings.
Tired and aching I couldn’t help but smile. It was Mother’s Day and I was her Mama. I laid in my bed for a while, just listening to her and thinking about everything that has led up to this day.
One spring day in 1985 a high school homecoming queen and her 21 year old boyfriend found themselves in a position that would change their lives forever. Decisions were to be made that would determine their entire future. Thankfully, their choices, although difficult and maybe not encouraged by many, led to a wedding and a few months later a baby girl.
On Friday my parents celebrated their 27th wedding anniversary. Against every odd they are still married. Better yet, they still genuinely like each other. When they reunite with old friends they are almost always met with exclamations of shock. “I can’t believe you two made it.” Yes, they made it. 27 Mother’s Days later and that “choice” is now making choices of her own. Choices that are often times difficult, rarely popular and not always encouraged by many.
For several weeks I have wrestled with sharing a very deep and painful choice, a choice that I will probably always second guess but that I know, deep in my heart was the best one.
On February 15th there was a knock on my gate. A tiny body passed into my arms and the words that my heart longed to hear. “Take him back”… Gup’s parents stood outside my door and handed my baby back to me. He was dirty, and looked heartbroken. I almost couldn't look into his eyes for the pain I saw there. As I brought him inside my heart began to crack, and then it shattered. For reason I will probably never understand his family decided that, although they still couldn't agree to an adoption plan, they simply could not parent their son any longer. Gup came home to me 4 days before his 3rd birthday.
Unfortunately, his story does not end here, happy and whole. Gup was hurt and broken and in his little mind I had betrayed him. I left him with strangers, I came to visit him and I left him, over and over again. There was no way he was going to forgive me for that. Over the next several weeks, as visitors came to our home Gup began to open up again, to become the happy, playful little boy that he had once been. He began to laugh and run and love, everyone but me.
Gup would hear a knock on the gate and immediately he would snap out of his silence and yell with excitement. Everyone was welcomed with open arms. He greeted strangers like long lost best friends. He preferred everyone to me. He played silly little games, until I walked into the room. He sang song and talked in his little high pitched voice, until he noticed that I was listening. When I was around Gup was silent and sad. He didn't like when I hugged him, he cringed when I reached out to touch him.
I kept waiting for it to get better, praying that he would wake up one morning and we could go back to normal. Of course I knew it wouldn't be instant but I held out hope that this little boy that I had loved for so long, that I had poured my heart into, would come back to me one day.
One month later and life was still terribly hard. I had moved into a tiny room with a baby and a little boy who couldn't stand me. I was miserable, Annabel was miserable and Gup was miserable. I knew that it was time for me to make some tough decisions. Visiting with some people that I trust dearly, and who knew exactly what we were going through those choices were finally inevitable. I could no longer give my baby what He needed and so I needed to do the next best thing. I needed to give someone else the chance to do it instead.
As a young, single mom, living in a 3rd world country with no family close by and very little resources, there is no way for me to give Gup the help he needs. One of the most gut wrenching moments of my life came in realizing that I was not the best choice for my child.
In April, Gup was moved from my home and into a local orphanage. God has an incredible plan for this little boy. He chose me to be a part of it and even though I couldn't imagine it going anything like it is, He is still bringing that plan into being.
Never in my life have I felt more powerless as I did when I realized that no matter how hard I tried, I couldn't fix this. Never have I felt so completely inadequate as I did when I couldn't take away the hurt in his eyes and heart. Never have I been weaker than when I realized that I couldn't be what he needed. Never has my God been bigger than in the moments that He held me when I poured my heart out to Him. Never has He been a stronger presence in my life than when I couldn't see past the cloud of failure into any hope for the future. His power was made perfect in my weakness.
It still hurts, it still breaks my heart every time I see him laugh at play with someone who he just met, and he still refuses to meet my eye. It still hurts when I think about someone else being his Mom. It hurts…
But, in the last 6 months God has taught me lessons of helplessness and trust that I never could have learned without these broken dreams. I watch my baby daughter, how she trusts me completely to meet every one of her needs. She falls asleep quickly, no tossing and turning, worrying about how things will work out. She just knows that I will be there to give her what she needs. I can imagine how God longs for me to have that kind of trust and dependence on him. How He looks down on me in the moments that I let go of my anxiety and His heart swells with love for the peace that His daughter rests in. I imagine in those days when I refuse to let go of control, instead clutching tightly to my plans with both hands and throwing a temper tantrum like a little child, how He must just shake His head. Because He knows that I am being silly and stubborn.
Today I understand more than ever what it means to have faith like a child and what it means to trust God completely. I’m still not very good at it but I know what it looks like. I know how to do it I just have to chose it. Every second of every day, when my mind fights against my soul and my body longs to be in control, I am faced with the choice. Do I let Him be God of my life or do I fight, thinking I can do it better while knowing that I can’t.
27 years ago my mom made a choice that changed her life. Today I am making choices that continue to change mine. Thankfully, difficult as it was at the time, she chose to trust that God knew what He was doing. Today I chose to trust that He still does.