I received this heartfelt letter from an anonymous reader the other day, and I asked her if I could publish it to the site. I hope this letter is both encouraging and convicting–and will build empathy. These are words that must be shared.
Much love and grace,
In case you ever wondered…
Precious life was added to my family this year but not one congratulations was issued. Instead of a baby shower and well wishers I was greeted with paperwork, prying questions, and weekly investigations. Even my own friends gave me blank stares and offered up what little wisdom they could-usually in the form of a horror story from a friend in my situation.
Although I’ve entered motherhood in every sense of the term, my children do not call me mom – I’ve not yet earned that title. That term is reserved for the woman who horribly abused them. It is I who pay for her sins on a daily basis in my effort to help heal their wounds – the wounds she inflicted. Still, they cry for her, it’s her they miss.
After a year of making more sacrifices than most mothers to care for my broken children, still they tell me their hearts are only half as full as they were before – with their father. Their father who spent his days so strung out on drugs and alcohol he didn’t know they were there. The same father who can’t even keep appointments to come visit them. All my effort and sacrifice cannot measure up to him in their minds. It is I who pays for his sins.
I pay for sins that are not mine in the face of society. My eldest, if I’d given birth to her would have made me a teenage mother. I bear that stigma everywhere with frowns and sideways glances. It is especially bad at church where I’m the youngest woman there with a child in elementary school. Most women my age are in the nursery commenting on how much their kids look like them or their spouse.
I’ve had to listen to my husband being called a saint for taking in all of my children… Yes, my children are older than my marriage. I’ve been asked how many have the same father, even been asked if I “have figured out what causes this yet.”
From my own family I’ve had my children referred to as “not really ours.” I’ve been asked repeatedly why my body is unable to produce a “real” child.
I’ve heard it suggested to me that my infertility is a sign that I’m not meant to be a mother. I’ve been criticized for my decision not to pursue expensive medical treatments, been cautioned that these children will make me miserable -that they will suck joy of parenting out of my life.
In case you ever wondered what it was like to follow Christ’s leading against the mainstream this is the picture I have for you. I am daily reminded of His ultimate sacrifice as I too learn to pay for the sins of others, sins I never committed. I learn to heal the damage done by those who are still loved more than me. I learn to fly in the face of society, and even my family, as I struggle under the weight of their judgments. In the end I know a joy far fuller than any parent ever has. The joy of knowing I am faithfully following the will of Him who created, and sustains me through impossibly deep waters. For me, the baby shower and congratulations will only happen on the other side of heaven but what joy it will be!
Your Sister in Christ,
– An Adoptive Parent