Thursday, April 21, 2011

That feeling

Sometimes you look at a child and think this kid isn't cute.  They don't listen.  They do things behind my back.  They disobey rules that I'm sure they understand.  They don't love me.  They don't know me from some stranger at the Wal Mart optical center.  They wouldn't care if they never saw me again, and, in fact, are probably expecting just that.  They have no attachments to anyone in this world.  They go from person to person winning them over with their smile and desire to be held then turning around and doing everything they can to manipulate that person right under their nose.  This just isn't fun.  What are we doing?

Then, in other times of pure joy, you have a moment.  You get "that feeling."  You think how could I not love this child that doesn't really know how to love?  How can I ignore that this child had no life, no training, no love, no unconditional anything until a few months ago.  How can I place blame or dislike a little person that smiles and has no idea that the first eight years of their life in a situation which taught them nothing about social graces, boundaries, love, affection... not to mention anything academic or educational in the least.  And the smile changes your mind.

And your icy heart melts.

And you unclench your jaw.

And you take a deep breath.

And you hug the little one that came to sit by your side, on their terms, to get the attention that they crave yet they don't understand.

And you see the surface smile, but look deeper.  You see the trust beginning to develop.  The attachment beginning to form.  You see the little person that doesn't understand why their life was turned upside down and who is happy in spite of it.

And you know what?  You feel love.  That unconditional kind that only a parent can really understand.  The kind that loves and hugs and forgives even when a child just peed all over a new couch or threw their dinner plate on the floor or stole someone else's dinner or threw every toy out the window when you weren't looking or tackled their sister instead of hugging her or waited for you to disappear around the corner to steal toys that someone else is using.  The momma love that overlooks the breath that doesn't ever appear to get better and the general body scent that hasn't yet gone away after the orphanage.   The love that says I love you no matter what.

Know what else?  Our Heavenly Father does it so much better, and so much more for us every day.  He loves us despite our inability to show Him the love He deserves.  Despite our mistakes.  Despite our intentional things we do wrong.  He loves us even though he knows we know the rules, and yet we break them.  He can look into our very hearts and souls and see that little spark in there that really does love Him.  The part that really wants to get to know him.  And even when we've yelled at our kids or gotten upset over nothing with our husband... when we haven't done the dishes and instead turned on the computer to browse the internet... when we skipped over our quiet time and slept an extra 30 minutes and when we walk around knowing what He desires for us and we ignore it at the same time... He's still right there.  That Papa love that doesn't stop loving.

Adoption isn't about doing what's good for us.  It's about forever loving a child.  And sometimes it is the best reminder ever that just like our new child who grins and disobeys and tries to get things to always go her way... I was once just as lost before I turned my life over to Christ.  And now... I still fail.  And He still loves me in spite of my bad breath and tangled hair :)  Sins included,  Jesus' love is unfailing.

I want to show that love, and I want to live in it every day.

Then you sing a song.  And you read a story.  And you learn to love all over again...


  1. Thank you for that inspiring and beautiful gift. My heart grew a size or two... You are a treasure.

  2. Wow... awesome post Merideth. I'm going to share this today... Thank you!!

  3. Thanks, I needed that! That about says it all. I had a terrible day yesterday and feel like such a failure. I know I failed my child and yet she is willing to give ME another chance to be her best she puts it. And I am really starting to see that at the end of the day it's not about what my dear children have done but what kind of a mom do I want to be despite their behavior. I need a new start today.

  4. Praise Jesus! His mercy and love endures forever! God bless your family in abundance.

  5. This is beautiful Meredith! Such a great reminder for us all!
    Much love to each of you.
    Renee' and tribe

  6. Bingo . You nailed it . Honest and love it .

  7. Warrior Moms
    by j. MacLeod

    I didnt sign up to be a Warrior Mom
    It was awarded to me by default.
    I showed up to mother a baby.
    In the early days of our adoption,
    I clanked around in oversize
    armor that hung heavy and slow.
    It took me a while to realized that it
    had been designed for me to grow into.
    Id been outfitted as a Warrior Mom
    but didnt understand what I was fighting.
    It was with fear and steel that I dealt
    with the awful knowledge.
    I was fighting for the love and affection
    of a baby who no longer trusted.
    Making a childs world right
    is all consuming and never ending.
    I figured out why I wore armor.
    it held me up at the end of the day.
    So many invisible dragons to slay!
    I battled for my baby
    and I battled to be her mother.
    I took rejection--arrows glancing
    off metal--and came back for more.
    I demanded a place in the life of my daughter
    and I learned to share her with her past.
    I became a Warrior mom
    and ditched the armor but kept the shield.
    Not for me.. but to protect the child
    that became mine
    through sweat and tears and years of no sleep!
    Who knew this mom could tilt at windmills
    angry feelings and powerful ghosts?
    I dont cook, cant sew and wont craft
    but I learned I could fight and I dont give up.
    Sometimes it takes a Warrior Mom
    to claim a child who has gone past love.
    Untapped, under appreciated
    a Mothers will is Mighty.
    It can make love spring from metal
    And change Armor to open arms.

  8. You dug into my heart and mind and echoed those things deep within when it comes to our sweet Ivanna. It is different than I expected. Not bad, or wrong. Just different. Bonding is slowly coming, but she is ever seeking approval or touch or love from others. It really makes no difference to her who it is. *sigh* I know "that" feeling you speak of. The one that hits every once in awhile. Sort of soothes all those misgivings that spring up and reminds me of where she came from.

    Good post Meredith. Very good and I love your honesty yet you remind us of our need for Christ in it all.

    Thank you~

  9. This was spot on! thank you so much for being transparent and sharing!!

  10. Just to let you know I read this several times and I am thankful God gave us a precious blessing that I often take for granted and I am realizing that I have often expected more of her than I should. As she lay peacefully sleeping on the couch, I must admit it has been a long week celebrating spring break and I am breathing this in while I can. She is not usually a napper, yet for some reason God has allowed her to fall sleep. Ahh, I can see I have much to celebrate. God gave us new life in this child. It is a miracle she is even with us and I have no idea what she has been through. But I can try. And I can cherish her, and I can see her trying to fit in, and know it's not her fault, if she doesn't understand family or rules. I am realizing that I have been too hard on her and myself. I need to lighten up, hold her more, laugh more, sing more. God made it possible. Thanks for the reminder Meredith. I will pray for your precious family. Will you please pray for ours? I want to get it right! I want to love more too! :))

  11. Thank you for this, Meredith. In the end this is what matters...

  12. This post resounded in my soul, Friday I has an aha moment with Amanda. She has been doing well, more loving and affectionate, I thought she is bonding to us, and then I took her for an eval and she treated every single one of those strangers the same way she treats us. Not really knowing why I felt sad, I kept going back in my mind seeing her throwing her arms around those necks and then it hit me. I love her so much, but the love I thought she had for us, well, I am no longer certain it is there, it does not make me love her less. It makes me sad because the ability to love unconditionally has been taken from Kara and Amanda, may be in time they can trust and love again.

  13. Great reminder--just what I need right now. Thank you so much!

  14. Oh, Meredith - thanks for sharing those profound words. Such a good reminder for those tougher days! And also a reminder of those precious ones as well!