So in my typical, impulsive fashion I decided to cut my hair off. I have a favorite stylist, Sarah, but because she is my favorite stylist, she is apparently everyone else’s favorite too. I can never get in to see her when the urge or impulse hits me to do something bizarre, like cut off a foot of hair. However, I sent Sarah a text message one night and said “What is your next availability for a cut?” Knowing all too well she would reply with something along the lines of “Dec. 11th” (currently it’s October). But because she is my absolute favorite and a treasured friend and a wonderful human being I asked in my impulsive fashion anyway. Her response came and she said “How about tomorrow at noon?” Clearly the stars had aligned in my favor ’cause I had nothing on the calendar preventing this divine appointment and now I was set to have something fabulous done to my hair! It was almost like Christmas Eve, okay maybe not that exciting but close.
I arrived at the salon with baby in tow and Sarah was running a bit behind, which really was no biggie to me, I had nowhere to be so I just waited. When she was ready for me, we excitedly started talking about the kids and giving each other updates and that’s when she said there was a new client in the back and I needed to meet her. See, this new client had a bad color job done by someone else and her friend had referred her to MY favorite stylist to fix it and just by chance Sarah had a cancellation and was able to fit her in. The same day she had an opening for me. Coincidence? I think not. Well, the next thing I know this new client and I are sitting next to each other and exchanging adoption stories – shocking I know.
She told me about her two beautiful children, she had adopted. She had been their foster mom since they were born and had fought to keep them for four and a half years. She was a foster mom, but these kids needed her to be their mom forever and she is… she is now their forever mom. Four and a half years of loving and caring for two drug addicted babies and not knowing if they will be taken from you is probably enough just to make most people shutter – it just sounds like self-inflicted torture to be honest and I have a feeling at times, my new friend might have felt that way. She then went on to tell me that she had just recently received a two month old baby boy who was born addicted to Heroin. She made it clear that she had no more fight left in her – she was content with the two beautiful children she had. The case worker for this new baby boy, convinced her that this baby would go straight to adoption – easy peasy – so she opened her heart and her home to this sweet baby boy who needs so much care for his tiny body to adjust to life without street drugs.
Can you guess where I might be going with this story? The adoption hasn’t turned out to be so easy peasy after all. See the man that is currently married to the heroin addicted birth mother is incarcerated for a long list of things including physically harming people. He served a 9 year sentence already and I believe is waiting to see what his next sentence might be. But guess what? Even though he might not even be the one that “fathered” the child… he is technically the baby’s father because he is married to the drug addicted mother and he has decided, he wants the baby. Yep. In prison, he wants the baby. I hope you are somewhat like me and thinking… how does that work? And what is he thinking?
I was at the Doctor today and because I was there for my annual appointment, the nurse I see every year was slightly confused as to how she missed my entire pregnancy. So I began the adoption story and discussion. We actually discussed several avenues and aspects of adoption and for whatever reason I told her my new friend’s story. I have a feeling she might have been speaking from experience when she said “He wants that baby because he is selfish. He is bored and has nothing else to fight about in his jail cell. He needs something to distract him and this is it. It has nothing to do with that child other than it is a distraction and the thought that lingers in the back of his mind saying; what if one day that kid turns out to be something, I need to be able to claim him.” I’m pretty certain with the way she spoke, this was not the first time she had thought about a situation like this. She appeared as though she had some working of knowledge of circumstances like these.
Soon my nurse left and my doctor came in and she was so happy to hear about our adoption and how smooth the process went and somehow we also got side-tracked with a conversation that landed on birth moms. She offered her opinion that it was the most self-less thing a woman could do. She looked very reflective in thought, I could tell that she too had thought about adoption and unwanted pregnancies many times over the years. She said she had been in obstetrics for over 30 years and that over time she has noticed more people used to carry their babies to term and give them up for adoption than they currently do. She said “Today, they just pretend it didn’t happen.” She went on to say, occasionally she will have a young 19-20 year old girl that gets pregnant and wants to continue with school and she will carry and give the baby up but it’s rare anymore. She seemed to almost share my conviction that as a societal whole we are not to condemn lifestyle choices such as the Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner’s of the world, yet we have set some pregnant women up with so much shame and condemnation that they would rather try to pretend it just didn’t happen and choose to abruptly end a viable pregnancy. It appeared, by her reflective tone, that she is often the only confidant some of these women ever have once they make the choice to “pretend it didn’t happen.”
In our somewhat brief meeting, my new friend at the salon had shared a specific phrase that tends to “ruffle her feathers” so to speak. I heard this phrase at one point during my visit to the clinic, “Well, she just needs to stop. She’s needs to stop getting pregnant.” See, it ruffles my new friends feathers because, if the mom of her two kids, (and hopefully a 3rd very soon) had just stopped; she wouldn’t have the beautiful children she is madly in love with! Adoption is often the only way some families are made. I was actually caught off guard when someone at the clinic said it to me. It actually felt like an attack on me! For probably 2 seconds I felt like saying “Wait a minute, if the birth mother of my child would’ve stopped, we wouldn’t be having this beautiful moment where you are so enthralled with my happy and beautiful baby!” Now let’s be clear, I am not advocating for drug addicted women to continue to reproduce while they are using drugs. However, in the case of my new friend, this cocaine/heroin addicted woman is the reason she is able to even hold the title of “Mom”. So, let’s be careful what we say to adoptive moms.
I am also not condemning anyone that might be reading this post that has had an abortion… why would I? It is currently legal, it’s an option and it’s done and over with. I am talking about a choice that is certainly also legal, has been tried and true and seems to be highly under-used. I know of it’s under-use because I have received several calls from heartbroken couples, hoping I somehow have the magic key to unlock the pain of looking into empty spare bedrooms and the longings to fill big spaces in their hearts. My point in writing this is because I’m learning so much right now. My eyes have been opened in ways they never have been before. I want to leave these words and thoughts for my children and let them walk along with me as we go on this new path. In the Bible, we are told to take care of the widows and the orphans. James 1:27 NIV says: Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.
Looking over several Bible commentaries on this verse, it looks like this verse literally means to take care of the orphans and the widows. 🙂 The passage conveys more meaning than that in its entirety, but the Matthew Henry commentary describes a portion of the meaning behind the verse this way, “Compassion and charity to the poor and distressed from a very great and necessary part of true religion: Visiting the fatherless and widow in their affliction. Visiting is here put for all manner of relief which we are capable of giving to others; and fatherless and widows are here particularly mentioned, because they are generally most apt to be neglected or oppressed: but by them we are to understand all who are proper objects of charity, all who are in affliction. It is very remarkable that if the sum of religion be drawn up to two articles this is one—to be charitable and relieve the afflicted.” (emphasis added is mine)
We are attending a fundraiser next week to help bring about awareness and raise money to help people adopt babies and children. This fundraiser helps to live out this very verse. Not everyone is in a situation to open their homes to longing children and helpless babies, but together we can all be aware that families, so many families are willing and able to provide homes and care for these babies when they are available. There just seems to be a shortage of ones that are truly available. Ones that the mother is willing to say, “Just because it’s not my time to provide for this child doesn’t mean someone else can’t or won’t.” In my opinion, and it’s just that… my opinion, my new friend who is caring for the heroin addicted mother and incarcerated father’s child; are not at a point right now to be parents to this tiny baby boy who desperately needs so much. A selfless deed would go very far in all of their lives right now. A simple signature would be all it would take to do what is best for that precious child.
My favorite stylist wasn’t available by chance the other day just so I could receive my cute new hairdo. My stylist was the connecting piece in a greater story about two women that have a hearts desire to care for orphans; regardless of how or by whom they came into this world. There are families and young couples – hoping right now that another women, who has just received the undesired news of her pregnancy will choose, even though the timing is off… to carry to term and simply sign a paper. Breathing life into a new child, a new family, a home, a bedroom, safe arms and loving hearts. And also allowing themselves to take a big breath and sigh of relief knowing, even though the pain is very real, they have just become a part of a small population, many might label, the most selfless of all.