Sunday, August 23, 2015

Peaks and Valleys

Peaks and valleys.

That has been my answer to all of the wonderful people in my life asking how things are going with Bradley. And it is so true. There are days when I feel on top of the world, like I can totally do this mom thing. Then there are days when I feel like I just cannot get anything right, like I have NO business being a mom.

After LOTS of education and research over three years, Adam and I decided that we were committed to one month of really intense attachment parenting with our little man. Here's what that looked like: we were the only ones to hold him, feed him, touch him, change him, bathe him, comfort him. We were holding him all the time, lots of intense eye contact, almost always at least one hand on him, responding to cries immediately. In doing this, we had a very specific goal. We wanted Bradley to understand what it means to have parents, and we wanted him to fully recognize that WE are his parents, the safest and most loving people in his world.

This led to a lot of peaks and a lot of valleys.

As the days went by, we were getting more smiles and even some laughs. We were watching him start to reach for us and REALLY prefer to be held at all times (my arms muscles are getting ripped). We also got to watch him make HUGE strides in his development.

But there were a LOT of moments in that first month home that left me feeling like I would never, could never be the mom I wanted to be. Moms tell you that they know their children's different cries. I didn't. Some days, he was inconsolable, only wanting to be held while he cried. It was so hard.

So much of this is related to grief. Yes, Bradley joined our family forever when we walked out of the orphanage gates, but he also lost his home and the women who had loved him and cared for him. I cannot imagine how confused and hurt he must have been, wondering what happened to all of the familiar faces he had come to know. And to now have this woman who clearly doesn't know what she is doing.

Adoption is a beautiful, redemptive and impossibly hard thing.

Week four was particularly tough. It was Adam's first week back at work, and I was finally on my own. I was doing the very thing I had begged God to let me do, AND IT WAS SO MUCH HARDER THAN I EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE.

But there is God's grace again. Carrying me through and reminding me that I cannot be the mom I want to be without Him right at the center.

So whatever it is you're doing, know that God can be right there with you if you let him. I am learning each day what a weak vessel I am. A true jar of clay. But all of this points me right back to Jesus, reminding me of my deep and desperate need for Him.


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