Sometimes tomorrow brings something you could never imagine today.
I didn't know that Handsome would be seeing his family yesterday. I didn't plan on it. We decided when he first came to our home a little over a year ago, that he would only be viewed from my blog. And someday when he turned 18, he could meet his birth family. I'm not saying this is the right decision for every adoption. I really believe that each case is very individual. The parents are different, the child is different, and the circumstances are different. For us, this seemed like the logical thing to do.
Jon was adopted when he was just a tiny baby. His birth mom was very young, fourteen in fact. She held her baby in her arms, close to her heart, and dreamed of his life growing older. She wanted the very best for him and she named him Jared. He nuzzled her neck and they bonded, mother and child.
Then, after much inner turmoil, she decided to send "Jared" to a new family, to give him the very best life possible. She knew she wasn't at a place in her life to give him what he deserved. A mom and a dad that were a bit older and were able to help him thrive.
This is how my husband came into his new home, and eventually into my heart.
Jon opened up the mailbox a few days ago and found a Christmas note from his birth mom. I am sure it came at just the right time, to help us feel comfortable making our Christmas visit with Handsome's family. She told us where she lives now, and what she spends her time doing. She thanked me for Pink Moss (the blog) and her ability to watch her biological grandchildren grow. She is always very respectful of the fact that Jon didn't grow up with her. She calls herself his "birth mom". We hear from her in a card on Jon's birthdays and on Christmas, and can I just tell you how much respect I have for her and Handsome's birth family?
I wouldn't have my husband. I wouldn't have my kids. I wouldn't have anything that defines my life today, if I didn't have them. Did these young girls understand the impact of their gut wrenching decision? Did they realize the life changing path they were struggling to walk down? I don't think so. None of us can fathom the power of our day to day decisions, big or small.
So, I say thank you. Thank you to all birth moms, that take a leap of faith. I can not for the life of me, put myself in your shoes. My experience is so different. But somehow, although our lives are all so different, we are the same. We are all here on this planet to learn and grow through happiness, heartache, and love. In this way, we all have something in common.
This is why when Handsome's "Na Na" emailed me to share some news involving him, Jon and I decided it might be time for a visit. We felt like Handsome was doing so well, and is so stable that it wouldn't undo everything we have all worked for, to provide a safe, healthy transition for him. I was elated to share Handsome's growth with his birth family. I didn't feel threatened at all. I actually felt at peace. I believe it was supposed to happen, although fast and probably only once, it was a step we were supposed to take.
So we did.
As I readied for church yesterday, I was blow drying my hair. 10:00....10:20.....10:40....All of a sudden, I realized that I was expected to be there in 10 minutes! I wasn't ready at all, and the children were only half ready. Don't get me wrong, I am not waltzing into church on time every week (like some of the other moms), I am pretty much the opposite in fact.
"Kinley! Is she still asleep? Whitney...Oh someone go get her downstairs. Brighton, you need to remember to wash your hair, not just get dressed! Ella, WHERE ARE YOUR SHOES? How do you lose them EVERY day? Halle! You can't bring a hot dog to church with you, while holding your stuffed pig! Jordan!! Oh, thanks for getting dressed!!! *in your camo pants, button down shirt, ball cap, and church shoes..."
You see, this is how it sounds as I ushered them out into the Jack Frost covered neighborhood yesterday, two hours late. At least we made it for sacrament. My mind was lost in another world of thought. My kids often wonder how I can so effectively tune out everyone and everything. "practice, practice, practice!!! If you keep working on this talent, you too will be able have this talent too!"
I sat through church and thought of the emotions that would be residing within my parents home that night. I felt like that would be the best place to meet, somewhere neutral. The kids were coloring and playing "tic tac toe" Jordan ran over to me and hopped up on my lap. He was so excited to show me something...."Ma ma Look! My nose is running!" And then he mustered up every ounce of strength in that little body of his and blew his nose. All. Over. Me. "SEE mama! I can blow GOOD!" The kids started laughing..."good thing we are in the back row again." I thought. Then I cracked a smile through my grossed out boogered face. That was it, full permission for Handsome to bust out laughing, and he did. In fact he started blowing over and over again!
I jumped up, swung Mr. Jordan onto my hip and tried to do my motherly walk/run out of Sacrament in my too high, too cute heels. "This is why mom's can't wear super cute high heels." I thought..."You never know when you will have to sprint down after your kid before he runs in the road, eats a fly, or dumps his dinner all over the floor."
I decided I was done with church, even if the clock hadn't said I was yet. I walked out to the car, and felt my nose hairs freeze as I huffed. "How does Jack Frost make it up my nose anyway.." It looked beautiful on the trees and grass...not my nose.
The kids made it outside in a minute, and we drove home and got ready to meet Handsome's birth family. That part was a blur. The next thing I remember is driving toward the freeway. Jon looked at me, "Janae, I have to stop and get gas." He sped through the abandoned parking lot toward the gas station. I wondered what he was aiming for because his direction was all skeewampassy.
"Oh, OH we got him, WE GOT HIM, WEEEE GOOOOT HIMMMM!!! ohhhhhhhhhhhh noooooooooooooo WE DID GET HIM!"
At the very last second possible, I glanced up and see a seagull escape the jaws of death by a single white feather. "What are you doing?!!!" I asked. He started laughing...."WELL, usually the bird is smart enough to jump up and fly away before I actually hit it!" "DID you hit it!?" "Naw, he got away....almost....I think... Yea, he's good.
Jon knows that he isn't allowed to drive like a mad man when we are going somewhere stressful, and he had actually held up his end of the deal *for 4 minutes*.
We jumped on the freeway, and sped up to my parents house. Driving to my parents is like taking "Little Red Riding Hood's" route. Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother's house we go!!!" We arrived along with my very supportive family, that drove from all different directions to enjoy the evening with us. Handsome's nana and grandpa decided it would be fun to dress up like Santa, so we could have a little mini Christmas party. We could sing songs, tell stories, and they could all see him interacting with his cousins.
Honestly, I have never seen all of the grand kids behave to well! They were SO excited for Santa, that they all sat on the couch in a row waiting for his arrival. Emotions were high on every account. I was full of anticipation. "Would Handsome remember his family? Would he be scared...happy...confused...?" My brother's and sisters, mom and dad, were so sweet and dropped everything to come in the instant I asked that morning.
And then I heard it...."SANTA IS HERE!"
All the kids rushed to their designated post. Thanks to my brother Dave for taking all of the pictures. I knew I would have to be in the moment, not just behind a lens.
We sang, we talked, we laughed, we played.
Handsome's nana was visiting as Mrs. Claus, grandpa as Mr. Claus...Handsome's birth mama stood in the background with her boy friend. On the other couch was Handsome's birth aunt, uncle, and his girlfriend. Can you imagine the thoughts going through their heads? My anxiety was for them. Each family member had been close to Handsome only a year earlier. His uncle slept with him every night, his mom snuggled him and loved him from conception, his aunt played with him, and his nana and grandpa were the foundation of their story. NaNa had been adopted herself, and still doesn't know her birth parents. Na Na had started having kids young, and contemplated adoption but ended up keeping Handsome's birth mama.
Na Na's first look at Handsome.
The kids all had a chance to sit on Santa's lap.
Some liked in more than others....
I wish Jon and I would have sat on their knee, but I was so out of it, I didn't even think. Every eye was on Handsome and his reaction to the whole thing....and he knew it. He became pretty quiet and started looking around. He was so excited to see Santa, but as you can expect, it was a bit overwhelming. I felt like a proud owner of a new dog, trying to get him to show his best tricks. Not to compare Handsome to a dog or anything, but kind of. I wanted to shout,
"LOOK! He can talk, and reason, and run, and play, and jump, and count...our boy can do it all! He is even potty trained (which is early for a boy)"
Instead, we resorted to singing "Jingle Bells"...and "Itsy bitsy spider..? Yes. How does that relate you ask? Well, Handsome usually perks up when we sing that and gets all animated, but not today. SANTA was holding him, and there was a room FULL of people that loved him watching his every move. The good news, was that he was fine. He was content and I believe he felt the peace that was there. Two families coming together out of love for this young man. And if I am correct, and I think I am, although Jordan didn't seem to recognize them consciously, knew he was loved by us all. His big spirit in his little body, knew, that this was special...that it was a linking piece of his puzzle.
Jordan has a beautiful puzzle that sets above his bed on a shelf that his birth family put together for him. It's pictures a little boy angel. As I reflected on this beautiful Christmas celebration of Jordan's life, I also couldn't help but to reflect on the life of Christ. Christ helps us put together the pieces of our puzzle, one day at a time through unconditional love. We are all helping Jordan put together the puzzle of his life, one piece at a time. Some pieces were placed by his birth family, some were placed by his current family...but the Master oversees it all. He knows what pieces fit where, before we ever begin to understand the beautiful picture it will make by the end of our lives. He can guide and direct, if we only ask for his help. He can support us through hard days, and encompass us with love when we need extra protection and peace until each piece fits.
What a precious gift Jordan is to our family. He is perfect addition to my beautiful daughters, that are also the most important pieces of my puzzle. SIX of them. They, along with my husband, are a blessing bestowed by my Heavenly Father. All of which, came through the blessing of adoption.
Handsome left last night with a red lip kiss on his right cheek from Mrs. Claus, and an invisible kiss from his birth mom. Although Handsome won't always be able to see those kisses, they remain burning in the souls of many.
Sometimes tomorrow brings something you could never imagine today.
Sometimes it is perfect.
Merry Christmas, to my blog friends that have taken this journey with me. I love sharing my stories with you. It brings me peace, happiness, and fulfillment. It helps me reflect on the important, the meaningful, in a life of craziness called "motherhood" A word that although short, defines everything this world is about.