Mary, Mary

Note: this post originated March 5th and sat as a draft. Now is the time to post for various reasons and more to come on this. Last week marked 26 years since I last saw your sweet face. Of course, then, it was pure and free of the cares of this world. By now, twenty six years has likely worn on you. I wonder almost everyday if you woke up this morning and put on makeup, or where you went to work. I wonder what kind of car you drive and if you speed like me. It’s hard to imagine what life would be like to have a 26 year old daughter when I am still parenting a 12 year old daughter. Whatever your path, I wonder.

I imagine your life is busy, I wonder if you are married yet, or if you’ve found the man of your dreams and is awaiting “the question”, or are you single and seeing the world. I think I ask these questions every year…or similar ones.  I think about the imagined sound of your voice and the shape of your eyes. Are your fingers long and slender like your father’s or are they short and stout like mine.

These are the little things I learned about myself when I reunited with my father seven years ago. I discovered that I like my iced tea half sweet and half unsweetened and so does he. I also realized that my short, stout fingers came from him, along with my long skinny legs that I always disliked about myself. I wonder what you dislike about yourself. I wonder if you wonder about where the personal quirks come from.

I hope by now you know about your biological parents and have learned to accept and embrace the beauty of your life and what was decided for you. Certainly, we meant no harm and only intended good for you. I wonder how your parents loved you. Mary, I know they loved you the best they knew how, like all parents do.

Mary
The last picture I received of Mary, my daughter I placed for adoption.

Maybe one day we will meet. Maybe one day I will get caught up on all the details of your life. Until that hopeful day, I pray you are well. I pray you are healthy. I pray you have faithful friends. I pray you have a job that utilizes your talent, skills and gifts to the world. I pray for you Mary until we cross paths again.

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Tomorrow…

Tomorrow, my daughter Mary, who I placed for adoption, will turn 24 years old. When I think about this, I wonder not necessarily as a mother but as a woman what she struggles with. Does she have friends in her life that speak truth to her and encourage her when she is down? Does she have an intimate relationship with God and hear his voice? And in light of my last post does she know she is significant and has an irreplaceable role in this life?

The irony of all this is that I didn’t know I had an irreplaceable role and beauty that no one could take when I was her age. I exchanged it all for a lie. I bought the lie that boyfriends, sex and being the bad girl would give me significance and beauty.

As a result of believing this I ended up with all types of troubles including two unplanned pregnanciesprom mom 2 among other consequences. I say that carefully and very lightly. To be clear, both Mary’s life and Xaviar’s are precious and planned by the Creator. He makes no mistakes!

Surely, my consequences could have been something different than pregnancy, after all, there are plenty of women we know that can’t have children, couldn’t God have closed my womb and caused it not to bear life? Absolutely! But he didn’t.

The acceptance and affirmation we seek in this life can only be met God. I am not saying God can’t bring people into your life to speak into these places, he did for me, especially as a young woman who didn’t have a father, but apart from God’s will, seeking this out how we think best will only end in grief and disappointment.

Unfortunately, even after two pregnancies, I still struggled to see my worth and ended up remarrying with lots of baggage only to discover that I still through marriage was seeking something only the Father could restore. I remember when all the disappointment was laid bare for me to see! Years of seeking temporary fixes to my unmet need – all along my beauty and irreplaceable role that gave me significance and affirmation I already had, it is who I am and always was.

Cool pic with SamThe story isn’t finished, as I am still walking out marriage and womanhood, but one thing I am sure of now, I don’t need a husband, friends, money, or success to tell me I am beautiful and worth it. My worth is found in God alone. God is and has restored the broken places of hurt and disappointment.

I do pray that my daughter seeks God alone and hears His voice among all the other voices out there – how beautiful she is and how worth it she is! Women, we are worth it! We are worth being pursued by our husbands or husbands to be. We are worth more than selling ourselves to an empty lie… whatever the lie is you are tempted to believe.

I pray that every woman who reads this will seek and find the truth – who you are in Christ, your worth, that your choices don’t make up who you are, God is a Redeemer! God is very clear in his mind behind creating woman, his work wasn’t finished, his work was good but it needed that final touch – you – woman!

I do put my hope in God because though I don’t know where Mary is, or whether her family continued walking with God and if she continues to walk with God. I would certainly be blown away if she sought me out! I would be honored to have that place in her life to remind her who she is. For now, I pray the God who delights over her and celebrates her life keeps her pure and holds in her in the palm of his hands!

 

Part II: My Story

I decided to write Part 2 of My Story. Where I come from is related to where I am today – for better or for worse. What I am discovering in my adult life would have been helpful to know in my 20’s. I am sure on some level we can all relate. It certainly would have helped me work through the unresolved fact that I had black hair and my sister did not. I am not so caught up on this any longer but early on, I couldn’t help but notice!

The paradigm of it all though troubles me on occasion. I was adopted by my step-father when I was about 2. At the age of 15, I gave birth to Mary to be adopted. Now we are the proverbial blended family where my husband is a step-father to my son and I am a step-mother to his children. While neither of us have adopted either of our step-children, we have experienced and continue to experience the world of step-parenting. I say that soberly and with great tenderness because clearly divorce hurts and mostly the children involved.

I am calling this Part 2 for two reasons: 1. Being a step-family makes up the last 12 years of my life and; 2. It is an ever present area of conflict (purposeful smile). Conflict not so much in the way of it being negative as the word denotes rather in a stretching-of-the-soul kind of way which doesn’t exactly feel positive either.

Sibling funBecoming a step family has been a process, hence the word: becoming. It also has been a hard road. And certainly not a road that I recommend for any of my children, step-children alike. I imagine, as with any hard place in life there are good memories but not without cost.

Approximately one- third of all weddings in America today form a step-family. What makes this so challenging is no step-family looks the same. I have found common experiences among other step-families but overall there is no one size fits all.  To make matters worse, the findings add that one third of Americans who got divorced were doing so for the second time – and I understand this all too well however my goal is to stay married.

Setting the stage for what feels like an insurmountable struggle up a steep cliff I have hope. I may not have been able to say this a week ago and it pains me to know I am far from the top, but I am still climbing. Most of the struggle comes from the conflict over feeling that my step children are intruders to my traditional family within our blended family. Meaning for the first time in my life, my family consists of my husband and me and our three biological children. My son no longer lives at home either. Though when he did it was different because he is an adult, with his own life, plans, etc. (like that of a room-mate). My husbands children have never lived with us so they are not part of our daily lives.

cliff-photo

A few simple things have helped me from falling off the cliff, perhaps you may find one helpful:

Remembering we are not each others enemies – we each have feelings, viewpoints, and experiences. I am not only speaking of my husband and me rather each member in our family. I’ve had many an argument with myself regarding this because everyone feels like the enemy quite frankly.

Being honest. Somewhere along the way, I decided that most often it was safer to not be (of course there is something to be said here). Despite what I think the response will be as a result of my honesty, I do well to be real and honest. I am the only one that can share what I am thinking or how I view what is happening to me or around me.

Although to balance honesty, there are times to be quiet. I always think of when God told Mary that she would give birth to the Messiah, we are told that she held all these things in her heart and pondered them! Along with several other verses in the Bible that speak about the right timing of your words.

When I think about where I come from and the struggles against me it gives me perspective on how to handle today. Furthermore, the obstacles we each faced walking into our second marriages challenges me. And yet, I find courage in that. I know that God can work through the poor decisions of others that have hurt me and those decisions I’ve made that hurt others – past and present. I also know that I will continue learning how to support my husband’s relationships with his children and becoming a blended family. I am certain of Gods promises to change my ashes into beauty.

Celebrating Mary

Today is Mary’s birthday, the daughter I placed for adoption 22 years ago. She was born at 2:01 A.M., weighing 7 lbs, 5 oz and 21 inches long. When I decided to share this part of my story I was quite reluctant. To my surprise, it has been a timely and freeing experience!

This was the last picture I received of her through the semi – open adoption.  Her adoptive parents didn’t feel comfortable sending pictures through the age of 5 as originally agreed. At first that was hard to accept but after having my own children I grew a little understanding.

I think of Mary often. I look forward to meeting her one day. I am encouraged by other stories of adoption – those that have re-united and those that are still waiting. I am also encouraged by the hope adoption gives to mommies and daddies that aren’t able to have children. Adoption is the essence of hope and what is life without hope!

When I reminded Xaviar, her biological brother, that her birthday was today, there was a sense of curiosity and wonder in his voice. I do encourage him to seek her out in his own way and time. When she turned 18, thoughts of what it would be like to find her became more real for me; four years later I still haven’t found her and I am okay with that. Meanwhile, we are registered with the Florida Adoption Registry and hope one day she will seek one of us out.