God has blessed me with the opportunity to be a part of the GriefShare ministry at Fellowship. We start our next cycle on September 6. This group focuses solely on the grief over the loss of a loved one. Over the past few weeks I've found myself wondering if God is working His ways again... not just allowing me to use my own grief journey that He guided me through when my Nana died OR if He has placed me in this group at this exact time so I can relearn the grief process and remind me to lean on HIM during these intense times of Mama Grief.
That is what I've decided to name these new emotions that I know God is using to condition my heart because these are a drop in the bucket of what I'll experience, and what I'll watch others experience, as we move through our adoption.
It is a selfish grief. It is grief for the children my body can no longer carry itself. Grief over knowing I'll never again feel a baby grow and move about in their tiny world within my body. Grief for the children that my body will never feed from itself.
It is a longing grief. God has placed it on my heart that in all likelihood, if things go as He seems to be revealing His plan to be, one of our children is likely already born or very soon to be born. And a day doesn't pass by that I do not physically long to hold that child in my arms. To kiss their sweet head. To know their smell. To rub their soft hands and kiss their tiny toes. To wrap them up and have skin to skin contact so we can bond and feel safe with each other. To pour Christ's love into every pore of their being. To jump at the chance to meet every single one of their needs and never let them doubt or wonder for a second if it is going to be met. (I'm not saying I'm the only one that can meet those needs-trust me, been there and learned that one the hard way with Bean. But I have learned that is the foundation of many adoptees' attachment challenges. But we also do not know our children's stories yet. They may be in foster care with an incredible family that loves them, cares for them, meets every single need and adore every moment they have with them. And there will be grief with that.) It is a grief of knowing that a child designed uniquely by God to be part of our family (us for them and them for us) is out there but not physically part of our family. I equate it to what it must feel like if one of your children is kidnapped and missing. You KNOW with that crazy, God-instilled Mama Bear Instinct that they are out there and you NEED with every fiber of your being to find them and hold them-for both of you. Selfish? Smoothering love? Maybe. But for some reason, it is how God made me. And so far (*knock on wood*) it hasn't damaged my kiddos too much.
It is an overwhelming grief for the grief that I know our children and their natural families will endure-not just at the moment of birth or the moment of loss of one another, but for the rest of their lives. Whether it is open or closed, there will be grief. Grief over lost dreams. Grief over not only their child and living life with their child, but a loss of who they were before their child's existence and before adoption. Grief over the way God created things to be and how that doesn't always line up with our expectations, no matter the reasons or situation. Grief over how society will forever view the natural family and how that will clog their healing.
Society consistently denies the natural family their right to grieve. Studies have shown that a natural mother's grief actually does the exact opposite of what is expected with grief involved with death: death grief generally decreases as time goes by, while natural mothers report that their anger and sense of loss actually increase over time (Dr. Condon's study of mothers in South Australia and Winkler and van Keppel's study of mothers). The loss of a child through adoption is one which usually is not openly acknowledged, and the mothers suffer alone in silence and are not "given permission" to grieve.
In many cases, the family that brought this child into the world is not recognized by the community. They will experience an emotional roller coaster that will span their entire lifetime. A roller coaster that I have never ridden and likely will never ride. A roller coaster that I can only read about in adoption books or nautral mother blogs. A roller coaster I can only imagine if I think of losing my own children, and even then, it doesn't touch it. And grief is only a chunk of that roller coaster.
It is an agonizing grief over the small glimpses of what I fathom grief will look like for the 2Bs. Grief over losses that include natural parents, extended family, foster family, home, pets, neighborhoods, schools, friends, treasured belongings, and in some cases culture. This article opened my eyes BIG time. And that is only a tiny speck of the tip of the iceberg of the 2Bs' grief.
That is as much as God will let me process at this point. I know adoption is not beautiful. It is not natural. It is messy and at times horrific torture for the triad, and the triad's traids, and their triads. I know the grief is only part of the process, and that the healing is lifelong. I know it will become a LARGE LARGE LARGE ginormous part of our every living breath. But I also know my God. And I know He heals and He loves, and He calls us to love all of our children. So for now I am trying to let it all soak in-the many griefs for the many people involved, and I try to somehow hand it over to Him and ask Him for the strength to begin to process it all so that when it is our every living breath, maybe just maybe, it will be a tiny nano-grain bit easier to hand it over every.single.second.