Prayers (On Adoption Day)

Tomorrow (today) is adoption day for our sons. As I am wont to do, I am up in the middle of the night and find myself here to write.

In just twelve hours, we’ll be arriving at the courthouse, taking family photos, signing paperwork, and finding our seats in front of the judge who has been on the boys’ case from the beginning. We will become the legal parents to these two beautiful boys who are undoubtedly ours, but never should have been ours. Years of planning collide with happenstance; our choices intersect with the choices of others and this moment transforms us all officially, forever.

This day is so exciting, but that thrill is tied up in knots with grief, our joy is laden with loss, and a brief moment of peace is stepping out from the shadows of trauma. I find myself ardently praying, in this quiet, dark space with a God who holds it all at once.

I am praying for my boys’ birth family, especially for their first mother. I pray for her heart; that the pain of their loss has dulled, even though it will never go away completely. I pray that she would somehow sense she is loved and spoken of in a home she doesn’t know exists. I pray that she will someday trust that we are on the same team, and believe that her sons are safe and loved beyond measure. Desha Woodall said it better than I ever could: “He is mine in a way that he will never be hers, he is hers in a way that he will never be mine, and together, we are motherhood.”

I am praying for my own heart too, that it would be as soft, patient, and compassionate as possible in the wake of the daily aftereffects of trauma. I pray that I would never forget how it feels to be sweeping the floor and unexpectedly wondering about whether another family’s grief has lessened over the years. I pray that as often as possible, I will see my children the way I do when I check on them in their sleep: with immense pride and overwhelming, heart-bursting, awestruck love.

I am praying for this little family we are building, that it would be a living thing we tend to moment by moment with care and grace. I pray that we would never confuse a house for a home. I pray that we would remember things that matter are hard, and press on. I pray that we will assume each of us are doing the very best we can in each moment. I pray that the dinner table would always be bountiful with music and laughter. I pray that we will let love fill in the empty spaces, but never assume that’s all it takes.

More than anything, I am praying for my sons. I pray that regardless of our influence or any others they would grow into gentle, kind, honest people. I pray that they will someday understand trauma as part of their story, but not their whole story. I pray that they would know they are safe with us and forever loved by a gracious God who is in and with them, at their strongest and weakest moments. I pray that they will know a bang of a gavel doesn’t change who they are, only they can decide that.