happy mother’s day

Happy Mother’s Day to all those mommas in my life, starting of course with my own mother. I’m so thankful for all she has done for me-even when I wasn’t the easiest child to parent. She always encouraged me to be a better mother than she had been. Even though she was a very good mom, she recognized her shortcomings. She understood the struggle of raising several children and always tried to help me and my siblings by being the grandmother that loved to be on the floor playing with all the kids. She was also known as the baby whisperer. I’m proud to say I have learned that skill, as well. 😋

I am so honored to be called Mom by 7 people, amazingly that includes my 43 year old first born who has only known me for 3 years. I am so blessed.

I can’t help but see the story of Ruth when I look at how God has not only given His Son for my salvation me but also has restored my brokenness. He is my provider and my great Kinsman Redeemer.

kjp May 2021

birthmother’s day

The Saturday before Mother’s Day is Birthmother’s Day. I wouldn’t even know there was such a thing were it not for social media, specifically Instagram-birthmom accounts and some adoption accounts. The latter seem to try to make birthmothers seem like heroes. One thing I think this day is NOT-celebrating this kind of mother as a hero, as at least not to me.

I wonder how you can wish someone “Happy” Birthmother’s Day”, exactly? What is happy about it? What are we “wishing” for someone who is a birthmom? I can understand why this day was started. It began as a day to recognize those mothers who were not acknowledged as mothers since they were not parenting their child. The purpose for the day to be on the Saturday before Mother’s Day was because before the adoptive mother became a mother some one else was a mother.

I feel like for me this day is more about acknowledgment . It’s not a day of celebration for everyone. For some it marks the saddest day of their lives, as it does for me. But even as I remember the saddest day, I am so very thankful for the fact that God allowed me to be the one who gave birth to my daughter. I have always been thankful but never did I have a feeling of celebration until reunion.

Now that I am in a reunion relationship with my daughter I am grateful that she recognizes me on Mother’s Day along with her adoptive Mom. I’m much more honored by that than if she had chosen to recognize me on Birthmother’s Day, but of course I’m honored to be thought of at all! I have no expectations.

I think the only thing that I would feel about being recognized by anyone on Birthmother Day is maybe validation or that there is some understanding- if the loss is also recognized as part of this day. The words that come to my mind when I hear about Birthmother’s Day:

  • loss
  • privilege
  • love
  • longing
  • grief
  • less than
  • thankful
  • purpose

Yes, also celebration. I celebrate the life of my daughter. She is so special. I love her with my whole Momma heart just as her siblings that I parented. I am so thankful to be her mother-whatever kind of mother God has called me to be. I know that not only did He have a purpose for her life but even of my own life as her mother.

If you are a birthmother reading this, know that you are loved. Your loss is great. You are chosen. God has a plan.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.”
‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭2:10‬

kjp May 2021

three years in

“But You, O LORD, are a shield about me, My glory, and the One who lifts my head.”

Psalms 3:3

It’s been almost three years “in reunion” with my first born. It’s a road I had no clue of where it would go, totally uncharted territory. There was no map, no compass, no GPS, not even a landmark to reassure me that I had not missed a turn. What I did have made up for all the unknowns-God’s abiding love and care, support from my husband through all the messy tears and the totally closed off emotions I held deep inside, forgiveness and understanding from our 6 grown children we raised not knowing about their older sister, and of course, the love and forgiveness of my oldest daughter, who bravely decided to invite me on this amazing “reunion adventure” and didn’t leave when emotions and feelings were hard.

I’ve heard a lot about the “honeymoon period” of adoption reunions. It’s all great while you are getting acquainted…the likenesses, the why’s and how’s, the instant connection many times. But then it gets hard. Memories for the mothers, dealing with shame and then guilt. The adoptee dealing with worries of rejection from not only birth parents and siblings but also from their adoptive families who may not understand the need for this reunion. It’s enough to end many reunions before they even start. I am thankful we have made it to almost 3 years.

I feel like we have moved passed the “honeymoon period” although I am still in constant wonder every time we are together. I still find myself looking at her in disbelief that she is actually that little baby I held for those ten minutes just before I left the hospital. She really is my daughter and crazy enough, she loves me. Incredible. We have developed a friendship even as we are learning more about each other. She seems to understand me so well in such a short time. I feel like I can tell when she is struggling or when she is comfortable or not with all the newness and sometimes awkwardness in all of these new relationships.

A couple of things I have come to realize:

1. This is still not easy. It may never be easy and that’s okay. Easy doesn’t mean good. Easy doesn’t cause me to dig deeper. Easy rarely causes me to cling to Jesus more.

2. I am still grieving. Oh, it’s nothing like the first year, for sure! Healing has begun. It’s just a slow process that probably can’t be totally finished until Christ comes again. There will probably always be triggers, but the effect isn’t as all consuming as it first was, at least the time to get through those isn’t as long now.

3. I still miss her. Even though I see her more than a couple of my other children, goodbyes are hard and the waiting between visits are harder. I think it may be because the foundation of a lifetime I have with the other kids has not been developed yet with her; it just doesn’t feel as secure. It’s almost like I’m not sure if it’s real when we are apart. Maybe she will decide it’s too much work building this relationship. Her life was so much simpler before birth parent reunions. So many moving parts now.

4. Forgiveness has been a much traveled road that I have to revisit often. God has taught me so much about forgiveness. I honestly thought I was very good at being forgiving, but it turns out I just don’t think about it. Instead of working through it, I was just burying it. Forgiveness was on the surface and it truly was my intent but each new memory had me back at the beginning wondering if I had truly forgiven. I’ve learned forgiveness is much more of a process. I appreciate so much more the forgiveness Christ has given me. Because He lives in me I can work through the hurts, disappointments and heartaches, knowing He understands. I can even forgive myself because God sees me through the blood of His Son as holy and righteous. He has offered me grace and mercy, showing me how to give grace to myself and to others.

5. I still fight fear of the future. I fear losing her again. I fear somewhat the memories that have remained dark and there are awkwardnesses I do not want to face or deal with. I fear I might disappoint her and even my other children. I have failed so many times, but I also know I loved each one with all I had. I have learned and I still learn it over and over again that all I have to do is take it to the Father. I read in His word that I need not fear because He will never leave me in the storm alone. There will most certainly be storms, but He is right beside me and in total control.

6. Sometimes it’s lonely. I guess it always has been and I thought somehow with reunion that would change. It hasn’t. I have found there are just going to be hard things I deal with between me and God….like everyone else.

7. I can be brave, because He who is in me is greater than he who is in the world. I’ve always found it easier to hide my feelings and to hide my past. Even now in reunion, when talking about it I only talk about the positives with most people, most of the time. I’ve learned from experience people prefer to hear the successes and not the hurts. Sometimes speaking of past hurt, present grieving or questioning anything about adoption has brought me lectures of why I shouldn’t feel that way. So I only speak about these harder things to those I know will understand, or at least they try. Many times, I just keep my thoughts to myself. I feel like my feelings don’t even make sense to me so how will they make sense to anyone else. But when I need to share my story with someone I think it will help, maybe I can be brave enough. Volunteering at Embrace Grace is not something that makes me feel comfortable. I fight the shame. But then I look around me and realize if I am shaming myself I am shaming them too. We have all experienced unplanned pregnancies. I can step out in faith knowing God is giving me an opportunity to share the love of Jesus. I can use my experience of a broken heart being restored by a loving Heavenly Father to show someone else the hope that comes from Him.

kjp April 2021

truth in light

“for you were formerly darkness, but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of the light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness, and truth) trying to LEARN what is pleasing to the Lord.

Ephesians 5:8-10

Also, looking back at:

“Therefore, laying aside falsehood, speak truth, each one with his neighbor, for we are members with one another. And be angry, and yet do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and do not give the devil an opportunity.

Ephesians 4:25-27

I am studying Ephesians again (First5/Proverbs31Women), which I have read and studied many times over the years. Almost the whole book is highlighted and the margins in my Bible are filled with notes.

This lesson today on the light spoke to me in a different way than what I’ve always gleaned from these truths before. These are just thoughts-I’m no theologian for sure!

It’s always been pretty clear that absolute truth is God. His truth is different from the “world’s truth” in a million ways. His truth shines the light of the gospel to darkened hearts. The darkness of our sin is exposed to the light and causes us to repent and ask God for a clean heart, one that glorifies Him. Truth is the gospel of Christ, who humbly came, died a sacrificial death as the perfect lamb, resurrected to life so that I could live with Him for eternity righteous and holy because I have been redeemed by His blood. This is truth.

Today, this word “truth” stood out in a way just little bit differently. Sometimes truth is hard. Sometimes, we bury truth deeply and deny its existence. Sometimes, we want truth to be all butterflies and unicorns.

As I read “lay aside falsehood, speak truth with your neighbor” I’m seeing that many times it is easier to speak falsehood in that we may agree with someone that his sin is justified (maybe jealousy, maybe resentment or bitterness, or some worry or fear of the future). Listening with understanding is definitely something we need to do, but we should be careful not to give ungodly counsel. Sometimes, we listen to gossip, maybe not “participating” but not turning the conversation around. In our attempt to maybe keep peace and unity by not telling our “neighbor” that his thinking or actions are faulty or sinful or just not truth, we are not bringing unity. It hurts the relationship. It actually hurts the body of Christ. We need to bring the gospel light through truth in love.

When I have read this verse about being angry without sin, I read it kind of separately from the previous verse. I heard it taught so many times that you should never go to bed angry at your spouse, that you need to work it all out before the “sun goes down”. That may be a valuable lesson here, but in one of the comments made in a devotional for this study was that maybe instead of it meaning something has to be worked out with another person, I just need to not let any anger remain in my own heart. This can give the devil opportunity to grow it all through the night in a spiritual attack, causing wrong thoughts and feelings and actions. Am I ending my day in prayer thanking and praising God? Am I holding anger or worry or fear when I go to sleep giving Satan the opportunity to grow it?

Another thought I had about this hard truth we try to maybe ignore or deny its existence is the truth that sin brings consequences, not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others, usually the ones we love the most. Why? Because as fellow believers, we are one body. What hurts one hurts the other. What do we do when someone gets hurt because of our sin or our choices, even if it’s totally unintentional?

One hard truth is the choice of adoption did not take away the consequences of my sin away from my daughter. She was still impacted by my sin and the resulting choices. The result was trauma. Just because I didn’t know about infant trauma, just because I believed what I was told when she was born that she would be better off without me, doesn’t change the truth. I can choose to keep it buried and ignore it. I can justify it. I can also hide myself from the truth-almost like choosing to stay in the darkness. The fact that I cannot change my past is true but it’s not all of the truth. If the light shines on it then I can see it. I will actually see the hurt this trauma has caused, instead of denying it exists. If I see it then I have to deal with it. God doesn’t show us truth to condemn us. The light He shines is Christ in us. We are to walk as children of light. Sin hides in the darkness. He doesn’t want me hiding in guilt and shame. I can see it and then seek God’s will. I can listen, understand, seek forgiveness and be a part of the healing process.

So, I read many things about adoption, to learn more about what my daughter may be feeling because of trauma from adoption. Not because her parents did something wrong-quite the opposite, or that she is somehow not grateful enough, because she loves her parents dearly, but because she lost everything she knew when she was born. Me.

As she is figuring out what all this means, studying about the brain and trauma, understanding how her feelings about life were affected, she is unraveling the truth from the lies. She is lining these facts up against Scripture knowing God has a plan for her life. He had a plan before she was even formed in the womb.

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, And before you were born I consecrated you…”

Jeremiah 1:5a

I can choose to be a part of this truth search or I can choose not to. Sure, the truth can be heart breaking, but God is in the business of healing. The more I let Him show me truth, the more I allow Him to heal not only my own heart, but hers. If I was a part of the hurt from the very beginning, I find it truly amazing that I can be a part of the healing now.

Maybe it’s okay that I am angry that she suffered trauma. I can be angry that she has felt like she shouldn’t share or even have these feelings of not enough, so common among adoptees. I can even be angry about adoption-all I missed, as long as I don’t let it turn to bitterness, resentment and unforgiveness. Be angry and do not sin. I can walk as children of the light, knowing Jesus paid the price for my sin, making me holy and righteous in Him.

As we allow truth (even the hard stuff) to come out of darkness and live as children of the light, we grow in our faith, “for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” This was never promised to be easy. Maybe that’s why the following verse says “trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord.” It’s a process. It doesn’t all happen over night. He doesn’t leave us alone, He lights the path. We don’t have to be fearful of the truth. The light helps us to discern where our feelings line up to truth and when they are believing the lies of the enemy.

My pastor always says, “For every truth there is a balancing truth.” The truth is not that the past is just in the past. It is a part of us. But the balancing truth is we are not defined by our past. I am a birthmom, fact and the truth. But my identity is in Christ, so I can be birthmom or mom. It doesn’t really matter, because there is no shame. (Even though sometimes I hear the evil one shouting words of shame over me). I know that God has given me the honor to be any kind of mother He is calling me to be so a name is just a name. I can look at the truth-all of it-even the hard, because of His light. He gives us direction and guidance in His word through the Holy Spirit.

“And do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them; for it is disgraceful even to speak of the things which are done by them in secret, but all things come visible when they are exposed by the light, for everything that becomes visible is light. For this reason it says

,‘Awake, sleeper,

And arise from the dead,

And Christ will shine on you.

’Therefore, be careful how you walk, not as unwise men, but as wise, making the most of your time, because the days are evil. So then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

Ephesians 5:11-16

I can see the truth and maybe decide it wasn’t fair. I can even through memories of trauma decide I am a victim and just camp out there. I can see the hurt in the life of my daughter and even my husband and other children and take that guilt and just let it hang over me as a punishment. That’s where I think God is telling me “be careful how you walk” and “so then do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is.”

So much in Ephesians! Who God is, who I am in Christ and direction on how to live according to His will. It’s no wonder I have spent so much time in this book throughout my life. As I work through Ephesians again, as I work through my past, I pray I do so with a heart of thanksgiving. I pray I’ll be willing to see and speak truth as God shines His light on me. I do want to live my life learning what is pleasing to the Lord.

…to the praise of the glory of His grace…

Ephesians 1:6

kp Jan 2021

daughter friend

In two weeks we will be celebrating her birthday for the third time….not counting the day she was born. We have been in reunion for only two and a half years.

After my other children were born, I would always wonder and hope that someday when they were adults that we would be good friends. I had always considered my own mom a friend when I became an adult. I knew that friendship between parent and child had to be cultivated. I would need to at some point be able to switch off the “I know more than you” button. I would need to be able to allow them to have their own opinions and ideas. And now that they are all adults, I feel like that friendship has grown and is still growing. I know I can call any of them anytime and chat.

I can also depend on them to give me honest and caring counsel when I ask for it-sometimes even if I do not. And sometimes they are right. I do listen and consider. They are smart people! And best of all they are believers and their truth is what they find in scripture as they yield to God’s direction in their lives. They are such blessings.

What I did not expect or ever dream was that I could be friends with my first daughter! This friendship was not cultivated by me. Not only did I not plan for this friendship, I never saw it coming. How does she already know me so well? She knows when I’m sad or worried. She can even tell in a phone call if I’m “off” even a little.

Last week for my sixtieth birthday all my daughters-my best friends in the world celebrated with me. I could see this was quite an amazing trip. All these women-sisters-my sweet daughters. All so different and alike. The conversations fun, serious and some very deep, as they shared their lives with each other and what God was doing in each of their hearts. I sat back in wonder, honestly. We laughed so much. There was no drama. Each one putting each other ahead of themselves, lifting each other up. Not even a complaint-unless you count the complaints about stupid covid and masks.

The trip was not without tears, though. We shared some hard things. It was not without its awkward moments. There was concern about talking about childhood memories, because they didn’t want their newest sister to feel left out. And she expressed feeling like she was being a “mom-hog”. It was definitely emotionally exhausting, especially for my first, as she tried to see where she fit with these 4 sisters.

Then on the second day, while shopping we took an ice cream break. The topic turned to girls, puberty, and how some of us were late bloomers because of running. I made the comment that I should have run more. I immediately tried to grab those words back and shove them back in my mouth but there they were. My sweet girl told me it was okay-no one wants to be pregnant when they are 16. But my words had stung. I was so mad at myself. I had just ruined the whole weekend, I was sure of it. It was an awkward afternoon of her trying to hide the fact that she was hurt and me expecting her to be angry. But once again she forgave me and we had a good talk, not without a few tears, before we went to sleep.

I’ve thought a lot about my teenage self. I don’t like so much about myself. I was so legalistic and I thought obeying rules was being a “good Christian.” I failed as I tried to live in my own strength. I let fear of rejection guide my thoughts and actions. Some would say my consequence was getting pregnant, but I do not believe babies are consequences. They are blessings-always blessings. Yet, I definitely regret the timing of that pregnancy which resulted in me not getting to raise her. If I could change that, of course I would want to live my life God’s way. God knew my heart. He answered my prayers that she would know and love Him. She seems to know my heart, too. She somehow knows my fears and my regrets and how my mommy heart hurts. She is a blessing. She was the moment I knew of her existence.

Something I realized that weekend we celebrated my sixtieth and I shared with her-when I was 16 and pregnant I didn’t realize I was giving birth to my best friend.

God has given me more than I could ever imagine and more than I could ever deserve. He is rich in mercy and grace and He has so generously bestowed them on me in His great love.

kp Jan 2021

rejection

As I read in the Proverbs31 Women #First5 Advent devotional this week I was reminded how God uses rejection in our lives (and don’t we all have those times?) to show us His grace.

What we view as rejection often opens the door for God’s grace to unfold in our story. Christ came to deliver humanity, but ironically, all the inn doors were closed for His entrance. There was no place for the Messiah that night. No one welcomed Him in. Jesus was rich, but He made Himself poor for our sake. (2 Corinthians 8:9) When we feel displaced and alone, we can fix our gaze on the man of sorrows who is acquainted with grief and find comfort in remembering our His story.” First5 Advent-Pointing to the Promise-Day 17 Devotional-Lyli Dunbar

It’s easy to remember times of rejection. Easy as in they can pop into your mind at any time, difficult to face, maybe difficult to forgive at times. Those events seem to just attach to my heart like a sticker burr. Sometimes just a careless word can cause so much pain, just like stepping on that tiny sticker with bare feet. But God uses those times to bring us to Him. That’s where we get comfort. He can even remove the sticker, but sometimes it still takes a while to heal.

Even when it still hurts-the memory of rejection or hurt, I can see God’s amazing hand in my life. He has lead me like the Good Shepherd that He is. He kept me within the fold, He pours out the healing balm, He has carried me through things I thought I could not endure, He leads me with His rod and staff. The Father has planned from the beginning knowing my choices would not always honor Him, knowing sometimes I would speak words or act in ways that hurt others-causing feelings of rejection in someone else’s heart. Jesus suffered rejection unto death-for me. He chose the path of a humble servant that I could live a life eternally in glory. He sent the Helper as a seal of the promise of His return, to guide and comfort. He never leaves us alone in our trials in this world but even grows our faith in the midst of them. He is certainly trustworthy and deserving of all praise.

Sometimes in the midst of pain, it’s almost impossible to see where God’s grace is working. Did I know 40+ years ago that I would not only someday know my daughter but even get to “be her mother”? Could I have imagined being Grammy to her 6 children? The view of the future is hidden, but we can trust God that whatever His plan for our lives is good. (Picture above: my three oldest granddaughters and myself-reflection in an Christmas ornament. How perfect is that?)

Maybe as I reflect on His goodness in my life, I can see His grace even in times I have felt rejected. I can see His grace in the times I thought my life was worthless. When the enemy whispers those reminders, bringing with it doubts and fear, I will call upon the Lord. Within His grace I can see the truth: I am loved; I am enough because Christ is sufficient in me; my worth is not dependent on what others think of me, because He has a plan for my life that is good and has purpose; and He can use me to love and serve others in His name. I am His beloved, and He has chosen to bless me-not because I could ever deserve it, but because of His wonderful love, His incredible grace and His magnificent mercy. I am so thankful.

“But I trust in you, O Lord; I say, ‘You are my God.’ My times are in your hand; rescue me from the hand of my enemies and from my persecutors! Make your face shine on your servant; save me in your steadfast love!”

Psalms 31:14-16

KP Dec 2020

gratefulness

“Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name.”

‭‭

Psalms 100:4

It’s always good this time of year to reflect and take stock on all we should be thankful for. 2020 has been a challenge and it’s been easy to complain. What would have been my attitude if I would have been one of the Israelites who wandered through the desert for forty years? I sometimes think I would have been complaining with the best of them.

I can’t hear about that wandering anymore without thinking of the 40 years I did not know my daughter. I never thought reunion was a possibility and did not allow myself to hope for it or even really pray for it. And when I did pray, it was always with an “if”, not really expecting that kind of amazing gift. I didn’t feel like I deserved it, and honestly I guess I didn’t. God uses even our failures for good when we choose to follow Him. His grace and mercy are not earned, but gifts. And in our gratitude we praise Him and bring glory to His name.

It can be easy to think about those forty years with lots of questions. Why so long? Why can’t reunion be an easy transition? Why does the consequences in my life effect others, mostly her? Throughout the Bible I can see that when God has a plan for His people that it is never without a struggle, from which faith is tested and grown. If it were in my power I would want to make this reunion easy and fun and maybe even normal. I would want it to be easy for my other six children. I would certainly not want them to suffer for my mistakes and choices. But would I also take away their ability to grow in their own faith, to depend on God?

And I’m sure just like it pains me to see any of my children hurting, I know God sees and cares about their hurts even more than I do. When I see my daughter hurting in reunion, it is hard to see her suffer because of my choices or even my choices to do nothing. If I had told my children sooner, if I had looked for her when she was younger instead of waiting for her to look for me. I don’t know that these were “bad” choices but I can see now so many of my choices were made in fear-not faith. Fear of intruding in her life, fear of facing my shame, fear of disappointing my children, fear of causing a strain on my marriage. Maybe I thought God couldn’t defeat these giants in the land. Maybe I kept myself from going into the “promised land” just like the Israelites because of my own fears.

As I reflect on these maybe negative things, how can I remind myself to be thankful and grateful even for the hard things? Sometimes it’s easy to dwell on failures when I need to keep my eyes on Jesus-even in the toughest storms. I need to come to Him thankful even when life is hard. There are so many things I am thankful for.

Thankful for His grace and mercy in my life.

Thankful for His Son who died on the cross for my sin, taking all my shame and guilt, raised from the dead to new life that I too can have eternal life.

Thankful for His Holy Spirit who guides, comforts, teaches and opens my eyes to His word in scripture and changes my heart.

Thankful for my husband who loves me almost as much as I love him…he will never win!!

Thankful for the six children He has bless our lives with. For allowing me to be a mom to each one, even when I didn’t feel like I deserved it.

Thankful for the growing number of grandchildren and for those who haven’t been born yet.

Thankful for my oldest, the first to make me a mother. The first that made me realize life was more than about myself. The first person I ever truly loved not with the child-like love I had for my parents and siblings. And the first person I ever lost and grieved for. All those things made me depend on God in a new way and helped me understand His love for me. And I’m extremely grateful I get to know her and that she sometimes calls me Mom. I’m grateful she is part of our family and that her siblings have a big sister. Yes, it’s sometimes awkward and it’s complicated, hard and emotional, but I know God is growing all of us. He is healing, He is working even in this year of 2020.

We have had so many changes and good in this year-so many things to be grateful for. And I know if we have more disappointments or struggles or hardships or even more pandemic or unexpected financial issues, God will be there. And I will pray for His comfort in her life, healing in the brokenness left by me, guidance in all of our lives, for His unwavering grace and mercy and a love beyond what we can imagine. For He is good. His promises are sure. I will thank Him and I will trust Him, for He is worthy to be praised.

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.”

2 Thessalonians 3:5

KP Nov 2020

a cloudy day

It’s the first day of September. So many things are changing. All good at the moment. I can see God leading and orchestrating the next season of our lives. I am at peace even though there are still many unknowns.

But my heart hurts again. The tears want to come and for a few seconds at a time they have their way before I turn them back off. I don’t know why memories come. There was probably some sort of trigger unrecognized. The heartache of not raising Jen, of missing her first 40 years of life. The heartache of the hurt I experienced that year-hurt, trauma and loss that I had to keep inside then and every year that followed. Memories of the past, along with a past without memories made, sometimes over shadow the new memories in the making.

Is grief a shadow, a cloud? Sometimes the sun seems so bright, directly overhead, where shadows flee and clouds evaporate. Then suddenly without warning the shadow appears or the clouds surround me.

When my grief is like a shadow, it is just on the fringes of my thoughts, but following me everywhere. I can still see God in His sovereignty. His love for me is still clearly visible and I rejoice in His care for me. I can see His grace and mercy and how He has blessed me so abundantly.

On the days or even just hours when this grief is a cloud, the heaviness of it causes me to pause. I find I need to rest. I try to continue my day ignoring the cloud but it wears me out. I see my emotions becoming sullen. Usually, there will be some break in the clouds throughout the day, giving me a clear view of the sun, lifting my spirits. I can see His face. I know He is with me and my smile returns.

Today, the break in the clouds seems like it’s taking a long time to come, yet as I spend time in His word I know His promises are true. He is still here with me. He will never leave me. He is working all things for my good and for His glory. Any pain I suffer on this earth is nothing compared to the glory I will someday see. It is not in vain. I can learn from this grief. I can see it and not be afraid of the darkness, because God is here. Where can I go that He can not find me? If I go to the depths of Sheol, He is there.

So I will choose today, this hour, to praise Him. Maybe I will wipe away the tears as I press on with my day. They may return and that’s okay. God will give me the strength I need to do what He is calling me to do. He has promised. He is trustworthy and faithful. Through endurance and perseverance, He is growing my faith. He gives me joy and hope even in the cloud of grief. Grief is for yesterday-joy is for today-hope is for tomorrow-they can all coexist with a heart of thankfulness. I call on His high and exalted name and He hears me.

“In You, O LORD, I have taken refuge; Let me never be ashamed; In Your righteousness deliver me. Incline Your ear to me, rescue me quickly; Be to me a rock of strength, A stronghold to save me. For You are my rock and my fortress; For Your name’s sake You will lead me and guide me.

I will rejoice and be glad in Your lovingkindness, Because You have seen my affliction; You have known the troubles of my soul, And You have not given me over into the hand of the enemy; You have set my feet in a large place. Be gracious to me, O LORD, for I am in distress; My eye is wasted away from grief, my soul and my body also. But as for me, I trust in You, O LORD, I say, “You are my God.”

Make Your face to shine upon Your servant; Save me in Your lovingkindness.

How great is Your goodness, Which You have stored up for those who fear You, Which You have wrought for those who take refuge in You, Before the sons of men!

Blessed be the LORD, For He has made marvelous His lovingkindness to me in a besieged city. As for me, I said in my alarm, “I am cut off from before Your eyes”; Nevertheless You heard the voice of my supplications When I cried to You. O love the LORD, all you His godly ones! The LORD preserves the faithful And fully recompenses the proud doer. Be strong and let your heart take courage, All you who hope in the LORD.”

Psalms 31:1-3, 7-9, 14, 16, 19, 21-24

KP Sept 2020

adoption papers

This was tough-and even harder to write about.

It was the first week of March 2020. We had just received news of the stay at home order, because of Covid, when I received a copy of the adoption papers I had requested from the adoption agency. Why did I want to see these documents? I guess the main reason was because I cannot remember signing them.

The last memory I have is holding her for the first time (for about ten minutes), I think before I was discharged from the hospital. I have no memory of postpartum. Nothing. It’s completely blank for probably at least a month after her birth.

So, I sat on the couch next to my husband and opened the large manila envelope. Inside was the legal document several pages long. Also included were notes from a social worker, counselor, and hospital. There was also a form signed by me when I came to the agency stating my intentions, describing my situation as “unwed”, along with other shame building words as “teen pregnancy”, “illegitimate” “best interest of the child” and a warning of the financial burden if I changed my mind. I don’t remember if all those phrases were in one document, but as I flipped through all the papers all the feelings of shame were trying to come back. There was even a questionnaire I had to complete. The questionnaire reminded me of a back to school or “about me” assignment. What did I like to do in my free time, what were my favorite subjects in school, what did I want to do in my future? It also asked about my relationship with the birth father. I was asked about his personal and family information. I filled it out like the good student I was, leaving very few blanks, if any. As it turns out some of this information was given to my daughter and actually helped her in her search!

As I read the questionnaire, I could vaguely remember filling it out. I felt so embarrassed reading what my 16 year old self wrote. I hated reading it and realizing how immature I was. It’s like I had no idea of the life changing event that was taking place.

It was strange reading what the social worker and counselor wrote about me. I was described as an “attractive, well-groomed white female.” It doesn’t really sound like they were there to help me, but only to evaluate me. I don’t even remember talking to a counselor, but then my memories are so few. I’m assuming since they wrote that I was not very trusting that I probably didn’t say much. The hospital notes were very brief, so I still don’t know if I was medicated or if it was a totally natural birth. I was really hoping to get some medical records since I still can’t remember labor or delivery. I remember immediately after her birth but that’s a story maybe for another day.

The legal document giving all my rights as my baby’s mother was the hardest one of all to read. There was much leading type language “for the best interest of the child” but the worst part of all-my signature at the bottom of the last page. There it was in black and white. It says it was signed three days after her birth at an attorney’s office. Even after seeing it and recognizing my teenage handwriting, I still have no memory of this event.

I’m not sure what I was expecting to feel. But I don’t think I was expecting the anger that overcame me for days-even weeks.

It’s no doubt a good thing my husband was with me or I probably would have shredded them immediately. Instead I stuck them in the filing cabinet. I don’t think he saw the same thing I saw in these papers. He saw adoption was the choice made during a time in our society where it was expected. I was too young. And where would we be now if I had chosen to parent? We can’t live in regret. And even though I can agree with that in my head, I explained to him that I still regret the hurts it caused, especially for my daughter. There will always be sadness in the fact that I lost a child. And he encourages me to focus on the blessing of knowing her now and knowing God is sovereign and He is restoring what was lost.

So began the process of trying to align my feelings with truth. Obviously, it was way past time to deal with these feelings that have been buried for forty years. I had little time alone to process now that I was watching our two year old granddaughter while mommy was working. Our youngest daughter and my husband were both working from home and our youngest son was home for college-having to finish the year remotely. I spent nap time walking my 3 miles while I prayed and listened to praise music. I spent some extra time in the morning reading God’s word. In the evenings while my husband “quarantined” in the upstairs gameroom-turned office, because little one had a fever, I spent that time in my room reading books, blogs and most importantly my Bible, trying to figure out this anger I was feeling.

I did a lot of journaling, which I have been doing for the last two years, since reunion. I read that I needed to identify not just the feeling but what things I thought were causing it, so I could work through it. Then I could start the process of replacing these negative feelings with the promises of God. As it turns out, I was pretty angry at the whole situation. How all the words added to my shame. I was angry that the adoption choice was not my original plan but somehow at 16 years old, even though I don’t remembering anyone asking my opinion about anything, it became my choice. My choice to give my child a “better life.” My choice so I had no reason to be sad. I had no reason to grieve. I was convinced she would be better off raised by people who were married and ready to have a family. After all, she would never know the difference, I was told. It was “in the best interest of the child.”

But most of all I was angry at myself. I signed the papers. I signed the adoption document. It’s there whether or not I remember signing it. I started to realize after all the work I had done in forgiveness these past few years, I still needed to give myself some grace. I have to quit blaming myself for everything and remember I was only 16, 17 by the time she was born. I didn’t even have a driver’s license or a social security number. I’m not really trying to make excuses, rather put it all in perspective. It’s difficult to contemplate what I knew then compared to what I know now in experience, maturity, and spiritual growth.

God has always been with me and I knew it even in those darkest days. I prayed for His protection over my baby. I really felt as though I was placing her in His loving arms. So even now as I remember and even when I don’t remember, I know His plans are for my good. He has helped me let go of the anger and to give myself some grace.

Romans 8:28 has been more than just a catchy phrase for me. It’s not just saying God can make something good out of the mess. He doesn’t just try to come up with Plan B after I throw away Plan A. He IS sovereign. He promises His children, those who love Him, those He has called, that He is causing ALL things to work together for good. God is trustworthy to keep His promises. He has orchestrated my life and I can believe that He is faithful and completely able to do all He has promised-not just in my life but in my daughter’s.

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to His purpose.

Romans 8:28

Some days I still feel the feelings, especially when I think about what my daughter will think if she decides to look at the adoption papers. Maybe she will be angry. And if she is-that’s okay-it’s understandable. I can’t imagine what that would be like-to see your mother’s signature on a piece of paper saying she is giving up all parental rights the day after she held you. That’s what I don’t want her to see. I don’t want her to think I didn’t want to be her mother, because I always thought of myself as her mother, even as another mother was raising her. I pray for God’s protection over her heart, that if she needs to see her history-even the ugly parts-that she can continue to see God’s hand in her life.

The enemy wants to define you by your scars.

Jesus wants to define you by His.

Louie Giglio

I’m praying that God will be glorified in my life as I let go of any anger, of any unforgiveness or self-pity. He is bigger than my mistakes and heartbreaks. He has blessed my life with a family who has always supported me. He has blessed me with a loving husband and beautiful children and grandchildren. He has blessed my life with Jen.

For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.

Philippians 2:13

KP June 2020

upcoming visit

I’m so excited for another visit with my daughter! We have actually seen all the kids at one time or another this past couple of months. We even went to Arizona for a week to visit our middle. 5 out of 7 have moved just in the past year, including the youngest who shares an apartment with 3 of his friends near campus. Two of our grown children have even left the great state of Texas! Crazy kids.

We are officially empty nesters. We are looking at the possibility of selling this big house and investing in lake property to have when we retire. So we are getting rid of all the clutter, all the stuff the kids left behind, and just so much furniture we won’t need anymore. The whole house is going to be painted, inside and out! So before all this time consuming, energy sapping, never ending to-do list begins, I’m going to escape a few days to go visit my daughter.

It’s been 2 months since our last visit. I’m so looking forward to just being with her. Seeing her face, hearing her voice, watching her live life. I love just doing the everyday things together: sit and have a cup of coffee together, play a game with the kids, take a walk or sit outside. I can hardly wait to hug her. I’m so glad she wants to be hugged! Maybe this will be the first visit with no tears? Well, maybe, maybe not. We shall see. It doesn’t even matter, really. If there are tears, then I will deal with it and not just push them away and ignore them. There is still some grief of what I missed, but the joy is so much greater. I would go through every pain and hardship again just to know I would know her in the end. I still feel like I need to pinch myself to know I’m not dreaming! She is a precious gift and I will never take that for granted. God’s grace and mercy in my life enables me to move past the guilt and shame to be able to love her in whatever way He has called me to. I can have the assurance that He has given me the ability to walk this road through His grace that He May be glorified.

27. Make me understand the way of Your precepts, so I will meditate on Your wonders.

28. My soul weeps because of grief; strengthen me according to Your word.

114. You are my hiding place and my shield; I wait for Your word.

116. Sustain me according to Your word, that I may live; and do not let me be ashamed of my hope.

Psalms 119: 27-28, 114, 116

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started