I’ve been counting down the days until this Spring’s Created For Care conference for over a year.
I stayed up until midnight the night registration opened to make sure I got on the list before it sold out. I arranged a sitter months ago. I made new friends online and even arranged to share a room with someone I’d never met, which is huge for a socially awkward girl such as myself.
Created For Care is a conference for Moms who have adopted to come together and be refreshed. To learn more about what it means to parent for these kids that come from a broken past.
Cause y’all, it’s hard.
Harder then I ever imagined.
Josie’s six now and it’s been about six months since the questions started.
Some are easy, “How big was I when I came home to you?”
Some squeeze my chest until there’s no air left and I have to actively fight the tears back, “Can I call her Mommy? Does she love me? Would it be OK if I love her?”
It wretches and twists.
I selfishly want her all to myself, but that’s not the truth. She once belonged to someone else and even if that woman has no clue what she gave up when she walked out of that hospital and left my Josie Girl behind, Josie has a right to know about her, to love her if she wants to.
I want so, so badly for her to have a positive view on her adoption story. It’s special and,miraculous. Touched by God so obviously that anyone can see it. And everyday that Josie gets older I’m more aware that how she feels about her adoption will lay largely on how I react to her questions.
We’ve been age appropriate, but open with her.
We’ve recently began sharing more details with her when she asks. We don’t know much and a lot of her story she won’t be mature enough to hear for quite awhile, but she has names and her birth story and, yes baby, you can love her too.
“You don’t look like your Mommy,” her true to the world six year old friend states matter of factly and I see her eyes searching mine. I know that she’s feeling shy so I take her hand in mine and share the mystery of adoption with a huge smile on my face. I watch her friend get excited and yell out, “you got to be adopted?!?!” and there’s Josie’s smile. She’s ready to share.
Born in an ambulance, made to be a Pope but had to find us first. It’s her story and she’s piecing it together and I’m letting her grow and ask and trying hard to hold fast to my peace that I get to be her Mommy now and it’s ok, it’s good, to share.
So it’s hard and I was excited to go to Created For Care.
I was going to meet other moms that could really understand me and hear me and know I wasn’t complaining or ungrateful, but learning and feeling my way though, hoping I don’t screw up these kids.
And maybe a little bit scared too.
The closer the conference got though, the crazier our days were getting. We have a few big trips coming up and I am struggling to find ways to fit everything in. I tried to fight it and push on, but the feeling that something had to give kept pushing back.
And after a stressful morning where I was unkind to Josie, I looked at her coloring at the school table and my solution became clear. I didn’t need a weekend away to refresh and regroup. I needed a weekend away with her.
Just the two of us. Where we can talk and make memories and nurture this bond.
And so we are.
This morning we hopped on a plane and are headed to our Winter Wonderland. We should land in Minnesota anytime now. We are going to have tea and meet Baby Ralphie and, if I can talk myself into it, spend some time sledding down hills in the freezing cold.
Sometimes I have to get out of my own head and refocus on what’s important. I’m sure I’ll go to that conference someday. But today I’m going to hold my daughter’s hand and celebrate everything God gave me when he handed me this child.
It isn’t easy, but it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
Nicole is a Northern Girl turned Southern Belle. She loves Starbucks, Photography, and Homeschool Curriculum Catalogs. Passionate about Jesus, adoption, and squeezing all the love and joy out of each day. You can follow along with her life at www.JourneyToJosie.com