Saturday, May 13, 2017

Reflections For Mother's Day

Another Mother's Day is quickly approaching. It's an interesting day for me.  I am so grateful for the opportunity I have been given to parent my 4 amazing little miracles.  It is all I ever wanted out of life and I am completely living my dream!  It's also extremely challenging and the stakes have never been higher. Nobody will influence my children more, particularly in these foundational and early years than I will.  There's a lot of pressure and I often go to bed at night, exhausted and afraid that I am doing it all wrong! Motherhood is oftentimes monotonous and boring and a pretty thankless job.  Not that I need the praise of others because this isn't a unique role. It's actually a most common role. After all, everyone who is anyone has a mother. Since the beginning of time, woman have been playing this role, unfortunately even as I have met some pretty amazing mother's out there, nobody has quite mastered how to be the perfect one!   

I think being an adoptive parent also adds to the complexity of it all. I share being a mother with another woman.  I'm not threatened by this other woman at all. I am grateful that I get to hold and snuggle 2 of my children because of the sacrifices she made.  Not a day goes by that these women are not on my mind. It is an immense responsibility to be entrusted with another woman's most precious gifts no matter the circumstances that brought that to pass.  I share Mother's Day with these women. The burden I feel in my heart for them that I get to hug and kiss their children on Sunday isn't lost on me. I'm the one who gets the Mother's Day special breakfast, I'm the one who gets the adorable homemade cards.  I'm the one who hears the "I love you's."  And yet, I wouldn't have this role of being their mother if it wasn't first for these women being my kids mom's first. 

Sometimes even I find myself taking this role for granted.  I forget the precious miracle that they are.   I forget how badly I longed to hold them close.  I forget the months and months of tears and failure at what felt like a most basic biological right. I forget the months of doctors appointments and tests.  The big decision to proceed with adoption and not take the fertility drugs. The realization that it meant that the desire of my heart to carry a child in my womb may never come to pass. 

I forget the miracle of his adoption.  The miracle that just one adoption agency would give two 23 year old's a chance at an international adoption . The miracle that I still can't account for how we had the money at the end of the adoption road. The miracle that every hard delay was actually aligning us perfectly into position. 

The miracle that as I was praying on my lunch break for my phone to ring that it actually did. The miracle that I was able to tearfully call my husband and tell him he was now a daddy.  The miracle that our son spent such a short part of his life in an orphanage. The miracle that when we thought we would have to travel and leave him there, we were the last group allowed to travel just once and bring him home right away with us.   The miracle that he was so open to accepting my love as his mother.  

 Everything about our 2nd born is a miracle.  From that first pregnancy test, where I was so accustomed to seeing negative that I didn't even take a second glance at it.  To returning to it several hours later and seeing something I had never seen before - it was positive! I don't understand why I was able to conceive naturally after 2 years, but I know how much of a miracle that was!     

From the first ultrasound where I just prayed that we would see a teeny tiny heartbeat, to an unexpected ultrasound 9 weeks later because the heartbeat was nowhere to be found. Minutes of searching with nothing.  A worried look on my doctors face as she asked me a few questions.  Minutes to myself to pray as she left to get an ultrasound machine.  A quick search in silence before heartbeat found!  My little miracle! 

To a story I've often shared before.  An unexpected birthday a full 4 weeks early. A baby born purple and grunting. A collapsed lung from trying so hard to breathe on his own.  My doctor and all the nurses marveling at a placenta that was inexplicably formed wrong but still somehow able to get my precious miracle to 36 weeks! A NICU of trained staff and equipment that could save my child's life. As I understood fully that if my son had been born in the poorest of countries in this world, this wouldn't be an option. The constant sound of him setting off alarms, but after 24 hours away from me, as he was placed against my chest, his breathing relaxed and all of his stats settled down. The miracle of how we needed each other! 

And just when I thought we were as blessed by miracles as we could be, the miracles continued. Another little surprise blessing far sooner than I would have ever expected. But the blessing was not lost on me. 

A complex pregnancy with 2 months of bed rest. My own mom sacrificing 2 months of her life to help me keep my little life safe. A miracle that we were able to avoid the NICU.  A small hospital treating me like a queen because they all remembered my story from the year prior. The miracle that labor was so fast and pushing was only 2 minutes as I had a prolapsed cord situation that could have been very dangerous.  A daddy announcing we had our first baby girl.  My doctor with tears in her own eyes as she'd walked every moment of our journey through infertility decisions and our first scary delivery.  Over an hour in a calm and quiet room to enjoy our new baby girl before she was ever even taken from me, felt like a miracle! 

Feeling led to adopt again when the timing didn't even make sense to us.  Everything moving smoothly for a change, not being picked by birth mothers, even a quick match and then failed match, but all aligning us to be ready at just the right moment. Quick notice with limited information that we needed to fly out a whole month early.  Another miracle as I didn't want to miss a minute and we needed enough notice to fly across the country! A closed adoption plan turned open as we went from being asked to stay away from the hospital to being allowed to visit and advocate for this woman during her delivery. Having my new daughter handed from her birth mother's arms right into mine - a sacred moment in time. The miracle that even though she was born premature with intrauterine growth restriction, she was born healthy and strong! The miracle of spending 2 days with her mom, visiting and getting to know each other and sharing our little love.  The miracle of two different women being able to share the title of mom. 

Each of my children are a miracle. Each story so unique.  I look at my family and know it is everything I ever dreamed of and even more.  I am a blessed mother.  Our family is not traditional, we don't fit the mold or look quite like every else's. I can't help but smirk when someone asks me how many kids I have or asks about their ages. I can predict their next response. Yes, I am a busy mama. My home is rarely quiet, I'm constantly cleaning up their messes. I do know how babies are made and no, matter of fact we do not have cable. 

I know what being immensely blessed looks like.  I know what being an imperfect mom feels like. I know what it feels like to love another so much I feel my heart might just burst. I know that love multiplies and that it has nothing to do with biology. I know God equips us for whatever journey he leads us to.  I know the sleepless nights, the interrupted conversations with your spouse, the cold dinners.  The countdown to bedtime. The poop, the pee, the vomit, the spit up, the snot.  It is not always easy, in fact I find it challenging most of the time. But each of these kids is a Keyser, and none of that happened just by chance. God has entrusted their lives into my care. Their journey to being ours may have been very broken but they each have a miracle story. They are my miracles. God must think I am equipped for the challenge and I will spend my whole life working to be the mother God wants me to be for them. I'm not perfect, but I love them fiercely. 

Happy Mother's Day to all my mom friends out there. This is common work, it's immense responsibility, but it's all important, even the little mundane parts!  Our every day duties as a mom are literally shaping generations of our families to come.  We got this!