Adoption is such an incredible thing.
It's amazing how quickly your heart swells and opens to this new little person. How it feels like you know them and they know you, from that first touch. The feelings are instant. The love is permanent. I guess that's what makes it so scary - the risk of losing something that has already taken up solid residence inside of you.
I still don't know exactly how God does it - how he makes the connection so strong. So crazy fast. How He makes a teeny stranger feel familiar, as surely as if you had grown them in your own womb.
But He does.
Ask any adoptive parent and I'm willing to bet they'll tell you a slightly different version of the same story.
I remember so clearly that drive from Albuquerque to Arkansas ten years ago to meet Sophie at the hospital. I remember giving myself a good talking-to along the way. "Hold on. Wait." I remember the firmness with which I lectured myself. Wanting to remain cautious and detached. Almost angry in my determination not to feel. Warning my heart to hold back until things were more settled.
During the drive, I couldn't help but think about that first meeting with Seth. Holding him in her hospital room in that blue chair by the window right after he was born. Watching the light shine in on his few golden tufts of hair. Looking at his teeny fingers wrapped so tightly around mine. I recalled in cruel detail how the feelings grabbed hold so fast. Thoughts of losing him were still fresh. Everything was still so raw - broken and exposed. Being only six weeks past the Supreme Court decision, missing him still consumed us. Even when I tried to deny it, it was still all I was. During that long drive, as excited as I was to meet Sophie, I thought mostly of Seth. The tears were hard to keep in check as memory after memory after memory of our too short year with him mercilessly flooded back.
I kept thinking, "What in the name of all things sane are we doing? We're nuts. Officially." I recall blurting out to Russell at some random point in the drive, "There's no way we're strong enough to ride this (bleepin') rollercoaster again!" Then I picked a fight with him about dirty floor mats. Just to be mad at something else.
I remember the resolve. Nevermind that we'd already named her, I absolutely would not bond with this baby until we knew for sure. I would be an excellent caretaker - caring and nurturing. Loving. Giving. But I would not be a mother. Not until we made it through the Ten Days. Not until after the hearing before the judge. Not until it was official. Sure. Signed. Stamped. Filed away. Heck, maybe I'd wait until she was old enough to point to her parents and declare them as such...give any judge who tried to take her away the finger. Maybe then it would be safe to unlock my heart and feel again. Until then, the ground was too shaky. I would not stand on shaky ground.
Not this time. I would protect my heart first. End of story.
It was a good plan. Maybe even an excellent plan.
I remember walking into the hospital room and dad standing up from the rocker to hand Sophs to me. This sweet, warm, wiggly little bundle. I held her. I unwrapped her to take a closer look. I gazed upon her sweet rosy-cheeked face and into her eyes. I saw her fit just so - into our little family. And that was that. The plan exploded in a poof of Good Intentions Vapor. The strong wall crumbled, despite how solidly I thought I had built it.
I was in love.
It was ridiculously obvious to everyone in the room. Written all over my goofy-grin mom face...
She's beautiful. Be still my wildly thumping heart. We have a daughter.
Right then I felt it...
God had given us our rainbow. Hope. Wrapped in a fuzzy pink blanket. Eyes full of promise. Pure joy.
Thank you, Lord.