The other night as I was rocking my son, I remembered the many times I had rocked other people's children. Many, many children.
I am not one of those people who "always knew I wanted to adopt" or "always thought about adopting." I had goals for my life, but mostly, I tried to live day-to-day, focusing on that day's schoolwork, that day's work schedule, that day's relationships. Day by day, inching toward the goals I had for my life.
My mothering sense began when I was three and my sister was born. We played this game called Princess and Helper. I was the Princess, naturally, and my sister was the Helper. She had to do whatever I said, knowing I was the older one, the one who was capable of mothering her.... And then, when my brother was born five years later, my mom would let me carry him around the house on my hip, as a toddler, and I would later write in my journal the exact number of times I walked my brother around in a circle. I was so proud to be Mommy #2 to my siblings...though I know it drove my mother nuts!
For years as a teenager, I worked as a babysitter, even long before I could drive. Even after I started "real jobs" like making sandwiches at Wendy's, to being a cashier and cafe server and bookseller at Barnes and Noble, to assembling pitas at Pita Planet, to working in an in-office doctor's office daycare for the employees' children, I never stopped watching kids. I took babysitting gigs when I could get them, even watching some of my older friends' kids for free so they could go on a date night. Even as I worked my way through grad school, while teaching two classes and taking two myself, I accepted a part-time nanny job.
Children, to me, were magical.
Later, I taught at a kids' writing camp at over the summer at the university I taught at. I also took a children's ministry leadership position at my church on Wednesday nights.
I loved all those children as if they were my own. I could gently discipline, offer a hug, soothe a hurting place, break up arguments, read a book, change a diaper (or potty train...no matter how long it took!), check for fevers, encourage with high-fives, discourage with "the look."
As I rocked my son, I remembered all the children I had "mothered" over the years. I didn't hesitate, ever, to give my whole heart and ability, with no regard for biological connection. When their moms and dads weren't there for whatever reason, I never thought twice about stepping in and being the one to provide whatever the child needed in that moment.
Mothering came very naturally to me, but it was because I had experience, and heart, and I listened to my gut...my budding "mommy gut" for many, many years.
Each of these jobs, each of the children I had the opportunity to nurture and teach, were small steps I believe God put in my path to prepare me to be able to be handed a new "bundle of joy," someone I didn't conceive or birth, someone I had no biological connection to, and take on the role as Mother.
When I was in a hospital bed, newly diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and recovering from my near-death experience, when the nurse educator asked me about my plans to have children, and when ADOPTION popped into my mind...I never hesitated.
I knew. I knew adopting was my path.
In that moment, every single tear I had wiped from a child's cheek, every high-five I had offered, every snack I had prepared, every trip to the potty, every book read, every boo-boo soothed by a cartoon bandage.....it all became apparently clear why those experiences had been mine.
So Sugars, I'd love to know, how did God prepare you to adopt? To parent by adoption?
To be further encouraged on your adoption journey, please check out: ENCOURAGEMENT FOR THE ADOPTION AND PARENTING JOURNEY: 52 DEVOTIONS AND A JOURNAL.