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Yes, I’m an adoptive mother. No, I’m not a saint.

“Important to realize, we adopt not because we are rescuers. No, we adopt because we are the rescued…”   David Platt

We went to dinner on Monday night and an all too common scene took place. One of the waitresses stopped by our table and said, “The owner said you guys adopted him. That’s awesome.” At first I wasn’t bothered. I just smiled, told her that he’d been home 17 months, and that he was from Ethiopia. Then I mentioned that we have a little girl in Ethiopia who will hopefully be home in a few months. She responded with, “Oh you guys are such nice people. What a wonderful thing you did.” I smiled and said my usual response, “He is a blessing to us. ” But she wouldn’t stop. Over and over she said, “you’re just wonderful people…. what a nice thing to do!” Then she proceeded to just stand there and stare at us for awhile. I don’t know what she was hoping to see but it left us feeling a bit like we were on display at the zoo. She finally left and I was left with the now familiar annoyed/frustrating feeling.

Here’s the thing. I’m not a saint. I’m a mother – just like any other mother in the world.

I am cranky in the morning before I have my cup of coffee.

Sometimes I get frustrated sometimes with my strong willed toddler and have to work hard to control my temper.

Sometimes the laundry gets piled up and there have been times when John comes out to tell me he’s out of underwear.

Sometimes I give Mareto candy and plop him in front of the TV just because I’m tired and I need a break.

I don’t love waking up at 3am with a teething child and sometimes (like last night) I cry while rocking him because it’s taking so long and I’m so tired.

Sometimes I get tired, or hungry, or selfish and I snap at my husband.

Sometimes I get mad at perfectly innocent waitresses who are just trying to be nice and understand our family that looks a bit different than most families.

Sometimes I just want to go out with my child and not be stared at by strangers and asked by the cashier if he’s “mine.”

BUT ALWAYS

I feel incredible grateful for the gift of my child. Full arms are better than empty arms any time of the day… or night.

I look at the tiny shirts and pants I fold and think of how long I waited for this and feel so much love for my little man who creates impossible stains on his clothes.

I enjoy morning snuggles and hugs – pre or post coffee.

I struggle with maintaining consistency in Mareto’s training and discipline because he is so darn cute and I just want to give in to all his wants.

I miss him just a bit when I do get little mommy breaks and am so thankful to be with him again when my break is over.

I choose rocking him over leaving him in his crib because I love him and want to comfort him and meet his needs no matter how late it is or how tired I am.

I am thankful for my husband who is an incredible father and loves us so well.

I am so thankful that God chose adoption for our family.

Yep. I’m a mom, just like every other mom. I’m not perfect and I mess up daily. But at the end of every day I lay it all in the hands of my Father and ask him to make something beautiful out of my mistakes. I’m not “good.” I’m not doing a “nice thing.” I’m not a “rescuer.” I’m just a mom trying her hardest and leaving the rest up to God – praying that He’ll make up the difference… especially on days when the gap is incredibly large. 

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  • Kristin - I loved this, Lauren! It reminds me of a story my mom used to tell me about how a cashier said “how big of you” to my mom when she told her I was adopted. Did not go over well with my mom. Ha! I will be so excited to watch your little family grow. So beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • Leigh - Really really loves this post Lauren. It’s such an awkward situation to be put in and is become more awkward the more that A begins to understand. We are the blessed ones!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Christin @ Joyful Mothering - I absolutely love that quote you shared by David Platt. Truer words couldn’t describe it.

    It’s not about being a saint…for me, it’s about being unable to deny someone else what has been given to me. I didn’t set out to be someone’s savior. That’s not my job. I just want to pay forward the love that’s been given to me. A sort of “can’t help it” mentality. I can’t help but love others by meeting them where they are.
    That’s only something Jesus could’ve put in me. It’s Him. I’m just a vessel. xo
    (Our home study went well last night–and it’s going quicker than I anticipated!)ReplyCancel

  • desiree - YES!!!! SO TRUE. every word.ReplyCancel

  • Alison - Precious, Lauren!!! Love your heart!!!ReplyCancel

  • Robin - Well said!!!ReplyCancel

  • Megan - amen, Mama! Thanks for putting it all into beautiful words!ReplyCancel

  • Alesha Kay - Heh heh – imagine if you’d adopted a special needs kiddo!!! Yeah…we get these “oh, you are so wonderful”, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum. We’ve learned to say “He’s OUR pride and joy! We are blessed to have him.” And hope they stop staring and walk away. :oD

    Love the post and totally agree with all of it!

    …and yeah, he’s such a cutie…would be hard to tell him “no!” about anything! ;)

    AleshaReplyCancel

    • Lauren - haha yea actually we DID adopt special needs and our new little girl is special needs as well (hers are just more visible). So I’m preparing now for more comments… ;) ReplyCancel

  • L - Lauren!! I can’t even begin to explain how thrilled I am to have found your blog today. I have felt the Lord tugging at my heart the past few months when it comes to adoption, in particular uganda for some reason. I can’t explain it and it feels weird to write that. I even prayed last night for a child I don’t even know.
    So your story brings me such joy!! I understand what you are saying so much about just being an ordinary person, yet you have listened to God’s call to adopt which is just amazing. I love your heart girl.
    Much Love,
    L

    allglorious-within.blogspot.comReplyCancel

  • Mary Beth - A mom is a mom however she comes to take on the role! We all share in those same struggles. :) ReplyCancel

  • stephanie - Amen! This is so good! Would you be willing to let us feature this on “We Are Grafted In”? I’m sure so many of our readers would be blessed by this post. If you are willing, I’d just need a brief bio and pic to use when it is featured so we can direct our readers back to your blog.
    Just let me know!
    Stephanie
    co-administrator of WAGI
    http://www.wearegraftedin.com
    http://wearefamily-stephanie.blogspot.com
    smurphy 28 @ juno. comReplyCancel

  • Jenny Marrs - SO beautifully said! I just kept nodding my head in agreement with each word you wrote! I LOVE this post!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Elisse - This just totally blessed my heart. We are in the beginning stages of our 1st Ethiopian adoption & I sometimes want to SCREAM that I’m not a saint… I just fell in love with a little boy who I know God chose to be ours.

    It isn’t a “nice” thing to do just like no one referred to the children I bore as the “nice thing to do.” It is simply another way God is growing our family. (ok, stepping down off my soap box now).

    Do you have any advice for the sleep transition? I just recently started thinking about how we will do this (read: slightly overwhelmed worried minor freak out session).

    Thanks so much for writing. It is an encouragement to me!ReplyCancel

  • nicole - That quote…seriously the greatest.

    People often say our kids are so lucky that we adopted them but the reality is I am the lucky one.ReplyCancel

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