Monday, December 22, 2014

The Ultimate Polar Emotional Experience

     Last Friday we told our 7 and 6 year olds that they are for sure going to be adopted. That we will be their family forever. That we get to be their real mom and real dad. They know what that means. They immediately knew what that meant. 
     I've been thinking since then about polar emotions. When in our lives do we simultaneously experience complete opposite emotions? The biggest one for Christians I think is when someone we know and love dearly slips away from us and into the arms of Jesus. So completely helpless and alone we feel but at the same time know they are looking at the face of God and are completely elated for them. I believe that is the ultimate polar emotional experience. But when else in our lives do we feel major polar emotions? I would love to hear from you in the comments about simultaneous polar emotions that you have felt.
     Adoption is such a gift from God. A forever family. Safety. Stability. Consistency. Comfort. Love.
Most people never get to have the ultimate polar emotional experience that my 6 and 7 year old felt that Friday. Even adopted kids that are adopted before they are say 3 or so don't experience that because they are just not old enough to know what is going on. Big kids that are adopted usually don't have parents and haven't for a long time, although adoption is a tough thing for them too. I wouldn't guess many get to experience the overwhelming release of anxiety from not knowing what is going to happen to them, the excitement of knowing they get to be part of this family they have grown to truly love, and the anguish of loss and grief that floods through them at that same moment when they realize that they will not get to see their "real mom" again. Wow. When you are 6 and 7. You get it. You get all of it. You understand and yet you really don't. Why? Why can't we live with her? Why can't she take care of us? Why can't she get better? When will we see her again?

     And then....the glow of their faces when for the next week they tell EVERYONE they come in contact with, "I AM GETTING ADOCKTED!!!" One little Daisy Girl Scout asked, "What is adopted?" And her response was, "It's means I get to stay with the family I'm with forever and ever!!" There were tears and so much confusion that first night but since it's been all excitement. But we do not kid ourselves. We know that we have 4 kids that will always struggle with loss, grief, abandonment, and self-worth issues. I think when you are 6 and 7 adoption is such a gift and a curse all at the same time. So we love. We have grace for tough behaviors. We are patient. We are grateful for the opportunity.
     "Oh Father God give them peace and take away their grief. Help me to be patient and understanding and give me the ability to give them all the loves, all the time. Amen."


  1. For me, the polar emotional experience came through adoption as well, but from the other side - as an adoptive parent. Our children were all adopted at birth, having been chosen by their birthmothers while still pregnant. We have three, but originally there was four; one changed her mind when the baby was 6 1/2 weeks old and we had to return him....he still carries the name we gave him.

    Each and every time we went to the hospital to meet our new child, my experience was tinged with incredible sadness. Because the child we so desperately wanted came at a heavy price - the deep and eternal pain of their birthmother. Each time, that woman had to put her infant in *our* carseat - never knowing if she would see that precious child ever again. For the us, the experience of adoption has been a dichotomy - incredible joy mixed with the knowledge that my husband and I have profited by someone's pain. A pain they will carry for the rest of their lives.

  2. Good grief, Anne-Marie. What an incredibly poignant description of the intermingling of grief and joy.
    Every bit of your story helps draw me one step closer to our pursuit of the same process. And hopefully I'll be less naive about it all - because of you & those precious kids.