National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 23: Still Here, Not Gone

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I am still here, it’s just that any thinking brain cells are being fully utilized as I write my dissertation proposal. My hope is to have it submitted by the end of this week (yes, that means I will be working over the holiday – my excuse for that is at least Mr. Amazing Man will be home and I can get some good work done without having to worry about kid wrangling or meals!)

Back to the matter at hand: I am working ridiculously hard to get this degree done by May 2011. It is requiring a multitude of sacrifices on my part and on my family’s part – we will all be so glad when it is over.  Between nursing little Penelope, being in an uber-traditional marriage/family life, and having to think high-level, pointy headed thoughts for hours and hours each day,  I don’t have a lot of space left in my brain.

Today, it dawned on me that perhaps it is for the best that you are still resistant to the idea of establishing communication with me. Knowing myself, that would eclipse anything else in my life and everything else would have to climb into the back seat and stay there for a good long time.

So maybe there is something good to come of all this waiting. I finish my degree, you keep maturing and growing. And eventually it will all work out in the end.

That being said, if you were to call/text/email/IM/carrier pigeon/smoke signal me tonight or tomorrow or the next day or anytime between now and graduation on May 6, I would be overjoyed. Thrilled. Ecstatic. Over the moon. Dizzy with relief and happiness.  Just so you know, I would give up this degree to know you again.

Much love,

M.

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National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 18: J’avais rêvé d’une autre vie

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Last night, I dreamed  I had another life.

It was a life that included meeting you for lunch between your classes. It was a life that included you playing Call of Duty on the Wii in the family room with Captain Knuckle as The Professor practiced the piano and Princess P sat babbling by your side. It was a life that included all of my children around the dinner table, laughing at little Princess P’s surprised look as she tastes a new food for the first time.

It was a wonderful life.

Don’t get me wrong, the life I have now is good too. I have an amazing husband, two incredible sons, and a baby daughter who delights me with every look, laugh, cry, giggle, coo, and sigh (oh, and she has green eyes like her daddy!!!). My husband is well employed and his income allows me to stay at home and be a mom. I am within months of finishing my PhD (not to shabby for a girl who dropped out of high school, eh?). I have good family and friends who make me laugh frequently. I have a great ward and fulfilling, meaningful callings within the ward. I live in a lovely home in a lovely setting in perhaps the safest location in the United States. Seriously, living here is like living in a national park version of Mayberry with the security of Fort Knox. I have a year supply of food. I have enough water stored for our family to survive for a month if needed (darn those hurricanes!).   I have two very well maintained vehicles at my disposal. A closet full of clothes and shoes. Bookshelf upon bookshelf of books.

But…I don’t have you in my life.

And in case you are ever wondering, even though I have carved out a corner of happiness and success in my life, I would be even happier to have you in it. I have had a good life but if would have been better if you had been here too.

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 17: “He Shall Feed His Sheep Like a Shepherd” or in other words, God’s View on Reunion

The other day as I doing my early morning study, I read the following scripture:

“He shall feed his flock like a shepherd: he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and shall gently lead those that are with young.” (Isaiah 40:11, KJV)

The imagery of Christ gently leading those that are “with young” brought tears to my eyes.  Having been “with young” myself four times now, I know all too well how vulnerable – physically, emotionally, spiritually – a woman is when she is pregnant or when she has a little one tagging along beside her.  The idea that Christ will “gently lead” pregnant and new mamas as he gathers his lambs to his bosom is a salve to my soul.  This is the true heart of God.  We are – you and I and all the mothers and children like us – we are surely his sheep and his flock, just as much as any one else.

The image of Christ as a shepherd got me to thinking about shepherding in the gospel. I went to the topical guide and found the following scriptures about shepherds in Israel. As I read them, it became pretty darn clear: God isn’t too happy with the folks who lead his flock when they scatter and feed off of His sheep.  (Bold & underlined stuff is my emphasis…)

Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the Lord. Therefore thus saith the Lord God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 23:1-2 KJV)

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying, Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel, prophesy, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God unto the shepherds; Woe be to the shepherds of Israel that do feed themselves! should not the shepherds feed the flocks? Ye eat the fat, and ye clothe you with the wool, ye kill them that are fed: but ye feed not the flock. The diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost; but with force and with cruelty have ye ruled them.(Ezekiel 34:1-4 KJV)

Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord; Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I am against the shepherds; and I will require my flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more; for I will deliver my flock from their mouth, that they may not be meat for them. For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick. (Ezekiel 34:9-16 KJV)

Two things about these passages really struck home for me. First, the shepherds had been “feeding” themselves from the flock. They had been taking that which was not theirs to satisfy their wants. They had scattered and driven away the sheep, they didn’t bind up those that were hurt but with force and cruelty they had led them.

Sound familiar?

Sounds a lot like what Christians (of any variety) do to single expectant mothers, even all of these years post-BSE. They scatter the very flock they should be protecting when they convince a young mother to make the “loving choice” and give her little one away.  Their hunger to parent – any child, dammit! – leads them to feel justified in satisfying their craving by feeding off of the most vulnerable among us, single expectant women.  The first mother then becomes an acceptable casualty, left broken and bleeding beside their path to motherhood.  And when those first mothers or those children start to talk about the catastrophic loss adoption caused in their lives and the brokenness it has left behind, they are frequently met with cruelty from the very people that should have been protecting them in the first place.

I don’t know about you but it makes my heart pause to read what God says about the people who are scattering his fold: He will require his shepherds  to account for what they have done to mothers and children and visit the same evil upon their heads. (What this means, I don’t know. I figure I will let God sort it out and not worry my pretty little head over it right now). Additionally, He will eventually bring an end to the unholy practice of scattering the lambs of His fold through infant adoption.

The second things and perhaps most important to my situation is when God tells us,  “I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all the places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken.”

I think most first mothers will agree that the day we lost our child to adoption, the day our baby was scattered and driven away by the appetites of people who thought they were better parents, was a pretty “cloudy and dark day.” But here God promises that he will bind up that which was broken  – my heart, your heart, and the hearts of millions of other mothers and children just like us. He will bind up our hearts and restore that which was lost. He will seek us out from wherever we have been scattered, bind up our broken relationship and carry us in His bosom.

In my mother’s heart, I know this to be true. I just wish I knew His timing but his ways are not my ways. I just have to keep trusting that God is faithful and he will fulfill all his promises.

 

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 10: Why Princess P.’s Little Head is Covered in Tears Right Now

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Today  your little sister Princess P. turns 6 months old. At the moment, her 18 1/2 pounds of squishy, snugly adorableness rests comfortably in my lap as she bats at anything within reach, grabbing at the mouse, and trying taste anything she can put her mouth on.  The desk, my watch, a CD case, the remote control – she’s a non-discriminatory taster.  She squeals with delight whenever I talk to her, her chubby arms and legs waving madly as a smile makes its way through her entire body.

In short, she’s perfect.

I lean down and rest my lips against her warm peach-fuzz covered head. And I start to cry, anointing her head with the tears of a mother’s heart.

Oh how I miss you in moments like this.

I know you are a grown woman now and not a baby but you were a baby once. I should have held you on my lap and kissed your peach-fuzz head instead of giving you to strangers, all in the name of love.

Adoption awareness isn’t just a month in my life, it is woven into the sinews and fibers of my soul. And sometimes…sometimes my awareness hurts like hell.

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 8: Let Me See if I Can Be Perfectly Clear About This: God DOES NOT DO ADOPTION (Unless of course, the adoptive grandfather is trying to kill the child, then God makes an exception)

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Making the rounds out there on the internet is this video. Take a moment and watch it.

Sounds all well and good, right? We are a bunch of orphans, plopped on this little ol’ planet and God loves us so much He adopts us into His family.  Because we are trying to be like God, then we must adopt the orphans of the world to save them from a multitude of woes.

Wrong.

The truth of the matter is this: We are already God’s children. It is impossible to “adopt” something that is already yours. (Please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: Paul’s Version for further discussion about the word “adoption” in the Bible; also please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t” (Or in other words: A question for Fred Riley of LDS Family Services) for a better understanding of how we LDS folk view our relationship to God).

The scriptures are an epic love story. They are the story of a Father’s love for his children and the extreme measures He goes to bring them back from their wanderings. He never ceases to search for us. He never quits loving us regardless of the fact that we have “sold ourselves for naught.”  In fact, He loves us so much He sent his first born, his Only Begotten Son in the flesh to pay the ransom for the rest of His children – to atone for our sins and redeem  us from our spiritual bondage (please refer to the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: He’s Into Being Born Again for further elucidation about this reality). Not to adopt us. To redeem us. That is why our Savior Jesus Christ is known as the Great Redeemer. Not the Great Adopter.

The video I have linked here uses three specific examples from the Bible to illustrate why adoption is “God’s heart,” namely, the story of Moses, the story of Esther, and the preservation of the Messianic line through Joseph’s supposed adoption of Jesus. (I have already discussed the fallacy of this belief in the post God Doesn’t Do Adoption: The Jesus Was NOT Adopted Version, but let me just reiterate one more time: Joseph was Jesus’ STEP-FATHER. I personally feel that misrepresenting this righteous, loving, and protective step-father as the adoptive father of Jesus is near heresy but that’s just my personal opinion. Joseph should be held up as the supreme example of what it means to be a loving step-father, not an adoptive father.)

I know that many Christians like to use the Moses story as an example of why adoption is such a great thing and I guess, if you follow the story all the way through, it is a great story about adoption. (Well, other than that part about Moses returning to his adoptive grandfather’s household years after killing an Egyptian and then calling down the 10 plagues of Israel onto his adoptive family’s kingdom, culminating with the first born of every household dying and then a whole bunch more of his adoptive family dying when they were drowned in the Red Sea. I guess that part isn’t such a great example of adoption, is it?)

Moses’s story starts off when his PAP sees how many Israelites there are and starts to get worried about the sheer number of them. A decree is set forth that the Hebrew midwives have to kill the Hebrew babies – when that doesn’t work, the Pharaoh orders all Hebrew male children tossed into the river.  This is the political environment Moses was born into – his death certificate had already been issued by his future adoptive grandfather before he was born.  His mother hid him (and nursed him) for three months, then put him in the river. His older sister followed along so she could offer the services of her mother as a wet-nurse to whomever found baby Moses.  Their plan worked wonderfully – the Pharaoh’s daughter found him, gave him back to his natural mother until he was weaned, then took Moses into the palace as her own son.

As we all know, with the killing of a “fellow” Egyptian Moses eventually rejected his adoptive family and culture. This precipitated his flight into the wilderness where he then spent 40 years learning of his true identity and heritage. While sojourning in the wilderness, Moses was reunited with his natural family and in this act, God’s heart is revealed: God is totally into family preservation. Eventually, Moses returned to his adoptive father’s palace, this time in his true identity and name – he returned to speak Truth to power and demand that his people be set free. His people – the Israelites, not the Egyptians.  Hmmm…now that I think about it I guess that would make Moses an angry, ungrateful,  bitter adoptee according to a lot of adoptive parents I know.

In case you missed it: the reason Moses was put into the basket and floated down the river was because his adopted grandfather had issued an order to kill him. So yeah, I guess God does do adoption in RARE and UNUSUAL circumstances where the life of the child is at risk.

Now the story of Esther being “adopted” is even easier: BOTH of her parents had died. Her COUSIN took her in a raised her as his own daughter. It was a kinship “adoption” – that whole family preservation theme again. That being said, it wasn’t an “adoption” as we conceive it. Adoption as we know it today (with the falsified and sealed birth records) is a purely modern legal arrangement that simply did not exist under Talmudic law. In Talmudic law, blood relations were all that mattered. Mordecai raised her because he was following the law of the land – orphans stay with their kin folk.

I have probably belabored the point by now.  I know I have very little hope of convincing any of my born-again Christian friends that God didn’t adopt us. Most won’t listen because *gasp* I am a Mormon. Frankly, I like the idea of being the literal child of God, created in image of my eternal parents. And frankly, that’s OK if they don’t listen to me. I still love them and think they are pretty interesting people.

Hmmm…just had an interesting thought.  Born-again Christians are the ones who most frequently use the “God adopted us” and “God’s heart is adoption” themes. Does anyone else see the irony in this? These folks claim to be born again (which is a good thing, BTW) in one breath, and in the next claim that God adopted them.  ?????? If they wanted more congruency between their name and their beliefs, perhaps they should call themselves “Adopted Christians” instead of “born again.”

Maybe it is just a little bit too late and I need to get some sleep. Maybe it won’t be so ironical in the morning. Is ironical even a word?

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 6: Captain Knuckle and the Curious Case of the Missing Sister

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

Today your little brother turns 14 years old.  I only use “little” in the most general of terms since he is nearly 6′ tall and is starting to fill out with what he proudly calls his “man muscles.” In spite of his newly sprouting mustache (of which he is equally proud) and the deepening of his voice to a mellow chocolate sound, he is still my baby boy. His heart is still as tender and his spirit just as precious as it was when he was a tiny baby.  Even though he is nearly 6′ tall teenager, he will still let me put my arm around him and give him a kiss on the cheek in public.  And I do. Frequently.

His birth made me a mother for the second time. His birth brought a measure of healing to me. His birth re-awakened within me the knowledge that I am a capable, competent mother. His given name means “gift of God” and that is what he has been to me every day of his life.  I treasure the fact that I have been lucky enough to be a mother to this incredible human being.

Unfortunately, adoption has robbed him of you. Ever since “celebrating” his own version of adoption awareness when I told him of you, he has always wondered if you would ever get to meet.  A few years ago, when he was still small enough to fit on my lap, he climbed up and gazed into my eyes with his blue-green ones and plaintively asked, “Mom. Do you think my sister will like me?” When I told him that yes, he was inherently lovable and you would be crazy about him, he wrapped his pudgy arms around my neck, put his cherub cheek next to mine and said, “Good. Because I know I will like her because she is my sister.”

Out of all the sorrows in my life, this is my greatest: That your two brothers and your sister will most likely never know you. Even if they do, the chances are fairly high that they will be the “others” in your life, the less than, the not quite.  Not only will they always be your not quite siblings, but I did this to them. My foolish, trusting, believing heart that thought I was doing what was right and good has severed not only my ties with you but theirs as well, all in the name of love.

Little Penelope is calling for me – I guess I should go rejoin the world.  I just want you to know that there is a young man who is longing to meet you, just as much as I am.

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 5: My Ex, His Wife, and Their Version of Adoption Awareness

Last night I learned that my ex-husband and his wife are adopting another baby.

They got married within months of my ex and I divorcing and immediately started pressing me to terminate my parental rights because they believed that Captain Knuckle was entitled “to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity” (Kind of ironic considering how they hooked up, don’t you think???).  So, I was now single, due in large part to my ex not honoring his marital vows to me because he was messing around with herMy single parent status was used as a battering ram by them to try to convince me that it was in Captain Knuckle’s “best interest” that I terminate my rights and let her adopt my son so he could be raised in a two-parent home.

Whatev’ people.

Fast forward a couple of years and miscarriages later. My then 5-year old son comes home from a weekend visit and tells me that his dad and other mom are going to adopt a baby from “a mommy who didn’t want her baby, just like you didn’t want your first baby.”  After I picked up my heart from the floor and shoved it back into my chest, I asked him who told him I didn’t want my first baby. He told me that his other mother had said it. This led to a long and frank discussion with Captain Knuckle about adoption and first moms and the fact that I desperately loved you and thought I was doing the “right thing.” Then  I tucked him into bed and stomped around the house, as angry as I had ever been at those two people I had to share my son with. Didn’t want my first baby?

Whatev’ people.

Fast forward a few more years. I had been married to Mr. Amazing Man for about two years and had recently found out I was pregnant with the Good Professor.  Captain Knuckle gets off the phone with me one night and tells me, “Oh, I have a new sister. My other mom and dad were there when she was born and my other mom was  the first person to hold her.” Ugh. Double ugh.  Obviously a case of pre-birth matching. Captain Knuckle has since told me that they send his sister’s first mom a letter once a year. Yeah. Pre-birth matching and a nearly closed adoption. Give it a few years and they will cut her out completely. Well done.

Whatev’ people.

I have tried to be friends with Captain Knuckle’s step-mom but she has always been highly resistant to any sort of friendly overture. For the past five or six years, it has been full on alienation and psychological warfare from her end of things. I understand why – after all, by virtue of the fact I have produced four lovely children, I am a powerful, threatening figure in her imagination.  I am what she fears most in her life – I am the scary birth mother monster lurking under her bed. My heart breaks for them – they have lost so many pregnancies, most recently a set of twins at 16 weeks. My mother’s heart is devastated for them….but. BUT. It doesn’t entitle them to other people’s children. It doesn’t entitle her to not allow my son to call me “Mom” when he is at their house. When he was younger, she would spank him if he called me “Mom.” I was Melynda, his birth mother. (Yes, she taught him that lovely turn of phrase. Cute, eh?) I tried to talk to my ex-husband about it but his response was, “I can’t control what my wife does.”

Whatev’ people.

So like I said earlier, last night I learned they are adopting another little girl. This time it is through the foster care system there in UT. She’s a newborn who was born addicted to meth. The picture they sent Captain Knuckle of her first day at home with them is just heartbreaking – she is on oxygen and you can see the remnants of IVs and feeding tubes. But she is lovely. Captain Knuckle doesn’t know anything more about her, other than they don’t like her name so they are going to change it.

Whatev’ people.

Perhaps this is one of those rare circumstances when infant adoption is a needful thing. I also have to say I am glad they are adopting out of foster care instead of using pre-birth matching. That being said, it doesn’t surprise me they would wait for a white baby girl before deciding to adopt from foster care. I bet they feel like they have won the lottery for more reasons than one. Adopting a baby in Utah whose drug addicted mom won’t be harassing them with those pesky yearly contact letters? Sweet!

Needless to say, my ex and his wife’s adoption awareness begins and ends with fulfilling their needs.

Whatev’ people.

 

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 3, Part B: “You are not allowed to come to church anymore because you are an idiot”

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

I know, I know, I know. Once you get me talking I just can’t seem to shut my mouth!  This will be a short Part B though, I promise.

I was perusing good LDS bee-mommie blogs and came across a real gem of a statement on one of them. I guess that LDSFS holds “Husbands of Birth Mothers” information nights where boyfriends/fiance’s of those good bee-mommies get to go and ask questions of what it is like to be married to one of those kinds of women.

I guess one of the things they talk about at these discussion panels is the now-husband’s response to finding out his supposedly virginal and untainted love of his life had *gasp* “been sexual and gotten pregnant with another man’s baby” and how he had worked through forgiving her for what she had done.

Uh….really?

I rubbed my eyes hard. I took a deep breath. Uh…ummm…he has to forgive her for what???? Isn’t this whole forgiveness issue for something that happened before they met between her and her maker? He then went on to say that “I chose to forgive her but I did tell her that eventually her past will come back to haunt us.”

Haunt? Her past (which is a human being, BTW Mr. Husband of a Birth Mother, not a ghost or a figment of your tainted rose’s imagination) is going to come back and haunt them?????? Gosh, that kind of attitude has gotta make every adoptee’s heart sing.

I jumped up from my computer, made a beeline for my husband and said, “Mr. Amazing Man, you won’t believe what I just read!!!!” I then told him and he was just as agahst as I was.

Then he said one of the most fantabulous lines ever uttered by a righteous, loving, (and dead sexy) husband: “There are sometimes I wish I could just tell people, ‘You are not allowed to come to church anymore because you are an idiot.’ And that guy is an idiot.”

I sure hope you find a man like Mr. Amazing Man some day.  He’s…well, he’s amazing.

Much love,

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 3: Putting My Money Where my Mouth is

Dear Ms. Feverfew –

As the initial planning stages for Love’s Labor are cogitating around in my brain, I have been wondering what I can do right now – today – to support mothers keeping their children. As you might know, one of the main reasons that women in foreign countries relinquish their children is because of poverty. And we are talking about bone-grinding poverty unlike anything most Americans can ever wrap their minds around.

These women – these mothers – do they love their children any less because they are poor or because they don’t speak English? No. And who are we are rich, white westerners to rush in and scoop up their lovely-hued babies, all in the name of rescuing them from the poverty of their natural mother’s circumstances?

Why not help solve the problem of why these mothers feel like they need to give us white folk their babies, namely why not offer them a way to provide for their children in a way that builds self-reliance and self-worth? One of the most successful models of doing exactly that is through buying hand crafted fair-trade items. I first stumbled upon this idea when my friend recently returned from Uganda, bringing me back some of the most lovely hand made beads, made and sold by mothers to support their children.  When my little nursling plays with those beads in her pudgy Welsh/Irish/German white hands, I often think of the African mothers who created their colorful swirls. Those paper beads serve as a talisman of sorts, reminding me of my connection with all mothers and their resourcefulness to provide for their children.

So, today I will honor those mothers who are working so hard to provide for their families so they can stay intact – so their babies can grow up with their people and with the sound of their mother’s voice stitched onto their heart .  I think I will buy some more gorgeous paper bead jewelry to support moms in Uganda. Also, I have my eye a couple of  darling aprons from moms in rural China. I actually have a couple of them on my Christmas gift list for other mamas in my life who I love and admire.  I will buy Princess P. her first tea set for Christmas.  Instead of ordering from my much adored seed and gardening catalogs this Christmas season, I am going to donate money so that poor women in South Africa can be taught how to reclaim lands and grow gardens to feed their families.

I know it isn’t much, but it is something. And it is something I can do right now, today.

So to celebrate National Adoption Awareness Month, I am going to empty the Christmas fund purchasing gifts from women who need my $$ way more than the big box stores around town. Maybe it will help just one mother not feel like she needs to give away part of her heart.

Much love and belief –

M.

National Adoption Awareness Month ~ Day 2, Part B: Love’s Labor (Not Lost to Adoption)

Today is a twofer blog post kind of day, thanks to a conversation I had last night with my fantastic, amazing, incredible, patient (and might I add ridiculously handsome) husband.  I won’t bore you today with all the details, but after I finished my rant about the LDS adoptive couple that took Ezra from his rightful parents instead of helping them through their temporary rough patch, he said to me, “Melynda, this is your life’s work. Fixing this (meaning how we LDS people view adoption) is what God called you to do.”

That seems like a pretty tall order. Especially for this high school drop out now PhD student, sometimes an academic, once divorced now married, and a once-upon-a-time single mom now a mostly stay-at-home-mom of a teenager, a school aged child, a rolly-poly infant, and a daughter lost to adoption.

And bless my husband’s ever lovin’ heart – he’s one of the types that believes if you are going to complain about something, then you had better have a plan to remedy the complaint.  So I have been thinking about how to “fix” what is wrong with LDS infant adoption and needless to say, the “field is white and ready to harvest.” (For all the non-LDS folks who might read these letters I write, that’s a metaphor for saying “there’s a heck of a lot of work to  be done.”)  I have wrestled with what I can do with the time I do have in the place I live ~ you know, the age-old question of “What is my sphere of influence? What are my skills best suited for? What is it, Lord, that you would have me do?”

While making bread today, I was thinking about this and it came to me. Along with all the research and political work that I plan to be engaged in once I am done with my PhD, I am going to open a young mother’s/maternity home  very unlike the ones we typically might think of. It will be called “Love’s Labor” and will provide a safe haven for mothers who feel like they want to parent, but don’t know if they are good enough or have the “right” kind of skills. Love’s Labor won’t be a maternity home that dumps young mothers out if they decide not to place for adoption – in fact, at Love’s Labor, infant adoption will be a hiss and a byword, a relic of a different age.

At Love’s Labor, young mothers will be connected with community sources, from counseling and parenting classes to lactation consultants, to housing assistance authorities, medical professionals and birth practitioners like midwives & doulas, to job training to any other sort of thing that expectant and new single mothers stand in need of. At Love’s Labor, they will have the opportunity to learn life skills that many young people today aren’t taught – from budgeting to food preparation to housekeeping skills. It will be a place where young expectant mothers can come to be relieved of the societal pressures to place for adoption and instead be taught of their true worth in the eyes of God. At Love’s Labor, they will learn that God is crazy about them and would never want one of His precious daughters to suffer the lifetime agony only a first mother knows.

I know it will be some time before I can have a brick and mortar establishment where I can welcome expectant and new mothers, but in the mean time, I can get the framework laid and start providing a place (at least online) for expectant single mothers to help connect them with resources that they may need to become successful parents.

Aside from raising competent, capable, and compassionate children who know their true worth in the eyes of God, my single most important goal in life is to prevent one more story like Ezra and his mother’s from ever happening again. Love’s Labor seems like a good place to start.

So now I need to roll up my sleeves and get to work. Do you happen to know of any graphic artists, code-queens, or other webbies that might be able to help me get a website up and going? Maybe you might know of some other first moms or adoptees (or gasp, even adoptive parents) who might want to help get Love’s Labor going.

Much love and belief for the second time today –

M.