we are happy to introduce to you Kasey Mathew. she has been a resource, supporter and speaker for WiH from the beginning and we love her! Kasey and her hilarious husband, Wes, shared about adoption and their own #waitinginhopestories at our houston WIH couples dinner Tuesday night.
The night before THEIR 13TH WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, kasey felt lead to write about her heart towards her adopted daughters' birth moms. She had shared with us months ago about how she had seen her heart change and knew she needed to process and share about it. So, late Monday night on her own blog she wrote the below post. after many tears we knew we had to re-share and allow you all to hopefully gain wisdom and insight from her heart and "their own mistakes" as I know she would honestly admit and does so often in this post.
-adoption awareness month-
When Wes and I made the decision to adopt many years ago, we had to make the important decision that faces every adoptive family: do we adopt internationally or domestically?
We did all the research you can imagine on agencies, countries, fees, timelines, and more. But when it came down to it, we decided on an international adoption for one main (and very profound) reason: we didn’t want any baby mama drama.
That’s right. Judge me if you like. The main reason we chose to adopt internationally was because we felt that adopting domestically might open the door for a baby’s mom to come “back” into our child’s life and mess up the good thing we had goin’ on. Baby mama drama, as Wes called it. No, thank you.
I know. Totally lame and shallow reason. That’s why I’m writing this blog about it, 7 years later.
You see, in our minds we would sweep up our new baby from a terrible situation, bring him/her into our loving home and arms, the baby would never remember their mama as anyone else but me, and we would all live happily ever after.
I’m sure you already know where this is headed.
So fast-forward a little to when God fulfilled our dreams of becoming parents. He exceeded our expectations with sweet Priya Grace. Just look at this girl. She has more kindness in her little pinky than I possess in my entire body. She is a gift.
For the first year of her being home, our plan (to not have Baby Mama Drama) was working beautifully. She loved me. I loved her. She loved Wes. Wes was crazy about her. We were one big, happy, loving family.
And since she had been at the orphanage in India since she was just 1 year old, I was convinced she would never have any memory of her birth mother. And that was just fine by me.
About a year later, we went to the hospital to see our new nephew, Adam. Priya was so excited to have a new cousin.
But on the way home from the hospital, something very unexpected happened. I looked at her through the rear view mirror and saw that Priya was crying. Big, crocodile tears. I quickly asked, “Sweetheart, what’s wrong, baby girl? Why are you crying?”
She looked at me, with her little 3 year-old intelligent self, and said, “I just wanna know whose tummy I came out of.”
Gulp. Didn’t see that coming.
I promptly pulled over, turned around and brought her into my lap. Now thankfully, Mary Klein (my amazing, dear friend and mentor) had JUST talked to me about the importance of telling the truth to her about this…
So I proceeded to tell Priya how that God had placed her in her mommy’s tummy, her birth mommy’s belly, to grow and be born. And…fill in lots of details that I won’t share here...in the end, I told Priya the truth. She was relieved to hear it. We hugged and hugged and she told me, “But I love YOU, Mommy. I love THIS mommy. Thank you for telling me, mommy.”
Over the next few years, we had a few random discussions about her birth mother. Sometimes she would ask; a few times I would bring it up and ask her if she wanted to talk. Mostly she just wanted to pray for her, that she would have food and clothes and would learn about Jesus. Sweet, sweet girl.
But last summer, when Priya was 8, she began to REALLY ask questions. Hard questions. She wanted more details, she wanted reasons. I couldn’t answer it all. But we talked, prayed, and cried together a lot that summer.
The realization hit me one day as I literally watched her weep over her birth mother: she does remember. She remembers her birth mother.
Oh, she may not remember what she looked like exactly, or what songs her birth mother sang to her during that first year of life with her, or even what her name was. But she remembers her. She thinks about her. She longs to know about her.
And it filled my heart with so much grief to watch this child searching her soul for answers to the “holes” in her history.
But if I’m honest, I really only grieved for Priya. I felt like she was the one who lost something. She was the one who had suffered deeply. She was the one left trying to pick up the pieces and figure this out. And truth be told, I think I was pretty hard on her birth mother. I would look at sweet Priya and think, “Who on earth could give up this child? ANY child? So selfish. She’s missing out.” I didn’t have much love or respect for her birth mom.
And then God, in His great wisdom and sovereignty, did something miraculous. He did something that doctors had long ago said was impossible. After 10 years...
We got pregnant.
My 10 months of pregnancy were really such a dream. I was healthy, had energy, and was surrounded by so much love and support. I was so deeply humbled and grateful to God for the gift of pregnancy.
And during those 10 months, so many little miracles happen. You see the baby on the ultrasound. You hear the heartbeat. You feel the baby hiccup. You feel the baby kicking. It really is the craziest, craziest thing. God creates life.
And then when baby boy Joshua made his arrival, the world as we knew it ended. Giving birth to a baby is an experience you cannot forget.
We stepped into the new world of sleepless nights but unspeakable joy. I wept many times with tears of joy and thanksgiving. The bond between a parent and child is indescribable. Our sweet girls, Priya and Hope, were head-over-heels in love with their baby brother. I was overcome with love for all 3 of my kids and the miraculous ways each of them came into our family.
One day, as I was nursing Joshua, sweet Priya came into the room. She sat down and curiously watched for a few minutes. Then she said, “Mommy, do you think my birth mother nursed me?”
Never had it even crossed my mind.
Then she proceeded to ask, “Do you think she nursed me until I got too big, and THEN when she didn’t have enough money to pay for my big kid food, she had to give me to the orphanage?”
Since I couldn’t speak, Priya just answered the question for herself. She said, “Yes, I think that’s what happened. She tried and tried as LONG as she could, but then she needed help.”
Then my sweet girl left the room. Just like that.
And I sat there in silence, stunned. Never had it occurred to me how deeply her sweet birth mother must have grieved at the last sight of Priya. Never had I entertained the thought that her birth mother made a loving but incredibly painful and difficult decision to surrender her child to an orphanage. Never did it cross my mind that her birth mother was still thinking about Priya in the same way (if not MORE) that Priya was daydreaming about her.
And over the past year (yes, YEAR!) of watching sweet baby Joshua grow, God has been opening wide my heart to pray for my girls’ birth mothers in brand new ways. Joshua is only 11 months old, but he most DEFINITELY knows his family, especially his mommy! And you’ll find out real quick what he thinks about you if you try to take him away from me. Just ask the nursery workers at Houston’s First Baptist. ;)
But my point is this: sweet Priya and Hope both suffered such tremendous, deep loss when they lost their birth families. We will spend our lifetimes loving them and pointing them to Jesus as they grieve over this loss.
But, somewhere in India, there are also 2 mommas who are suffering and grieving tremendously. There’s no way they’ve just forgotten about their girls. The thought of losing them…I can’t even wrap my mind around it.
How tall are they now? Are they safe? What do they like to do? Do they look like me? Did they get adopted? Do they still speak my language? Does she have my eyes? Will I ever see them again? Does she still eat Indian food? Will God ever forgive me for surrendering my child?
And I am so incredibly thankful to God for the way He has orchestrated all these circumstances in my life.
I firmly believe He gave us a biological child after adoption to teach us more about our sweet girls and their loss.
He gave us Joshua so we could all experience the joy and difficulties of taking care of a baby so that we might better empathize with birth mothers, especially single ones, who just simply cannot do it.
He gave us Joshua to heal hearts and make curious little girls ask deep questions about life.
He allowed us to experience childbirth so that I would at least TRY to imagine what it would be like to have to give up my child. And you know what? I pray for the girls’ birth moms like never before.
I pray to God that one day He might give us the chance to meet them. I pray that they would know and understand the depth, width, and height of God’s great love for them. I pray God would give them dreams and visions of their daughters. I pray peace over them. I pray they will rest, knowing their girls are in a loving family.
And you know what else I’ve been thinking about?
God knows what it’s like to give up a child.
I John 4:9 says, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him."
Galatians 4:4-5 "But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons."
John 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten son, that whosoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life."
Our God, the perfect parent, gave up His only Son…not so that He could be adopted, but so that WE could be adopted. So that WE wouldn’t be left alone, as orphans, defenseless. Now our hearts cry out, “Abba, Father!” How deep the Father’s love for us.
May we, in that same spirit of love, learn to love the mamas all over the world who have suffered unimaginable loss in giving up a child. May we love these gifts, these children, with the sacrificial love of Christ. He’s not asking us to do anything that He hasn’t already done Himself.
Written by Kasey Mathew, Waiting in Hope Adoption Advisor, and contributing writer. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow their family blog at mathewfam.blogspot.com.