I've always been amazed at how a pregnant woman's belly grows over the nine months before the baby is born. I remember looking at my sister's adorable belly when she was about ready to pop - and just thinking it was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. I could see my niece's little bum poking out and it was just incredible. I often hear women complain about stretch marks from pregnancy (and I am sure I would too if my life had included the natural way of having children), but I always feel a little twinge of jelousy. Because even stretch marks are part of the amazing thing that happens to a womans body! They are signs and reminders that the woman's belly was pushed and stretched farther than that mommy thought was possible - and the outcome was a beautiful baby.
Stretch marks are gorgeous to me.
I was reading a blog called Kissies From Katie and one post stood out to me because Katie (a single woman who has adopted 13 little girls while living in Uganda) shared (August 15, 2011) about one of her daughters having lived through suffering that no child should have to face. She shared about how she longed to be there to wipe away her little girl's tears during the years before she was her mommy. She said that adoptive mamas have "different kind of stretch marks" and even though I am on the beginning of this journey, I can already feel the stretch marks where my heart didn't think it could stretch another inch.
In our decision not to adopt a healthy newborn here in the states this year a big part of me that had held onto the dream of a newborn baby got stretched. (and even with how painful that choice was I feel more peace every day and am excited to see how God works this situation out for His glory!) That part of me that I am ashamed to say has felt entitled because I can't carry a baby to say that I should definitely be one to get a newborn has been stretched. In the back of my mind I have thought that someone who already has had babies should adopt the ones who aren't newborns. Shame on me! I am NOT entitled to anything! Every breath is a gift, and I am so glad that God used this stretching situation to knock me down a few notches. I needed it, and I will probably need it again (yah, I'm on the stubborn side). It is stretching for me to know that while some are given adoptions of newborns (and that is a beautiful gift and those babies need forever families too!), but I need to be willing to do what God has put on our hearts at this time, and that likely doesn't mean a newborn. It stretches me to accept that some of our Babies are probably on this earth already. It stretches me to know that they will go through someone very sad and painful before they call us Mama and Papa. It stretches me to see siblings and friends with growing families, preparing to give birth to newborns. (yes it does stretch me even though I rejoice and LOVE seeing all these new babies and feel total joy for each birth) It stretches me when I see pictures of babies on facebook with documentation of every first - steps, tooth, haircut, Christmas ... and knowing that somewhere out there our Babies are having firsts too, firsts that we will never know. It stretches me to know that people may hurt our Babies and we won't be there to defend them. It stretches me to know that our Babies will be sick and we won't be there to cuddle them. It stretches me to think that our Babies are going to sleep and we won't be there to tuck them in at night.
It would be easier to not have to think about all this, but because I have loved our Someday Babies for years now, and because I have covered them and their birth parents with prayer for 8 years - my heart is united to them even before we meet. And I can't love them and remain unstretched.
I praise God that He is with them and that He is working on me and my sweet Farmer Boy, preparing all of us for the day we will be a family. Until then, I'll continue being stretched and being grateful for the stretch marks.