When I was 22 and pregnant with my first baby, I was excited and scared all at the same time. I was pretty sure I would be a good mom. I had a great mom, and I had been baby sitting and working with children for many years. So, I thought I would be pretty good at this mom thing. But, I was also very afraid that I didn’t know things. Like breastfeeding and such. When I took care of other peoples children, they told me the babies schedule, they provided the food, the instructions. But the feeling I felt most when I became a mom for the first time was unworthiness. I felt so unworthy to be the mom of this brand new life from God.
I remember the day I gave birth to Tyler Ann like it was yesterday. Funny that it was almost 19 years ago now. My baby is almost as old as I was when I gave birth to her. When she was born she came out kicking and screaming. She made it clear she was here, and she was now in charge. Shortly, after she was born it became evident that she had some heart issues. She had three holes in her heart, and though it looked like two of them could close quickly on their own, the third one was concerning. But, she was breathing well, and she could latch on to nurse. So, she was sent home on a heart monitor and home health care.
Those first few days seemed so unreal. This was my baby. God had allowed me to carry this child inside me and to bring her into this world. She was a sleepy baby, due to her heart. But, she was a good baby. I remember the fifth day she was home from the hospital, I had to leave her in the living room for a few minutes. So, I propped her on the couch, just like I had seen my mom do with babies many a times. I wasn’t out of the room but a couple minutes and I heard her hit the floor and begin crying. I ran in the room and I picked her up. I sat on the floor rocking her and sobbing, and feeling like the worst mom in the world. This was the first of many times I, as a mother, would feel like a failure and unworthy of the calling to mother the children God gave me.
As I rocked Tyler and God calmed me and comforted me. I realized how much I loved this baby. I never knew I could love someone like that. I loved my parents, I loved my siblings, I loved my spouse, I loved my friends, and so many others. But there was no one that I felt a bond like I did to Tyler. She and I were connected. She grew inside me for nine months. I felt like I already knew her. She knew me too. She knew my touch, she knew when I was anxious and when I was calm. She had felt safe when I carried her inside my body. I had not been mistreated and I had not mistreated myself or her during pregnancy. She already had begun to trust me as a parent. That trust was daily growing as I nursed her to meet her need of hunger, as I changed her, and provided for her safety. AS I loved her and encouraged her to grow and learn she did. She knew I wanted what was best for her. Oh, there were days when I may have been sad, anxious, discouraged, and even angry. But, she learned that I could be trusted even when I was not happy and content. She learned and knew who I was.
As she grew and developed I could see things in her behavior that reminded me of myself, my husband, my siblings, my parents, and my in laws. These behavior traits were cute and adorable to me. I enjoyed seeing the familiar features of our family in my child.
Oh, Tyler had her own personality and character, as all people do. But, her unique person was made up of the divided DNA of her father and I. So, we could understand her and relate to her, because there is something familiar about her to us.
AS Tyler grew and began to talk, walk, and comprehend, we had to teach her how to be a member of our family. We had to give her rules and guidelines on how to behave in our home and in our family. She began to learn and understand the expectations we had, and she also knew and understood the consequences of not meeting these expectations. Why? Because we taught them to her. She grasped the expectations quickly, and she was an easy child. She actually seemed to enjoy obeying and doing right. Of course, she was and is not perfect. In fact, her biggest struggle is with being sassy. She can often talk back or say unnecessary things to her dad and I, and get away with it. But why is that? I think partially it is because she is a good girl most of the time, but I also think there is another reason. I think because her behavior and mannerism are a reflection of her father and I, that often we can relate and tolerate her negative behavior more easily than if she were not like us.
Tyler Ann has her dad’s sense of humor, her mom’s sense of organization, her grandma’s sense of craftiness, and her grandpas’ sense of hard work. She is a Hirn through and through.
But, what does her story have to do with my adoption story. Everything. In my next post I will explain why.