Thursday, November 01, 2018

PART 4: Let Love Grow

*This is PART 4 in a four-part series. To read PARTS 1, 2 or 3, click below.*

PART 1: The Gift of Adoption
PART 2: Jump Towards Hope
PART 3: Slow The Crap Down



This is the part of the story where I look back and say THANK GOD I decided to jump. Thank God I didn't dig my heels in for more than 5 minutes. Thank God I have people in my life who helped me slow down.

And then I decided to dig my heels in.

We all messaged back and forth over the next month or so. This was safe and easy and comfortable. And, I did the hard thing! So, yay for me! Now I can just sit here and be comfortable.

In a message dated SOMETIME IN MAY, my pesky baby brother said "I'm just going to say what we're all thinking. When can we meet up?". I can't actually find this message, but I'm convinced it exists.

Well, crap. I'm faced with another choice - sit or jump.

Jake could tell that I was feeling stuck. I remember him asking me what I envisioned for our reunion. Because I couldn't say "I want it exactly like all the fairytale stories on that 'My Adoption Story' show!!" I just told him I wanted nice weather so we could sit outside.

Uhh, okay...?!

I just happened to have another coffee date with Betty, in which she asked me "What are you waiting for...?" with a blank look on her face.

Well, ideally I'd be waiting for my life to be exactly as I want it so I can just add this new birth family in without hiccup or flaw. So.....

....yeah, that's not going to work.

Let's jump.


Later that week I messaged my brother and birth mom. It was the end of May, and I gave them all the Saturday's we were available throughout the whole summer. I thought they'd definitely pick a weekend near the end of summer. Moments later I got a message from Matthew.

"How about this Saturday?!"

 Well, crap. That's not much time to get my whole life together.

"The weather is supposed to be nice, though!" said Jake. Hardy-har-har.

Whatever. This is me. This is us. This is our life. I can't think of any aspect of our life that fits into a neat little mold. The concept of 'family' is no exception.

"Okay, I've got a sitter for the kids. I'll see you Saturday."

What in the name of all that's good is going on.

The next several days, I had many opportunities to practice slowing down and being in the moment. I remember thinking that what I was about to do was not just for me, but also for my kids. It's their story, too. As Saturday got closer, my nervousness faded into excitement.

Being 'excited' doesn't come naturally for me. But I believe Jake helped me prepare for this day and truly enjoy the moment. This day is about me. I can live this day and be completely selfish.

I remember thinking that not everyone will understand what's going to happen on Saturday. Maybe there are people who won't like it. There may even be people who feel bad about Saturday. And that's okay. I can't control how people feel. I don't want to even attempt to control how people feel. I want this chapter of my book to be about giving up control, which means others might feel uncomfortable.

Because I care deeply, I wrote a letter to my mom, explaining that I was incredibly grateful for her and all the ways she loved me. I wanted to do everything in my power to be clear: my birth family will never replace her. I'm so thankful that she understands this, and has supported me on this journey.

Saturday came, and we shipped the kids off to different sitters, and then waited. The tension built and we talked about all the ways this reunion could turn out. Remember when I said that this AncestryDNA kit might change the rest of the book? This is the day that I realized my that the plot of my life had taken a course much different than I expected. The book would end differently than I thought it would.

And I had never been more okay with that in my life.

At this point, we're basically strangers. We have this connection with each other that nobody else has, but we know almost nothing about each other. So I expected awkward. I expected lulls in the conversation. I expected lots of questions being asked and answered.

But what I didn't expect was an instant connection that I can only describe as an unconscious. I was immediately settled. I knew her. There was some awkwardness, yes. But the awkwardness was that it wasn't awkward. The lulls in conversation were because we were all so at ease. The questions and answers were love.

Also, it was beautiful weather, but we didn't sit outside. And it didn't even matter one tiny bit.

My brother said it well, when he said "Meeting up today was the last thing I wanted to do, but I did it because I want to get to what's next."

Yep. I totally get it. Let's get on with life. Together.

Was the meeting like "My Adoption Story"? YES. Actually, it was better. We talked, we looked through photo albums, we went to get lunch (where Matthew and I awkwardly discovered that we're both obsessive about our food not touching) and planned to meet up again a few weeks later for Matthew's birthday.

I don't have a single photo from that birthday gathering, possibly because our three kids were running around, busy with excitement. During this second visit we also got to meet my brothers amazing girlfriend, Morgan. To say I like her would be an understatement.

During our visit, Macy asked me "What's HER name?" as she pointed to my birth mom.

Well, Macy, that's a good question. Just calling her "Lisa" didn't seem right.

"Macy, how about Grandma Lisa?"

"Yeah! Gramma Weesa, can you walk in the forest with me?"

"Gramma Weesa! Watch me on the swing!"

And also..."Uncle Maffew, see me runnin'?"

This is jumping and flailing and flying freely.


A few weeks later, I got a voicemail from my brother. He said that my birth dad (if you're confused, this is also Matthew's dad) wanted to see me. So in August we drove to my brothers house just south of us and reunited.

It was another instant connection. He has so many similarities to my dad. His mannerisms, his personality, his facade.

He shared a photo on Facebook afterwards, and what he expressed hit me so deep. He said "33 years ago I kissed my beautiful daughter goodbye, today I got to kiss her hello." I think it reminded me that these have been full-circle moments not just for me, but for them as well.

I imagine that as much as I've wondered about them, they've wondered about me. I always wanted to believe that, but maybe I never allowed myself to really go there.

And here's where I realize that my book didn't start on the day I was adopted. My book started long before that, and the first few chapters were a mystery to me until this year.

When we left that get-together in August, just as we always do, we talked about the next time we'd all be together. My birthday was 6 weeks away, and I said that I'd be BEYOND thrilled if everyone would come to our house for my birthday.

Everyone?! Like, everyone??


I knew this would be outside of what was comfortable. I knew it had the potential to be epically awkward (I strongly dislike the word 'epic', but I think this is one time that it fits). I knew that some people may want to say 'no thanks' and I was okay with that.

But instead of "no thanks" everyone said "I'll be there!".


So for my 34th birthday, all the people who helped get me to this place gathered together. All the people who love me, love our kids, and allow us to love them. Under one roof. To celebrate me.

The only people missing were my two dads. I believe that both would have been here with bells on, if they could have.

This whole journey has been weird. I've used that word a lot over the past year as I'm telling this very story. Because right now I don't know what other word to use.

This thing that I thought only happened to 'other people' has now happened to me. I have felt as though I'm the center of a story that is in the process of being written. I'm the main character, but I'm also the writer. I get to decide where I go and how I handle things.

This life really is up to me. I'm responsible for myself. My thought process is my responsibility. If I'm scared and reluctant and timid and hesitant because - WHAT IF - then it's nobody's fault but my own. I believe that I could have sat on this, and that would have been okay. Jake would have eventually piped down about it, and I'd be going on with my comfortable, safe life.

It's my story, so nobody could have told me I was wrong.

But then I see this, and I know it's so right.

Because of these women, I'm here. They've each contributed to who I am in their own unique ways, and I love each of them uniquely.

I don't believe they are competing against each other or battling each other. I believe they're each confident in the uniqueness that they bring.

That sign behind us was something I picked up a few years ago from a 50% off sale at Hobby Lobby. But that's the title of this chapter. Let Love Grow.

This is what it looks like to let love grow. I wanted to squelch it. I wanted to dig it up.

THANK GOD I just let it grow.


There are more women who aren't in the picture above - some related to me by blood, some related to me by love. All these women who love me, and allow me to love them. Sometimes I just can't believe how good this story is turning out. And other times, I'm the one person who stands in the way of anything good happening. I sabotage my own story. I show up as the villain and make a mess of everything.

Let this be a reminder for myself. This is what happens when I get out of the way and let love grow.

And the woman in the story who jumps freely into the hard and scary thing?

It's her. She's the one who taught me to run and jump and flail and do it with wild abandon.

When we were adopting Carter I referenced a quote frequently from Mary Oliver. She said "Tell me, what do you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?". What I planned to do 7 years ago is much different than my plans of today.

Today, my plan starts with giving up control so that I can jump and fly. This is not the easiest thing I've ever done, and I'm still learning. I've got so much to learn.

To everyone who has invested in me, I thank you. I owe many people, and I believe the best way to pay them back is to use what they've given to me and make more with it.

I want the end of my book to be all about making more by loving and being loved by others.

Closing this chapter a little sadly, as it was such an amazing one in which things happened swiftly and good things kept coming. I believe this is one chapter I'll look back on frequently and think "Man, those were good times."

But I also believe that good times are ahead. Doing life together sounds so good.

Life together, for everyone.



1 comment:

  1. This is an amazing story. I have read it with tears coming down my face. I'm so happy for you. I hope the next chapter is filled with even more happiness. How wonderful to be loved by so many people.


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