You guys. Our friends have been trying for years to conceive, and in a whirlwind of God’s timing they decided to officially pursue adoption, complete their home study, and just weeks later they have a daughter!!! Adoption had always been a part of their plan, but the timing was a complete surprise. And now I am crying. Crying because I have two babies, and I know this kind of love… These friends—they are precious. They already love this little baby, and the best is yet to come.
The good, the bad. The beauty, the mess. You hear about it. The crying at night, the pacing the hall, the wondering if you are ever going to sleep again. Or eat again. Or if you are doing any of it right. You hear about how fast they grow up. How sweet they are. How worth it. That’s what you hear. (And you may even hear more than you want to hear.)
And then, one day, she is here. Your first little baby. Smaller than you thought, but bigger than your whole world. How could she have ever not existed? How have you ever spent a day not holding her close, smelling her sweet baby smell, watching her grow?
And it hits you. You are surprised by love. There is nothing she has done to earn it. There is no way she could merit more, and yet it grows every day. There is nothing she could do to lose it, and its strength will really be proven in a year or two when she fights you all day, and you still.just.love.her. And you long for her love.
You may not have a baby yet. I have many friends who are just longing. Waiting and longing. And already loving. They are not parents yet, but they already have parent love overflowing their hearts. They are learning about this unmerited, blind love in an aching way. And I pray with faith that it will bring so much fruit someday soon. This relentless love.
And what is even more amazing than your love for your child—the only thing more amazing—is that this love, this good, good love we are growing into and learning and beginning to know… This love is like the love God has for us.
The Psalms tell about God’s love for us when we were knitted together in our mother’s womb. He plans for us, pursues us, longs for us, and goes before us to show us the way to Him. He knows when we sit and when we rise. And wherever we go, He searches us and knows us. He forgives us, and He does not stop loving us.
I am surprised by it every day. In small moments. After a lengthy at-the-top-of-his-lungs-on-the-floor tantrum (caused by me not stirring the pot the right way while cooking dinner), I just still love my little boy. And I wonder what God thinks when I am disappointed by my plans not going the way I wanted them to go. When they are amazed at the gift I give them, it makes me so happy, and I think of how God delights when we delight in His creation. I am surprised when I wake up for the 3rd time by 3 a.m. to comfort a teething baby, and I still love to cuddle him. And I thank God for the ways He comforts me. I am surprised by love when I have an overwhelming, exhausting, defeating day of parenting, and I then miss my children after I put them to bed. And I wonder if God has been missing me that day. When they ask “Why?” Why can’t they have that thing they want so much. When they do that thing—the thing we have warned them about that they know could hurt them, and then they are hurt. In those moments I am a parent, and I am just a child. Desperately loved by my Father; desperately needing His love.
It is the best thing about parenting by far. It isn’t something special that I am doing or am particularly skilled at. It is just something God grows in us. Our love for our children is a glimpse of His love for us.
And it is surprising me again. When we started earnestly discussing adoption, Dan and I both had honest fears. Fears about how adopting would affect our family, our children, our marriage. When we committed to adopt a child, we committed to loving our child no matter what. And over those years—since those very first conversations Dan and I had about whether we might ever consider adopting a child—God has been growing love in our hearts for a child.
It’s hard to pinpoint the moment when my perspective changed from “adopting a child” to “bringing home my baby…” It just did. I have a longing. A love. I don’t even know how it started, or how big it will get. How strenuously it will be tested, or how long it will take to be returned. But I know it is there. Inexplicable. Impractical. Unexpected. I love a child I have not yet met. One of my babies isn’t home in my arms. I can’t even describe how unsettling that feeling is. But I will not stop loving you, Little One. No matter where you are, or how long it takes to bring you here. No matter what you do, or if you ever love me back. I already love you. I can’t wait to surprise you with our love.