Growing up, Father's Day was challenging for me. It was so hard to find the right Father's Day card when you aren't living with your dad.
Today, I know that I was so blessed to be raised by my dad's parents. My grandma and grandpa were amazing parents. The love they showed to my brother and I remains one of the most influential factors of my life. However, that didn't make it easier on days like Father's Day when I would field questions from others like, "Why don't you live with your mom or dad?" or "Where is your dad?" or the WORST, when making a craft at school or church, "Why are you writing Grandpa?"
Now, Father's day is the day I get to celebrate my husband, the father of our children and it is WONDERFUL. I love celebrating the way he loves his girls and the fabulousness of his fathering. It is also the day I get to celebrate my dad, the forgiveness we have experienced and the life we know today. It's also the day I get to remember my Paw, and the amazing love her wrapped me in for 19 years. These are GREAT things to celebrate.
For our girl Ru, who has never met her biological father, Father's day brings up some BIG emotions. Emotions that are familiar to me and my history.
This weekend we had they privilege to process some of those with her. It wasn't easy but it was good. Being sad and angry TOGETHER, is so important.
I read this and Nyasha and I related to this so very much,
Carissa Woodwyck wrote this on facebook:
"uhhh! you know what's still so hard to hear from an adopted person? "why did my parents not keep me?" i think you can be an adult or a teen or a young child and still wonder, still question, still doubt, still ask "WHY?"
it's so hard to understand, to make sense of, the reality that your first parents - the two people who created you - didn't do everything they could to keep you. and maybe for some they did do everything. and maybe for some they didn't do everything. some of us will never know.
confusing. and it's like there's this gaping void consumed with a huge cloud of WHY.
and then you hear:
God intended for you to be with our family.
God planned for you to be in our family.
God wanted you to be loved by us.
a BUT before an explanation will never work, will never satisfy, will never help.
and then adding GOD in the explanation? that will never work and never satisfy and never help either.
because what kind of God does that? to you? because what kind of God makes first parents not stay? not fight? not do everything they could to keep their child, to keep us?
and so our language has to be so, so sensitive and so, so carefully said - not to protect a child from pain, but because a child needs to know that God is IN the pain.
because God never authors pain.
he grieves...for what happened...to us...with us.
and that's why as parents, it's our job to do the same - let the confusion and anger and bitterness and contempt and sorrow and questions and doubt linger...as long as they need to.
because if we rescue a child from their feelings, they will do what so many do in front of me: dismiss their own pain, tell me, "i don't really care about them, about what happened."
and i'll have to look them in the eye and tell them this:
oh, bud...what happened DOES matter. and, what happened wasn't your fault. what happened to you - the reality that they didn't stay, that they didn't keep you - wasn't your fault. but it DOES matter. you get to feel mad. you get to feel sad. and i'll be mad and sad with you. and, together, we'll find a path through all of the mad and sad, and hopefully find our way to not only naming more of the mad and sad that's inside you, but also, at the very same time, find all of the glad and good inside you (and your first parents), too. and guess what? all that happened? that wasn't from God. that's not the kind of God you have to follow or believe in. and, ahhh! i can't wait to show and tell you about a different kind of God - a God that loved you and longed for you from the beginning of time.
and then i'll get to see a little relief, a little surprise in their sweet eyes.
friends - we must go backwards so we can go forwards, well.
holding the strong and tender hearts of adopted young children and teens and adults tonight."
This is the thing for our family this year: It's ok to grieve those we have lost --even if we lost them before we can remember. It's ok for our family to grieve with us, they can be sad and mad for our loss even though that loss helped to bring us together. It's ok for us to acknowledge that God is grieving with us too.
Grief is a part of life.
Grief honors what was and allows us to move more freely into what it.
Dear Lord, Please help me to never be afraid to lean into my the tears of my children. Let me never feel hurt by their expression of loss. Let me always remember that before me there was another and that this loss has left everything as it should not be. Let me always remember that you alone are the Redeemer of the broken pieces. Amen.