The Way of the Cross

by Sarah Roney

There aren’t any books out there on how to love your sons birth mama well. How I wish there were. I wish there were rules and boundaries and the ability to look up the answers at the back of the book. But the beautiful messiness of open adoptions means that there are hundreds of scenarios that keep you up late at night. Questions you wished you answered differently, photos you wished you sent, boundaries you should have stuck to, ideals that you needed to let go of, and decisions that should have been made more compassionately.

We have had the privilege of knowing our sons birth mama for almost five years. We have a son…. together… and together we love him with all of our hearts. When she became pregnant with her second child, we journeyed through the pregnancy at her side because she asked us to adopt again. We supported her emotionally and financially, fundraising to send her the money she needed, and cheering her on so that she had the strength to see the pregnancy through one day at a time. But as her and I drove to the hospital together, the birth father made threats, tears rained down our tired cheeks, and we knew that everyone’s life was at risk if we continued with the adoption plan (see posts labeled ‘private adoption journey’). Now she is about to have her third child, and we stepped back a bit. She knew we couldn’t adopt again after adding three daughters to our family last year, so this time, she didn’t even ask. She called and texted and I encouraged her from a distance, wanting to leave room for the new adoptive family to step in and get to know her. To fall in love with her dynamic personality, courageous spirit, and incredible sense of humor just like we did. But she did ask one thing of us- “would I be there for the birth?”

She asked when it was cold outside and the bleak winter weather made anything and everything in the summer seem possible. “A June baby? Of course I will be there. We’re family” But I couldn’t forsee how strained our finances would be, how our baby girl would still want to fall asleep nursing in my arms, or how hard it would be for my husband to parent by himself while I flew into Texas sunshine to sit next to her in her hospital bed.

How could I possibly leave them and how could we afford the cost of travel? Was a January “yes” and a deep desire to honor the woman who gave life to our son enough to necessitate a trip when the financial costs were so high?

Yes. Because God wove her into the fabric of our family.

Yes. Because we have always believed that God would provide if we made a counter-cultural decision on the basis of Gods radical love for the widow, the orphan, and the poor.

Yes. Because God allowed her c-section date to overlap with my sister-in-laws visit. What a relief to know that Scott did not have to parent on his own, but could love our kids with his sweet sister and their beloved aunt at his side.

Yes. Because nobody should have to have a baby by themselves. Nobody should have to sign adoption paperwork without someone who loves them at their side. Nobody should have to eat bad hospital food, when someone who loves them can pick up shrimp po’ boys and hot hush puppies from the seaside soul food restaurant 5 blocks away.

Yes. Because this is a visible way for all of our children to see that we love and honor their birth mama’s.  No, we don’t know them all, but if we did, we would do everything in our power to show them that they are loved, respected and dramatically valued.

So yes, I went to Texas, and not everyone agreed that I should have.  I showed up because that is what Love does. Love shows up to bring food, make Walmart runs, change diapers, and shower both the adoptive mama  and the birth mama with gifts wrapped in brightly colored pinks. Love celebrates and hugs and prays and holds babies swaddled tight in hospital blankets like little burritos. Love steps in because Jesus stepped down, not just when it was convenient for Him, or without pain. But on the contrary, when it hurt more than He ever imagined possible. Love worth having is worth fighting for sacrificially and when the financial burden is great because that is what the cross of Christ teaches us to do. May He give us all the courage to follow Him there, trusting that after the days of darkness have passed, we’ll emerge to live in His glorious light of peace.