Today is National Adoption Day. A day to advocate. A day to remember.
I remember meeting his mother for the first time. I remember flying home to Utah and knowing that my heart was back in southern California, with my unborn son.
I remember seeing his face for the very first time. I remember how head over heels in love with him I was with just one look.
I remember feeling like my soul had been thrown into a blender. I remember trying to breathe and knowing that my heart had never hurt like that before. I remember memorizing his face, terrified that he'd be taken away from me, knowing that I couldn't forget a single detail.
I remember so many moments of those painful fourteen months. I remember sobbing over my child and begging the Lord to do whatever it took for Matthew to have the very best life possible. I remember the judge officially giving my son our last name.
Nearly three years after we first met Matthew's mother and a year and a half after we legally adopted him, I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Adopt [uh-dopt]: to rear as one's own child, specifically by a formal, legal act. But sometimes I forget that I didn't give birth to him. The heart pains involved in Matthew's adoption far exceed the labor pains I felt with my first born. (Granted there's no epidural for adoption--that may have helped tremendously.) I find myself wondering if he got a certain trait from me or his father before realizing that if it has anything to do with either of us it's purely nurture.
A few weeks ago, Matthew had his hands folded. Troy and I both cross our left thumb over our right so, naturally, Garrett does as well. Matthew was in my lap and I looked down at his hands. Left over right. I know he got that from his first parents but it made me so happy. He's just like us, I thought.
And he isn't. I know that. He's curly haired, nearly black eyed, and incredibly stout. But watching nature and nurture unfold is simply incredible. He will tell you that his name is Matthew and that it means gift of God. Not long ago our five-year-old nearly started crying in the car. "I want to be gift of God!" We explained what his name meant, To Watch or Strength of the Spear--like a guard. His middle name, John, meaning God is Gracious. "I want to be gift of God!" He said again, more emphatically.
"I gift of God!" Matthew exclaimed.
"You are both gifts from God," Troy explained. "But Matthew's name actually means that." Of course, they are both my incredible blessings from heaven.
Adoption is such an absolutely miraculous gift. So, today, on this National Adoption Day, I remember.