In our most recent letter to GBM, we wrote that if she was sober and was healthy, we would be willing to consider a more open relationship, that we would be willing to drive to where she was, along with our case worker, to meet her.
Within a week of receiving that update and its accompanying photographs, we received our first letter from Grace’s birthmom (GBM)!
I was sitting in carpool line about to pick up Henry when my friend and Bethany pregnancy counselor, R, called to tell me they had received a letter from GBM. Did I want her to mail it to us?
“No! I-want-you-to-read-it-aloud-to-me-and-then-I-will-drive-really-fast-to-the-office-to-pick-it-up. Oh, yeah, I’ll probably pick up Henry from school first, ya know, since I’m here. And perhaps hit a drive through. But read it to me. Read it to me. WHY ARE YOU STILL BEING QUIET; HURRY UP AND READ IT TO ME!”
I will not share all the details of this letter here, because they are not my story to tell. GBM shared that she was excited that we were willing to consider a more open relationship and gave us her address and ways to contact her. Though, because of the advent of caller ID and the like, having her phone number isn’t really helpful. We called her from Bethany. She hung up on us. My guess is that she was hoping we would call her directly or give her our phone number. At the present, even though we share a daughter, she is a stranger to us. While we feel like she is family that simply is not the case. It doesn’t make much sense to give a stranger our home phone number, much less a stranger with a history of addiction.
We also received the most precious letter ever from G’s tween half-sister (GTHS—not to be confused with DWTS or SYTYCD). She included a picture of her dog and mentioned all of the physical traits she shares with Grace. It was written on a typewriter. I don’t know why this fact moves me so. I imagine GTHS sitting at the typewriter, knees bouncing, reversing and marking xxxx’s through her misspellings, perhaps chewing on a pen, trying to tell the little sister she has never known outside of her mother’s womb that she loves her and thinks of her often and I break. She also included her most recent school picture. She is beautiful and is prominently featured on our refrigerator. We pray for her daily. She has the same shaped eyes as Gracie, but in an ice blue. Her hair is silky and blonde, with a red feather extension. She favors my tween niece Rebekah.
Through the letter of GBM, we learned that Grace had two more siblings. That, at least biologically, Gracie was now a big sister to a set of twins. A set of twins that were born extrememly premature and had been taken into foster care.
We were confused. Was Grace’s birthmom telling us about the twins because she wanted us to have them? What about China? Was God calling us to adopt these twins and not a child with special needs? Was He calling us to do both? And what about the 10 yr old little girl? Were we now adopting three kids? Would we have to transform the attic into a living space for a tween? Would we need to move? Would I ever stop trying to second guess Jesus? Would I, for at least 30 seconds, stop asking my husband what the heck was going on? Did social services even know we existed? Wouldn’t they want to keep siblings together? Did we have rights?
Or what if they had been placed with a family? I was guessing that a bi-racial set of twins with addictions born extremely premature would be a difficult placement. (Though to be fair, we didn’t even know the race of the twins. It obviously didn’t matter to us.) Were they healthy? What issues, if any, had GBM passed onto them? What about the risks for just being born 12 weeks early? Did they need foster parents? Would Grace’s birthmom relinquish her rights or would she fight for them? Would we fight her for them?
I kept asking Sloan what we were supposed to do. And he kept telling me that we didn’t have enough information to make a decision. I called several friends and asked for their wisdom. Not a single one of them told me what to do. Everyone basically said, “Whoa. This is big. I don’t know what God is doing. But He is doing something.” My friend Ali texted me, “I’m hearing wait and watch.” (Note to self—make at least one friend that will feed my crazy. Let’s all pretend that I hadn’t already begun to decorate a nursery for twins. Let’s pretend that I didn’t name them and give them ADORABLE nicknames.)
So. Not. Helpful.
What I wanted was a burning bush or some respected older person in my church to call me and say, “While having my quiet time, I thought of you and I wanted to tell you that I will buy you a minivan and help you decorate a nursery for those twins.” Instead, I got a 4 year old son who was telling me that he wanted a brother to share bunk beds with.
What I wanted was to call GBM and for her to tell me how wonderful I was and how healthy she was and how she wanted me to raise all of her children and go on tour like some singing family in a painted volkswagon van. What I got was a husband out of town on business and unwilling to entertain my ever-growing list of “what ifs” while on the telephone.
What I wanted was to know how much of this letter could even be trusted. What I got was a God so big and yet begging me simply to trust him.
What I wanted was to know the end of the story and perhaps have a hand in writing it. What I got was a Savior reminding me it wasn’t even my story to begin with.
But wait…this story isn’t over yet…