With Bella's adoption, Father's Day, and June 16th approaching, I have been thinking a lot about loss lately.
You see, on June 16, 1990, my dad very suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.
Everything I had ever known was suddenly ripped away. The loss was tremendous. And I have realized more and more as I have aged the incredibly significant impact the loss of a parent can have on a child.
Now, I was (am!) so, so blessed to have the most amazing mom in the world. Since that fateful day in June, she has poured her heart and soul into her children, always ensuring we felt safe, secure, well-cared for, and loved. What's more, my siblings and I were so lucky to be surrounded by the most incredible, supportive, involved "village," who stood behind, and alongside, my momma as she raised her four babies on her own. There is absolutely NO DOUBT in my mind that this is why my brother, sisters, and I are in the physically, emotionally, and psychologically healthy states that we are in today. It's why we love nothing more than family and why we are as close as we are today.
But still, there will always be a Larry-sized hole in my heart. My childhood undoubtedly made me who I am today. But with my dad's death came great loss and grieving.
So, June 16th and Father's Day are always a little tricky for me. And with those days approaching, I think about Bella. Of the losses she has endured, of the grieving that is to come.
The day I finally wrap my arms around our sweet girl will be one of tremendous celebration...for me. My daughter - this missing, precious piece who lives on the other side of the world; this little lady who I have prayed for every single day, several times a day, for so long; the little girl who is absolutely adored by so many who have never even met her - she will finally be in my arms. And what a celebration it will be!!!....for me.
For Bella, it will be a time of grieving. Because this will be the second traumatic loss she has had to endure in her very short lifetime: First, the loss of her birth parents, who loved her so very much that they made an unimaginable sacrifice to ensure that she would live a life that they, for whatever reason, felt they were unable to provide. And second, on that day when she is finally in my arms, she will be taken away from the only home she has ever known, the only people she has ever known, the only language, the only culture, the only place she has ever known. Two unspeakable losses at just two years old.
So. I think about my own childhood loss and then I think about hers. And I wonder if the universe always intended for me to be hers and her to be mine. If, even as I questioned for so long whether I was meant to adopt, the good Lord knew that this was the path I was destined to take.
We are children of loss, her and I. We have endured what no child ever should. We understand the grief that most children, thankfully, will never have to experience. And we will forever be connected in that way.
But there is a much more powerful way I intend to be connected to her - as her momma.
I am who I am today because God blessed me with the ultimate warrior momma, who sacrificed all she had, gave everything she had every day that passed, to protect her babies and make sure they knew how very loved and valued they were. This is the inheritance Bella will gain with me as her momma. She will be fiercely protected, unimaginably valued, and loved, oh so loved, for the amazingly strong, resilient, beautiful soul that she is.
Those of us who have faced such unspeakable loss are stronger because of it. And we will warrior on, together, she and I.
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. 2 Corinthians 4: 8-9.