Monday, December 20, 2010
Seven years ago today a beautiful, tiny boy was born into my heart. He was there as a result of God's calling for me to love this baby. Initially I said, "not me, Lord. My plate is full, but I promise to pray for this precious baby". God didn't call me to pray for him just yet. He called me to love him. The longer Greg and I prayed for him and his biological family, the more strongly we felt God calling us to love him as our own. We started the adoption process, attended the ultra sound where we learned he was going to be a boy and continued praying with our church family about the mighty task God had given us. We knew we would face hurdles and there would be complications, but trusted God to work out the details. But, the journey we were on included broken, hurting people who made choices along the way. You see, Ryan Patrick was born to one of God's broken daughters. She was having our son because she had an affair. We learned upon Ryan's birth that she was also addicted to drugs, therefore so was he. We were supposed to be adopting Ryan to help this couple save their marriage, get clean and raise their other children the way they know is best. Ryan would serve a painful reminder of a poor choice and his birth mother wanted to save him from that burden. Nine days after his emergency birth, my beautiful son passed away in my arms as I sang to him and told him all about God who loves him and was waiting to welcome him into heaven where there were no tubes, pain or sadness. I walked out of that hospital still feeling the peace of God around me. He carried me and comforted me.
As we attempted to put ourselves back together and move forward in our new "normal", I was overcome with resentment at times because I didn't get the happy ending I expected. Losing Ryan, I tried to justify would somehow make his birth mother straighten out, heal their broken marriage and make their other children the priority they deserve to be. None of those things evolved out of our loss and I was so angry. It has been a long journey of healing for me. I've struggled with making Ryan's life matter. Only we knew him and the impact was so great. It is so hard to think of him as forgotten or that he didn't matter. He is God's baby. He was my baby. Each year as his birthday arrives, I struggle with what to do to mark his day. It certainly hangs in my heart throughout the holiday season, as our only nine days with him also had to revolve around the demands of Christmas gatherings, keeping things "normal" for the girls and being at the hospital every day for Ryan.
Last year. God revealed to me one of the reasons I struggle so much with this season is because no one was willing to slow down and step back their plans because of a baby. I imagine that is how God must feel. At what point do we slow down and take note of the baby all of this business is supposed to be about?
This year I was blessed to hear a message from a lady in our church who lost a 14 year old daughter to cancer just a few years ago. She was amazing. She said, "if I am breathing, I am grieving, but I choose to live in joy". It was so beautiful and healing.
God's been working on me. I am grateful. I have enjoyed this season for the first time since I held my son. I still think about him and wonder who he would be in the mix that is the Baughman family. I was so blessed to be called to be his mom. It was a privilege, no matter how short our time together. I am grateful God called me to love him, because that was the easy part. And this year.....well, I've marked his birth by sharing my heart and spending the day out and about with one of my girls. I am okay.