Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Big Adoption Series - Chapter 10


Shoshana L.
Age: 27
Date: August 26, 2010
Location: Portland, Oregon

August is upstairs packing its bags at the moment, drawing to a close its visit to the cozy brick home that my husband and I share here in Portland, Oregon. Fall is not far off. Soon the leaves on the trees will begin to turn, filling the city with the warm colors of a fiery hearth, their crooked branches dripping flames of orange, red and yellow onto grassy embankments and silvery ponds. August is a time of contemplation for me, a time of introspection as I look through the mirror of the past. My daughter was born in August, and I find my thoughts gravitating toward her and the memory of her adoption a few short days after her birth.


I don't often bring up the story of her adoption because of its intensely personal and emotional nature, but when I do I find that people always ask one question: "Do you get to see her?" I am always so thankful that I can tell people I do get to see her and that I have a great relationship with her parents. I am continually amazed at their love for her and the phenomenal way that they take care of her. Beyond that, I am amazed at their ongoing love for me, and their desire to get to know me and include me in their daughter's life. For the most part, I feel their love is undeserved and I often struggle to accept it. People often look at me with awed wonder in their eyes when I tell them I chose adoption for my daughter, but most often the feeling evoked in my own heart is shame. In the same way that explaining the brutalities of war to a civilian is difficult because the civilian has never known war, it is nearly impossible to express the feelings and self-perceptions that come with giving a child to someone else to care for. I have not known many other birth moms, so I can only speak for myself when I say that shame is a big part of my association with adoption. Someone put it to me this way, explaining the difference between guilt and shame: "While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one's actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person." My shame is that I got pregnant out of wedlock, that I let my family, my friends, my church and God down, and that I could not give my daughter the life she deserved. All of those things compound on top of each other to make it difficult to accept love and forgiveness, but God is slowly stitching my heart back together, and he's using people to do it; family, friends, church and most notably, Ruby's parents. My husband has also been a great source of strength, support, and encouragement even though he has never had personal experience with adoption. His compassion towards me has given me courage to push forward, and for that I am eternally grateful.

I spoke once on a panel with two other birth moms in Indianapolis, Indiana. The audience consisted of couples who were waiting to adopt, or were curious about the process. One thing I learned is that many couples who wish to adopt are apprehensive about open adoptions for fear that the birth mom will change her mind after she's had some time apart from the baby. I and the two birth moms on either side of me were quick to put these fears to rest. We love our little ones, and put lots of thought and prayer into our decisions. The choices we made were for the good of our children, and not for any other reason. It's probably safe to say that there have been situations where birth moms made that decision for other reasons and later came to regret them, but speaking for ourselves, we couldn't imagine undoing the lives of not only our little ones, but the new families they belonged to. When I was pregnant and debating my options, I didn't think of the baby inside me as merely a cute and cuddly infant. I imagined her as an adult with a career and an apartment. I imagined her in social settings and relationships. I considered what emotional and psychological tools she would need to succeed in life and to build healthy relationships. For a number of reasons, I knew that she needed more than what I had to offer. I wish that a lot of things had been different, but the reality is that I had a hard choice to make - one that would decide the path for another human being forever - and I chose to give that person the best possible chance to thrive.

I've learned a lot about myself and others through the process of adoption, and because of the mutual trust, love, and respect between Ruby's parents and myself, I'm learning about a world of grace and acceptance that I didn't know was possible. Instead of shutting me out of her life because of fear of the unknown, they have taken me into their hearts and lives as though I was a dear old friend. They've chosen to include me in their daughter's life so that she can grow up in the beauty of her miraculous story without shame or secrecy. Her life is special because she is loved by so many, and I can sleep at night knowing she is where she's supposed to be.


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I cannot express to you what a gift it was for Shosh to agree to write this post for me. It is impossible for me to read her words of truth and beauty without tears. She is every bit as beautiful and amazing as you think she is.

Join me here next Wednesday for Big Adoption Series - Chapter 11

(To catch up on Chapters 1-9, click here and start from the bottom.)

71 comments:

  1. Shoshana,
    You are wise beyond your years. I view you as a young lady filled with love and responsibility. Thank you for sharing your side of the adoption story. Thank you for being who you are in Christ.

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  2. I'm so glad you posted this morning before we left. I've been looking forward to it! Ruby is such a blessing and so very blessed. Love you!

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  3. Thank you so much for sharing your story here on Flowergirl's blog. What a wonderful insight into your heart. You are a beautiful woman!! I'm thankful you shared your radiant smile with Ruby. :)

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  4. You are all such amazing people. So full of love and goodness. Thank you for sharing such a personal story, and be such an inspiration for all.

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  5. That was an absolutely beautiful post. I have to say that as an adoptive mom of two that one of the reasons we chose internations adoptive was to avoid an open and we thought at the time a potentially messy situation. I am so glad that Ruby's first mom addressed that thought.

    Andrea

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  6. That was lovely! What a brave and caring young woman she is. She is so beautiful and Ruby looks like her!

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  7. Shoshana, you are a beautiful and wonderful woman, and I can see God's grace all over your heart through your wise and gentle words. The sacrifice you made for your child is more than most mothers ever have to make. Ruby is so blessed to have you. Thank-you for sharing your personal story here, and may God heap blessing upon blessing on your life.

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  8. Shoshana, thank you for sharing your heart with us. I am an adoptive mom in an open adoption situation, and we love our birthmother dearly. To hear your thoughts and feelings gives me a peek into her heart as well. Thank you for your openness! Becky

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  9. amazing. You gave LIFE Shoshana. Just beautiful. By the way, I'm in Grants Pass:)

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  10. Crying here... for these words of grace, wisdom, and sacrificial love. No shame. We all are sheep who have gone astray. Some of us just hide it. You chose light and life and love. That is glory, not shame. That is the work of redemption, the point of the cross, the glory of grace. I honor you, Shoshana.

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  11. Gosh, I'm just bawling! This is beautiful! Shoshana- thank you for sharing!

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  12. Well that gave me my morning cry! Thank you very much. ;) Shoshanna, you are a wonderful woman of God and so very selfless. God bless you!

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  13. I love you Shoshana... my beautiful sister in Christ!

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  14. Absolutely beauty-FULL! And, I 100% agree with Leslie. Only grace here...no shame. Praying for you that you will walk in that freedom and know what an absolute blessing you have provided!

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  15. Oh, what a touching and emotional story...totally teary here!
    It's so cool that the blessings are all around and that Ruby has two loving and caring families. What's also cool is that Ruby has two women in her life that are fantastic writers...and great communicators! Thanks for sharing.

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  16. What an incredible, amazing gift to have Shosh share her story as a birth mother. As someone in the process of domestic adoption it is such a blessing to read her story. Ruby is blessed indeed by two families who love her so much!

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  17. God is so good.
    To think how He orchestrated the intricacies of all of these stories to work in His big story is nothing short of awesome.
    Shoshana, thank you for sharing. Thank you for being faithful.

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  18. What a magical child Ruby is. She has brought you all together. You are so much fuller for all of these decisions. Shosh you made the most amazing decision of your life one that takes so much courage. Thank you Sha for being you and welcoming this amazing woman into you life. For keeping her so close. XOXO

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  19. Shoshana ~ Thank you for sharing your story here. Bless you heart for doing so. Right away I could see the sweet resemblance between the two of you. Your smiles are almost identical.

    Love and hugs ~ FlowerLady

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  20. Oh she is amazing. I just want to hug you all. She made a very mature decision and truly put Ruby first and followed her heart and many many hours of prayer to make a decision that I know was not made lightly. What a blessing she is to your family and to sweet Ruby!

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  21. Wow. And to know that your story COULD possibly help someone else make the decision to do the same good for their child, is such a wonder.

    Thanks for posting and we all love Ruby River and her parents, too!
    Joni

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  22. Beauty from ashes. God blesses us BEYOND our understanding!!! And MAN, how can you not just fall head over heals in love with this woman that so beautifully GAVE!!! May God bless her AND Ruby AND y'all as you lead a life of LOVE like no other!

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  23. This was amazing, reading these sincere, open, and heartfelt words was breathtaking. I have never had the opportunity to read a birth mom's prespective and heart behind her decision. Her love and desire for the best life possible for her daughter only makes Ruby's story even more special! Ruby is blessed beyond all measure, so much love from both Moms, she will grow up so strong in that love!!!!

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  24. Love the picture, they BOTH are SO beautiful!
    Love the meaning behind names...just thought that blog world might think this was fascinating!

    Origin - Latin (hebrew - peninim).
    Meaning: Red-colored precious stone.
    The Ruby was one of the stones in the breastplate of the Israeli high priest. The price of wisdom and that of a virtuous woman is said to be far above rubies.
    (exodus 28:17, prov 3:15, 31: 10).

    Which colour would you spontaneously associate with love and vivacity, passion and power? It's obvious, isn't it? Red. Red is the colour of love. It radiates warmth and a strong sense of vitality. And red is also the colour of the ruby. Red for ruby. Ruby-red. The most important thing about this precious stone is its colour. It was not for no reason that the name 'ruby' was derived from the Latin word 'rubens', meaning 'red'. The red of the ruby is incomparable: warm and fiery. Two magical elements are associated with the symbolism of this colour: fire and blood, implying warmth and life for mankind. So ruby-red is not just any old colour, no, it is absolutely undiluted, hot, passionate, powerful colour. Like no other gemstone, the ruby is the perfect way to express powerful feelings.
    Love this...she is precious, undiluted, passionate, and has warmth and life for mankind... : )

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  25. such a sweet and beautiful story written by a sweet and beautiful person.

    I'd give anything to know Lydia's mother in china.

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  26. Holy cow. That was amazing. What an amazing mother she is. What an amazing mother you are. I just love this glimpse into that side of adoption. We have one son from Guatemala, so the birth mother relationship for us is a whole different ballgame since we've never met her and don't know if we'll ever even have that privilege. But this post meant something more to me for a different reason -- my husband and I just finished the process for adopting through our state. More than likely it will be older kids, possibly sibilings, and more than likely kids who have been through more than their fair share. A big unknown journey for us, but what a blessing to read this post from your amazing birthmother to remind me and encourage me in our own little adventure over here...

    Thanks, my friend. Your blog never ceases to bless and inspire.

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  27. Ruby is so incredibly blessed to have two such remarkable women in her life. Thank you for sharing your stories.

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  28. amazing how we are interwoven into each other's lives. i'm so glad He brought you all together. so much love in your great big family.

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  29. "They've chosen to include me in their daughter's life so that she can grow up in the beauty of her miraculous story without shame or secrecy."

    A-M-A-Z-I-N-G-!!! What beautifully articulated statement.

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  30. Shoshana and Shannon, Your connection is not only through that little Ruby but both of your Amazing Grace and Openess and Bravery and of course you both have such a way with words. I just LOVED this, and I'm too teary to even articulate how lovely this made me feel today.

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  31. Shannon that was amazing. Thank you for allowing Shosh to have a voice on your blog. She is an excellent writer and really just touched my heart so deeply. I can understand her perfectly for I'm sure that's how I would feel too. But what I really believe is that she was extremely wise and unselfish in the decision she made. She did what was best for Ruby and that price was so hard to pay. So proud of you for including her in your life and becoming a big pot of love for your daughter. Just a testiment of God's amazing ability to work things out in our lives...one way or another.

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  32. Your story is beautiful and you told it in such a compelling way that I am crying! I am going to pray with you for the healing that you seek. You have such a depth of wisdom and the most generous spirit. Just like the birthparents of my 2 daughters -- ages 12 and 9. I envy your open relationship with Ruby. What a gift for all of you, Kris

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  33. I just feel so happy about this, the happy ending that maybe has some grief involved, but really in the end I'm just happy for everyone.

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  34. i can't even find the words to describe the beauty of this. my mom is adopted and never knew her birth mother and it is something that is incredibly hard for her, even at 56 years old. this letter is such a gift!

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  35. Shosh, you are beautiful and brave and you made the extremely difficult but right decision. God forgives and can heal even the deepest of wounds. I hope that you do not let shame get you down for too long. You are truly a wonderful example of a true mother's love to all of us.

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  36. You are wise, selfless and so loving Shoshana. What a beautiful life Ruby will have because of what you did for her. How fantastic that you get to share her life and have such a loving relationship with her parents.
    You're amazing and I hope God blesses you 100 fold for putting Ruby before yourself.
    This is such an amazing and beautiful story.
    Thanks to both of you for sharing it. xx

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  37. Shoshana,
    You are as amazing as Shannan always says. I think you are extraordinarily brave and Miss Ruby is one of the luckiest girls I've ever known. I can't imagine what it feels like to go through what you have, but I would hope that I might carry myself with even half the grace and dignity that you do.

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  38. Shoshana and Shannon,

    What a blessed little girl this is to not have to make a choice of whom she will love! I have read this twice today. It has been such a blessing to me!

    Joy K.

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  39. Lovely and touching....... thank you for sharing your story.

    Michelle

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  40. Shoshana, you gave something to Shannon and Cory that no other could and Shannon and Cory have given you what no others could.Ruby has given you both love and absolute joy..It was meant to be and you are an amazing family..xx

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  41. I've read this post twice now & still don't know exactly what words to use to express how beautiful and touching and brave and loving this is. Thank you for continuing to share this story with us. It is a gift.

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  42. How blessed little Miss Ruby is to have two wonderful women who love her so much. I cried through the post. It took so much courage and an unselfish heart to let that little girl go where she would be given the best for her life. Shoshanna is an example of true motherly love and Shannan you are a great example of love and trust. God makes fabulous women!!

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  43. Shoshana, thank you for this brave,thoughtful,
    loving post. I also pray for your complete healing......that you can move completely beyond your shame and fully embrace God's joy and redemption.

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  44. There were tears in my eyes as well. What a beautiful story….while I know there are difficulties…there is only beauty oozing out all over! Thanks for sharing.

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  45. Shoshana - you are so brave. Shame isn't even a word that crosses my mind when I read about what you did for your daughter... brave, bold, courageous, and selfless love - those are all the words that I can think of to describe the actions you took when you chose to allow sweet Ruby to not only live, but live well. Hats off to you! Your story truly sheds a new light on open adoption for me. Thank you so much for sharing!

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  46. Your feelings - so pure and raw. I am honored that you shared. Thank you

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  47. beautiful, redemptive, blessing ... that is what this is!

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  48. Thank you for sharing your intensely personal story. It is beautiful :) Praying God's blessings in your life.

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  49. So that is where Ruby gets those cheeks and that smile! What amazing gifts you all have - and ARE - giving one another! Once again, you and your family amaze me! Becky G.

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  50. Crying AGAIN! Seriously - I read these after every one goes to bed so the kids don't say "Mommy are you ok?" I can not express how much I admire birth mothers that do the right thing for the baby. What a selfless and brave choice. Ruby has an amazing birth mom and an amazing Momma. My sister in law is scared to adopt - but reading your blog helping her figure it out.

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  51. thank you Shoshana!
    what a mature, beautiful, Godly woman:O)
    Ruby is doubly blessed!

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  52. An amazing post by an amazing young woman. I loved reading this and it has made me very wishful that my sister's two kids could know their birth moms in the way Ruby knows hers. Ruby is one lucky little girl!!! xo

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  53. I heart Soshana for sharing so deeply and beautifully, without reservation.

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  54. What an awesome story God is weaving into the life of this sweet little girl thanks to the faith and obedience to do the hard things on both ends! I loved hearing your sweet heart for Ruby's future!!!

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  55. I cannot imagine what an amazing young woman Miss Ruby River will grow to be as she is blessed with two of the most amazing women as mothers. God is just so good, so big, so powerful. To share your story takes courage. You, Miss Shoshana are strong, beautiful and full of God's grace. Ladies, thank you so for sharing.

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  56. Shannan ~ this was so beautifully written and so glad you shared Shosh's words with us...you all have blessed one another so much
    xo

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  57. My mom is a birth mother. I lost my sister to adoption 13 years before I was born. It was a closed adoption... in the 60's. I was devastated when I found out on my 16th birthday. I felt like she was missing all my life, but at that moment things finally made sense.

    BUT, we are a family reunited by adoption. We came into each others lives 8 years ago.

    A uniquely blended family.

    A HUGE gigantic blended family that takes 20 minutes to explain.

    I love my sister... and I love her parents. AND, I love my mom for choosing life.

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  58. Goodness I am so glad I found your blog. What a lovely, moving, stunning post. Amazing..her, you and Ruby. Oh, Ruby.

    We are kindred, you and me...funny, did I ever tell you how I stumbled here? You left a comment on my friend's blog (Kelle) and I never read her comments (come on! I'd be at the computer all day! ha) but I happened to see yours and it was witty and funny so I clicked through. And bookmarked. And came back. No accident there.

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  59. i am a bit teary myself after reading this... your adoption series is so tender and real. my heart swells at shoshana's story and the truths about the other side of the story. you are both two very blessed mothers and ruby is without a doubt a very lucky little girl!

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  60. Absolutely beautiful! Ruby is so blessed.

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  61. What a beautiful gift you have given to share this here. It is encouraging, precious, and most importantly helps people understand others better. You are such a special part of God's plan.

    An abundance of blessings to you--thank you, thank you, from the bottom of my heart!

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  62. This post has touched me as is often the case with this blog. But this one...it has been in my heart and mind for a couple of days. I cannot articulate what's in my heart but thank you both Shannan & Shoshana for once again allowing God to use Flowerpatchfarmgirl to speak His truth and show His love & grace! What a special treasure this has been to me

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  63. I love every word of this and am amazed by both of you and your beautiful daughter. What a testimony!

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  64. Wow, I've never read anything like this. Who knew that God would bless so many people through Ruby's life? Beautiful testimony. Thank you for your courage, all of you!

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  65. Absolutely amazing and what an incredible gift! How wonderful to know that you share a bond with so many powerful and strong women. God blesses us in the most diverse and wonderful ways!

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  66. As a 56 year old adoptee, I know what a treasure you all are giving Ruby by having her birth mom in her life!

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  67. I come back here often and reread the miracles of my grandchildren. Shosh is an amazing writer, and has wisdom well beyond her years. She will always be a great light to Ruby, and a source of encouragement and love. Shosh is and always will be a wonderful part of our family.

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  68. What an amazingly strong young woman Shoshana is. What a true gift from God.

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