I have joked with friends about my ambitions of writing a book someday, and I have to believe that if that dream ever may come to pass, this past year will be one of the most climactic chapters. It's been a year...full of beginnings and endings, a year of introductions and bittersweet good-byes. This year I've been met with challenges, a broken heart, ruthless trust, hurt, joy, struggle, hope, dreams, perspective, adventure, confidence, just plain craziness, pain. I've experienced some of my happiest of days, darkest of nights, been deeply disappointed and responsible for disappointing others along the way. I've depended on others and been depended on by others like never before. I've carried burdens, experienced freedom, walked beside, fallen down, been carried, and lifted up. This year, the unlikely have left an imprint on my life, for good. Through my time working with individuals experiencing homelessness, I have been given more than I could have ever dreamt possible. I've learned to listen, and I've felt the purest kind of love I believe exists. I have come to realize that the things we are called to care deeply for and about have everything in common. There is great power in relationships and I truly believe that people are put in our paths to be cared about, known, empowered and loved...with our whole heart.
I've recently started working to defend a new cause, as my story typically unfolds, the path was made clear, and I felt confidence in the timing to move in to the next. My new endeavor is with an organization called BraveLove. Here we go again, another role where I am ill-equipped to bear the weight of the mission I have signed up to carry out. This is when my gaze is turned upward and my hands are held open, because none of this is mine to hold. BraveLove is a movement to increase adoption...this mission is heavy, needed and so very beautiful...
'Our mission is to change the perception of adoption through honest, informative, and hopeful communication that conveys the heroism and bravery a birth mother displays when she places her child with a loving family through adoption.
The heartbreaking truth is that many women facing unplanned pregnancy feel unable to care for a child. Sometimes the single-most loving thing a mother can do is place her child with a loving, eager adoptive family. We aim to invite and empower women to choose adoption.'
During my short time with BraveLove, everything about this organization has resonated deeply within my heart. I've always been 'for' adoption, but I have not always understood the importance of also being 'for' a birth mother. You see, a birth mother really is the hero involved in the adoption story. Her love is real for her child, and her love is the bravest kind. It's the selfless kind of love that knows in advance it is going to lose. The love of this mother is so great that she gives of herself for 9 months, loves in the most humanly intimate way, and then chooses to place her child with another family, so her child will not only live, but live a life filled. We all know the phrase, 'it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.' So easily said, yet so hard to believe when truly experienced.
This year, I've loved, laughed, lost, left and recently stepped into the next. I've realized that through it all, love has been the key component. It's that word we toss around more casually than a pair of jorts on a hot summer day. We use it to describe our affections towards a bowl of queso in one breath, then in the next to tell that single individual who has the ability to take our breath away, just how deeply we care.
Love is the act of making the world more beautiful, and if you've read anything I have ever written, you know that I am a believer that this beauty is not always what we see at first glance. This is where our 'change of thinking' must come in. We have to change the way we think about certain things in order to see positive change in the world. We must re-direct our mindset towards this act of a birth mother and recognize her decision as one filled with hope, love, trust and surrender. We must not see her as 'giving up' but as one who is so very 'giving'. I recently read an eye opening statistic...
There are 3-4 times the number of parents seeking to adopt children in the US than there are women choosing to place for adoption. 2% of all unplanned pregnancies result in adoption. Two. percent. Countless individuals across the country are rising up to adopt children, both domestically and internationally, unfortunately, there are not enough children being birthed domestically for every family to take in a child. If we are 'for' adoption, we must also be 'for' this mother, before, during and after her pregnancy.
With any act of love, no matter how big or small, comes great risk, therefore love is always brave. Whether we know we will lose from day one, like these precious birth mothers or we are simply risking it all with no foreknowledge of how things will take shape, to extend love we must be willing to fully expose our hearts. We must uncover beauty in the unlikely places. To love the world, and those in it, takes bravery. It is in that moment when your heart is broken, when you are mourning the loss of that sweet one your heart has become so very attached to, that you begin to realize just how courageous this act really is. True love is not for the faint at heart, it involves sacrifice.
May we learn to rest in the assurance that our courageous acts of love are never in vain and always so very worth it. No matter the risk involved, no matter how much it might hurt, to love is never the wrong choice. I hope that we can learn to see past the situation, the struggle and the circumstance and see through to the bravery just bursting to shine through! I hope it will empower you to love in the midst of your brokenness, may we allow light to shine bright through the cracked spaces in our hearts, and be inspired to care for and about people...with our whole broken heart.