Motherhood is the strangest thing. No one ever told me a baby would be a mini-human who exited the womb already doing things that I do. Her lip quivers when she’s about to cry, she sleeps on her side in the fetal position with her arms by her face, and she bites one side of her lip when she is thinking hard. I thought those were just weird things I did. Now they are weird things we both do.
Since the day she was born, she’s been strangely familiar. Not “I think we met once but I don’t remember her name” familiar, but “I hung out with her everyday for 9 months. I KNOW her” familiar.
Then, there’s Caleb, who came into our home unexpectedly as a little baby who we loved, but who was ultimately a stranger to us in the beginning. He didn’t share our eyes or the shape of our ears, and we had no idea what to expect in his personality, or even his health. Of course, now he is the most beautiful, happy 7-month-old I’ve ever met in my life. He is so sweet I can barely stand it.
Caleb is beautifully different, and yet also so wonderfully the same as Nora Kate.
These last ten weeks with our two babies have been the sweetest, most overwhelming, most sleepless, most rewarding weeks of my life to date. As I’ve gotten back to work (and to doing anything that doesn’t include wearing workout clothes with spit up on the shoulder), the number one question I’ve been asked has been, “Does this one feel different?”
And in 100 ways, yes. And in 100 others, no, absolutely not.
The dichotomy of holding this tiny girl that we anticipated for 9 months, while also holding our surprise (huge) boy has been part of what has made this season so special. It has been the most beautiful picture of the Gospel for me. We have the same deep love for these two as our children, but the way they entered our family is different.
I feel like I now understand the depth of sacrifice that would be required to willingly submit your child to harm, let alone to death on a cross for the wrongdoings of guilty men. Yet, God did exactly this in Christ.
God with Skin On
I look at Nora Kate and I see so much of myself, and in that, I’m reminded that Jesus was “God with skin on.” Nora Kate is my flesh and blood, a genetic representation of her parents...and a picture of our brokenness as well (this child already has a bit of an attitude that will probably get her grounded in a few years). Likewise, Jesus is a physical picture of what God is like, but a much clearer one than a child could ever be of their parent. (Of course, this parallel breaks down, as any does when we try to explain heavenly things with earthly examples. Jesus is God, so without attempting (and failing) to explain the Trinity, we’ll just go with it.) God sent a representative for us so that we would not only know about Him, but know Him. Powerful stuff there.
Never Forgotten Child
Nora Kate also has to eat… ALL THE TIME. Unlike Caleb who had a predictable 4-hour schedule, sometimes NK wants to eat every hour, or two, or 30 minutes. You never really know, but she definitely lets me know when she is hungry. I was at the point of exhaustion with this when God showed me this verse: “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you.” –Isaiah 49:15. What a picture of God’s care for us! A mom cannot forget her hungry baby – and even more than this, God will not forget our needs. He truly is a good, good Father.
Adoption Through Christ
Then, I look at Caleb – who is not part of our family because of genetics, but because of love. We are choosing to adopt this precious child, and he’ll be part of family forever with the same rights and responsibilities as Nora Kate, or any other child who may enter our family. What a beautiful picture of how God has adopted us into His family! I am not a direct descendant of Abraham. I would not have been included in the people of Israel. Yet, through adoption made possible only through Jesus, the Bible says I’m a coheir with Christ.
But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. John 1:12-13
(We hope that Caleb’s adoption will be final by the end of September. We have one more court date in August before we can move forward. You can continue to pray that for us. We still can't publish his face online because he is still in the care of the state, but believe me. As soon as that judge declares the adoption final, his picture will be everywhere. You'll just have to trust me for now when I say he's the cutest little boy I've ever seen.)