a baby scrapbook brings the unexpected

I was so excited to pick up a scrapbook that Payton’s biological aunt had made for her. At the time of Payton’s adoption I had spoken with the aunt, she shared with me that she had pictures of Payton when she was a baby, and they had some family history they wanted to give us.

When I got the news that the scrapbook was waiting for us at DHS, I was eager to see what they had included. I pulled a beautiful scrapbook out of a manila envelope and began flipping the pages. A newborn picture of Payton adorned the first page, and the second. The second picture was on the scale, so I could see how much she weighed at birth. This was something many foster parents would never see. I slowly turned each page wondering what would come next.

There was a picture of her bio father and mother hugging each other with the words, “waiting expectantly” written across the opposing page. The unexpected tears began rolling down my cheeks. Another picture showed Payton’s bio mom holding her when she was about five months old, before we had even met her. And yet another one during Payton’s last visit with her bio mom. It was taken at a photo center, Payton is feigning a smile, and her bio mom looks happy. The family tree and history I had been promised weren’t included. And the tears just wouldn’t stop.
I had no idea these feelings would assail me. Feelings of relief, loss, guilt, fear, and disappointment flooded my heart. I was overwhelmed.

Some relief fell over me because Payton would have a newborn picture of herself. Up to this point all I had was a picture of her when she was placed in another foster home at six months. These pictures would help her deal with her adoption later in life.

I felt a sense of loss because I missed out on Payton’s infancy; I wasn’t the one holding her in the pictures. I felt guilty because I wasn’t there for her, even though logic says I wasn’t her mother at the time.

Fear had its dreadful grip on me. I worried that she would see the pictures of her bio mom and dad in the hospital and think that they were happy to have her. I feared she would think we had taken her away from another life. Disappointment set in when I realized that the scrapbook lacked the family history we were told about.

What was most shocking of all was that I wasn’t expecting to feel any of this. Sure, I assumed some of these thoughts would come when Payton was older. The fear and disappointment were the more likely to arise, but definitely not until the pre-teen years.

Focusing on the fact that she now had pictures of her bio parents, coupled with pictures of her in the hospital helped some, but I was still aware of the fear building deep inside me. For a time it slipped my mind who I was supposed to be relying on, but when I did remember, I prayed, and God reminded me that the future is out of my hands. What this child needs in the immediate is for me to love her with all I have. I tried to give my fears over to Him.

What helped most of all was the message Nate R. gave at church. In a section of his message he was talking about having a wayward child. Paraphrasing, he said that if you do, you need to just wait on the porch for them to come running home. My favorite part was when he said, “Is (your) God not the God of the prodigal son?” [The parable of the prodigal (lost) son is found in Luke 15:11-32.]

YES, He is my God too. Peace swept over me, and I was reminded once again that there may be trials in the future, maybe many. For now though, I am to love her with all I have. When the time comes God will lead me to share information with her about the life she had before she came to us. I have to trust that Jesus will hold her and keep her, as He has already proven He will.