ever since we've known each other, ever since that day, over 12 years ago that we both knew, knew we were going to be married, i knew that that there was little miss O, that ben's and my first little one wouldn't be his first, that our first little girl wouldn't be his first, and i had to come to grips with that.
i told God that first night i was really getting to know ben that if that was going to be something that i wouldn't be able to handle that He had to make ben do something really stupid the next day, or i was falling in too deep to ever climb back out, that i was going to fall in love with him, already had, but that i didn't want the fact of a little one, adopted but accessible, to ever come between ben and i, that i didn't want to ever break up with him because i couldn't handle that. that wouldn't be fair to any of us. not to O, not to ben, not to me.
and he didn't. he didn't do anything that made me feel for one second like i didn't want to be with him.
so. i told God that i would trust Him for His grace and His timing. and all along, just when i think things are going to be too hard, He provides a way for explanations, for feelings, for me, for us.
a couple years ago, ben and i both knew that it was time to tell our kiddos that they had a half sister. time to tell them who the "extra" people at our twice-a-year family get-togethers were. why O called grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles by those familiar family names, but why ben and i are just ben and elizabeth, not aunt and uncle - because we aren't. ben is her birth-dad. and i don't have a title for relationship to O. i am ben's wife. and her half-siblings' mom.
but how to tell a five and six year old? how to explain adoption in a way that would make them understand that it wasn't that dad didn't want O, how to explain that there was a baby without a marriage, how much detail to go into, how, how, how?
and then, ben's older sister and her husband adopted the three little boys they had been doing foster care for, and the door for explaining adoption was thrown wide open. we had an example! we could explain this other part of our family without it all having to be so abstract. and ben sat down with maddie and isaac and explained. and they got it. and they didn't ask any questions that were too hard or that we didn't know how to answer.
that night ben didn't use the word "half-sister" - brothers and sisters live in the same house as each other, right? so, we decided to wait. and sometime, maddie figured it out. i don't remember when, exactly. but i do remember her asking me if O was partly her sister then. and me telling her that yes, she and isaac have a half-sister.
there have been moments, and days, and even weeks when this has been really hard for me. other people have said things (not recently, but in the first few years that ben and i were married) that were really hurtful to me in relation to this. there was a little while when i was pregnant with maddie that it was very strange for me to be pregnant for the first time, but have this not be the first time ben had been through some of this (though he often reassured me that this time was so very different, and it was, i know that, for so many reasons), when i found out that he had been in the hospital, but not in the room, for O's birth, that helped a lot. i am so grateful that i got to share first birth with him.
i also know that our kids will have more questions (how could they not), and that O could have a lot of questions for ben and for us some day. i'm sure she already does. but i don't know when the opportunity for asking will come.
all those unasked questions used to really loom over me if i thought very long about them. but now, the way i've seen this all work for the last 12 years, i am able to anticipate without trepidation. i know they are coming. but i know that the four of us have a truly amazing bond. and i know that the four of us love O and want to very, very best for her and for the relationships that the five of us are slowly and gently starting to foster.
maddie and isaac and O have been sending some letters back and forth to each other. we are going to try to meet up for an afternoon in the near future. we are taking it all one day at a time. i just keep praying for patience and grace and for God to continue all of this in His good timing, with His great love. He has been so gentle with all of us. and for that i am so very grateful.