“Love isn’t less valuable because it’s fought for. And it isn’t less valuable because it comes easy. Remember that.”

Some adoption stories seem perfect from start to finish… from a tear-filled homecoming to beautiful days and restful nights packed with bonding and growth. The love comes easy.

But other adoptions (most, one could argue) aren’t like that. Travel is stressful. Bonding happens slowly. And those adoption buzzwords you’ve heard—trauma, grief, even Adoptive Postpartum Depression—start taking on new meaning. That love must be fought for.

Praise God, all love is valuable. So if you’re in a season of fighting for love, be encouraged by the following mom’s story…


I pretty much cried my way through the first nine months of my second daughter’s life.

I’m just going to jump right in and admit that.

For almost two years, I’ve been sitting on her story—longing to tell it, but not knowing how to do it justice; not sure how to invite you into the beautiful glory of something that was simultaneously so painful.

I still don’t know that I can tell you exactly what happened.

Adoptive Postpartum Depression (let’s not argue; it’s real). A deep, deep love for her birth mom and deep, deep grief at the thought of her loss (something that nothing but experience could have prepared me for). A pterodactyl-level loud cry (sorry baby, but it’s true). Long nights without sleep (don’t take these for granted, single people). A politically polarized time in history that was invading my classroom and making eighth-graders hateful in ways I never could have imagined (I’ll stop including afterthoughts). 

 

I only know this—I was a wreck.

And wrecked. And wrecking others. It was nothing that any of us deserved. And it feels weird and shameful and embarrassing to start the story of someone I love so much in this way, but somehow I’m believing it will all make sense one day.

know that when I first laid eyes on my baby girl, I loved her. I know that my heart grew every inch necessary in the hospital room. And I know she became mine in a way words will never be able to describe and I wanted nothing more than to give her the world.

But something was different, and I wasn’t ready for it.

On the morning we met our first adopted daughter, Diamond, I knew instantly that she was ours and we were hers. (You can read her story here.) I have since chosen words from Iain Thomas’s book to describe the moment: “Then my soul saw you and said, Oh there you are. I’ve been waiting for you.”

In the days, weeks, months, years to follow, I’ve never doubted. Not once. It wasn’t flawless, but it was natural, “normal”, easy.

Diamond’s story set the precedent that defined my expectations, and I had no idea how different the experiences with my two daughters could be.

 

And still… here comes my Millie girl.

She is our second daughter, adopted domestically, and deeply longed for before she ever took a breath on this side of heaven.

She is a radiant live-wire. A passionate and feisty fireball. Extreme in every way. Our girl loves to laugh and seriously has the biggest smile of anyone I’ve ever met. She is something fierce and wonderful. 

But my heart ached for months at an inability to connect with her. And the shame that spiraled from that was just as fierce as she was.

“I wanted you. No one has ever wanted something as much as your father and I wanted you, darling. You’re about as far from an accident as anyone can get.”
—Fredrik Backman

I copied that quote onto the tear-soaked pages of my journal in April 2018—four months after Millie was born. And it was true. Really, really true. I wanted her more than life itself.

 

 

 

Yet, I went to bed every night, broken.

Pleading with the Lord for a breakthrough. Weeping with Him for His blood to cover the words that fell from my mouth that I never meant to say. Asking for new mercies to meet me in the morning and the strength to love my girl like she deserved to be loved.

And I’d wake up every morning, weary. Already defeated. Cloaked in the shame of things I’d said in the night, my husband’s correction, and the lies of the enemy.

I hurt in a way I’ve never hurt before, and I yelled at the Lord more times than I can recount: “Where are you?! Why aren’t you showing up or breaking through? Why aren’t you changing me when I long so deeply to be changed?”

He felt distant, and the doubt settled into my skin.

This seems to be more about me than it is about her, but I suppose that’s the inevitable truth, isn’t it? Our stories become one with another. 

Because even when the Father felt far, I know it was the Spirit’s whispers that kept me moving. One of those whispers came in this sign, appearing over and over again in my Facebook and Instagram feed: 

“I choose you. And I’ll choose you over and over and over. Without pause, without a doubt, in a heartbeat. I’ll keep choosing you.”

 

It became my anthem.

Words I whispered to myself every morning, afternoon, and night.

I don’t yet know the warrior our Millie will be, but I do know she will be one; and I know she taught me (is teaching me) to be one, too. Teaching me to be fierce. Teaching me to fight.

As I anchored into the fact that God chose me, the Spirit began to speak another truth yet to unfold into my heart. 

While Diamond will need to know she was loved immediately, Millie will need to know that she was fought for; there’s purpose in this.

For some reason, I feel hesitant to share those words with you (except that the enemy’s shame became so heavy for so long). But I believe with all of my heart that they’re true.

I don’t believe the Lord forced grief upon us or that He made her a “difficult baby” to teach us a lesson. I don’t believe He made me say the words I wish I never said. And I don’t believe He made my heart to ache in brokenness and shame.

 

But I do believe He redeems all things.

I do believe He uses what the enemy intends for evil for His good. I do believe He’s faultless and without surprise at our shortcomings. And I do believe that He loves my baby a million-bazillion times more than I ever could.

So if His heart for her is good [and His heart for me is good] and if He chose me to be her mom and her to be my girl, then there must be a purpose in what seems to be so painful. There must be a purpose in choosing us for each other.

These words shared by a good friend echoed in my head— 

“Love isn’t less valuable because it’s fought for. And it isn’t less valuable because it comes easy. Remember that.”

I remember. I will choose. And I will fight. Because I need her as much as she needs me.

 

You can read Lindsey’s full blog post here.

 

If you’re experiencing Adoptive Postpartum Depression, there’s help.

TALK TO SOMEONE