She won’t look at me. This child. My child. I have loved her since the moment I knew about her. I didn’t carry her in my womb. I didn’t rock her to sleep or teach her to walk. My heart swelled with emotion when I saw her head full of dark hair make its way into this world. I stood at the bedside of her mother and cried. I cried because of the amazing miracle childbirth is. I cried because I knew her life would be a difficult one. I wanted something different for her. Better than my own. I wanted to be her favorite Auntie. I didn’t know that I would become her mom. I didn’t know that becoming her mama would change my life so drastically. I was so naive.

She is precious. She is broken. She is hurting. She is angry. She is sad. She is scared. She is safe with me, thus ALL those big feelings get hurled at me. I hear things like, “What does it matter to you if I ______?” She tells me of how life was better before or how we live in a free country so she can do whatever she wants to do. I remember growing up scared. Terrified that my dad wouldn’t keep me. Terrified that my bio mom (who lived in the same town as I did) would take me away. Terrified that I wasn’t good enough to be able to stay right where I was, with my dad who loved me deeply.

Yes, my life changed that day I brought her and her younger siblings into my own to love them with a fierce fiery mother’s love. I didn’t know I had it in me. I didn’t know I’d need it. I didn’t know it would always be a fight. I didn’t know that growing up without a mother would affect me so much. There is so much I didn’t know back then and I’m sure there is so much I don’t know now. I am learning. I hope that my family and I are learning together. Learning to love, be less selfish, talk instead of throw things or slam doors, etc.

Parenting is hard. Parenting kids from hard places is challenging. It makes me tired before anything even happens in the morning. I lie in bed at night wondering if I am crazy. I wonder if people really live like this or if it’s harder for me because I don’t have a husband and they don’t have a dad. RAD parenting is not for the faint of heart. It’s for the chosen; the ones who will battle. No. Matter. What. I didn’t know that for a long time. I wanted to give up. I wanted to run away. I kept hearing words like battle and warrior when people talked to me or prayed for me. I didn’t want to do this alone. Then I kept hearing 2 people telling me, “help is on the way, you’ll see” and “people are coming, they ARE coming”. It made me want to cry. I couldn’t see these people. I could see only a couple, but I also saw that they couldn’t carry this alone with me.

It’s hard to be honest. It’s hard to let people know how much I struggle emotionally, physically, mentally, and financially. It’s even harder to ask for help so I try not to. Sometimes I don’t even bother asking God for amazing things, I just ask Him to help me survive the day, or that moment. I have a hard time believing that people actually care. I know it’s not true.

A few weeks ago my friend and I were staring at this beautiful map. It shows where other parents like us live. Parents with kids from hard places who are working out their pain by hurting the people who love them. People just like us. Looking at that map makes me want to cry. It encourages me and reminds me that this struggle is all worth it. It really is. AND I am not alone.

While looking at this map we see a marker in BC with the web address indicating that it’s retreat for moms; moms like us. I suddenly turn to my friend and declare that we are going to this. It will be the last weekend in May. She asks me if I have money or a passport. Nope, but God has that covered. I know it! She looked at me like I was crazy, but got on board the crazy train with me. I spent a couple of days praying about it. Then I did the unthinkable. I emailed a few people and made a request on a private facebook group made up of Christian women in the area. I asked if several would give me $10 for my trip. Many did. Some gave more. All were supportive. I am fully funded. FULLY. In the end I will have collected a little over $500 for my registration, gas, travel food, extra night in a hotel, and my passport. I also received a huge bar of chocolate.

Thank you friends. You are my people. You are my support. You have come. You are coming. We are in this together. Not just my struggle here. Your struggle, too. We need each other. We are the body. We are HIS body. We are weak and we are strong. We walk together. I want to walk with you and pray for you and live your life with you.

Sisters, I need you. I’m pretty sure you need me, too. We are not called to just stand by and watch one another’s lives. We are called to something so much deeper. Praying for one another is great. It’s needed, it’s life saving. Action is also needed. We need to show up on one another’s doorsteps whether it’s to clean or to cry with. My favorite memories include my friend sitting on my kitchen floor talking about life while I made food. (I’d guess it was lentil soup. Good enough to cry over.) Those are special memories to me. Were we perfect? Was my house clean? Did I have the nicest things? No and even if I did none of it mattered. It was just me and my friend…and my precious baby.

Special is found in the everyday moments of life.