So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

I remember etching our family plans into a napkin at our two-year anniversary dinner.

We were eating at Rio in Sisters, Oregon and I couldn’t wait to get back to the little cabin we had rented to watch Harry Potter and dream about babies. Weird combo? Probably.

First we would conceive and carry a miracle baby in my actual womb. Then after a bit of time had passed, after we got “the easy one” birthed, we would enter into the adoption world.

I think back to my barely 20-year-old self and think about how naive she was—I still only have about half a clue. The difference is I now know I only have half a clue.

We did know adoption was big and complex, an entire world we couldn’t yet understand or fathom. We were busy building a youth ministry from the ground up, and adopting sounded like it’s own giant adventure in and of itself . . . one we didn’t yet have the capacity for. Adoption seemed so far off, way in our future.

But then the whole conceiving miraculously was taking longer than I thought He’d allow, and we just wanted to be parents.

So we decided to begin that journey, to crack open the pages of adoption and explore what that might look like for our life.

What I didn’t know was how much it would wreck me and rebuild me.

I wasn’t aware adoption would be what was used to tear apart everything I thought I knew, whittle me down to my rawest form, and force me to see the world with much clearer eyes.

Adoption has been an avenue most used to sharpen me, reveal to me, build my faith, and humble me.

My glasses became a little less rose-colored but a heck-of-a lot clearer. My perception began to fill in and become a little fuller, whole. I began to truly acknowledge the tension of both suffering and joy—instead of simply skipping to the happy-go-lucky-God’s-got-me attitude I mustered 24/7.

But I wasn’t prepared for how much adoption would humble me and reveal to me that I actually don’t know much. Who is ever prepared to be undone, to find out they don’t know much at all?

It sort of silenced me in a lot of ways, slowed down my words and my assumptions . . . but also created an urgency and confidence in other ways.

Adoption has made me a better person because it has taught me to slow down enough to genuinely embrace other people’s and culture’s lived experiences. A definition of embrace is to adopt; I began working really hard at mentally adopting other people’s lived experiences, thinking through how it might actually feel to live in someone else’s shoes, and quickly realized I had no room to tell someone how to feel or live or protest or fight for justice.

A deeper sense of empathy has been dug into my soul, thanks to adoption.

It has hushed me down, humbling me enough to listen and learn from people who are different than me. It has revealed to me on an incredibly deep level the absolute importance of truly listening, caring, and seeing.

Adoption has wrecked my belief of willing-ourself-through-tragedy and taught me sometimes, life is just downright hard and broken—but even in those immensely broken seasons, we somehow find an incredible strength to do the impossible. Adoption has revealed to me, more than most experiences I’ve walked through, that brokenness and loss are absolutely not “God’s plan.”

The plan for us doesn’t contain loss and trauma and brokenness. But this world is broken and imperfect, and out of that comes hardship.

And even in those dark, pain-filled seasons . . . there is still goodness in the darkness. There is still beauty rising from the ashes.

Adoption has taught me the immense value of words and educating ourselves and advocating for those whose voices are too often hushed or shoved away. It has revealed to me how loose my lips can be, how quick I am to speak when I should shut up and listen—it’s shown me time and time again how a simple word change can shift the entire meaning of a conversation.

Adoption has made me a better mama I am most definitely not who I was even two years ago, but I would hope that is the truth for you too, that we all continue growing, evolving, shifting, transforming, and changing more into who we were made to become.

I count it a privilege to have been made a mom by adoption.

Natalie Brenner

Natalie Brenner is wife to Loren and mom to two under two, living in Portland, Oregon. She is the best-selling author of This Undeserved Life. She likes her wine red, ice cream served by the pint, and conversations vulnerable. Natalie believes in the impossible and hopes to create safe spaces for every fractured soul. She's addicted to honesty. You can love Jesus or not, go to church or not: she'd love to have coffee with you. Natalie is a bookworm, a speaker, and a wanna-be runner. Connect with her at NatalieBrennerWrites.com and join her email list. 

3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child

In: Adoption
3 Things We Learned While Waiting For Our Adopted Child www.herviewfromhome.com

First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage. Remember that old nursery rhyme? I can still hear it playing in my head. Growing up, I had always assumed that would be my story. The love and marriage part certainly happened for me in an amazing, storybook ending kind of way. However, the baby in the baby carriage didn’t come as quickly for my husband and me. As a few years passed, we began to feel a little restless and disheartened. However, God opened up His perfect plan for our family by leading us to...

Keep Reading

I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I Didn’t Let Go

In: Adoption
I Chose Adoption For My Baby, But I didn't Let Go www.herviewfromhome.com

  I am often asked, when people find out I am a birth mother, “Why did you decide on adoption? Didn’t you want her?” In the tidy nutshell version of my response it was the logistical factors of being pregnant at just 16-years-old that was my why. Being a junior in high school when I saw those two pink lines in October of 2004, I still needed to graduate, plus I wanted to attend college. I did not have a job to support us. In fact, I did not have my driver’s license or even the few dollars it took...

Keep Reading

Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing

In: Adoption, Child Loss, Miscarriage, Motherhood
Dear Mama Reading This Right Now, You Are Amazing www.herviewfromhome.com

To the one with healthy children in your lap, YOU are a great mom. Whether you work full-time or stay at home, you are amazing and deserve to be celebrated every day, but especially today. You sacrificed your body and your own well-being over and over again and I know you don’t regret any of it. You are enough and you are appreciated even when you don’t feel it. To the one holding a child someone else carried inside of her body, YOU are a great mom. Whether you faced infertility, surrogacy, chose to adopt, or have biological and adopted children,...

Keep Reading

4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know

In: Adoption, Journal
4 Things a Birth Mom Wants Adoptive Families To Know www.herviewfromhome.com

The minutes on the hospital clock dwindled as I swaddled my infant daughter one last time before she was permanently placed in the arms of her adoptive family. In those final moments, I thought my heart might shatter into a thousand slivers without any hope of being mended. I was broken. Scarred. Devastated. When I left the hospital without my baby, it felt like someone was pounding on my chest with both fists and I couldn’t catch my breath. The emptiness that followed was inconceivable. A piece of me, my daughter, was gone. I couldn’t comprehend the magnitude of my...

Keep Reading

No Matter Life’s Season, God Provides What We Need

In: Adoption, Faith
No Matter Life's Season, God Provides What We Need www.herviewfromhome.com

When my husband and I adopted our older daughter Lilly 15 years ago, she was nine-months-old and weighed about 17 pounds. That might not seem like much, but she was a chunk of a little girl—so much so that people we met in elevators and restaurants in China often mistook her for a two-year-old. I had worked on my cardiovascular fitness in the months leading up to our adoption trip, and my regular runs on the treadmill prepared me to traverse the Great Wall with relative ease. My upper body strength, however, was a different story entirely. My arms and...

Keep Reading

Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption

In: Adoption
Acknowledging the Loss in Adoption www.herviewfromhome.com

  “Don’t do it! Adoption is the worst!” His voice echoed through my entire body, his words hitting every unprepared bone, and I clutched the full glass of ice water ready to plunge it in his direction. There were hundreds of people in the darkened bar room, on dates mostly, sitting in the crowd enjoying the comedy show. My insides twisted and lurched, I heard nothing but the reverberations of laughter, and my mind kept envisioning myself walking over to him and punching his face in. When the comedian began working adoption into her show, my body began tingling and...

Keep Reading

Adoption Is Love

In: Adoption, Journal
Adoption Is Love www.herviewfromhome.com

  I pull around in the car line and scan the group of kids for my daughter. Usually, I can find her easily, chatting it up with her friends as she waits for me to pick her up from school. Today, though, I don’t see her. I look again and I finally spot her. She is slumped on the curb, her head in her hands and her eyes downcast. My momma radar instantly goes off as I watch her slowly get up and drag her feet to the car and I can tell that something is wrong. She slides into...

Keep Reading

The Ache While We Wait to Adopt

In: Adoption, Faith
The Ache While We Wait to Adopt www.herviewfromhome.com

  There’s a persistent ache, but sometimes I can ignore it. I can turn up the volume of what’s around me and drown it out for a bit. I play hostess and invite the noise to come in: come fill up my heart, come fill up this empty nursery, come fill up this planner. I’ve got two kids, and they are experts at noise, so my days are full of it, and it works. The noise narcotizes the ache, making it manageable, day by noisy day.  In my former life as a teacher, I used to make my students write...

Keep Reading

How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father

In: Adoption, Journal
How Being Adopted Made My Husband a Better Father www.herviewfromhome.com

My husband’s earliest memories of his adoptive mother are as blurry as the black and white photos he has taped inside a leather-bound family album. He recalls the gentle hands that tucked him into bed each night and the smell of her lavender scented soap, but these memories are intertwined with the last and most painful of all: sitting on the cold hospital steps, muffled whispers in the hallway, and the tight grip of his adoptive father’s hand as they made their way back to the car without his mother. Death was an abstract concept that he was unable to...

Keep Reading

Four Simple Words That Made Me Weep After My Son’s Birth

In: Adoption, Kids
Four Simple Words That Made Me Weep After My Son's Birth www.herviewfromhome.com

As quickly as my contractions pierce across my belly, they end. The moan-wrenching pain of childbirth is over, and my beautiful son takes his first breath in the world. The nurses cheer. My husband cries. I squint at the bright lights above me while my son is hoisted over my stirrupped feet and between my bent knees. He is carefully placed onto my chest. Tears roll down my cheeks. After years of infertility, adopting two daughters and giving birth to another, experiencing the pregnancy and birth of our final baby is undoubtedly one of the most healing moments for my...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections