While we were waiting to adopt, I would wake up in the middle of the night panicky. My mind would wander to the thought of suddenly having a baby. With groggy eyes and a cobwebbed mind, I would ask myself, “Could I get up right now to go soothe a crying baby?” And then the insecurities would flood me as I thought through the difficulty of dragging myself out of bed to give milk to a fussy newborn. I didn’t know if I could.
With each application sent to agencies and social workers, the possibility of adopting a baby became more and more real. My husband and I were ready and waiting, but the suddenness was startling to me. Would I be ready at a moment’s notice to transform into a mama overnight?
Because of years of struggling with anxiety, my body had felt the tremors of panic attacks and sick days before. I could remember vividly how weakness overcame me and made me feel helpless.
On those dark days, I learned to cry out to the Lord in my pain, begging him to step in, intervene, and rescue me. With time, implementation of boundaries, and a less stressful job, the Lord did show up and heal my body. But now with the decision to adopt, we were getting ready to plunge back into a potentially stressful situation.
Months later, as my husband and I zombied through the newborn days after a whirlwind 2.5-week notice adoption, we finally got an evening out of the house. My friend Ana watched the baby while we grabbed dinner and ate at a picnic table at the park. It was in 2020 at the beginning of the pandemic, so the beach was literally roped off with an ugly orange gate. It was so depressing to see nature closed off and unavailable.
My hands were sticky from the barbecue as we talked. I didn’t have much to say, I was so tired. But we decided then and there to say what we appreciated about each other during these baby days as brand-new parents.
I told him how much I appreciated his hard work. How he never gave up providing for us. How he had pushed through pandemic stress and switched to online work instead of in-person.
Then he said something that surprised me, “I appreciate how you get up in the middle of the night and early morning to feed and take care of the baby.”
He knew I was not a morning person. I needed sleep just as much as everyone else. He had seen me at my groggiest. But his words carried weight because he had noticed how I pushed away those feelings of tiredness and grogginess to do what needed to be done. He had watched me get up silently to show up as a mama.
I recalled the worries I had in the middle of the night before the baby came to us miraculously. The way I wasn’t sure what fussy newborn nights would do to me. In a way, I was right. My anxiety did come back and stayed with me for the first three weeks. On the first night home from the hospital, I sent out an SOS because my body was so weak. I was nauseous and not able to eat much, and I couldn’t stop crying.
The overwhelming experience of a whirlwind adoption had crippled me. But God met me there. He provided a net of friends and family to support me. He knew what I needed, and He didn’t leave me alone. In my absolute weakness, He was strong. And in the surrounding help of those who loved me, I was not alone.
When it looked that anxiety was going to win, I reminded myself God was with me and God would provide. The days were long and hard and lonely because of the pandemic, but I put one step in front of the other and let God carry me through.
God knows where we are weak, and it’s there where He is strong. God knows what will test us, and He promises to be just a whisper away.
Newborn days aren’t easy. Sleep is a long-lost best friend. But God honors our commitment to our babies. To their needs.
And ours too.