Monday, February 8, 2016

Hitchiker Adventures #6: She isn’t lacking in love

Recently, upon finding out that I don’t feel the same way about the Hitchhiker as I do about my own kids, someone in my life has taken to praying for the Hitchhiker, “that she will know she is loved”. Not that she will know she is loved by God, but by her family and by ours. Now I might not put much thought into this, except for the fact that it’s the same person who thought since I liked the Hunger Games, I must not like children very much. This person also continually asks how I will “give up the baby” and when I say it’s not going to be a problem, they respond with “I could never do that”. So the implication I get from this prayer is that, perhaps the Hitchhiker is not feeling loved, since she is residing in my belly, since I don’t think of her like I thought of my own kids, and I don’t want to keep her. This person even made up their own name for the Hitchhiker, because they seemed to think that Hitchhiker was sweet enough. When my basketball sized uterus feels really heavy, this makes me angry, but when I am sitting here with this squirming little girl inside me just enjoying her temporary presence, it just makes me laugh. Really?!? This baby is one of the most loved babies ever, and she is teaching us so much about what love means.

look at that, that’s love!
First off, let’s establish, that this baby would not be in my belly were it not for love. Love more than anything else motivated me to go on this crazy adventure in the first place. Following Jesus command to love one another, and to serve led me to this. Anytime I had an objection to doing this, like my body was going to get wrecked, always in the back of my mind was the question, “is that a reason not to love someone?”When people told me it would be harder because I was 38 and not 28 like when I had my last baby, again the question was, “but is that a reason not to love someone”. (and by the way, it isn’t any harder, it’s the same hard!). Love for his kids, made my husband decide we could do this. Love for a family they had just met, made my kids excited to do this. Love from her parents led them to put their trust in a stranger, and give her to us for 9 months. They loved her so much, they took this huge scary, complicated step. Her whole existence right now is rooted in love, and each day she grows love grows right along with her.

We are learning so much about how fun love is, through this process. We have seen how messy and hard and awkward it can be, as I went through so many procedures, and we endured the death of the first Hitchhiker. We have also learned though how crazy fun love can be, when you just do love, as Bob Goff says in his book Love Does. We are having fun with this baby. We have a whole new part to our family now, with her family. That is fun. We get to relive the experiences we had when our kids were born, through their eyes, and share in their excitement. I love that! I love sharing the things that excite me with others, whether it’s mission trips to places I have been before, or new friends, and this pregnancy takes that to a whole other level. We get to have fun on this adventure with them, and my kids are old enough to remember and understand it all too. They feel the baby move, they marvel at how huge I am getting, they think about what it means that she can hear us. Plus everyone gets to make jokes about how I am pregnant but it’s not Valentine’s. She is not experiencing a depressing, lonely, joyless existence. Love is all kinds of fun and she is along for that ride!

Love makes it fun to surprise people with her story too. It’s fun to educate them about surrogacy, but it’s also fun to explain why we would do something so nutty. People aren’t used to hearing about love like this, and when they really hear it, they often well up. They are encouraged by it, they enjoy it, they all of a sudden get to be in on the fun, and the miracle of it all. She hears recordings of her family reading her stories too, so all you psych experts can be assured she will have in utero attachments to them as well, it’s not just our love she is getting now. I am sure at some point in her angsty teenage years, she will feel a bit awkward about her origin story, but what kid doesn’t? I’m still cringing over the Super Bowl baby commercials. Her story is a unique love story, but a fun one.

Love endures space and time too. Just because she won’t be with us, doesn’t mean we won’t love her still. Our family has had the privilege of loving so many people over the years who aren’t a daily part of our lives right now. They are still very much a part of us. We can’t hold all the youth group kids we have loved hostage with us, they grow up and leave. Friends live far away. We don’t give them up ever, we just love them from afar. It may not be as intimate as the love we have in our family of four, but it is love still. We still think about them, and keep up with them when we can, and we enjoy having people to love all over the world. We are still as present with love for them as we can be, and will be for her too. She will always have a connection to us and she will always be loved by us.

I can’t imagine that will all of that, this baby would ever not feel loved, because gestated in my belly. Just because I am not planning for her babyhood, or weeping because she won’t be with us in a couple more months doesn’t mean she won’t know love. This is  a once in a lifetime adventure unlike any other we have been on, and I know that is because it is all about love. She is right smack in the middle of it all, hearing the joy, feeling the love.  So no one needs to pray that she will know she is loved. She is a little physical representation of love and how hard, scary, vulnerable, but more so, how beautiful, awesome and fun it is!

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