We are excited and honored to post an article written by guest blogger Leah Berg. Below, she shares her dreams for parenthood and the lessons she’s learned since it became a reality. Leah and her family are regular attendees at Woodland Hills and Heroes Gate.
By Guest Blogger Leah Berg
Before kids, I was an outstanding parent. I had a little family in my imagination when I would think of my future, and we were awesome. My little “mind family” was so well-groomed, and we always had clean noses and clothes. We never yelled at each other out of complete and utter exhaustion, and I never begged God for mercy and daylight during those long middle of the night feedings. I could always remember when I had last showered, and no one ever pooped in the bathtub. We were completely self-sufficient, capable of doing all the right things at all the right times, and everything always worked together for good. Sigh, it was heavenly.
….Then we decided to grow our family in real life. *insert screeching tires and shattering glass*
What I didn’t realize (or didn’t want to realize) was how deceptive this “mind family” really was. We learned quickly as we moved forward that a clean anything in life was to be considered a luxury and not to be taken for granted. I learned to sort of love the middle of nights when the whole world was quiet and it was just me and my baby. (No wait, I love sleep. I just felt like I should say that…) And as far as poop in the bathtub…well…I’ve learned that there is nothing a giant wad of Clorox wipes can’t fix. However, by far the biggest lesson I have learned through parenting and our adoption journey is our incredible need (and great privilege) for community. In my mind, there was no need for anyone else’s help along the way, and we only needed to depend on our own strength and ability to get things done.
Let me fill you in on a little secret: the only place where complete autonomy works well in a family, or in life, is in your own mind. That’s it.
Here’s how this realization happened in our life:
My husband Paul and I had been married for 9 years when we decided we wanted to grow our family. We were married young and after nearly a decade of college and grad school, traveling and buying our first home, we decided we wanted to adopt. Adoption had been our plan for our family for a while, and this felt like the right time to pursue it. We began our home study, and started filling out ALL the paperwork. After nine months of being “in process” we were matched with our amazing birth mom, and a month after that on August 23, 2014 our sweet Vivian was born. Throughout these months on our journey we saw first hand the immeasurable love our birth mom has for Viv, experienced the full depth of loss that occurs in adoption, and can say with absolute certainty that we serve a redemptive God who can restore any situation because of His abundant love for us.
And these things are so good and so important. They are the moments we will play over and over in our minds, and it is the story of our precious girl that we will tell her as she grows. But these are not the only lessons we learned and not the only growth that occurred. We also learned very quickly that adoption requires community. From the very start, we needed to continually rely on our community’s support to help get us through. Asking for help did not come easy to us, and receiving help freely offered was more humbling than I imagined it would be. Its scary to be that vulnerable even with close friends, and it felt like weakness to show any lack of self-sufficiency. But thank God for persistent family and friends. It was their relentless grace and support that made each ask for help easier and easier. And it was through the act of “the ask” that we were able to grow in humility and fully appreciate our deep and strong community. I can say unequivocally that we would not be where we are today without these people and their gifts.
We hear it in church all the time, this need for community. In big and little ways in our life and our faith we are told how beneficial it is to surround ourselves with deep and true friends and family that understands and loves and supports. I was skeptical at first for sure, but I am here to tell you, IT’S TRUE. I’m the girl with both hands waving wildly, shouting “YES! YES! AMEN! IT’S TRUE! I’VE LIVED IT!”