Ashley Wells is a wife, proud adoptive mom, writer, speaker, and sweet tea addict. She blogs regularly at http://blog.ashleykwells.com/. On November 22, she celebrated her one-year adoption anniversary by releasing her newest book Blessed Chaos: A Journey to Instant Motherhood. This book is an inspiring memoir about Ashley’s journey becoming an instant mother to four children through foster care. Below is an excerpt from the book describing Ashley’s sudden introduction to motherhood.
I see many new moms with their cute little babies, sitting around talking about which cloth diapers to use, or which bottles are best, or paying lots of money for beautiful cute clothes, or taking lots of pictures and sharing every milestone on Facebook. I think this is pretty common for first-time moms.
Here’s the thing: I was a first-time mom, but to four children. I didn’t experience motherhood in the same way most people do. I was an instant mom. I couldn’t worry about some of the smaller issues for Kyle( the baby) because I had three other children I was learning about and taking care of. I couldn’t focus too much on taking pictures in the first few months, because as soon as I would pick up my camera a toddler would be trying to climb up the refrigerator or ride a cat like a horse or something of similar urgency and my focus would get shifted.
In some ways I am sad I didn’t get the normal introduction to motherhood. I didn’t get to just enjoy Kyle in all his newborn-ness and cuddle him all the time. Nor did I get that experience with my other three children. Christina (13 months old) didn’t like to be held and the big kids (5 and 8 years old) were distant at first. I am sad about that. I missed so much of their lives.
Looking back now, I wish I would have had the time to hold Kyle more. I wish I could have been sure to look Christina in the eyes and make her laugh every day, experience those happy moments together. I wish I would have remembered to slow down and give Jazmine and Jonathan more hugs and kisses, despite how old they were.
I see families with these photo albums of everything in their child’s life. We simply don’t have that. We don’t have shared memories from infanthood on with all of our children. And honestly, I’m not sure if any of us will really remember those first few months together in the haze of chaos. I’m sure I missed countless opportunities for small, but meaningful moments in the mess of it all. We were all doing the best we could.
Adoption isn’t for the faint of heart. At times, especially in the beginning, I craved a normal introduction to motherhood. Kyle was easy to bond with, I wanted it to not be so hard with the other children too. On especially difficult days I wondered why the Lord had led me to this path. Why couldn’t it have been easier? Why couldn’t I have just given birth to children? Why did it have to be so hard?
I know God didn’t call us to an easy life on this earth, Jesus actually guaranteed to His disciplines in John 16:33 they would have trouble. In the same breath He gave them hope though, “But take heart; I have overcome the world.” He also gave the promise of peace to be found in Him just previous to the guarantee for trouble. If anything, my questions and struggles were an indicator I was living right where I should be, right where God wanted me.