When I started this blog, I wasn’t completely sure where I was going with it. Like a traveler that takes an unknown path in hopes of finding something significant along the way, I simply felt called to start. I’m thankful for those who have joined me in the journey. If you haven’t already, please feel free to type your email in the subscribe box on the right side of the page so that you can have any new posts delivered straight to your inbox and more importantly, I can stop feeling guilty about blogging inconsistently! I have a really good excuse though. Here’s what’s been keeping me busy for the last 3 months.
Many of you have asked when I’m going to write about China. We’ve been home with our sweet girl for 3 months and in many ways, I’m still processing what we saw and experienced in China. The truth is, our story is still unfolding and it’s difficult for me to articulate. Each day brings new joys and challenges. We are in the trenches of adjusting to a new normal. Adoption is a journey and meeting our daughter was just the beginning. What I do know is that healing is taking place. Some days it’s almost imperceptible, but when I take a step back or bring in an outside observer the changes are remarkable.
The day we met our daughter in China was probably the worst day of her life thus far. While we had been anxiously and joyfully anticipating seeing her for the first time, she woke up that morning and was told that today was the day she would leave behind everything she had ever known and go with complete strangers.
China was very rough for many reasons. There was crying and gnashing of teeth, and that was just me. When we arrived home from China, we enjoyed a 2 week honeymoon period where all seemed right with the world again. People were bringing meals and marveling at her English and we were enamored with her every move. But like all honeymoons, it came to an end and the real work began. One day we woke up and reality set in for all of us. Good feeling’s gone. These have been some long, dark days.
My friends, I’d love to give you a rainbows and unicorns kind of story about adoption tied up with a pretty little bow, but I believe I would be doing amazing adoptive families everywhere a disservice. Because the truth is, adopting an older child is very rewarding and it is very hard. Families don’t magically form overnight and healing for children from hard places happens one day at a time.
When I am wading in a sea of tantrums, grieving and attachment, it’s easy to lose sight of the eternal. Every day I’m reminded of my inadequacies and of my sole dependency on God. Because in my own strength, I just don’t have what it takes. I’m not a miracle worker or a savior, but I know the one who is. And I know he has incredible plans for my daughter’s life.
If you want to have a better understanding of the joys and challenges parents and adoptees face, I highly recommend that you read Jen Hatmaker’s candid blog post The Truth About Adoption: One Year Later. Keeping in mind that we are in what Jen Hatmaker refers to as, “Stage 2: Spaz Out,” I want to tell you what we are clinging to these days:
1. Faith. Hebrews 11:1 says, “Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.” Because God called us to adopt, I’m confident he is seeing us through it. I know he is going to make beauty out of ashes in all of us. I see glimpses of it every time my children laugh together and my new daughter’s face lights up with joy.
2. Hope. Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” When you visit a room full of orphaned babies staring blankly at the ceiling, it is easy to lose hope for this world. But when you walk into a hotel lobby in China and see dozens of families from all over the world who have come for these children, you can hope because God never sleeps and is always moving in the hearts of ordinary people for his precious ones.
3. Love. 1 Corinthians 13:8 says, “Love never fails.” Because God loves us with a never ceasing, crazy kind of love, we can draw strength from him to love unconditionally. Not because it’s easy, but because it’s what we are called to do. Love is a verb, not a feeling. I am humbled that God gave me another child to love.
A few days ago, my husband and I were showing our new daughter pictures from our time in China. When we came across the photograph of our first meeting in that hotel lobby, she was finally able to express how scared she was and I was able to say how sorry I was that she was scared. Then I told her everything was ok because I was with her that day. Suddenly, there was clarity in her eyes and joy spread across her face as she wrapped her arms around my neck and said, “I lub you Mommy!” Oh what joy filled my heart! I was overwhelmed that in 3 short months, God had given her new eyes to see a traumatic event in a whole new light.
Like an observer standing too close to a Monet, there are times when all we can see in our lives are the seemingly unrelated paint strokes. My prayer for anyone stumbling in the dark today is that we may step back and see the trials and confusion of our lives through the lens of eternity. We don’t have to be afraid. Everything is going to be ok because he is with us. The light is coming. Lord, open our eyes so that we may see.
Now all that I know is hazy and blurred, but then I will see everything clearly, just as clearly as God sees into my heart right now. These three things that remain—faith, hope, and love—and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:12-13