Today marks 4 months home from China with our sons Hudson and Wesley. I didn’t realize it or even plan to write because of the milestone, yet it seems perfectly fitting that today as I sat on my bed in tears thinking about this roller coaster we’ve been on that I would grab my phone and not by chance see that today was the 12th.
In honor of our sons and all you adoptive parents out there waiting or at home with your treasures…this is for you.
A dear adoptive mom, Susannah, who has been a faithful friend and lifeline since our first trip to China, laughed and cried with me last week as we shared the very honest struggles of the past months since both our families have been back from China with new sons. We each remarked about HOW REFRESHING it is to talk to one other, admitting our failures and embracing each other fully despite our weaknesses. To just allow each other to unload and be who we are….for all the tired and messy moments on this beautiful journey called adoption. It’s like a breath of fresh air talking to other adoptive parents who are honest about the hard and by the Holy Spirit encourage and pump each other up to keep pressing on!!
You see, there are some very raw thoughts and emotions that come knocking on the door of our hearts as adoptive parents. Sometimes they want to come in and camp for a while. It’s our enemy’s tactic to bombard us so that we will lay down and stop fighting. But something happens when fellow believers and fellow adoptive parents can admit those faults and remind each other of the very real battle going on in the unseen world. My friend Susannah isn’t afraid to remind me to not give up praying in faith, that sometimes we don’t see what’s going on in the unseen spirit world… That it takes time to win those victories, but to remember as we pray and stand upon God’s promises He sends angels into battle on our behalf, just like they did for Daniel in the old testament! God is that same God even today, for He promises us He never changes. Being honest about how we aren’t going to stay camped on those thoughts or emotions that come knocking, praying for one another, and encouraging each other that nothing looks or feels perfect at our house either…is so freeing!!!
I told her I am guilty of having a blog that looks all buttoned up and “pretty.” But what about the moments we sit in our closets crying out of exhaustion or afternoons that seem wild and out of control or you feel like by now you should have this dinner plan thing down pat? What about the moments our established children in our home tell us by actions or words that they are not OK with having a new sibling(s) yet we are required to stand strong in faith that we indeed did as God asked us to do. And if God brought us to this, He will bring us through it, and see this out to completion! What about the days that don’t feel like mountaintop moments, but more like we are stuck in the mud? And what about the days we forget to pay bills or realize our jeans no longer fit because most meals since being home we’ve eaten without even remembering them? These days & moments are just as real as the victories when our children are dancing, smiling and playing together in harmony. The truth is….I need to be more honest about these days so that other adoptive moms don’t feel like failures when the “unpretty” comes to the surface in themselves, or when they go looking for help and only find polished blogs.
I have to remind myself that just because I admit having these days, moments, and seasons doesn’t mean any of us are failures…. it means we are a soul/spirit walking in a very real/ flesh body in a very fleshy world. And I have to find comfort in the fact God knew Jesus would feel the same fleshy junk here, conquer it all, then sit down beside him in heaven as our advocate with the Father. Because He wanted us to know He understands and is there to fill us with all He is. I find comfort in His words that say “His compassions, they fail not”…… “come to me all you who are weary, and I will give you rest”….. “be not weary in well doing, for in due season you will reap if you faint not”….and He is “faithful to complete the work He has begun.”
God knew in the midst of his command to GO…whether around the world, in a very noisy home, into the workplace, school or neighborhood….weary would find us. And admitting the weary does not diminish His power…it only illuminates all the more the need for HIS strength. I believe Paul the Apostle said it best…. “His strength is made perfect in my weakness.” And no, this mercy we find in Him is not an excuse to “act out” …we don’t abuse His grace, but lean on it all the more.
Over these past four months I’ve needed His grace. I also need to remember to confess before Him my great need for His strength amidst my weaknesses. Then, not expect perfection from myself, but expect His perfect strength to begin working out those imperfections as I yield and lean upon Him.
But, the same God who lifts us up to shout upon the highest peak is there whispering to us in the valley. “know that I AM God….when you are not enough… I AM. I will fill you, renew you, lift you up and set your feet upon a rock… even amidst the hard.” He’s that same wonderful God regardless of circumstance.
The reasons most of adoptive mothers don’t share every bit of ugly are usually good ones and most probably mean well by not doing so. Your reasons might be similar to some of mine…. I’m most often much to busy/exhausted and it’s either “feed my children and keep them clean…. or write”, or I fear sharing my troubles will somehow shame the beauty of the journey and the One who called us to it, and finally I believe most often I don’t share out of a desire to protect our children who have already been prey to rejection, pain and were vulnerable for far too long. Why invoke more gawking and questions? So we, in survival mode strap on our seatbelts…. and ride it out.
“This too shall pass, give yourself 6 weeks before feeling somewhat normal again” is what my OB doctor told me after giving birth to my first son. Swallowing a healthy dose of this advice throughout post adoption is also necessary although with our first adoptive daughter we felt it was about 1 year before we/she felt somewhat settled. For each family, story, and circumstance…there will of course be variables. But finding others who will admit the crazy they went through or are also in the midst of, might just be the lifeline someone else is looking for.
Another adoptive Mom recently stopped at my house and took time out of her busy schedule to drop off a weighted blanket for Hudson (which has helped so much!!!) and offered some very honest thoughts and shared part of their journey to their adoptive children. She probably didn’t realize it but so many of the things she shared comforted me and I’ve rolled them around in my heart and mind since. She gave me hope and it was like getting a big hug and being told it’s ok….you are not crazy!! THAT MEANS A LOT!!
Don’t ever underestimate the power of honesty. I’m learning its power, and I hope that others find it if they speak to me, or hop on our blog. I don’t always have the opportunity to write, though I truly enjoy it. But when I do, I pray I’m transparent about the victories as well as the struggles and very real fight.
I firmly believe in any season God can keep us grounded, settled and even in vision blurred by tears we will see Him if we continue to seek. We can’t give up. This battle we are fighting is fierce and requires we stay sharp. Sometimes all it takes for me is remembering I have a very nasty enemy out there that wants me to fail, then label myself a failure instead of getting up. He wants me to be weary. But something happens when I remember I’m not in this fight alone, I have others fighting with me. And remembering I am a needed soldier in the fight. My family, friends, and those that have no one to fight for them…need someone who will care enough to see this to the end! So I’ll get up, wipe the mud off my face, tears out of my eyes and lift up that shield of faith remembering there is strength waiting and grace a plenty!! This is reason for me to rejoice today on our 4 month milestone!
One thing I love are the moments John and I can steal away and talk…the moments we share the many ways we’ve seen improvements, attachments and have witnessed God weaving our hearts together. It’s truly a miracle. Amidst the mud…miracles. He’s been working through and through. Jesus used mud. He wasn’t afraid to get messy. So I’m thankful we serve a God who chose to reside within earthen vessels and is ready to aid us at every moment…messy or not!
And I’m grateful for those in my life who admit their messes and encourage me to admit mine and not stay content in them! To keep pressing forward. My dear sister DeAnna is also one of the precious, honest gifts in my life. Every time we speak we seem to admit where we see sin in our lives, but in love encourage each other not to stay put. It’s a beautiful thing.
I just want to encourage you that whether you find yourself in the raw aching/ wait for your child, the first weeks of fog upon returning home with your child, or months, even years into your own journey dealing with behaviors or emotions that you hoped would have disappeared by now….please hold to Hope. Cling to God’s word, yield to Him and never underestimate the power of prayer. Even if you are hiding away in your bathroom trying to get a few moments of quiet to pull yourself together….you are embraced. The bathroom is one of my favorite places! You have been chosen as your son or daughter’s parent and God knew they would need exactly you…despite the flaws you see. Together we can proclaim victory right smack dab in the middle of what we are walking through at this very moment. Hang in there. He truly does work all this stuff, even the most irritating or painful stuff, for our good if we allow Him.
“And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor 12:9
**May I add…there are other adoptive moms, prayer warriors, and voices of truth in my life whom I didn’t mention by name, but THANK YOU. For each of you who have in truth & honesty encouraged me in your own blessed way to keep pressing through! You are a treasure and may never realize fully the impact one small gesture or word has meant!