One year ago today we met a very scared little boy God had chosen for our family. We had read the articles, done the older child adoptee training, and prepared for the worst, while hoping for the best. But no amount of preparation can ready a heart to witness and hear such anguish pour from one so small.
The day we met Wesley he was unsure of what was even happening to him, yet trusted blindly the words of his foster family… “You are five years old now, and old enough to go to America.” They had a party for him and prepared to send him off from the Baoji Orphanage to the big city of Xian on that 22nd of November.
At 5 months old a scared little one so small and most likely sick… was found all alone on the corner of two main roads in Baoji. He was so sickly his foster Mama said he was close to death. At one year old he was placed in a foster family within the orphanage in hopes they could help to nurture him to healing. From age 1 until he was 5 years old he thought he had what everyone else had. He lived what normal was to him. This Mama and Baba, his siblings, and orphanage walls, and other orphans, were the only idea of family he had. They sadly knew they were not his forever family and in no way could provide and care for him for life. The tears fell as I met his foster mother. She struggled to let go and I struggled with watching it all. I have such an honor in my heart for what they gave him.
As soon as we met Wesley all parental instincts kicked in and we knew what we had to do. Fight for him. Love him when it felt as if his life was being ripped apart. We knew what we had to do. Allow the heart wrenching cries to shake his little body and break our hearts. When he mourned and grief overtook him, we held him. If only we could tell him the pain he endured and still feels is all a part of a journey we knew and still know leads to peace and security? A different, permanent kind.
We have witnessed SO MUCH HEALING take place over the past year and have seen true joy bubbling from this tiny little soul. He has learned so much of our language, tries new foods all the time – but mostly with hot sauce doctoring them up. lol. He get’s that from his Dad. He enjoys any new activity and embraces others in kind and thoughtful ways. He is a true blessing and gift.
As adoptive parents you try and always mentally prepare yourself ahead of time for conversations you know might arise. I wasn’t prepared for the one this morning and I wasn’t the one to begin the conversation. Wesley quickly blurted out the words and before I knew it I began to realize God was orchestrating very necessary, heart wrenching, intimate conversation. Wesley must trust us so much more, because he finally allowed his heart to open up with real and raw words. He said in honest and clear words that he missed China and wishes he could go back. The words stung, but I knew the source of these words…pain and sorrow our little boy is still working through.
As soon as I asked him why he would want to go back, he said he was sorry. I quickly assured him that he could talk and John and I would NEVER feel mad that he felt this way. He finally broke. Cried. Buried his head against me. And cried more. I knew his words were not telling me he would leave us if he could….only that he still ached deeply for the foster Mother and Father he knew for so many years. So, I asked him what he missed most to prompt him to get it all out… and he confirmed that yes, what he missed most about China was his foster Mama and Baba. I expressed how thankful I was they took care of him. And that they are so kind to care of children until they can find their forever families. I allowed him time to grieve and gently tapped his heart, assuring him he could always keep a love inside his heart for them. I tried to explain with the utmost respect for them, that he could not stay there forever. That so many children like him are still waiting for families and his foster Mama and Baba would take care of more children until their families come, but could not take care of them forever. This is hard stuff. Too deep for one so small to take in, so I told it in small, simple doses. Understanding will come as the years go by.
Wesley still has such pain in his heart. But along with that pain an even greater, healing joy continues to break forth also. We have seen a boy who would melt into tears about everything become more secure. He is learning what love is, and what a forever family is.
He is such a joy to be with and has such a sincere and thoughtful heart. He is always doing kind things for others, is in a hurry to get his responsibilities done so he can play, and enjoys being with us. He enjoys cooking very much and says “I wanna help Mama” so many times throughout the week. He is such a good boy with a great big heart.
But, we were reminded today: to remember not to forget. God knows when we need a fresh, large dose of compassion and I saw Him pour more of it into us all and even more healing burst forth into our family. God knows when our intentions are good and we are busily going about providing, fixing, mending, cooking, cleaning, keeping order, directing homework, reading books and tucking in. All necessary, but sometimes it all needs to halt so we can cry. Feel. Mourn with others. The Scriptures say it best “weep with those who weep and rejoice with those who rejoice.” Somehow seeing into his heart today opened my eyes to the pain he still carries inside. That he still needs so desperately to see and feel from us the sweet fruits of our Father… His long-suffering, patience, kindness, love, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, joy, peace…all of it. Wesley will continue to heal yet more and more….if we are full to the brim and overflowing with Jesus’ life, healing Spirit!!
If we are willing to share in his pain, we will share in the joy of healing. Seeing the end result will be worth all these days of walking through and partaking of the hard stuff. Adoption has really changed us, all of us. It has given us an even clearer picture of what God has done for us and continues to do for us all our days. We cry out in times of discomfort or pain, seeing and feeling only in the moment. But our loving Father sees the end result and what he has prepared for us. A place of eternal rest. How worth getting through the pain will be.
My prayer today is: “ God remind me daily to slow down and rest at your feet, and please don’t ever stop teaching me how to keep life uncomplicated so that I am able to notice and share in the hurts and joys of my family and others in my life. To sit at your feet and fill up so that my children, husband and others feel the overflow of your sweet, sweet healing Spirit. Help me to remember sometimes when others are going about their days they are only masking the pain they feel inside.” Wesley is good at this. He will run about his tasks of the day staying so busy and putting on silliness so not to feel. But today marks not only the day we first saw his round little cheeks and a whole year of growth…but God bringing about a private orchestrated conversation between he and I. For the first time in almost a year he opened up a very raw place in his heart and let more hurt out. He admitted to hard thoughts and feelings, taking that risk that it could hurt me. But he wasn’t afraid. This shows us he has begun to trust us in a big way. He can trust us with the biggest hurts of his little life.
We ended our conversation on a much lighter note as we talked about how much we miss the food in China and one day will go back and just eat and eat and eat the food there together!!! Yum!! Xian has some of the best food in China!
A a very big part of Wesley’s story is a little girl that was in his foster family. She went to be with her forever family only one month before Wesley in Oct of 2015. John and I know this was no accident. The timing, where she lives, her special needs, and their reuniting this past Summer. Was all part of His plan.
(Pictured above is Kyli and Wesley on right…with their foster family)
In August the Kauffman family made the very long drive from PA all the way here to OH just to spend a long weekend here so that these two could reunite.
Now, looking back, we believe this brought so much more healing than we even knew. This morning as I talked to Wesley it’s like he understood even more when I told him again about Kylie leaving China first to be with her forever family. Then Wesley went home to be with his forever family. John and I were saying today that Wesley being able to see her leave China first, then witnessing her within her family…safe, secure and loved….was a part of God’s perfect design. He struggles with insecurities from roots of rejection stretching back to abandonment and possibly before that. Seeing Kylie “go first” and having that beautiful connection tells his heart… he isn’t alone. He isn’t the only child to go through this. Knowing you aren’t isolated in your feelings and circumstances is huge!! I guess that’s why I write sometimes…in hopes just one will find some hope to keep pressing on! It’s not easy….but so worth it. Fighting in the trenches for our children is heart wrenching, but it’s where we see breakthrough. And someday I pray these amazing children will carry this same healing and hope to others. This is my greatest desire. To see God glorified for the healing, loving Father he has been to me and my family.
Sweet little Kylie is amazing with a smile that lights up the room. They were inseparable laughing , playing, swimming, and eating together. We can clearly see that they share so many of the same silly and ornery personality traits. Kylie’s whole family was easy to love! We will forever treasure this connection for so many reasons. Kylies Mom Kris was so honest, encouraging, and when they left I felt filled up! I know I am not alone because of other honest, and beautiful adoptive mothers willing to share their struggles. Her grandma Katie helped with such a servant heart the entire time, loving on each one of the children. She takes the time and care to see right to each of their little hearts. The love of Jesus just beams from this family. John enjoyed so much getting to know her Dad Lee and grandpa. What neat people! God is amazing to gift us such a spirit-filled connection. Being able to bring them together in a bond that goes back further than we were physically able to be…is priceless. A treasure.
On this special night for Wesley, his China buddy Kylie is at Boston Children’s hospital awaiting her 2nd heart surgery tomorrow. Can I ask all of you to please, please pray for this precious family tonight? For peace to blanket their hearts and the very hands of our Father to guide the surgeon tomorrow. What trust it must take as a parent to let go of your child in such a big way. But, I know they find their strength and comfort in a great big God who has held Kylies little life since its very beginning will continue to hold her through the surgery and the months of recovery after. I will include their family blog so you can follow Kylie’s story as you pray for her! http://kyliehui.blogspot.com/2016/11/friday-november-18th-2016-back-to-boston.html?m=1
Thank you to all who have been in step with us on this journey. There just aren’t words to sum up how great God has shown himself amidst all the struggle and healing. He has been our constant. Our Strength and peace. And we trust Him with all our requests for continued healing for Wesley and Hudson. Being reminded this was HIS plan all along, that our hearts are safely kept in Him, and continuing daily to lay before Him all the fears, anxieties and junk that has clung to me from the day before…keeps me going. It’s in Him and through Him we have our being. It’s the only way I could ever live. What hope we find in Him! All the shouts of fears and anxieties are silenced in prayer, praise, and in the truth of His word that divides truth from lies. I cannot imagine life without Him…and especially not this journey of adoption without our Source of healing!
We decided to celebrate Family Day, or Gotcha day as some call it (Wesley says he likes the sound of both) by simply eating his favorite Chinese food this evening, making his requested chocolate chip cookies today, and celebrating the healing and growth we have witnessed over the past 365 days. I smiled as I watched all the kids run around chasing each other through the house beaming little red footballs at each other as they all cracked up. I have learned to embrace the loud. The most healing has seemed to have happened amidst chaos. God isn’t afraid of our crazy and seems to enjoy using weak vessels to pour his love in and through. My frailty isn’t a surprise to him and HE does the best strengthening when we find ourselves at the weakest breaking point.
Tonight you do not realize what a gift you have been to our family. You have shown us a piece of our Father’s heart that we would have missed out had we not stepped out in faith with the courage that our God would “faithfully complete what He has begun.” I pray tonight more of your heart will heal in the year to come and you would see, feel, and gain an understanding of the great love of Jesus through us. He changed my hurting and once very insecure, fearful heart and he has begun this same work in you. I know you lost much more than we could ever know..….but we hold to the promises a dear friend of mine has prayed over you many times…. That God will give back and pour out a hundred fold what the locust had eaten. Our enemy is trying desperately to destroy life before it begins or once it has begun. But when this destruction meets the power of the love of Christ it begins to be chipped away and replaced with a newness of life. Even though you hurt for loss, you will be filled. I am so thankful for your kind and always thoughtful deeds. You are silly, ornery…yet can be serious and responsible. I’m thankful you still like to snuggle up with Daddy and I and I enjoy seeing you play with your siblings. What life you have brought into our home. You are teaching us. How to love, unconditionally. Thank you Wesley. For those tears you bravely cried in China and the laughs that hid your pain. Thank you for wanting to be understood so badly that you cried. Thank you for the frustration, the hurt, for putting up with American smells, cooking, and for learning to love dogs. That was a tough one. And when we said goodbye to Cabby…you cried most. Your heart is tender. Kind. Strong. Little Soldier…..that’s what your Chinese name meant. And you are. A brave hero. Tonight we celebrate you, while praying for your sweet friend who shared so many of your China days. God has great plans for you both, and your foster siblings left behind. I thank God you were well cared for until you found forever.
We love you dearly.