This is the post I need to write, but don’t want to. I only finally am attempting it because my silence is getting awkward. I’m not sure why I haven’t been able to articulate what I am feeling. Perhaps its because I am refusing to feel anything, because when I do let it in, its always tinged with pain. That sounds so dramatic, but its the truth and hopefully the following will help to explain.
The Ugly Truth
A friend recently told me (in so many words) that my “thing” is honesty. That my ability to put myself on blast is how I help others. I can see that. I do value honesty and feel that without it our testimonies and lives are lacking. However, my recent problem is that I have been avoiding being honest with myself. And if I’m not honest with myself, I can’t be honest with you. That’s why you haven’t heard much from me lately. That and what I do know to be true right now comes across very whiny and ungrateful.
So I must preface all of this by saying that I am grateful. I’m grateful for my husband who has gone through all of this with me and been the strong one. I’m grateful for my children. All of them. I’m grateful for the grace and patience of my loving Father. He is the only reason that I am (slowly) allowing myself to struggle. Yes, I must allow myself to struggle. I’m not a weak person and my life is one that proves it. The problem with that is I do not rely on anyone – Anyone. Not my husband. Not my savior – unless I have to. (You can see I have many issues and many things that God is chiseling at.) But nevertheless, I am grateful, and I fear sounding like I’m not. I fear that saying that I am struggling is like saying that I’m just not happy enough with what I have.
Think about baptism for a minute. When you are baptized you think about the promises and how you are being raised to new life. As you are plunged into that clear water you don’t think about the blood… or the death. But baptism is about death before it can be about life – the fleshly death of the person being baptized and the horrific death of Jesus on the cross. Because of that death, in the loss and only through that loss, comes the beauty and the promise of true abundant life.
So here is the honest truth: Even though I am grateful, adoption is about loss and pain. And it is difficult. You are probably nodding and thinking about how you have heard that. How you know that in order for a child to be adopted that must mean that they have had to lose a family before. That’s true. Everything in that child’s life has to die. Everything that should have been theirs has been taken from them. And for them to begin a new life with a new family, that loss must happen.
But there’s more. The new family also experiences loss. Our children were no where near perfect, but they were sheltered and secure. We had a sweet little family. Now we are a family of broken hearts. Chandler and Noah are experiencing the realities of abandonment, neglect, and pain second hand by watching their new brother try to find his place among us. It was so hard for them while we were gone to China and Noah still hasn’t fully recovered. They are not as secure as they once were. It’s so hard to watch them try to process it all. I hate seeing Noah struggle with insecurity. He is acting out. Chandler isn’t sleeping through the night. I am exhausted emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I know Billy has to be because he has been so strong. See? Whine, whine, whine.
The other day I was frustrated about something and a friend said, “You asked for this, right?” Even though I felt it was a thoughtless and insensitive thing to say, it isn’t like I don’t understand why they said it. And I’m sure others probably feel the same way. So to answer the question… yes and no. It’s more like we accepted it than asked for it. Mostly we said, “God, we’ll go where you lead us.” Just because I chose this child, accepted this road, doesn’t mean I can’t have bad days. We expected it to be hard, and it could definitely be harder, but just because we expected it doesn’t make it any easier. What keeps me going is the hope that beautiful, miraculous things come from adoption.
I do not want or need pity. We need prayer, support, understanding. I need to know that there’s no judgement when I don’t send that thank you note, or don’t make it to your party, or I seem ungrateful. It’s because our family has just been broken and its taking all of our strength to pick up the pieces. Most of all we need grace and love. We need to know that the people in our lives are going to see our ugly, crazy, depressed, angry emotional roller coaster and they are going to love us anyway.
Thank you for listening to my rambling. I’m looking forward to the day that I can look back on this and hardly remember the pain. I know that God can heal us quickly and that is my prayer. Until then, please pray that we continue to seek His face instead of focusing on the hardship of it all right now.