Friends, today I am so excited to introduce you to my sweet friend Meghan. Our love for adoption was our first connection, but we quickly discovered we were kindred spirits through and through. She has been a great encouragement to me as I've watched her work overtime to create a family through adoption via foster care. I think you'll love her too!
Adoption is so beautiful. I’ve always known that. But I really don’t think I went into our journey with rose-colored glasses on. I knew there would be lots of “stuff” that would take lots of time and effort… I didn’t expect it to be a ‘bed of ease’ when God gave us four more amazing kids. No, I think if anything I probably thought I was totally incapable and that we were totally crazy to do it… And without that direct leading of God we never would have attempted anything even remotely close to it! But there are things I didn’t realize in the way I do now over eighteen months later…
1 . How much I would LOVE another woman’s children.
Oh, of course, I knew I would love my adopted kids… no doubt about that! But never did I dream how MUCH I was capable of loving. And it is the deep, deep seated love of a mother who has given birth. A love that tears at the depths of my mommy heart as I watch my kids struggle because of issues that their past has given them. A love that cries as I sit, rock, hug, nuture, and comfort, these little hurting hearts. A love that burst with joy as I watch healing happen in our kids, the tiny baby steps of security, acceptance and attachment, and I cling to those like a mommy with a ill child clings to every sign of physical improvement.
It’s a love that endure all things. It endures as a child takes his anger out on me, it looks beyond the anger, it sees pain, fear, and it breathes ” I love you, darling! It’s ok to be angry! I’m always hear for you! You don’t have to be scared. Daddy and Mommy are going to keep you safe!”
It endures through the long days, the zillioneth squabble, the “umteenth” meltdown, and the “I’ve lost count” Time-In ! It endures. It endures. Because that love is not my own but because it comes through God and flows through me. I’m only the channel. Only the channel. But oh, how rewarding being that channel is!
2. How very lonely the journey would be.
This I never expected. Never. I didn’t expect everyone to understand our journey, that would have been very unrealistic, but I didn’t expect this to be one of the worst parts of this journey. This is also one of the hardest ones for me to be honest about, but I share it hoping that those of you reading it might reach out to the adoptive families you know, because they need you badly. It’s very hard trying to get people to understand what it is like to walk in our shoes, as parents of these little hurting hearts.
I get angry sometimes because it seemed like when I needed ‘cheering on’ the most, all I got was people would were mad at me because I couldn’t be the hands on friend I use to be for them. I try to gently let those around me know that right now my family comes first and that I really am not available on a social level like I was before. But I rarely feel heard. I fluctuate between feeling hurt and angry that my friends do not seem to care to take the time to really try to ‘understand’, by giving me grace for this time in my life, and the feeling of ‘I’m such a failure because I can’t be the friend I use to be and keep those relationships alive, and build the new ones I long to’. This is not easy.
Sometimes us adoptive families have to do some things differently and I can’t speak for everyone but we would love to have people ask us about “the why’s behind what we do” . If we say, “No” to an invite, have to set “weird limits” for our kids (by times, depending on their emotional needs) or have to greatly limit our social interaction with people, does not mean that we don’t need people. NOT AT ALL!
We actually need people badly. No one sees the tears I cry because sometimes it is hard to choose the lifestyle we need to choose for our kids’ healing and the lifestyle my heart wishes we had. I don’t know of any adoptive families that don’t need people who will give hugs, cheer us on, people who allow us to vent with no judgement, people who tell us they are praying for us, people who let us know that they need and appreciate our family. (Thanks to those of you that have done things like this for us! You have no idea how much your kindness is appreciated!)
Like the words of another adoptive mom, “I am so thankful for the people who understand this is challenging. We have a lot of people tell us our kids are just normal kids, but I really appreciate the ones who look at me quietly and say, “What you’re doing is not easy, but you’re doing a good job.” Such simple words are like balm to my soul on the tough days.”
We also need people who rejoice with us over the healing that IS happening, the little steps forward, the awesome joys and miracle of our journey.
Whew, that one was a little tough … Ok, on to the next one!
3. How much personal soul searching it would make me do.
Yep, something about this journey has really taken me into some deep areas in my own life. It made me stare all those old insecurities, those old fears, those old hurts, and those old lies of Satan, smack dab in the face. It has made me go back and walk through some really tough, nasty areas of hurt in my own heart – those old wounds just really seemed to surface.
And I’m so thankful that God is faithful to bring healing to my own heart through this journey of helping our kids. But it can really be kind of hard when all these old feelings need to be dealt with and there seems to be little time or brain space to really work through them.
I am so thankful for a kind, understanding husband who is always there for me. And who, when I just need time to sort through my own stuff, makes sure I get that time. I praise God for His goodness, His love for my own issues and His care for my heart.I’m glad it has pushed me into a deeper relationship with Him.
4. How perfectly God leads.
We all go through things in life that sometimes just don’t make sense… Maybe it is something hard, in your past, possibly hurts in your childhood, times of disappointment, times of moving on, times of soul-searching. I just want to tell you that God’s got this master plan all well-constructed for you. He knows what you need to walk through to bring you to a place that you will be well-fitted for the work He has for you. If life was always a breeze we would never gain important tools.
I think of how God has led Kenton and I so gently through the last 11 years. And how He has led us step by step… When we got married, we lived in OR for about 3 years. We loved it there. We had an adorable little place. We had a very flourishing business. But God allowed some circumstances to come into our lives that no matter how cute the home or how good the business we knew that we didn’t want to raise our family there. It has very hard…
A time of uncertainty. We had no idea what we were getting into when we felt led to move up here to MT. But we had no doubt it was God. (Both our business and house sold within one week’s time for even more money than were asking .We had two full price offers on our house and so one party decided to offer us more than we were asking and our starting price was even more realtor had suggested we sell it for – I love how God blessed us with such a reassuring hug.)
We would have been happy buying a small place here in MT but God led us to this lovely, five bedroom home… We only had one little child at the time and it seemed strange. But God provided us with work. We felt very blessed. And then, after some miscarriages, I experienced another rough pregnancy. (The pregnancy in which we lost Rachelle’s little twin and I had some health issues.) And we began to realize that possibly having another bio child might not be in our future.
Of course, there is a twinge of sadness that comes with that but we were so happy with our amazing two daughters – it just seemed to be what God had planned for us. Little did we know at the time that God was preparing us to be right where He wanted us to be at the perfect time for 4 little souls that would need us. And then, about 3 1/2 years ago we got a direct push from God to enter the world of fostering… and the rest is history! LOL
Just looking back over these details since we’ve adopted has truly made my faith more sure in God’s perfect planning and directing of our lives. It’s a good feeling.
5. How emotionally taxing grief is.
Yes, I personally have not had a ‘death’ in the family, and yet we have. Four of my kids have lost their parents. I don’t care what mistakes those parents have made, they were still deeply loved by these kiddos and always will be. The fact that they no longer can be with those people that they love is in a every bit as terrible as death. (Maybe worse in the sense that the people they love deeply are still alive but they can’t see them and they ‘worry’ about them and feel sad over the choices they are making.) Moving in with us marked the end of the dreams of ever being able to live with their bios again. Dreams that had been kept alive through all their time in foster care.
And that grief is raw, painful, heartbreaking – and it is now mine. We work through times of deep grief still and I know that kids do not just ‘get over it’… Yes, there is healing but it all takes time. Grief is a journey. And a journey we all walk through together as a family. And it is very emotionally taxing sometimes.
ut as we walk through it there is such a bonding and attaching that happens between all of our hearts – God truly brings good out of pain.
As with anyone walking the journey of grief there are good days and bad days… days where the memories are very close, real, and the pain of loss is great… And then there are days when a new life is being built and the steps in healing are more evident.
There are times of the year (anniversary dates) that are much worse on our kids (Aug. is one of those months) – the memories seem to come flooding back and with those memories comes emotions that we have to once again work through and bring to Jesus. It’s at those times that it hits hard that we can’t “fix” it.
As parents, we want so badly to take the pain for our kids, we want to make things better,… it’s hard when we can’t. We can only be there listening, loving no matter what, talking, working through those big emotions and bringing it all to the feet of Jesus. He alone can heal. And we know He is, but that doesn’t mean the healing process isn’t tough sometimes.
6. How much I would love the bios.
I guess before our journey into fostering world, I would have probably have thought of the bios as ‘the bad guys’. You know, those people that were so terrible that they could no longer parent their children. But they aren’t ‘the bad guys’, it isn’t us against them. It’s seeing them through the eyes of Jesus and embracing their brokeness, loving them despite their failures. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times I have really struggled with anger towards these people that did such damaging things to the kids I now love and call my own.
Like I wrote in an earlier post… My mommy heart gets upset at those people for causing MY babies to suffer. And then Jesus gently reminds me that I have no idea how it is to be addicted to drugs, have an unstable relationship with my husband, have no support system etc. Who am I to begin to judge? He fills my heart with love for these “big” hurting hearts, who really are just victims of sad circumstances, which led to empty hearts, which led to quick fulfillment in drugs,which just spiraled their lives out of control. What would it feel like to be in your early 20’sand have totally ruined your life? To have lost your four kids? I feel sad for them and we pray for them -with the kids…that God would keep them safe and that they would make good choices. A part of them will always be with us.
Today there is a love in my heart for the bios that can only come from God. And it is deeper than I ever thought possible. And although we do not ‘gloss over’ the unwise choices that the bios made that caused the kids to be removed, (We talk about them very openly with the kids.) we also talk about how much we love them. And watching the faces of my little kids glow when I say good things about their bios is priceless. Like one mommy told me, “When you embrace loving the bios you open up a huge part of the kids hearts to love YOU.”
7. How long healing takes.
Yep, I probably would have thought that after 18 months the kids would feel all well-loved, safe and secure. And they are definately getting closer to those things, LOTS of healing has happened, but we’ve got a long way to go yet.
As other adoptive mommies have told me it takes about as long of the kids having you as they didn’t have you to get to that deep healing. So that for Destini that will be about 5 1/2 years! That’s ok, because we are in this for the long haul!!
8. How much joy there is in the center of God’s will, and how truly sufficient His grace is.
There is joy unspeakable. There really is. Even in the midst of the lonely, the grief, the tough, the many changes, there is a joy that doesn’t ever go away. And it is wonderful. And God is so good. SO good. He gives us so many wonderful fun, beautiful moments every single day.
Little miracles happen, words just pop into my mouth at the perfect time, wisdom floods in when we run up against a situation we’ve never faced before, details fall into place in ways we never could have planned, a kind word of encouragement from someone we don’t even know well comes at a very critical time, true friends come into our lives etc.
And as I look at my six beautiful kids I can hardly believe that God chose ME to be the honored person they call “Mommy!” The one that gets to hold them, cuddle them, guide them, comfort them, and teach them. The one they adore, and look up to. The one they give the sweetest little compliments to. The one that gets to see deep into their little hearts. The one who gets to hear their little joys and fears. The one who gets to put her own interests on hold, to sacrifice daily for the good of these little souls. The one who gets to love them unconditionally. The one who gets to be their biggest cheerleader, and their favorite nurse…
Adoption has taught me that there is no better place in the whole world for me than right here, with my arms full, my heart bursting with a crazy mix of emotions, and a mind that still can hardly comprehend the wonderfulness of all of this – a place where I see how very much I need my Heavenly Father.
What better place is there than that.
I am on a journey to know Jesus better, and be the wife, mommy and friend that God created me to be, all within the walls of my own little home. <3