Thursday, October 11, 2012

"I wait patiently for the LORD...." -Psalm 40:1

(read the rest of Psalm 40 here)
     The weekend was like a punch in the gut.
     Ryan was out of town.
     Parenting this boy, these boys, feels like I'm always on a steep, uphill climb.
     I fear that people have tired of our drama. (Yeah, Kara, we get it, you have a lot of laundry and your kid likes to make you cry.  Its been three years already. It can't be that bad)
     I don't want to lament.
     I'm paranoid that the world thinks I exaggerate.
     Yet this burden is breaking my heart.
     I've been fighting a lot of anger.  Anger toward people around us that I feel have given up on my family.  That don't believe or understand how much suffering happens between these walls.  Anger toward my children that we can't function in the world at large. Or even in our living room.  
     Anger at God.  There I said it.
     Anger that He can't just heal this broken heart.  That He's allowing my son to push me and hurt me and drive me down this dark, lonely road.  
     I took a midnight run in my sweats.  My husband waited at the driveway, trying to protect me from a distance and guard his children that slept quietly in their beds.  I waited on the Lord while I ran.  Prayed for a sign, a voice, something to renew my spirit.  All was quiet.
     The next day, I took a 2.5 hr hike to and around a cemetery (Ryan's comment: At least you were safe there.).  I waited on the Lord.  Again, I called out for something to renew me.  Instead, the dog glanced back at me, bored and tired as countless barn swallows dived around us.  Still quiet.
     And then my phone buzzed.  A friend in Texas sent me a message that I was on her heart and she was praying over me.  Again, the buzzing.   A fellow midwife sent a text that she was thinking of me.  Still another and another and another.  God showed up in my friends from afar: CA, TX, PA, VA.  And then, AND THEN, I received a text from a Rwanda mama I don't hear from often.  I read these words. 
 "Seriously. World about to be rocked.  I am looking at your son from the summer before you adopted him.  At least I am almost sure of it."

     Ryan and I set staring, tears streaming down our cheeks.  This photo.  That boy.  That is our son, OUR SON, before he knew he was ours.  When Got began etching him into our hearts.  This is sacred.  This is holy.  For a child whose beginnings are so foggy, with so many holes in the first chapters of his story, this is unspeakably valuable.  God is here.  He has always been here.  His heart is breaking over and over again for Etienne and for Etienne's mama. 

     Most of the time, I feel like this little island.  Really near to my community, but not with it or in it.  As close as I can get and still maintain the needs of my children.  Are there other families out there that feel so isolated in order to survive?  This separation, it's not a choice, it's a necessity.  Even if it is lonely and distant, He is here on this island with me.  Between the mean words and the hollow hugs, He is here.

     I've realized that some of my anger, God used it to open my eyes on where my strength and my reliance is.  Maybe my small group, my community of other moms, my coworkers, even my husband, I value too much.  They could all (and sometimes do) be taken from me.  But my God has not left me or forsaken me.  My only strength should be in Him.  Repeat.  My only strength should be in Him.  Repeat.


  1. I feel so bad that I have not communicated to you that you continue to be in my heart, thoughts, and prayers daily! Not once have I thought "it should be getting better". It is what it is, and your love represents God to E; it's the only love he's ever known and he craves it while simultaneously fearing it. I pray that you will have the desire of your heart in seeing E healed emotionally, but also that you will glimpse little moments of pure joy with E and Him along the way. Praising God for your hubby, too! (((((hugs)))))

  2. I look forward to reading you blog, not because you have all the answers, but because you just say it (whatever ‘it’ is). I have never found your writing to be whiney... utterly hilarious sometimes, but I’ve never thought that it should be all better by now. So much of the world’s understanding of adoption is sunshine and butterflies. Adoption IS wonderful, but Disnesy it is not. I am encouraged by your writing because even when it doesn’t end happily ever after, I find hope because you keep going—you still get out of bed in the morning!
    Our four months of adoption experience (ha) is nowhere near as difficult as what’s going on for you all right now, but I was telling my husband the other day that I feel alone. I am totally loved and supported, but I wish we lived near others who have adopted internationally, who have adopted ‘older’ children. I yearn to spend time with other moms who are wading through the same ‘junk’ that we are... most people SEE our son and figure any issues we talk about are typical 3 year old behaviours. They don’t realize that typical 3 year old behaviours are magnified with adoption. That’s okay, they don’t have to understand, I just wish I could spend time with someone who has been through it/is going through it. I don’t understand exactly what you’re going through, but I connected with your feelings of isolation/loneliness.

  3. Yes, yes, yes, my friend. I am with you. You are not alone. WE are not alone. We have our Jesus. And, mercifully, we also have each other. I love you.

  4. Thank you dear sisters. I wish we could snap our fingers and grab a coffee together.

  5. Hi there! Shelly Snead had sent me the link to your blog during a conversation we had about families that had adopted from HOH. I had volunteered there in the summer of 2008 and that is actually my head in the corner of that picture! And I am quite sure that I have at least a couple more of your son that I would be more than happy to share with you and your family!!!!! I'm not sure how to do it on here, but if you send me an email at I will get them to you :)

  6. If you're feeling abandonned by many of your friends and family, has it occured to you that it's for a good reason? Do you return yiur friends calls and emails? Do you respond to their invitations (ever)? Do you reciprocate invitations? Do you make an effort to keep in touch and BE a friend vs simply taking from yiur friends cuz your life with your adopted kid is just sooooo hard (according to you)?

    Friends and family live and support you, I'm sure. And likely were very understanding for a very long time and you did nothing back. People are happy to help and give you grace (as I'm sure you've done for them) but not indefinitely.

    Another thing may be the wonky (to outsiders) and unproven (in the medical literature and when one , say, consults their pediatrician) parenting techniques -- bc it sure looks like you've embraced all kinds of "trauma mama" (I loathe that term) theraputic parenting techniques and vehemently insist its the only way to parent ... vs acknowledging that there are many ways to raise kids and , freaking out about teeny tiny things that others do (like give yiur kiddo a candy)
    is a surefire way to alienate your friends and family.

    One last tip: complaining that nobody understands how hard yiur life is and that others cannot possibly understand that your hardships are a billion times harder than anybody else's drives people away. As does insisting all the things your kid does that no one else (including professionals) sees are attachment abs trauma related.

    Maybe, just maybe, nobody else sees them cuz they don't exist and you are driving yourself crazy. Take a chill pill and be nice to your friends!!!

    1. JaninaF, I just saw this. I guess I neglected you somewhere along the line. Why don't you email me and we can talk?
      I could care less if someone gives any of my kids a candy on most days. I pick my battles, sister. Did I hurt or offend you along the way? Please don't hide behind this fake name and talk to me like an adult.

  7. This is my first time on this blog and We know the struggle with RAD we have a 16 yo from kazakhstan and yes establishing a net work of people websites etc is hard. Our church just hosted a conference for adoptive parents and there is a blog called Hope at Home and it can help with some issues its ran by an adoptive mom with russian kids and Susan Hillis who contributes to the blog also has kids from Russian and works in St Petersburg and around the world. Try this out because we know where you are in this place Grace and peace Shane and michelle shepherd

  8. JaninaF (nice how you hide behind your user name as you place judgement)
    I TOTALLY call people, text people and recipricate. Are you an old friend, afraid to really tell me that I somehow hurt you when my life changed? You have a lot of hurt in your words. I know that hurting others is because you have been hurt. Poor you.