A week ago we quietly celebrated the one year anniversary of Amania’s homecoming. And when I say quietly, I mean by cleaning out the garage and going to soccer and otherwise living normal life. Because it was needed.
Fifty-four weeks ago we were making plans and preparations for our quick trip to Haiti to bring our girl home. Fifty-four weeks ago we were worried about parasites, language barriers, bed wetting, night terrors, RAD, food hoarding, and a dozen other worst-case-scenarios we had read or heard about along the way. Fifty-four weeks ago, we had no idea what the next few days would look like, let alone the next year. And a one year anniversary seemed a million years away.
We came home and she settled right in and all those things we worried about turned out to be nothing. Parasites were treated. Her English skills grew overnight it seemed. Bed wetting, night terrors, RAD….all those things were non-issues, needless fear. Praise. The. Lord.
And yet the past year hasn’t been without struggles and tears and wrestling. And there were struggles we didn’t expect. Struggles not directly related to our new addition, and yet connected.
There were the unexpected opinions of others who suddenly felt they could (and should) weigh in on how we run our family and our lives. There was the Mama Bear reaction in me as I watched the world swarm around our newest family member (for months after she came home), all the while ignoring all of our other children who are all old enough and smart enough to know what was going on. There were the struggles of our bio girls as they adapted and accepted this new family member – helping them feel valued and loved, while helping her assimilate.
And then there were my own struggles. Some I’ve shared here, some I haven’t. And those I haven’t are simply because I just haven’t had words. I do not understand my own struggle to connect with this child, how she has what appears to be a perfectly natural and healthy relationship with everyone else in our family circle, except me. How our relationship is still so stiff and forced and awkward. How I’m not a kid-friendly mama. I love love love my kids, don’t get me wrong, but I’m very German and we are utilitarian, functional, efficient, not particularly cuddly (at least that’s my impression of us). Unless of course you like cuddling with porcupines, which is what I often feel like around small children. (True confessions, right here, friends!) And the level of guilt and shame that I feel admitting all of this because Godly Christian women are all supposed to think young children are the best things since Jesus Himself, or so it would seem.
There has also been the unexpected toll taken on our marriage because of my unexpected and unexplainable reaction to Amania’s home coming – the depression, the disconnect. And I feel like our marriage has been through the ringer and there are days I wonder if it will ever be the same.
And I haven’t said much here about our journey with her home because I honestly haven’t known what to say about the emotional places we’ve been. As someone in our family reminds me, she is doing so much better than we ever expected and things could be so much worse. But the fact is, this is my reality. This is where we live. And while I’m thankful we don’t live in “worse”, this is by no means easy.
I have been praying about this post for weeks, maybe months. Because I don’t want it to be about me, but I am, without a doubt, the one who has struggled most since Amania came home. And right now, I don’t know if I will even hit publish, because I feel so vain, so shallow, so dysfunctional for these struggles I’ve had. But as I prayed this morning, asking God for words that were transparent yet redemptive, He reminded me that this too is redemption. This process is His continued refining of all of us. This struggle has been a struggle for our whole family and He is working out something good. I don’t know how long it will take for Amania and I to have a “normal” relationship, but I do believe with all of my heart that one day we will because our God is a God that redeems the broken. He makes beauty from ashes. He restores the years the locust has eaten. And I think about how our adoption, my adoption, cost Him everything and why should I expect that this adoption would not also cost me more than money, time, and energy, but also a greater breaking of my heart, that I would know Him more and be more like His Son.
And I don’t know how long this process will take, but I will wait quietly on the Lord to restore and renew and make us all whole again.
So I will restore to you the years that the swarming locust has eaten….
You shall eat in plenty and be satisfied,
And praise the name of the Lord your God,
Who has dealt wondrously with you;
And My people shall never be put to shame.
Joel 2: 25-26
For His Glory ~