Adoption: Two Years Later

She came home two years ago on March 29.  It was Good Friday.  And something that we prayed and labored for for two years came to a sort of completion but something we would pray and labor over the rest of our lives began.  A new daughter, a new life, a new story to weave into our own.

It started almost right after she came home.  I just called it a sort of “baby blues”.  My heart and mind were tired from the sudden upheaval of adding a new member (no matter how long the wait, it always comes suddenly).  I was emotionally drained from the years of waiting.  It would pass with time.  That’s what I told myself.

But as time went on, it really didn’t get better.  She seemed to be attaching well to everyone in the family except me.  The world around us acted as though she hung the moon.  My heart felt cold.

Time went on and she became one of us, as though she had always been here.  Sort of.  Her relationship with family and friends was normal.  Her relationship with her sisters was healthy and strong.  Her relationship with Matt was beautiful and unbreakable.  But she and I, we kept each other at arm’s length.  I, resentful and lacking confidence and more fully aware than ever of my short comings as a mother.  She holding back from me, guarded, untrusting.

The past two years we have danced this way, more of a line dance, side-by-side, than a slow dance, face-to-face.  Occasionally we will turn and draw closer and it will feel almost normal, almost natural.  Most days it’s an awkward relationship and feels like I’m forever babysitting someone else’s child.  An unnatural mother with my natural children, I don’t know how to reach out to connect with this one not born of my body who brings a six year long story I was not part of.  My four biological girls, I can look at their face, listen to the tone of their voice, and instinctively know so much of what is going on inside each of them without a word being said.  This littlest one holds secrets I may never know.  Her face and tone often betray something deeper, but she holds it all tight inside.  Only she holds the key.

The shame and guilt of being the mother who can’t attach has worn on me.  When you adopt, you read and prepare endlessly for the child who struggles to attach.  You walk into it with the awareness that the child may never be able to form healthy bonds if they were never formed in the first place.  But no one talks about when a parent struggles to attach, especially the mother.  Because mother-love is supposed to be instinctive and strong and deep and easy, that’s what the whispers in the dark tell me.  And what mother spends countless hours preparing paperwork and endless nights of tear-filled prayers longing to hold a child she did not carry and then builds walls around her heart once the child is home?  Satan assured me I was the only one and that I was the very worst mother possible.

A few weeks ago, in a post-adoption group that I am on in Facebook but don’t participate much in so it rarely shows up on my feed but this day it did, God gave me a grace-gift in the form of a woman sharing my story, except it was hers.  How she couldn’t attach or connect and the shame she felt and that her child had been home over two years and it was just finally starting click.  And a glimmer of hope flickered in my heart.  Not that Amania and I will connect soon; I dare not hope for that.  But hope that I am not alone in this painful place, just as I am not alone in the other dark areas of my life.

I do hope that Amania and I will one day have a natural, comfortable relationship.  That she will no longer look at me like there’s a story she cannot tell, but that our story will be written together.  I do not know when that will come or how long it will take or how hard we will have to work to get there.  But I find no small significance that our story starts on Good Friday – that day that Satan thought he won the victory, but God wasn’t finished.  Friday was dark and hopeless and terrifying.  But God was writing redemption and restoration and hope and beauty.

God’s still writing.  And in some parts of my heart and in parts of Amania’s heart it’s still Friday.  But Sunday’s coming….

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For His Glory ~

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When Hope Gives Wings

For nearly twenty years the clouds have followed me.  For nearly two decades I have wrestled with doubt, fear, overwhelming sadness, and despair.  For nearly twenty years, I have struggled with depression.  Like the clouds, it comes and it goes and often it is seasonal.  But when it hits, it is heavy.  And lonely.  And dark.

But, God, He is the God of light and life and promise and through every season He has carried me and shown me grace and mercy and tenderness.  But most of all it has been His hope that has carried me through the dark seasons.  And it’s the hope found in His word that gives the most comfort…

  • Though he slay me, I will hope in him.  (Job 13:15)
  • Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love. (Psalm 33:18)
  • And now, O Lord, for what do I wait? My hope is in you. (Psalm 39:7)
  • Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me? Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation.  (Psalm 42:5)
  • For God alone, O my soul, wait in silence, for my hope is from him. (Psalm 62:5)
  • For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the Lord, “and will bring you back from captivity. (Jeremiah 29:11-14a)
  • But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope:  The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him. (Lamentations 3:21-24)
  • Come back to the place of safety, all you prisoners who still have hope.  I promise this very day that I will repay two blessings for each of your troubles. (Zechariah 9:12)
  • In hope he believed against hope… (Romans 4:18a)
  • Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (Romans 5:3-5)
  • Let your hope make you glad.  Never stop praying.  Be joyful always. (Romans 12:12 paraphrase)
  • So when God desired to show more convincingly to the heirs of the promise the unchangeable character of his purpose, he guaranteed it with an oath, so that by two unchangeable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled for refuge might have strong encouragement to hold fast to the hope set before us. We have this as a sure and steadfast anchor of the soul, a hope that enters into the inner place behind the curtain, where Jesus has gone as a forerunner on our behalf, having become a high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek. (Hebrews 6:17-20)

And that’s just a few of them.  And when a word comes to define what God is doing in your life, when a word from His word is what you cling to and your forgetful heart needs it ever present before your eyes a constant reminder, you write it all over the house but it’s still not enough, and sometimes you just want to write it on your skin where you can never stop seeing it.  So finally one day, you do….

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Hope – that anchor for the soul that gives wings to the heart.

And the battle isn’t over, but we will continue to fight, because God gives hope.

For His Glory ~

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Choosing Hope

I implore you to not give in to despair.  It is a dangerous temptation, because our Adversary has refined it to the point that it is quite subtle.  Hopelessness constricts and withers the heart, rendering it unable to sense God’s blessings and grace.  It also causes you to exaggerate the adversities of life and makes your burdens seem too heavy for you to bear.  Yet God’s plans for you, and His ways of bringing about His plans are infinitely wise.

Streams, June 1

Romans 5 says, “We also have joy with our troubles, because we know that these troubles produce patience. And patience produces character, and character produces hopeAnd this hope will never disappoint us, because God has poured out his love to fill our hearts. He gave us his love through the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to us.” (NCV)

The past nine months have been riddled with trials.  Trials common to life but trials just the same.  I have not been patient.  I have not developed character.  I have bucked against and resisted every single one.  And I have lost hope.

But today I choose hope.  I choose to yield and listen and trust.  Trials will continue to come and the flaming arrows of the Enemy will continue to fly.  But I will hope in the salvation of the Lord.  I will hope in His steadfast love.  I will hope in the victory that has been promised.

Because this hope will never disappoint.  My children will disappoint.  My husband will disappoint.  Life will disappoint.  I will disappoint.  But this hope will never disappoint because it is founded on the Rock, a firm foundation, One that will never move or change or let me down.  He is unshakeable, unfailing, an anchor for the soul.

We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 

~ Hebrews 6:19

 

For His Glory ~

~ Sara