Saturday, July 6, 2013

Hungry for truth-telling

Before, when we were in the waiting process, I read this blog by Jen Hatmaker called "After the Airport," talking about the year after she brought her two adopted kids home from Ethiopia and the stages of an international adoption story. It gave me a real sense of hope, but also, I read ahead and thought, "Oh yeah, we can do this."

However, now we are in the thick of it. I want to quit. It feels so impossibly hard. The needs are bigger than I am, the demands are greater, the wisdom is lacking.  It feels like we have done something terribly wrong.

Today, in a fit of (divine?) inspiration, I re-read that blog and this is what I read.

"Your sweet one is grieving. This is sorrow and loss and fear and trauma; it is visceral. It is devastating.You and your spouse are haunted, unshowered, unhinged, unmoored. You stare into each other’s eyes, begging the other one to fix this: What have we done? What are we doing? What are we going to do?

The house is a disaster. Your bios are huddled up in the corner, begging grandparents to come rescue them. You can’t talk to anyone. Everyone is still beaming at you, asking: “Isn’t this the best thing?? Is this just the happiest time of your life?” You are starving for truth-tellers in adoption. You scour blogs and Yahoo groups, desperate for one morsel of truth, one brave person to say how hard this in and give you a shred of hope. You only find adorable pictures and cute stories, and you despair. You feel so alone. You’ve ruined your life. You’ve ruined your kids’ lives. Your marriage is doomed. Your adopted child hates you. You want to go back to that person pining away in the Pre-Stage and punch her in the liver."

I felt so much relief I almost cried. Eric, too. This is us. This is how we feel. These are the conversations we have with each other. I am in the desperate need of truth-hearing. Quiet conversations with other adoptive mom friends and their admissions and confessions have brought peace and relief. 

I, too, have scoured the internet, trying to find explanations and help. I, too, find cute pictures and inspiring videos. But nothing gives me what I crave: How do I handle this? I don't know what to do now. 

So, I will be a truth-teller. If it makes you a bit squirmy or you think I'm being melodramatic or I'm exaggerating a bit then don't read these next words. But regardless of how they make you feel, I'm not apologizing for them.  

These past three weeks have been the absolute hardest of my life. I've tried to describe the how and the why and find that words are utterly empty and not nearly definitive enough. 

I am emotionally-empty, worn out, tired. 

We are working hard to repair and heal a broken and tramautised toddler--and it is excruciating work. Every day, we discover another hurt or wound. Every day she fights her growing dependence on us. Every day, amid the needs of this one, we battle the needs of three others who feel neglected, forgotten, un-loved. 

And then, even after all that, there is still the physical aspect of life:
Laundry (oh, was that much beloved shirt that is now ruined due to mold? sorry!) 
Food (you want to eat again? didn't you just eat a few hours go?) 
Clean (oh, you don't really want to sit on the couch?)
And a hundred other little details that go into running a house and staying healthy and sane. 

To add to that are the other "mom" requests:
Hold me, play with me, read to me, fight for me, pursue me, love me as only a mom can. 

And each one of these sometimes seems to be more than I can handle. I am not the super-mom. 

Why do I put this out there? So you know. This "stage" is one that will be in our lives for a few months. I cannot escape it's reality. It is what life is for the foreseeable future. Yes, we see steps forward every day, but those are coupled, just as often, with frustrating steps backward. I have seen and learned things about myself that frighten me. 

So after you read this blog tonight, take a moment and send up a prayer for every single adoptive parent you know, regardless of the stage they are in. Whether their child has been home from the moment of birth or just in the past days, the healing from loss and trauma is life-long. The questions are hard, the answers seem lacking. This work brings us to our knees in prayers for daily, moment-by-moment wisdom, grace, and peace. Sometimes, we even pray for love. 

And I finish again, with more of Jen's wise words, for she is further down the path than I am and has much to offer me. 

"Anything worth fighting for is worth fighting through, and adoption is one of them. I can hardly think of something closer to God’s character, who is the “Father to the fatherless, defender of widows — this is God, whose dwelling is holy.” Certainly, we are his difficult children who spaz out and pull away and manipulate and struggle. We distrust His good love and sabotage our blessings, imagining our shame disqualifies us or that God couldn’t possibly be faithful to such orphans.

But He is. We are loved with an everlasting love, and it is enough to overwhelm our own fear and shame and humanity. In adoption, God is enough for us all. He can overcome our children’s grief. He can overshadow our own inadequacies. He can sweep up our families in a beautiful story of redemption and hope and healing. If you are afraid of adoption, trying to stiff-arm the call, God is the courage you don’t have. If you are waiting, suffering with longing for your child, God is the determination you need. If you are in the early days of chaos, God is the peace you and your child hunger for. If your family feels lost, He is the stability everyone is looking for. If you are working hard on healing, digging deep with your child, God is every ounce of the hope and restoration and safety and grace.

In Him, you can do this."

1 comment:

Mathematical Mama said...

I'm so glad I met you, Sammy. You are not alone.