For a while now I have been meaning to write a post about all the blessings I have seen in this journey to be a family of 5. There have definitely been ups and downs throughout this long journey, and will be in the road to come, but I am grateful for the signs of God in the journey with us. This post will not be a complete compilation of all that God has done because there is no way that anyone can ever write that, just the ways that we have seen him work in our adoption journey.
1. Our eldest daughter S’s birthday: The day that S was born my husband and I were not there to hold her and coo over her and cherish her. Heck, my husband and I didn’t even know each other at that point in our lives. Knowing that I would adoption, I figured that there would be little significance to the actual dates of my children’s birth to me. Boy was I wrong. S’s birthday is a wonderful example of how God wove the story of our lives together long before we knew anything about each other, or even about God. So here is the story. S was the oldest child born to a woman and her boyfriend. There are few details I know about her early life other than it was difficult and not what I want any child to experience.
As S was experiencing all of these things and learning to crawl, eat, walk, talk, ect. I was on a journey of my own. A journey that I talk about very seldomly, but seems important to share so that God can have the full glory of what He can accomplish. S was born when I was about 18 years old. My teenage years were extremely difficult years for me. Even as I look back on them I want to somehow protect myself from the experiences that I had. People important to me died unexpectedly (important is not a strong enough word to use), my parents had separated and divorced, people I loved were battling mental illness, and I was in the trenches of my own (misdiagnosed) mental illness. All that and so much more was going on in my life as a teenager. I had turned away from God, figuring that if a God who was all-powerful would allow all of this to happen that I wanted nothing to do with Him. I was an angry and broken girl. I turned towards many unhealthy coping skills, but mostly just wanted the hurting to stop. All this lead me to be hospitalized for a suicide attempt.
Here is where I see God’s hand at work! This hospitalization was the turning point. I made a plan (get the heck out of Dodge and start life on my own as a college student the second I could) and could see the future and things falling into place. I went to a great (although expensive) college, made some great friends, met my husband, and am now adopting 3 children. That story itself would be amazing! God brought me out of brokenness and showed me that instead of running as far away from the hurting people as I could, I needed to turn back around and show them how to find their way out of the muck too.
However, God does not stop at merely amazing. He is going for an awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping, eyes-tearing story that will let everyone know that He is the ruler of the world and can turn ANYTHING into victory for those that believe. My eldest daughter, S, who I cannot imagine life without, who is sassy and amazing and smart and kind, was born THE WEEK I WAS HOSPITALIZED! Towards the end of my stay in the hospital for almost ending my life, S was coming into the world. Not into the best circumstances but into a divine plan that would bring her and I together to share in our brokenness and laugh together. The week that I changed my viewpoint and started to see life as a plan waiting to happen, and not as a misery, was the week my beautiful daughter breathed her first breath and pooped her first poop (we talk about poop a lot in our house, don’t judge). To me, this shows me God’s great plans for my life even when I can’t see them. There is absolutely no way that 18 year old me, sitting in a locked inpatient ward could have any idea that her daughter was being born states away. But God knew, he knew and he grieved for the pain that we both had to go through in this broken and fallen world before we would be able to find each other and complete our big, crazy, but happy family.
2. Support from Godly people: Somedays this journey is too long and too tiring and you just want to go to bed and then you look at the clock and realize it is 1pm. (Not entirely a joke) However, God has placed so many wonderful people in our path that encourage and build our faith, or just let me cry on the phone when I am frustrated. Joel and I are so blessed to count so many people as friends and have such a supportive family. This journey is a unique one filled with many questions and concerns that other families simply don’t ever have to think of. The Godly people in our Church (the best church ever), our family, and our friends strive to truly understand the needs of our family and meet them. They pray for us and think of us and encourage us in ways I never imagined. After going a long time trying to be as far from Godly people as possible because I thought they were wrong about a God that loves me (see above), this group that we have built up around us of Godly people feels like coming home. Coming to a community we were meant to be in, to have support and encouragement and love from people that truly understand (or try to), and that build up your faith when it is shaken. They have been there throughout this journey from the not being chosen moments to the what the heck do we do with 3 kids moments?
3. My Husband: Joel is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about him. He is largely the reason I went back to church. I really liked him and he invited me to his Thursday night Chi Alpha group. There I was a 20-something college kid from a difficult past that had sworn off God in a youth group. Although I didn’t know Joel long (those that know us personally refrain from laughing here) I respected him and figured that if he truly believed, that I would at least give it a chance. That evening changed my entire spiritual life. God placed Joel in my path and I am so happy He did because I love being married to him, but more than being a great husband, Joel brought me back my faith. He is amazing to parent with. He is the best most respectful man I could ever hope to parent with and my kids will learn so much from him.
4. Ever-present Progress: We are seeing a TON of progress in our kids. C went from running away into her room when mad to accepting hugs. P has developed a bond with me that is so deep and is starting to open up to Joel too. S is offering to help C with things and being a “typical” big sister instead of a parent (at times). These are tiny changes, but they have been here just over a month. C would run away into her room and hide and kick and scream when we tried to offer a hug to her if she was upset. P was open to forming a relationship with me right away but was so nervous around Joel and now he will let Joel hug him and not cling to me so much. S would constantly parent the two little ones and had a negative relationship with C. I am seeing God touch their little hearts and minds and help them through this HUGE transition that they are going through. Every time I hear “mommy” I am reminded that my kid’s have God healing their hearts and I get to see it in action every day.
5. Strength and Patience: Someone once told me not to pray for Strength or Patience because then God would give you something to test your new found strength or patience. Well, with 3 new kids from difficult backgrounds I figure I am going to be tested anyway, might as well ask for what I need to pass the test! 🙂 Really though, there are times where if I hear someone ask about the green etch-a-sketch one more time I think I am going to go bat sh** crazy! I never do though (don’t ask Joel as he might disagree). Throughout this past month or so, I have had enough patience and strength to make it through each day. Sometimes barely and only with breaks provided by the one and only Joel, but I still make it. I am so thankful that a God that is so big as to weave a story together like the one in #1, still cares about my emotional well-being on a daily basis!
I am sure there are SO many more ways that God is in the details, but that is all I can focus on for now. My energy is gone (we shopped for the first time as a family of 5, blog on that to come!) and I need rest to replenish it for tomorrow!