Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Looking Back; Looking Around; Looking Forward

It has been a long time since I have updated. If you are looking for profound thoughts or well written anything, you should probably stop here. If you just want to know what we have been up to, keep reading.

The lack of posting is partly due to the lack of time, and partly because I have struggled with what I should write; about how open I should be about what life has been like over the last year. Should I be totally open and possibly scare off a family who is considering adoption or should I only post the "good" stuff and give that same family a candy-coated glimpse at what life after gotcha day is like?

This post could have had any of the following titles: "Love is an Action Word", " All in the Family", "Under-equipped", "In the Shadow", "It's Getting Better", "So is that how I treat my God?", or "Stacking Stones."

The current title seemed to be the most appropriate, though I could tell long stories about each of the above titles.

Looking Back
My wife and I took classes, read books and blogs, talked with families who had adopted, and thought we had an idea of what we were walking into. We knew it could be hard. We knew that children from hard places may have suffered trauma that we would not be able to relate to. We knew they could have problems bonding with us and trusting us. Our experiences with our oldest boys gave us only a hint of that.

Let me say right now, that I love my daughters (I love all of my children) and though there have been some very trying times, I would do this all over again, despite the challenges.

If you have adopted before, I am sure can relate to some of the things we have been dealing with. If you are looking at adopting, take note of what I write, but know, KNOW, that these children need families, and if the Lord is calling you to this, you can do it. Equip yourself well before bringing your new child(ren) home, and know that you are not alone.

Since we have been home, we have been swung at (with contact being made on several occasions), bit, kicked, screamed at, and kept awake until the wee hours of the next morning on many occasions. We have had to pull the van over to stop a child from climbing over the seats to beat up a sibling. We have had to call the authorties twice, and have had MANY conversations with translators. We have had broken doors, broken door knobs, and broken hearts. We have had to ignore a child who was pretending to run away only to stay outside the house yelling and banging on doors and windows, and refusing to come in when asked. We have had to pull our littlest one away from a child who was filling his head with lies about us. We have been called many names for hours on end, some silly, others very offensive. We have been tired, out of patience and ideas, and greatly lacking in time as a couple. We have been disrespected, ignored, and yelled at for not meeting someones needs (or perceived needs) even if there was nothing we could do or should do. We have dealt with huge misunderstandings. We have had to hold a child to keep that child from banging her head on the tile, and held that same child when uncontrollable tears started to pour. We have had to go back to the drawing board regarding discipline and consequences, and add a whole new set of tools to our parenting toolbox.

It would be easy to read all that, think through each event, and become bitter and angry; resentful or regretful for what the Lord led us into. We could be out trying to talk others out of adopting. But, that is not where we are at. We are tired, very tired at times, but we have grown, been stretched, and have had our vision for what the Lord has called our family to strengthened. We know without a doubt that we are right where the Lord would have us.

Personally, I have learned this perspective: am I not adopted? How have I treated my adoptive Father? As for me, I have kicked, hit, screamed, called names and been disrepectfull. I have broken things in my life and I have told lies (through my actions and choices) to another about my Father. I have ignored, complained about unmet "needs", caused my own pain, and cried uncontrollably. Yet through it all, I have been loved by my Father in heaven. I have been chastised, corrected, held, encouraged, and loved when I have been unlovable. That is the perspective I need to approach each day with; each minute really.

See, I have learned, or at least re-learned, in the last 12 months that love is an action word. It matters not if you have a fuzzy feeling toward someone, it is about choosing to love. Despite our child's behaviors, we are to love them. God chose to love us, can we not do the same for others?

Looking Around
As we near being home a full year, I look around and survey the landscape of my life. I see the hills and the valleys, the shadows and the light. I see how much each of my children have grown. I see how far my daughters have come, and I know I only partially understand how HARD the transition has been on my girls. I am very proud of all my children for how they each have adjusted. They all accept each other as siblings, including the standard sibling disagreements. It has been hard, but I would do it again. I would.

I see how the Lord orchestrated so many details over the last couple years to bring my family to this moment. I have been so very blessed. My blessings include (in no particular order): a job at which I have the privilege of being a small part of raising up the attorneys who desire to advance the gospel of Jesus Christ through service as advocates of truth, counselors of reconciliation, and ministers of justice in the fields of law and government policy; a beautiful wife who loves me despite all my failings (we just celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary); 8 children who love me (but not always like); an abundance of food (my waist line proves it is in abundance); the home that is so much more that I thought we could buy; and most certainly the biggest one - I am blessed by my God who loves me, despite all my failings.

Indeed I am blessed.

The intense transition problems mentioned above are mostly gone now. There are still issues to be resolved, but it is getting better. If you are in the thick of it now I will tell you, just was we were told, it will get better. Stay consistent, keep on loving, and most importantly, stay on your knees in prayer.

Looking Forward
Sheri and I desire to have our family be pleasing to the Lord. We are willing to serve Him in any way He asks us too. We have continued to be moved by the plight of the orphan. My heart aches for them. I still think of and pray for the two we left behind, and watch in awe as the Lord calls, provides for, and equips others to empty an orphan's bed. We help as we can, as we are led, but there has still been a tug to do more.

I had been sharing posts on Facebook about the hosting events offered by God's Waiting Children and Viant International, and watched as groups came and went. Then the winter hosting information came out, and as Sheri and I talked, it seemed clear the Lord was prodding each of us that way. So we inquired. Lord willing, we will have an additional child in our home for a few weeks this winter.

Hosting of course brings up the question of adoption, which, believe it or not, we are praying about again. I know we are not perfect parents. I, specifically, make so many mistakes. Yet, knowing our failings, Sheri and I are in agreement that we should walk that path again until the Lord directs otherwise. If the Lord has another daughter for us, we will gladly bring her home. As with every adoption journey, there is a lot of work to be done, mountains to be moved, and funds to raise. We appreciate your prayers as we seek to follow the Lord's will.


Janee said...

Thank you so much for your honestly. Your family has been in my prayers all year. Naturally (given the different natures of our adoptions), our year has been very different from yours. Overall things have been easier with Vika than perhaps they have been with your girls. But we still have our rough days, where we look at each other and ask "how can it have been a year and we are STILL dealing with these behaviors??" The head beating, the rocking, the avoidance of affection, the screaming and teeth grinding and all of that. It is exhausting sometimes. Adoption is hard work, yet this isn't a surprise to us as believers- we know it cost Christ His life. I am so thankful for families like yours who know the cost and remain faithful to the works God has prepared for you.

Carmen said...

We will again say...we are blessed to know you. We look forward to following you in your journey forward with the Lord and your family. God is truly good and He proves Himself daily, even though He has no need to. We are also moving forward. We will be leaving here in approx. 9 weeks and 4 days. There is much to do. We are excited and yet filled with uncertainties. What a wild ride. :)

Christie M said...

Rejoicing in the Lord that things are better!

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