Yoked With Jesus

Today we took Eliza to CHOP for her second appointment at the adoption clinic. Three months ago when she was first seen, she was so shut down emotionally that she could not be evaluated.

She was much better today. She smiled at the doctor and was much more cooperative. She is clearly connected to me, and was comforted by my presence. A couple of times Victoria needed to take Olivia for a walk, and Eliza was visibly upset by the prospect of me leaving.

Eliza has made huge improvements in bonding in the three months since our first appointment. The social worker encouraged me that she has made much more progress than they typically see in the same amount of time. She told me I am doing exactly what she would recommend.

The really hard thing for us is that Eliza is showing significant signs of mental retardation. I don’t like that word, but it is the word the doctor is using.

And it hurts.

In all honesty, this is not what we wanted. We never felt able to handle a child with significant developmental delays. We were told Eliza was a healthy older girl with a repaired heart condition. As soon as we met Eliza, as I have shared before, we knew there was so much more involved than we had known or expected.

Even so, there was nothing we could do. Eliza was about to age out, and we were her last chance at ever having a family.

There was no way we could leave her there.

Bringing her home was hard.

It is still hard.

She speaks a few words at a time at most. She calls me all day long. When I answer, and say, “Yes, Eliza.” She looks at me blankly. She never tells me she needs anything.

She demands hugs all day long. If I stop and hug her, she points to all of her body parts and says, “hurt.” It spirals downward, and she scratches herself until she bleeds. I have had to begin to tell her that I can’t hug her then, but that we will hug during our snuggle time when I rock her each night.

Mark and I have struggled so much with our feelings. We have felt so terribly trapped.

Every single day we have chosen to love her.

We are still choosing to love her.

And she is thriving.

She beams with joy frequently throughout the day. She loves her life here.

But none of it helps us deal with our feelings of frustration.

We didn’t want this.

There is a huge tendency in the blog-o-spere to only share the fairy tale of adoption, and the families who struggle are often alone.

I want to share the real story. I want to share the joys and the sadness, the exciting and the painstakingly hard.

We have felt terribly alone. In fact, I have never felt more alone, and yet I have never been more certain that I am walking in God’s will for my life.

The reality of walking with God is hard sometimes. Following Him down the darkest paths of His will for our lives is unbelievably hard. It takes incredible faith and perseverance. It requires a focus on God that is more narrow than I have ever been able to maintain before and a dying to ourselves that I never felt was possible.

We are, indeed, laying down our lives.

I have never before felt so one with God.

Loving His broken children is the most painful thing I have ever done.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.

Jesus is here amidst these difficult days loving us and showing us the way with His nail scared hands.

We are wearing Jesus’ yoke, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.


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  1. Debbie Bond says:

    Diane and Mark ~ I am so sorry to hear this devastating news, Eliza has gone through so much in her young life and it seems so unfair that such a sweet, innocent child as well as her family has to bear this burden. Praying that all of you will be okay.

  2. Kelli Dominguez says:

    My friend did an international adoption so I was looking at all her links and links of links. I found your site. I am not an adoptive parent so I don’t understand everything you are going through. Just want you to know that I have you as one of my “favorites” and I check everyday to see what you have written. Just know that a Chrisitan sister in California who doesn’t know you and will most likely never meet you is praying for you. I check your site, read your blogs and I pray for you and your family. Believe it or not I think about your and your family frequently. When I do, I figure it’s the Holy Spirit prompting me to pray. I’m sure there are many many brothers/sisters in Christ who read your blog and pray for you too. As alone you must feel at times, just know that you are being upheld in prayer. I wish I could do something for you, the only thing I can do is pray. I’m sorry you are exhausted and feel overwhelmed. Please know that you are thought of often and I’m sending prayers and hugs. God bless!

    • Diane says:

      Kelli, thank you for taking the time to tell me this. I am so very blessed by your prayers and faithful following of our journey. I can’t tell you how much it means to me that you are praying in California. 🙂
      And we will meet someday.

  3. Mama D.'s Dozen says:

    You are so not alone. I have walked the path before you.

    I would love to chat (through email or on the phone), if you want some one-on-one conversations with someone who does understand.

    So sorry.

    So sad.

    I do understand HARD.

    mama of 12
    Mama D.’s Dozen recently posted..Sunshine . . . Or Not.My Profile

  4. Jennifer P says:

    It is a strange bedfellow to know that you are walking in His perfect will and yet none of it is what you asked for. I am sorry for the aloneness that happens. Praying that God will take this valley and turn it into His glory. Keep on keeping on and thank you for sharing.

    • Diane says:

      Thank you, Jennifer. Isn’t it amazing how alone we can feel when we are not alone at all? We are praying for you and all your blessings!
      Much Love,

  5. Erin Pascal says:

    This story is very inspiring. I am glad that I came across this post. Diane and Mark, you two are a blessing. The world needs people like you to make it a much better place to live in. It’s very sad knowing that you and Eliza are having a hard time but I know that you will find joy and peace amidst all the hardships for God is with you. Stay strong for your family. Our prayers are with you.
    Erin Pascal recently posted..Being A Fashionable Christian WomanMy Profile

    • Diane says:

      Thank you, Erin. I’m so glad you found my post as well!
      Thank you for taking the time to comment and encourage me.

  6. melissa says:

    Keep in mind the miracle God did in Evangeline and remember, Jesus is the Great Physician and He went around and healed all who were aflicted. It’s never too late! Know and proclaim that Eliza will continue to make amazing progress and astound the doctors at CHOP!

    • Diane says:

      You are so right, Melissa! He is the God of miracles!!!
      Jesus says we have not because we ask not. I will be king for big things for our sweet Eliza!

  7. Michelle says:

    Thank you for sharing. We took custody and ended up adopted my great-nephew out of foster care. I hadn’t seen him since he was a toddler and he was 8 when we got him. We were told he was a very normal, sweet, charming, highly intelligent little boy with no issues. We had prayed for this adoption just like we had for our daughter’s adoption from China. However, this one has been a nightmare for the last 8 years. I won’t go into details, but he has Reactive Attachment Disorder-inhibitive type, has been now labeled a socio-path, and none of it is really positive. I still wonder why God allowed this child into our household. The state he came from lied to us about everything and we had no experience with any of it, so we didn’t know what to ask. Turns out he was abused in just about every way in his 8 years. All I can hope for is, for 8 years (he’s a teen now), we showed him Jesus, taught him the Word, showed him how to pray and never gave up on him. He’s not in our home now due to his behavior and he’s not allowed to come back for our family’s safety. He did not have intellectual/physical delays. All his issues were deep and hidden and came out in sneaky ways. I will pray for your family. God will get you through this. He is faithful and He has His plan. As I look back, I’m positive it was God who got us this far. There were days I wanted to run away and never look back or put this child out for doing his best to wreck my family. I was at my breaking point almost every day as this child seemed committed to breaking every rule, every day and refuse to live according to Christian values. I tried a few times to give him up, only to have our state and the adopting state refuse to help. We’ve had amazing peace (life is never 100% peaceful) in our house since this child has been placed outside our home for the last 3 months. However, he’s not 18 and we are still responsible for him. I know God has a plan and He continues to work it out for us.

    At times, I feel like 8 years of my family’s life was wasted. My other 4 children suffered A LOT. I felt helpless, hopeless (until I prayed), harried, desperate, like the worst mom, etc. I know 8 years wasn’t wasted really, and I have to work at not dwelling on “what-ifs.” I also did this while suffering greatly from fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and no help from my extended family or much from my church family. Looking back, I was not taking care of myself.

    So, all this to say HANG IN THERE! The best thing you can do is take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating right, sleeping right (as best you can), getting mental breaks when you can, and above all trusting God.

    • Diane says:

      Oh Michelle, I am so sorry for all you have gone through with your foster son. I can assure you those eight years were not lost. I will pray that God would redeem his life.
      Thank you for walking this road with us and for your encouragement.

  8. Penny says:

    Diane, your honesty and transparency are a beautiful thing. Thank you for sharing yourself so openly. Please know that I think of you often and pray for you as you walk this road so courageously.

    It’s possible that Eliza may surprise you yet. Developing brains are also affected by lack of attachment and she has a lot of lost ground to cover in that respect. I can’t quite square the beautiful writing you talk about with the word retarded……

    • Diane says:

      Sweet Penny, you are a blessing. I don’t feel courageous, but I am so thankful for your friendship.
      No, the mental retardation thing just doesn’t add up. There has to be more. A verbal apraxia? Sensory processing? Brain injury? I just don’t know.

  9. Ashley says:

    Diane, I don’t know how I stumbled upon your blog, but it was before you went to China. I check on you every day and was just yesterday telling a friend about your blog, your strength, and how your love has already begun to transform your girls. We also discussed (this was before I read this post even) how the bloggy/adoption world loves to sugarcoat adoption. And, it is not real life. Thank you for your honesty and know that even though you feel alone (and only YOU know what you’re going through, so in that sense you are), you have MANY people praying for you and your family that you don’t even know. I find you to be simply amazing. A role model for women and mothers everywhere.

    And, although you unfortunately have to face Eliza’s reality, I agree with another commenter, that she still needs a lot of time and patience and has a lot of catching up to do. You’re still not seeing the “real” Eliza.

    Praying for you. God Bless!
    Ashley recently posted..Done!My Profile

    • Diane says:

      Ashley, thank you.
      I am thrilled to hear you have been walking this road with us since before we travelled. How blessed we have been by all of you who have been praying for us.
      God bless you!

  10. Marius A. Iorgulescu says:

    Now this is what I’ve been waiting for. . This is the moment when I must humbly explain a few things.
    First of all, my view of it all is that God asks us to come here for a reason. That reason may seem unfathomable sometimes…but in reality it is not. The reason we come here is simple: to become better humans and to be able to join the heavenly Father in His kingdom. The reason for our journey on Earth is due to the devastating corruption that His enemy provoked. That requires SIMULATED, temporary, separation from the Father. I won’t get into that now…let’s just say that the Lord needs to know what happened to His crop (you have the New Testament parable). In other words…our existence here is a school…for lack of a better word; and, at the end, we get grades. He needs to know what He’s got.
    Now when it comes to you guys, Mark and Diane, know this: you are very special souls, much beloved by the Father, and eminently equipped for the tasks He appointed for you. Please understand that souls CHOOSE HOW THEY COME INTO THIS WORLD. Yes, in the spirit world, before we come here, we choose our parents, and the main currents of our lives. This means Eliza and Evangeline and all your children KNEW you were going to be their parents, they chose YOU, as much as you two guys chose each other before you were born. If you don’t believe me, I hope you better believe Isiah when he argues with the Lord saying: “I’m not up to the task Lord”, and the Lord says: “Before you were born I knew you, and we talked about this”. Understand? 😀 I know you do, and I also know that you will not fear any longer. These souls in your household are in the palm of your hand! The Lord does not make mistakes, He is perfect, He knows who goes where! The fact that it doesn’t go according to Him always is due to human doubt….sown by the enemy. And even more importantly… He does NOT give more to us than we can handle!!! You children are a privilege, and I hope now you view this statement as more than a pleasantry on my part.
    Have faith! He knows what He’s doing, and in a world of sin….He delights in people who do the right thing.

    With respect,
    Marius Iorgulescu

    • Diane says:


      Thank you!!!

      How have you been??? Are you still in New York? Are you dancing?

      Thank you so much for your comment. I am blessed to know you are walking this journey with us.



  11. Karen says:

    Thank you for your openness, your honestly, your transparency in your journey. I will continue to pray for your family on this journey.

  12. Barbra says:

    Thank you for sharing your journey. The good stuff and the hard stuff.
    In 2008 we went to china to adopt a 6yo with repaired heart defect. Like you, we immediately knew there was much more going on. We also felt frustrated with our new reality which we hadnt “signed up” for though i do know that there are no guarantees. Our child has a severe intellectual disability and she has had many institutional behaviors to overcome as well.
    Parenting her is not easy, but how blessed are we to do this hard thing? Very!!!!! Good news…I can now say amongst the hard there is so much joy! Praying for you now.

    • Diane says:

      Barbra, thank you for sharing your wisdom that comes from experience. There is joy in walking in God’s will for our lives. And I agree, there are no guarantees. I know several who travelled recently, and many have found they are dealing with much more significant issues than they had known.
      Thank you for your encouragement.
      God bless you.

  13. Judi says:

    My husband and I are the parents of another Zhongshan sweetie. She was 4 1/2 when we got her and is now 7. However she is still YEARS behind in development. Her special need was post-operative hemangioma. However, she was far more. She was still in diapers, not speaking at all, and was very much a 12-18 month year old developmentally at the time we adopted her. None of that was indicated in her referral. We brought home an infant in a 4 1/2 year old body. It was hard the first months but she continues to make a lot of progress, especially in the past six months or so. Developmentally she is at about a 3-4 year old at this time. Hard, but we KNOW she was meant to be in our family. We didn’t want this either as we also have an adult bio daughter with Down Syndrome. BUT God chose the path and He will give us what we need to thrive on it. He will you, also! Thanks for being honest. Too often as adoptive parents, we don’t share the hard stuff which just makes it harder for other families who are struggling and think it is “just them”! We need to support each other and lift each other in prayer! Praying for you today!

    • Diane says:

      Judi, your comment means so much to me. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. God knew it all and He has a plan.
      Thank you so much for your prayers.
      God bless you.

    • Diane says:

      Thank you, Molly, for your prayers. I so appreciate you walking this path with us. I am so blessed by all of the many people God has brought into our lives.
      God bless you.

  14. Jennifer Taylor says:

    I’m so proud of you for this post. Adoption is not always sunny skies and rainbows. There are dark days. We too adopted an “older child – 6.5 years old” who was healthy. She has severe developmental delays. We’ve had her for 3 years on 2/22/13! The one thing that always carries us through is God. It is hard and it is not always what we “asked for” but we know that it is what she asked for! We are thankful that she is now in a place that can help her to heal! Blessings to your family!

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