Tears

A NOTE TO THE READER: This is one post in a series of posts that will share the story of how I came to know and grew to love my daughters who were adopted at fourteen years old, mere days before they aged out of the adoption system. It does not reflect my feelings now. If you are joining me in the midst of the series, you can access the whole story by clicking on The Silent Months on the top menu bar of my blog. I choose to share my story to address a topic that is taboo in the adoption community. I share it to normalize the feelings that so many feel and yet are too ashamed to share. I share it to provide support to those who feel alone because there’s a big white elephant in the room, and no one can talk about it. I share it in support of adoption, in support of every single precious child waiting for a family, every one of which deserves to be loved and is lovable, every single one. Why can’t we talk about it? The feelings are real. The process of attachment can be easy and it can be painful, and the more we support parents who experience the painful side of adoption, the more we help the children. There are far too many disruptions, especially of older children, and if we as a community can come to see the feelings and the process as normal, perhaps we can provide support to those families and in doing so, help the children. Adoption is rooted in pain and loss, and often the process is painful. AND it’s okay. Before you offer your criticism, please read, Eliza Today, A Preface, and God’s Heart and Workers for His Harvest Field .

The next days were filled with appointments and the busy schedule of a large family. We had to go on. We were still parenting ten children. There was an awareness that it was easier without Eliza. I felt more comfortable leaving my room. I even felt like I had my family back again. The children lingered longer around the table and in the family rooms.

There was no denying I felt more able to parent the ten children that were still under our roof than I did the eleventh that wasn’t. Yet amidst the relief and rest Eliza’s absence provided, and I’d be dishonest not to admit that I did feel a relief, a deep sadness pervaded our home. We were constantly aware of a sense of the inequity of it all, a feeling of loss, and even though frequent reports from our friends and the respite family told us how well Eliza was doing, we never had peace that we had done the right thing, and it never really felt okay that she was gone.

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Andrew expressed his feelings daily of how wrong it was that we were going on with our lives without her. Evangeline was hurt by our decision to leave Eliza. I couldn’t help but wonder what our leaving Eliza behind said to her?

It felt like our actions were implying to her that if we can’t make it good with you, we’ll leave you too. And what could I say to that? How could I make my words speak louder than my actions had? Steven missed Eliza terribly, and every single day, I had moments when I wanted to undo it all and go back and get her.

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Some of the other children felt the relief and rest from her absence that I felt. I was not doing well. My stomach was tied in knots, and I did not understand Eliza. She needed me with a voracity that I just could not handle. Mark and I would come to the decision each night in bed that we needed to go back and get her. Yet as soon as we followed that path through in our minds, my stomach would begin to churn, and I felt nauseas at the reality of what having her back with us looked like for me. So we would clasp our hands together and pray for wisdom and grace, and for peace for sweet Eliza, and then go to sleep and leave her in the loving hands of our Heavenly Father.

I had no confidence that I could be her mother.

There were a few times I discussed the possibility of going back to get Eliza with the family she was staying with and with everyone involved, and still all who were supporting us told us we couldn’t go back, that the damage we had done was irreparable, and we had no choice but to move forward, that moving forward was best for Eliza. And move forward we did,

for two long weeks.

Towards the end of the two weeks, the pain became too great. The thought of looking for another family for our daughter, our rose, felt undeniably wrong. We made the decision to go and get her the very next day.

But as soon as word got out to our friends, one of the friends who had given so much and who had been a such a huge support to us called me, and pleaded with me to change my mind. She told me how well Eliza was doing, how well homeschooling was going with the family she was with, how the respite family had gotten Eliza a kitten, how they loved her, and how happy she was. She asked me directly if I really felt I could give Eliza what she needed and all that they could.

Truth be told. I had no confidence that I could be anything to Eliza. I didn’t even know if I’d be able to eat if she came home. So, in my weakness, I retreated, and said okay and that we’d leave her there.

That night Mark and I talked. Mark was convinced we had to go back and get Eliza, and, even though I had no confidence in my ability to be her mother, I felt a deep awareness that I was her mother, sick or well, healthy or broken. I was her mother, and she was our daughter. We needed to get through this together. Eliza needed to come home, and we needed to bring her home.

I also knew, deep within my heart, that God would be with us, and that He would finish the work He had begun in our hearts and in our lives so long ago. Somehow I felt that on the very day Eliza’s biological mother had abandoned her, God knew that He was sending me to go and get her and to be her mother, and all the days in between He was somehow leading us to each other. The fact that I was broken suddenly held no importance at all.

Sometimes moms are broken.

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Up until this point, shame had kept me from calling the social worker from our agency. We had worked with other social workers, but we had not called our agency. The social worker we were working with strongly urged us to call our agency.

Finally, we did. The love and grace we received from our agency blessed us in ways I don’t even know how to express. Suddenly so many things felt okay again. Perhaps just the confirmation that our feelings were okay from the social worker that we had loved so much as we worked to bring the girls home, changed everything for us. We expressed our desire to go and get Eliza and our concern that we had hurt her too deeply, and our fear that we could never repair the damage we had done.

I can still hear the social worker’s precious words to us. “There is no hurt that is too big for God to heal. She’s your daughter. If you want to go get her, then go get her!”

On Sunday, the very next day, Mark and I left all the kids and drove all the way to get Eliza, the one we had left behind. We had no idea exactly how it would all work out, we only knew deep in our hearts that we were called to be Eliza’s parents.

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Sometimes it’s in the darkness that we find our way. And it was that way for us. Somewhere amidst the pain and loss, the truth and the way were made clear to us. It seemed as if God were saying, “This is the way. Walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21

Below is a video of a beautiful song a friend sang in church on Sunday. It’s words spoke to my heart because so many times in my life, the blessings have come through rain drops, my healing through tears, and a thousand sleepless nights have taught me that He’s near.

I encourage you to listen to it. I share it with you here, and have copied the lyrics below for you to read.

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
We pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
And all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love us way too much to give us lesser things

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear
We cry in anger when we cannot feel You near
We doubt your goodness, we doubt your love
As if every promise from Your word is not enough
And all the while, You hear each desperate plea
And long that we’d have faith to believe

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise

When friends betray us
When darkness seems to win
We know that pain reminds this heart
That this is not,
This is not our home
It’s not our home

‘Cause what if your blessings come through rain drops
What if Your healing comes through tears
What if a thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near

What if my greatest disappointments or the aching of this life
Is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can’t satisfy
What if trials of this life
The rain, the storms, the hardest nights
Are your mercies in disguise

It’s in the valley that we come to know God and realize our great need for Him. Once we’ve come to Him amidst the darkness, we can see Him everywhere. The Mountains declare His handiwork. (Psalms 19:1)

We can see Him in the glory of nature and recognize the great care with which He created each creature on the earth, the trees, the forests, and the gardens. We can celebrate Him on the mountain tops, but it’s not on the mountains that we come to know Him. It’s the awareness of our soul’s thirst for something more that causes us to search for Him, to long to know Him as He is.

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I’ll close with one of my favorite CS Lewis quotes.

“If I have discoverd within myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy; the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.”

Dear Reader, there is an eternal world that is far more real than this tangible temporary one in which we spend our days. If you are in the midst of a dark place attaching to your child, or in any area of your life, pray.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12

The battle to love and heal these precious orphaned children is not won here in this natural temporal world. It’s not won in our own strength, by working harder or expecting more of ourselves. It’s won through prayer, and by resting in the confidence of what God will do if we trust Him. We cannot do this on our own. We can’t even make our own hearts beat. How can we expect to change the life for one precious child without the hand of our loving God picking up the pieces as we drop them?

The battle is won in the world just beyond the natural that is carrying on ever so surely, just beside us. It’s won in the spiritual world of which we all must be a part.

Blessings!

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3 comments

  1. Kirsten says:

    You have no idea how healing and helpful this series of posts has been for me. Praying you are blessed beyond measure for being vulnerable enough to share your journey. He is faithful, even when we are not.

  2. Nicole says:

    Thank you so much for continuing your story. It’s very tough to share things that make us vulnerable to others. Thank you for being so brave. Your blog is so encouraging.

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