Finding Strength Beyond My Own
I cannot believe it has almost been one year since we met this sweet, sassy, strong-willed little girl for the first time! The journey to our Little Miss was a long journey, nine years in the making....
I have seen how God was changing me, through a painful refiners fire that at times made me call out, God, where art thou? In moments on my knees because I simply didn't have the strength to stand I could not see what God saw, I did not see the plans he had in store. Through the trials, tears and heartache he molded me to become the mother of a special needs little girl who needed me to be who God molded me to become before we made the long journey to China to bring her home.
I have learned many lessons in the past two years, through our adoption journey from the submission of our application to almost one year home. I remember reading the blogs of other adoptive mothers listening to them say how hard and yet how beautiful the journey of adoption is......
A Beautiful Broken Road
How can something be beautiful while at the same time be the hardest thing you have ever done? It is God's hand in the plight of an orphan that makes a broken, painful, difficult journey beautiful and joyful. I have seen God's hand in every moment of our adoption journey, blessings that left me speechless because of their magnitude.
I would like to share the lessons I have learned and continue to learn on this journey and pray that God will use my experiences to bless the life of another on their journey. It isn't an easy journey, but we as Christians have covenanted to have a heart for the widows and the orphans.
Lesson #1 God is bigger than money
If you think for one moment that I had $38,000 in my bank account or even the ability to pay that much for anything, you would be sorely mistaken. After some very severe financial trials our savings account was $ZERO!!!
If you think you have to have access to money to adopt, all I can say is, God is bigger than your financial situation. We did not have the means to adopt....and honestly in comparison to the cost of our adoption donations we received only covered about 5% of the cost.
The adoption is 100% paid for, we do not have any debt from our adoption!
Where did the money come from? Honestly, when it was needed......it came! I can't explain it other than to tell you that God's hand was in every moment and the money came as needed in ways we never could have expected. We stepped out in faith and with each step we took....the money needed came....never all at once, just step by step until all adoption costs were covered.
Grief and Loss in a Child is HARD to witness
You see happy pictures on Instagram, you see smiling faces on Facebook and adoption looks like the happiest most joyful journey one could ever take......and that is all I want you to see. When our little miss came to us, she was 6 years old and after evaluations from psychologists, special education teachers, therapists etc.... it was determined that she was developmentally 2 years old.
There are many aspects of International adoption that are unknowns....you have to be willing to take WHATEVER comes your way! There are no guarantees. I was not fully prepared for how profoundly delayed she was, I wasn't prepared for months of sleepless nights, cleaning up poopy diapers in the mornings 4 times a week for 7 months, grieving and crying for hours, meltdowns, tantrums........
I was aware of the possibilities but nothing can prepare you to live through it......not only live through it but do so without a single friend in the world. Isolation was the hardest thing I faced!
No one stopped by to see how I was doing, no one called to see how I was doing, there wasn't a friend to call when I felt it was too hard to handle, no shoulder to cry on when I didn't think I could change another poopy diaper, no friend to cry with as my heart ached for my daughters fears and pain from trauma......
Loneliness was a battle I fought day after day after day while fighting in the trenches for this Little one who was afraid, grieving, and living in fight or flight mode from all she has faced in her life.....
Among the loneliest hours I found myself on my knees pouring my heart out to God....pleading for patience, for strength, to be what my little miss needed me to be, asking for forgiveness feeling like I was failing her......
I asked God why He chose me to be her mom.....certainly there was a mother who could be so much more than I.
Pleading for Patience and Strength
I learned the key to praying for patience is not about expecting God to MAKE you patient.....it is about learning to rely on Him in every moment when you are not enough, praying in every moment when you are weak and knowing He will meet you where your weakness begins and give you the strength to carry on. It isn't one simple prayer....it is a constant prayer in your heart coupled with the absolute humility and desire to BECOME what you are praying to become.
God doesn't force it on you......He gives you the opportunity to BECOME and it is up to you whether you will become or not. I learned that on the fourth day in a row of changing a poopy diaper....my heart praying to God for patience to serve this child despite how exhausted I felt, despite how upset I felt inside......... The answer to my pleading...
This isn't about YOU!
Is that the answer I had hoped for? No, but it was truth.......bringing an orphan into your home is NOT about you......it is about serving them in their weakness, in their pain, in their suffering, in their worst moment you are called to be their strength, to be God's hands and showing them love even in their worst most unlovable moment!
It's HARD.....it goes against our fallen nature......and yet.....I found that with God I am able! I found patience when I didn't think I had any left, I found the ability to calmly change a poopy diaper like I was pouring her a glass of juice, I found the strength to not be heartbroken when she rejected me......It wasn't my patience, it wasn't my strength....it was a tender mercy from God.
Blessings beyond imagination
Blessings from money provided when I couldn't comprehend how, strength beyond my own to watching this precious child of God go from rocking back and forth flicking her fingers in her ears and crying constantly........to a little girl who is speaking in sentences, asking for things she wants, laughing, teasing, and enjoying swimming in the pool, talking to mommy, laying in big sisters bed all snuggled up tight.....no longer an orphan...but a beloved daughter, sister, grand daughter, cousin...
Watching this little girl blossom has been a blessing beyond imagination and I wouldn't trade it for anything.....despite the heartache, trials and tears.....with God the joys far outweigh the pain!