"And He took the children in His arms, put His hands on them and blessed them." (Mark 10:16)

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Still believing, even though it hurts

Todd is currently on top of the roof hanging Christmas lights and swearing. I’m sitting here writing while downloading really cheesy Christmas music.  I’ve got a warm cup of tea and a cute little snowman candle glowing.  We got all our Christmas decorations out and up.  We just need to trim the tree, and then we’re done!  And then everything will be better, right? 

We woke up on Thanksgiving Day, both of us cranky and unsure what to be thankful for.  Yes, we are the Bah-humbugs this year.  OF COURSE we have plenty to be thankful for – and we aren’t so cynical and bitter that we can’t find some gratitude.  It is just that we are now on the fourth holiday season without our sons here to share it with us.  We are angry, and mostly sad and heartbroken – not just for us, but for their young and tender hearts.  It is way past time for them to come home.

Yes, so now onto that popular question – WHEN WILL THEY COME HOME?  ANY NEWS?  WHAT’S THE STATUS?  We wish we knew.  We wish it was easy to explain the process.  We don’t even understand it sometimes.  The trouble is that every situation is different, and every stage of the process requires something that sometimes we have to wait even longer on.  Most recently, we’ve been waiting on an ID card for one of our boy’s biological parents.  We couldn’t progress to the next stage until the courts had the proper ID for that parent – and that ID took over a year to obtain.  There is no explanation for this.  In fact, I just renewed my driver's license here in Tennessee a few weeks ago.  It took me 1 hour – not 1 year.  But with every step of this process we learn more and more about the difficulties Haiti faces every day in just doing “normal” business.  That ID finally did come, but now there is a strike, and courts are not open.  So we wait some more. 

Yes, we were under every impression and belief this Christmas would be different – that our boys would be home with us.  But we are hanging lights and trimming the tree just as the year before – with continued sadness but no less hope than before.  And we truly don’t mean to be bah-humbug.  We just want to be honest and authentic about where we are. We are hurting.  But we press on.  We continue hoping. And we knew when we started this journey it would be hard and painful.  While so many people mean well, we don’t need anymore pep talks, bible verses, or fluffy spiritual jargon.  We believe in God, His Son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit.  We know and trust their great power and love through this.  And we don’t ever begin to assume we know better than God and His timing.  We lean on Him every day.  And we also know it’s possible to love and lean on God and still hurt. 

So I drink my tea and listen to Kenny and Dolly sing “I Believe in Santa Claus" one more time.  I hang the ornaments we all made together last Christmas and put them on this sweet little Charlie Brown Christmas tree that proudly sits in our front window.  It somehow screams to the outside, “our boys are coming!  They are coming! They will be here!” We hang their stockings.  We cry.  And we hold each other tight because we have each other to get us through the wait.  And we have the comforting presence of God who also knows very well how it feels to hurt for His children.  

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Waiting in the Rain

Some seasons just have a lot of rain.

Literally and figuratively, this summer has rained on me a lot.  I do not like being vulnerable or allowing others to see my “mess,” but the longer and harder it rains, the more I feel prompted to seek shelter in my authenticity and brokenness.

Todd and I just rounded the 3.5 year mark of waiting on our children.  We are thankful for answers, signatures, and milestones that have been completed.  Yet, the sorrow and pain still come in waves.  It’s hard to hold hope and grief at the same time, yet very possible.  I do it every day. It’s exhausting.

I have also been sick - really sick since May.  I have gone to the doctor so many times with no clear answers of what is wrong except maybe “you’re too stressed. What can you do to eliminate stress in your life?”  My answer is, “Can you bring my babies home from Haiti?”  There is no pill I can take for that – not one.  Thankfully I have found a wonderful doctor who has found that along with a broken heart, there is another reason for my ailments, and it’s being treated.  But it’s a LONG hard process of changing my diet, taking supplements, and waiting for my body to rid itself of what it no longer needs.  And this may take another several weeks.  Really?!  More waiting?  What is all this waiting mess about?  Can I just get some relief NOW?  Okay, that was my really impatient part needing to vent.  I feel better now.  But seriously, with every step in this process of bringing our boys home, my body and soul remind me of the toll it takes on them too.  And I must listen.  We all must listen to the messages our bodies have for us.  To slow down.  To wait.  To nurture.  To pray.  To feel.  To trust the process of life. 

On one of my hardest sick days as I prayed and cried, I ran across one verse that led me to explore the verses around it for context.  I looked it up in The Message version.  It’s a long one, but totally worth the time to read.   And I end this post with it, because it really just sums it all up. I am pregnant.  It hurts.  But God is near. 

Romans 8:22-28 MSG
"All around us we observe a pregnant creation. The difficult times of pain throughout the world are simply birth pangs. But it’s not only around us; it’s within us. The Spirit of God is arousing us within. We’re also feeling the birth pangs. These sterile and barren bodies of ours are yearning for full deliverance. That is why waiting does not diminish us, any more than waiting diminishes a pregnant mother. We are enlarged in the waiting. We, of course, don’t see what is enlarging us. But the longer we wait, the larger we become, and the more joyful our expectancy. Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God’s Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don’t know how or what to pray, it doesn’t matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That’s why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good."

Sunday, April 7, 2013

How many kids are here?

This was the question that sent me into tears. I am not angry about the question or the person who asked it.  I am angry my kids aren’t here.  All the kids in the family lined up to hunt Easter eggs.  It was adorable.  I thought contributing $6 to the prize egg would make me feel better. It didn’t.  I thought hiding the eggs would feel better.  It didn’t.  I thought helping a child find an egg would feel better.  It didn’t.  All I could think was “man, I wish my kids were here.“  Three years later that is all I can think about.  And I still believe they will hunt Easter eggs here – along with their super sweet cousins. 

But if anything brought a smile, it was this guy - determined to find eggs and ready to wrestle for them.  I find hope - every day I look for hope.  And I have hope our boys will hunt eggs with their  cousins, laugh at their big white family, and get hugs from all these people who love them so much!

"Rejoice in hope. Be patient in tribulation.  Be constant in prayer." (Romans 12:12)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Why do you want to adopt THREE kids?

I was faced with this question again recently.  It wasn’t the first time, and I’m guessing it won’t be the last.  Sadly, it is sometimes asked with doubt or ridicule, but mostly from those with sincere wonder.  When asked, I sort of freeze.  How do I even answer that question?  There is no simple answer that is going to make sense to the questioner.  Half the time it doesn’t make sense to me!  If I say, “God has called us to these kids,” we sometimes get the blank stare or rolled eyes as if we’re in a crazy cult, and I’m about to ask them to come to a worship rally where they will be asked to adopt three kids too. 

The immediate answer is “I don’t know.”  Does a mother having triplets WANT to have triplets?  I know the answer I might get to that – “Well, those are her biological kids.”  But do you really think she put in an order for 3? A woman having triplets will love and care for her children even though she never imagined having three at once.  My adopted children are no less mine than if I birthed them.

And even though my answer is “I don’t know,” here is what I do know….

*I know I met our 3 sons Wilnes, Wendy, and Woody 3 years ago this February. 
*I know when their hearts met mine I was their mama.
*I know I am scared, because parenting will be hard. 
*I know people will question our interracial family. 
*I know people will question our ability to handle this.
*I know we will not have to do this alone. 
*I know I am a good Mom.  I know Todd is a good Dad. 
*I know we love those boys so much that it just flows out my eyes most days.   
*I know we are sad, because there are three people missing from our table. 
*I know that three years of waiting has felt like ten. 
*I know my heart aches to be with them.
*I know Who holds tomorrow. 

We did not seek out to adopt three kids, so we may never have an answer for the question.  But I think what I can now answer is, “It never felt like a choice. Wilnes, Woody, and Wendy are our sons.  That is why we are adopting them.”  I mean, just look at our family picture – it sort of feels like it answers the question on its own. 

And now to the “WHEN?”  Still wishing we had an answer to that.  Even though we have moved to a very important stage of the process, we are now waiting for a signature to move forward again.   If you would like to pray with our family about this, please pray for a certain woman’s heart and hand to be swift in signing our documents for our three children.  Even with that signature it won’t be time for them to come home, but it will move us closer.

A quick update on our Christmas visit – the boys were THRILLED to decorate ornaments and a tree and have their very own stockings.  They rearranged the nativity scene every day, which I thought was pretty insightful since Baby Jesus must have had lots of visitors in and out -probably the way it feels in their creche (where they live is called a creche, which we learned is another word for nativity).  It was the first time for all of us to be together as a family since April 2011.  It felt right.  It felt peaceful.  It felt hopeful.