I type words onto my screen. A few sentences form. Then I find myself once again stuck. Wondering how to share our journey of adoption in a way that honors everyone in the family. I backspace until the words disappear faster than they came. Usually I stop writing. Because this journey is so long, so raw, still so ache-filled after four years. Then I share with a trusted friend, which I've found are few and far between. Most, we've experienced, haven't enough grace in their well to walk this road beside us. This too, makes it hard to keep words on my screen.
The friend will tell me, "People need to hear these stories. They need to hear the hard reality of adoption."
I think, ours isn't everybody's story. Just yesterday I visited a Facebook page created by our adoption agent that includes over 180 families who've adopted from Ethiopia through them. I read a post by a doting father, "She's the light of our lives..." A picture of a beautiful family with their beautiful Ethiopian daughter. Everybody looking so happy. And I believe that father's post. I don't doubt it for a minute. And I am genuinely glad for them. This is mostly the adoption story I read on the Internet as I desperately search some days for a thread to keep the tapestry from unraveling.
At the same time, as I read his post I was aware of shame creeping around my soul, hungry for an invitation to re-enter the place it occupied for so many years following our adoption. The shame of felt failure as a mom which consumed me. Thinking if I was different, I would bond with my daughters. Connect. Attach. Believing for too long that the gaping space between our hearts would have closed were it not for me. The battle is still fierce.
Though our story isn't everybody's story, it is some people's story. I have files on my computer titled The Stuff I Can't Blog About. Some need to stay locked away and then deleted before my death. Others, however, could have been good posts which might have brought a thread of hope to another in my shoes. So, today I am going head to head with the silence. Digging deep to write of our struggles in a way that honors all the players. This is part of what's stopped me in the past...when the ache is so guttural, the energy it takes to honor everyone in the story has been consumed by survival.
My daughters lived a lifetime before we met. They watched their young mother of 20 years old die of disease. They were then relinquished by their polygamous father to the orphanage in their village, an all boy's orphanage in which they were unable to reside. So they remained with their father and three step-moms in their village. We've learned from Ethiopian friends and strangers, that polygamous children who lose their moms are considered unloved, and often treated like slaves by the step-moms. From the way Mez spoke and related to her younger sister, Kamise when they arrived, we could see imprints of this reality on them, in them. After five years on the waiting children (older orphaned children waiting for families to choose them) adoption page, we chose them.
Perplexed by how we'd choose a child, a few adopted mom's had told me, "You'll know when you see them."
Know they're who God has chosen for our family. And that's how it was. A mystical knowing.
We have progressed in melding together in the past four years. Some of us experience more progression than others. It feels like we've been on the front lines, warring for beauty to win so fiercely that it has taken, and is taking, everything. Everything.
And there is so far to go. I can only hope this to be true. That there's still more for us. Because the relational reality of detachment between my heart and my daughter's hearts feels palpable to me. I watch them excitedly greet and run into the arms of
We are told this is
When wrestling with God over the decision to adopt, I pretty much heard Him yell from the roof tops, "I want your life to be marked by something only I can pull off."
Bingo. This is definitely only something that He can pull off. I believed that going in and I know that to the core of my being still. I am powerless to pull off much of anything in my relationship with them. I've heard people say that adoption helps you better understand the adoptive heart of God.
Not for this adoptive mom. If anything, it helps me understand how completely I cannot understand the adoptive heart of God. My reality of love is on a completely other plane than His, I'm convinced. His heart of love is more mysterious to me now that it's ever been. As I battle to continue to love, to move toward
This morning I ran to Ann Voskamp's blog, A Holy Experience, grasping for a thread. Grateful to find this one wrapping itself around my soul,
"Lent. It's the preparing the heart for Easter. Like going with Jesus into the wilderness for forty days, that we might come face to ugly face with our enemy. Our sacrificing that we might become more like Christ in His sacrifice...
"We renounce to be reborn; we let go to become 'little Christs'. It's about this: We break away to become."
I think I'm in my fourth year of lent. A very loooooooong preparation for Easter. For the day when I will fall into the arms of my Jesus, with His nail-scarred hands and feet, all in His stunning glory, and it will have all been worth it. Worth the cost because I really do want to be formed into a little Christ. I really do ache for the parts of me, which hunger for anything but God to satisfy my deepest parts, to be put in their rightful place. Renouncing control, comfort, and freedom with the hope of formation. Perhaps I am being reborn in a deeper way. Perhaps in my ache I am becoming. A thread of hope.