• Silver Linings

    Date: 2020.10.10 | Category: Cassie, Faith, Family Life | Tags:

    Life is hard.  Sometimes it doesn’t go the way you expected.  Sometimes it makes no sense and you struggle to understand they “whys”, especially when you’ve waited years and years to get pregnant and when you finally do, the delivery isn’t what you expected, the recovery isn’t what you expected and then, to top it all off, you have to spend days in the hospital after the baby is born.

    Cassie joked over and over again that she had no birth plan except to have Cillian be here with her.  Everything else she would take as it came.  I am so thankful that has been her feelings all along because even though this was hard she knew what was important in the end.

    I’d be the first to admit that I don’t understand why life is so unfair sometimes. Oh, I know the bible verses…this life will bring you trials, there will be tests, etc.  There are many stories in the Bible that show life is hard, life is unfair and it doesn’t always go the way we want, but in the end lessons are learned and God works the bad for good.  I get it.  I understand it, but it doesn’t mean I like it.

    It was easier for me to tell Satan “Not today!” when we were in the middle of an adoption.  It is a well known fact in the adoption world that everything breaks down right in the middle of the hard of raising funds, doing paperwork and waiting.  I reminded myself over and over again during our adoptions to not let Satan steal my joy. Something good would happen and then something would break.  I would yell, “You can not steal my joy!”   I think it’s easier to do that when there is something you are working towards, when you can see the good that is happening but it’s harder when you can’t see the purpose.

    If I admit it, most of my growth as a Christian has come during really hard times NOT when life was smooth and I was just coasting. During the easy times you forget to thank God and you forget that you even really need him. You just go about your life feeling like you’ve got it mostly together. Do you know anyone who hasn’t been through some trial? Does anyone leave this earth unscathed? Death, destruction, rape, natural disaster, cancer. Is there any adult who hasn’t gone through something? I think we’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t gone through the hard, but for some reason we like to think we are the only ones.

    So during this time with Cassie, I reminded her not to let Satan steal her joy.   She has waited so long to be a mother.  She has always known she wanted to be a mother.  She will make a great mother.  Yes, there were roadblocks.  Yes, there have been complications.  Yes, there have been troubles and tests, but to try and remember what an amazing miracle this little guy is.  When you are sad and in pain, it is hard to be joyful.  I get that.  Truly I do.  You are allowed to cry out.  You are allowed to weep.  You just shouldn’t let all the bad overshadow the true joy and blessing that you have just been given.   I am so thankful she knew that.  I am so thankful that she understands these truths.

    As I was saying all of this to her, it made me stop to look for the silver linings.  There’s always some lesson to be learned in the midst of the hard.  Nothing is all bad. Sometimes it takes years to see some of the good that came out of the bad, but there is always something to be learned.

    There were a couple silver linings through Cassie’s delivery and recovery.   The first being that I figured out how to let Jasmine feed a baby. I don’t know why I didn’t think about this before.  As we were doing our usual morning routine with Jasmine, I realized I could lay him down in Jasmine’s bed next to her on her pillow wedges, I could pull her arm over her side and she had enough support to feed him a bottle.  It worked because his head was up on the wedge and Jasmine was supported.

    Seeing Jasmine in her wheelchair is deceptive. She looks so strong and able sitting there, but that is the illusion of her spinal fusion. The spinal fusion rod in her back keeps her sitting up tall and straight, but Jasmine has no muscle control. If you pick up her arm and let go, it flops to her side. If you were to push her head back, she isn’t able to lift it back up. She isn’t able to move her legs.  She has very limited motion and is very weak so holding a baby on her lap and feeding the baby is impossible without help from others, BUT put the baby beside her on the bed and she is able to hold the bottle and look the baby directly in the eyes. It was a beautiful thing to watch.   She was just so happy.  There was pure joy on her face as she fed him.

    The second silver lining was for the rest of the kids.  They have asked and begged for a baby in our house.  Dan and I have explained that I am too old to get pregnant.  That no one is going to let us adopt a baby.   The kids have believed all along that some where there is a baby that is ill and that that baby belonged here with us.  I told them if God wants that to happen, it will happen, but I am not sure it is likely.  I have assured them that we are leaving it in God’s hands.

    One day while she was holding Cillian Maisey asked me again, “Why can’t you have a baby mama?”   I reminded her that I was old and that I just couldn’t have another baby.  When you are 55 years old, you can’t just have a baby because you want to have a baby.   Maisey’s response?  “Haven’t you read the Bible?” and later when we were talking about it again Maisey reminded me,  “God gives babies to old women when they believe.”

    Oh boy!  I may be in trouble.  Me of little faith.   hahaha

    It has been a blessing for the kids to get to hold Cillian for an extended amount of time.  They’ve fed him.  They’ve held him.  They’ve sang to him.  They adore him.   It has  been a really good thing for them to have him here.

    The other good thing that has come out of it is the hard discussions.  The “What did I do wrong to be left?” question has been a big one.   I can say over and over to them that someone loved them and tried their best and they, themselves, did nothing wrong but until you can see how special a baby is and understand that babies deserve nothing but love, you can’t understand that you, as a baby, did nothing wrong.  You have no blame.  You didn’t do anything to have caused what happened.

    I will be the first to admit that I was judgmental of mothers who left their children before I understood the “whys”.   It’s easy to sit in our nice houses and say, “I’d never do that!”  It’s easy when you have health insurance.  It’s easy to say that when you have money and support.  It’s easy to say that before you understand true poverty.  It’s easy to say that before you understand what it takes to get surgery for a child in many other countries.

    Now that I know.  I am no longer judgmental.  I have never had to make that very hard decision to give my child up in hopes that they may have surgery.  I’ve never had to leave my child alone to go find food.  I’ve never had to have my child forego school to dig through garbage so that we would have enough to eat.  Life is truly unimaginable for way too many. 

    One of the other things that has come out of having Cillian here for an extended period of time is the flashbacks that our older girls have had.  (This is being told with Jasmine’s permission.)  Jasmine had a flashback of her grandmother sitting in front of some “fortune teller” type person who told her grandmother over and over again that what she was about to do was the right thing.  This person told Jasmine’s grandmother that Jasmine would go on to be happy.  She said Jasmine would have a happy life.  Jasmine has been so angry over being left at an orphanage.  Her anger towards her grandma has clouded her healing here in our family.  See Jasmine’s grandma walked 8 year old Jasmine up the orphanage steps and left Jasmine there with the promise that she would be back for Jasmine.  I have told Jasmine over and over again that it doesn’t mean that her grandma didn’t care.  I’ve explained to Jasmine that she doesn’t understand the pressure or the issues for the disabled or the lack of understanding or proper medical care without the funds to do it.  

    But for Jasmine it is hard.  She looks at her siblings that were about the same age as her when she was left and she doesn’t understand how anyone can do it.   But what do you do when your child is getting worse and worse and you can do nothing.  You’ve tried herbal remedies.  You’ve taken the child to doctors who say it’s all in your child’s head.  You’ve even gone so far as to take a hot poker and burn your child’s leg to “wake up” the muscles as the doctor asked you to do?  How desperate do you need to be to do that?   What do you do to get your child the medical care they so desperately need?   What would you do?  How far would you go to ensure your child had care?

    Yes, it was horrible that Cassie went through what she did.  Believe me when I say she was in horrible pain.  To top it all off they couldn’t find the source for a couple days, but in the midst of the sad, there was some good.   There was healing at the Ellsbury house in all sorts of ways.

    We are praising God for His good and perfect timing.  We are praising God for the time we got to spend with one of the chillest, sweetest babies I’ve ever seen.  We are praising God for Cassie’s healing and for the absolute gift and blessing that Cillian is.   We are praising God who can make GOOD come out of the bad every single time!