• Thoughts rolling around in my head (part 2)

    Date: 2013.05.28 | Category: Adoption, Thoughts to ponder | Tags:

    It’s 4:24 a.m.  Another night without sleep.  Another night with babies crying but not at the same time.  Another night left alone with my thoughts.  I have been thinking today about clarifying my part 1 post.  If you ask my children they will tell you that the two words I use a lot are “seriously” and “clarify”.  It’s become a joke in our house that they will find a way to use those words on my headstone.  Who knows why I use the word seriously?  I don’t.   It became part of my blog name because I truly do feel blessed and I was trying to find a word to describe how blessed I feel.  The kids were coming up with all sorts of funny names using the word seriously but I wanted a name that said how I truly feel about my life so we combined the blessed with the humorous – a true description of our lives.

    Dan is funny.  His sarcastic wit is quick.  He makes me laugh all the time.  We laugh and joke in our house a lot.  I realized, while we were in China, just how much I smile.  Everyone looked at me like I was crazy for smiling so I tried not to smile at people.  It wasn’t a feeling that I truly liked.  Then I decided since everyone was taking our pictures, left and right, that I should just keep on smiling so I could try to look good for the pictures.  It was a hard thing to do.  I hate having my picture taken by people I love.  People with ulterior motives were hard to keep smiling for.  Dan constantly reminded me that “all things work together for good” and that even if someone took our picture for the wrong reasons, it may be seen by someone who would be touched for the right reasons.  I do love that man’s perspective.  He constantly reminds me to keep my eyes on the Lord and the bigger picture.

    How we act and what we do has a huge impact on others.  One of the statements that stuck with me, from someone we dealt with on the trip, was this….  “The unconditional love from the family really shocked me and gave me one big lesson.”  Those words came to us from a second party who thought we should know.  It came to us at just the right time, because Dan and I had both been wondering if people could really see our love for these four children.  We wondered does your love of the Lord come across even when you aren’t preaching it?  Can people see that you are doing it for the right reasons?  For all of those laughing at us, judging us and believing we are crazy, are there those who are turned towards the Lord?  Are there those who say “Could I be doing more?”  “Is adoption right for me?”   That is what I want people to take away from my blog.  I hope they can truly see what a beautiful thing adoption is and even if it’s not what they are called to do, that they can help in many other ways.  We set out to adopt because we were being obedient to God’s calling.  We didn’t set out for any ulterior motives.  We were just following the Lord’s call.  He kept setting things in front of us and we would say “Really Lord?” and then proceed.  Because, time and time again, His blessings, that came from what others might call burdens, were so immeasurable.  How could we not follow that lead?

    Which brings me back to my other word, clarify.  I clarify a lot.  If I think someone may have misunderstood what I said or took it in the wrong way, I make sure that I clarify.  Words are very, very powerful things.  Matthew 12:37 ESV For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.”  I realized after I wrote the first part that it may have sounded like I was comparing what we went through to the other parents.  I was in no way doing that.  I don’t know anything about the other parents who decided to leave that little nine-year-old girl there.  I don’t know what they were thinking or where there hearts were.  I truly believe in the saying “You don’t know where someone else is coming from until you walk a mile in their shoes”.  I won’t compare my story to theirs.  We all make our own decisions based on what we believe to be the right thing.  The good news is that I heard from a friend on Facebook that she heard from another friend that this little girl does have another family who wants her.  Let’s pray that this is the truth and she finds her forever family.


    I’m not sure what most people think will happen when you travel to adopt.  Adoption comes from a place of pain and loss.  A child born to another woman calls me mom. The depth of the tragedy and the magnitude of the privilege are not lost on me. – Jody Landers  You might get away without much pain in the beginning if you adopt an infant, but someday you will have to deal with thoughts of abandonment, the child questioning your love, and their thoughts of not being enough.  It’s only in the movies that the child immediately forgets their painful past, rushes to you with open arms, embraces you while spouting praises of your wonderfulness, all the while thanking you for saving them.  The reality is they can be withdrawn, sad, and angry.  Even if they come from a foster home where they were loved, there will be issues because they are being taken away from the only family they have ever known. There will be many tears and sleepless nights.

    You will travel long distances, be away from the rest of your family, in a land you aren’t really sure about, for days, maybe even weeks.  You will be sleep deprived, tired, out of sorts.  You will be on an emotional roller coaster ride of highs and lows.  You will spend your time trying to convince this child that you will always be there for them.  It is amazing how quickly they figure out that you are mom, but that doesn’t mean they will come right to you.  Often one parent or the other gets left out.  Mark Hall, from Casting Crowns, talks very openly about this subject.  He wrote the song “So Far To Find You” because of what he felt when they adopted their daughter.


    Even with Dan’s medical background and all of our medical knowledge from caring for sick children, we were thrown for a loop.  You may get exactly what the medical records show or it may be worse.  You have to be prepared for whatever happens.  You have to be ready for anything.  You have to wrap your head around that if you can.  The last thing you want to do is have to make a decision to disrupt the adoption.  That is not fair to this child who has been waiting for you.  For us it wasn’t about making our family better (although that does happen), it was about saving a child’s life.  It was about doing what was right for them.  God called us to these specific children and we felt that we couldn’t walk away.  God sometimes calls us to the hard and takes us way out of our comfort zones.  The Chapman’s call this “The glorious wreckage of our plans.”


    During this week when my heart was hurting, God spoke very clearly to me.   (All of these excerpts are from daily devotions that I have sent to my e-mail and all were received while we were still in China.)

    “For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me”(Matt 25:42-43).  “It is not enough for us to say: “I love God,” but I also have to love my neighbor. St. John says that you are a liar if you say you love God and you don’t love your neighbor. How can you love God whom you do not see, if you do not love your neighbor whom you see, whom you touch, with whom you live? And so it is very important for us to realize that love, to be true, has to hurt. I must be willing to give whatever it takes not to harm other people and, in fact, to do good to them. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is not true love in me and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.” Mother Teresa

    “Put your trust in the Lord your God and you will stand your ground. Believe what his prophets tell you, and you will succeed.” (2 Chronicles 20:20b GNT)

    “Are you not God?” Yes, you are in charge, and you’re big enough to handle it.
    “Did you not help us in the past?” Yes, you did help us in the past.
    “Will you not do it again?” Yes, you will do it again!

    Have you ever had a day like that? What do you do when you’re facing insurmountable, overwhelming problems? Go to the Lord.

    “These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold.” (1 Peter 1:7a NLT)

    Accept What Can Not Be Changed – “I have learned how to be content with whatever I have. I know how to live on almost nothing or with everything. I have learned the secret of living in every situation, whether it is with a full stomach or empty, with plenty or little. For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:11-13 NLT)

    Peace is Not Problem Free Living – “I am leaving you with a gift — peace of mind and heart. And the peace I give is a gift the world cannot give. So don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27 NLT)

    This is the bottom line: Joy is a decision. You are as joyful as you choose to be.

    “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.” (Philippians 4:6 NLT)

    God was there in the midst of our pain.  God was holding us up and strengthening us.  We believe that we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.  We can NOT do this.  I know I can’t.  My heart just breaks thinking about what the future holds for my sweet children.  Pain and shortened lifespans, tests and more tests, hospitalizations and surgeries.  It will be a hard road and one I am willing to take only because the Lord will be by my side.  He has given me a best friend who shares my same dreams.  He has given me children who see a greater purpose and willingly step up to help.  He has bestowed upon our hearts a burden to do more than we thought we could.


    The truth of the matter is what comes out of adoption holds many beautiful things.  Watching children heal and trust and laugh is amazing.  Watching our babies come together and love each other is so heartwarming.  Ben wakes up every morning and sits on my laugh and says, “I love Min mama.  I love Eli.  I love Lainey.  I love Evie.  Thank you mama!”  He is four and he gets it.  We have been home three days and they are running around the house, playing and loving up on each other.  Gracie and Shuang have figured out their own way to communicate.  Enough so that Shuang told her a story about Cassie and I being funny in China and Gracie repeated it to me.

    It has been two weeks for little Miss Evie and she is sitting.  She couldn’t sit up just two weeks ago and now she is sitting.  A little bit of food and love and she is progressing so quickly.  I bet she has put on a pound already.  What a joy she is.  Jasmine went from a shy, quiet girl to one who laughs all day long while she is playing with the kids.  Eli is so charming.  I can’t even describe how cute this kid is.  Lainey is by far the best yet.  I have watched her blossom.  She is funny and cuddly and playing so well.  It has been unbelievably mind blowing and it’s only been two weeks.  The Lord is so good.  Blessed be His name!  (I’ve been singing that song all day long.)

    Don’t get me wrong, it’s not perfect.  There is still crying and yelling.  There is still not much sleeping at night.  We are still trying to unpack our bags.  The house is a mess.  The laundry is not caught up.  We are a long way away from our new normal, but we are well on our way.  Life is a journey.  It’s not about the destination.  It’s about enjoying all the things along the way.  There have been many wonderful blessings already, especially watching our older children with their new siblings.

    We came home from seeing my mom in the hospital the other day and Gracie started crying.  I assumed that she was crying about my mom, who was still looking very, very ill.  (Today she looks much better – PTL!)   I asked Gracie why she was sad and she said, “I’m sad because of Min, mama.  She would have died if they left her on the street. I’m so glad you and daddy went to get her.”  This is from an eight year old who knows how much time and work it will take to take care of Shuang.  She gets it.  It’s not about the easy.  It’s about making their lives better.  It’s about saving them from a fate that holds no future and giving them an eternal future.  What a gift to be a part of.  The blessings out weigh the pain.  Don’t be afraid.  Just be prepared.  If God is calling you, please, please, please open your heart to the possibilities.  Beautiful things will happen and blessings will abound.  I’m seriously telling you the truth and would be willing to clarify for you if necessary.  🙂  Praying that God leads you and guides you to all the wonders of His ways.  Praying that He opens your heart and your eyes to where your gifts would best be used.