Thursday, April 23, 2015

Genuine faith shelters the orphan

I have literally written this blog post 4 times...then deleted it 4 times because it just felt fake. I was asked by a friend to write about adoption. What it means to me and my family. How it has changed us in ways both good and bad. What it takes to be an adoptive parent. How did I know I was cut out for this life. The list goes on but you get the idea. 

So...I started writing. First I wrote a very matter of fact post but that isn't me...I like to keep it real. Then I wrote something extremely raw that probably crossed into the TMI zone...and that can be viewed as dramatic and I exist in a drama free zone. I just couldn't get it right, because I wasn't being authentic. The subject of adoption does not have to be super's an awesome roller coaster! Yeah there are low points, but those high points? Pretty fantastic stuff! So, here we go...what adoption means to a crazy lady. ;)


 First I need to say that all of these opinions are my own and what works for me might not work for anyone else. For me personally, the only way I survive in my chaotic world is by not taking life too seriously. Guys...ya gotta LAUGH! Find humor in the things that make you want to pull your hair out. When it comes to special needs adoption there will be days...days and days and days where you will look in the mirror and not recognize the person looking back at you. Your hair will be gray, your wrinkles deep, you will have bags under your eyes and you will smell bad. can be the most prim and proper chica today, but get those kids home and you will be a hot mess sometimes. Reality hits hard and've been warned. Find the humor in it. I am 31 with wrinkles and I sport them proudly. Like the stretch marks on your tummy from carrying your babies, those wrinkles and gray hairs are your battle wound scars! Own them! 

Kind of along the same line as laughing at yourself,  you can't take life too seriously. There will be hiccups and things will be crazy and you're just going to have to go with it. I used to be totally OCD, a place for everything, everything in it's place...pinterest boards full of organizing tips and tricks. Currently...I have a pile of laundry that has pretty much taken over my hallway and my bathroom is gross because I'm hard core trying to potty train my six year old. Yup, you heard that adopted kid is six and still in pullups. We're working hard, she'll get there eventually. I will not allow myself to stress or compare her to other kids her age. She has different abilities, it is what it is...we'll get there.

While I might approach adoption in a light hearted way, I won't attempt to sugar coat it. I feel like this post might be speaking to a few specific people and I would never want them to say yes to bringing an orphaned child into their home because they had only heard about how awesome adoption is. Don't get me wrong, it's totally awesome. I love adoption, I love my adopted children, the entire basis of my faith is basically an adoption story...adoption is amazing. But it's not easy. Early on I made the mistake of portraying my daughters adoption as a fairytale. I thought that would help people see past her special needs, her institutionalization, and just see her as a regular kid who just happened to be rocking an extra chromosome who was orphaned in Russia. While she did kind of embrace the whole family thing, it was still really hard. Oh, and she hated me. Like legit hated me with a passion, would sink her teeth into me and rip out chunks of flesh zombie style. We nicknamed her "zombie baby"...I have barely any photos with her from when she was first home because she was constantly biting me, scratching me, or pulling my hair out. Let me just say it's really hard to bond with a child when they're trying to kill you, but it's not impossible. My daughter was hurt over, and over, and over again. She was abused, neglected, and violated. Her abusers were women. It would have been crazy for me to expect her to understand that I was her mother. She didn't know what a mother was, she didn't know I wouldn't hurt her, she had no reason at all to trust me. All I could do was show her that no matter what she did, I would still hold her, and hug her, and rock her, and whisper to her...because she couldn't hurt me enough to make me want to hurt her back. It took a long, long time...but she finally got it. Mom's stay forever. No matter what. For us that was kind of the turning point where things started to settle down and I started to believe that there was light at the end of the tunnel.


In general, special needs parenting is hard, but you're treated much differently when you adopt kids with special needs...after all you CHOSE to ruin your life, remember? For me, special needs parenting means I can never vent, I can never get frustrated, I can never cry, I can never say that things are really hard sometimes...because the response I will always get is: well you chose this. It's really hard to exist in a world where you are only allowed to have happy emotions. In an effort to protect my heart, and the few friendships that survived adoption, I learned to put emotions in a box. I became very guarded and gave up the whole acquaintance thing. I'm not interested in "knowing" 1000 people. I'm interested in having a small circle of amazing friends who I can be honest with when things are good, as well as bad. It's vital to have a support system. If you aren't an adoptive parent, I urge you to find a friend who is, and be their rock. They will return the favor, trust me. Good friends are hard to find when you're going against the grain with your life, so when we crazy adoptive mamas find someone who truly loves our kids for who they are and wants to be there through the good and bad, there is nothing we won't do for those friends in return. Seriously, I can count on one hand the people I consider friends, the ones I want to make time for and hang out with...those people could call me for help at 2am and I would be in my car at 2:01. Friends like that are like family, treat them as such. 

Wow this is sounding like a real downer...why would anyone want to adopt?! 

I truly think adoption is a calling. Sure anyone can say "hey I have an extra bedroom, lets adopt an orphan!" and that would be great, right? One less orphan in the world...but it's so much more than that. Your entire view of the world has to change. Your goals for your life have to change, the way you live day to day has to change. Adopting a child with special needs means you're going to be invested 100% in the care of a child for the rest of your life. When they aren't cute and little anymore, when they're possibly bigger than you, when they're raging, and when they're crying because someone made fun of them. The. Rest. Of. Your. Life. You really have to know what you're getting in to, and when you feel that calling, and you've weighed all the options, and hear God calling you ransom one of His children and make them your own. The world becomes brighter. You see everything through new eyes. Your heart expands, your patience grows ten fold, you find beauty in the most mundane things. I remember the day my daughter, 4 years old, picked up a cheerio, put it in her mouth, and chewed it. I remember the day of the week, I remember the outfit she was wearing, I remember every detail about that moment because I had never in my life been happier, prouder, just....joyful. I was crying real tears and thanking God that my kid who really should have been in preschool learning shapes and colors...picked up a cheerio, and put it in her mouth. Your world just changes, and it's incredible. 

I think there are a lot of people out there who would make amazing mothers for these broken kids...who understand seeing beauty in the ashes...who could fight through the struggle of raising and teaching a child that wasn't born to them, and celebrate all those tiny milestones with them and have one little breakthrough, the size of a cheerio, melt their hearts and undo months of struggle. I know these waiting children have mothers out there somewhere...I know they were born to one woman while God was preparing the heart of another woman to make that child their own. I just don't know how to help people overcome the fear of all the bad stuff I mentioned in this post. Yes, there is struggle...there is so, so, so much struggle. And it's's not very comfortable when people stare at your child and whisper...but look at their faces. Should our comfort be more valuable than their lives? I don't think so. The absolute bottom line when it comes to adoption is this: you're going to struggle...struggle in your marriage, struggle in your finances, struggle in your parenting style, struggle in your're going to fight with insurance companies, with doctors, with your spouse, with all the people who have an opinion about who you adopted and where you adopted from and why you adopted. Life is not going to be rainbows and kittens. But...and this is a huge're going to be given the opportunity to walk into an orphanage, pick up a broken, sad, neglected child who is just hanging on by a thread...a child that no one has ever lovingly touched before you, who has never been rocked before you, who has never heard "i love you" before you...and you're going to get to save a life. You're going to bring them home and you're going to get their first genuine "wow I have a mommy" smile. They're going to eventually trust you so much that when they're hurting, they'll reach for you. You will become their person, their world, the love of their life...and they're blossom and thrive and sparkle. Nothing beats it, not a single thing in this world is more beautiful than buying back a life.

I truly feel like God was leading me to write this, like there is someone somewhere struggling with a huge decision about adoption. Whoever it is, just jump in. If you feel pulled to these children and their plight...go all in. If it's meant to happen it will, if it's not meant to happen it won't and you will know you were intended to be an advocate and prayer warrior...but really, just go for it! You have everything to gain... maybe not in this life, but it's Kingdom work and you will be so rewarded. If any of my friends, or anyone for that matter, has any questions about adoption and how to get started...please talk to me! I could talk for hours about adoption! I will be in your corner, I will be that friend that supports you through the ups and downs. The money comes together, everything comes together when you're answering the call. I hope whoever the Lord intended this post for reads it, and decides to say yes. <3

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