A life of love

A life of love
Everyone should have a Great Pyrenees

Tuesday, May 12, 2009


I am a bit confused this morning. I have a "friend" - someone I once thought a friend obviously - who is also an adoptive mom, who chose to comment on my kids in her blog. It was sad and hurtful, because she chose to say how she grieved for my kids that they left their homeland and the beautiful people there. It went on and on, and was not realistic about the life they lived there. And it was wildly hurtful to our family. Maybe I am being too sensitive, but given the events of this last weekend, our joy at our sons' friends finally being home with their forever family, it was just a very strange dichotomy.

I am trying to process this and to find the correct way to respond. The hurt heart inside me wants to strike out in anger and that is not appropriate. I want to set the record straight, but I am not at all sure that doing so in a comment on her blog would be appropriate.

And perhaps because we adopted older children, our experience is different and not so romanticized.

Don't get me wrong, I love Ethiopia. It is a beautiful place, with beautiful amazing people and an amazing culture. But I cannot look away from the things my sons tell me about things that are not so glorious. A child beaten and robbed of his shoes at 9, a boy locked out from his little hut for days at a time until his father finally arrived home drunk, a child scared and alone, hungry and unsure what was going to come next. Children whose parents died, whose older siblings, no more than children themselves, without any means of support, were trying to keep fed. Children for whom their only hope was the street, no food, no clothing, no nothing. People chewing leaves that were drugs, simply to keep the hunger away, but then addicted and harmed by it. I witnessed it and I do believe my sons when they share. When they open up, when the stories come, the mother in me so wishes I had been there so that didn't happen to them.

The reality of adoption is more balanced - our children's homeland and heritage is beautiful and I respect it, honor it, and welcome it into my home. And I also have to welcome my children's pasts. Their experiences, their hurts and fears.

So to hear that my children were pitied and grieved for because of what they left behind, was simply devastating. They did leave a great deal behind. They did. But it isn't gone. It lives on in them and us, and someday we all do hope to return. On the other hand, they gained a great deal. All I have to do is look at their growth charts in the few months after they came home! They are healthy, talented, valued, cherished, loved, and surrounded by a secure family that is devoted to them and their future as well as their past. They are part of a family, have parents and siblings and security.

When we were considering adopting again - particularly older children from Ethiopia again, I had a very long heart to heart with my oldest adopted son. I was very concerned - I know how hard it has been for him, all the changes, the language, the food, the culture, all of it. He has worked so very hard. I asked him very, very directly about his feelings about it. He agrees that it is hard, or as he puts it very clearly - it WAS hard. I had to fight back tears to ask him very directly if it was worth it. I had to be willing to face his answer whatever it might be. He was very surprised and went on to be very clear that it was very worth it, the best thing ever. I had to ask if he had to do it over if he would - answer was "absolutely". Knowing how hard it was, would he choose it again - yes. Would it be a good thing for another child - knowing all he knows, is it simply too hard? Too much, etc? A very sure response - it is very worth it, to have a family, to belong, to be loved. And that is what it is about.

Yes, they have "lost" some things. But they have gained a great deal.

What I grieve for for my children is that they ever were in the situation where adoption ever needed to be an option. I grieve that they went through what they went through. I grieve for all their hurts, all their past that was painful. I grieve that they ever needed to be placed for adoption. I grieve for that. That is the grief that I have for my children. Not for them coming here, not for them entering my family, not for them leaving their country.

I know that God has a plan for my children. I know that He orchestrated all things so they came to my family, to my home, at this time. I don't know why. I don't know what His plan is. That would be arrogant to even consider. But I do know that HE brought them here, that HE has a plan and a purpose. I know that HE loves them more than I ever could. I know that HE walks this road with them, with us, with the people left behind. If I get hung up in all the grief and obsession, then I am not living what God has asked me to live today. And today, I am the mom to five amazing children. I live in a house that is active, loud, loving and growing. I am so blessed to have my sons, to be stretched beyond what I ever could have imagined. God has changed us all in so many ways, we are simply nearly unrecognizable from who we once were. And I thank God for that every single day.

I don't feel that my children are to be pitied or our family to be viewed as having done something extraordinary. Our children are our children, who God made them to be, where God placed them. We didn't save our children. We didn't rescue them. Yes, their life outlooks are very different from what they might have been. Yes, I am so happy to know that my children are not going to go hungry, that they have love every day, that a mom and dad look after them, that they are healthy and strong. Children who are orphans need help - God has called us to the widow, the orphan and the fatherless, the least of these. But, my children are no longer orphans. God has lovingly placed them in families. God has provided for them.

So, I don't grieve for what they have "lost". I rejoice in who they are, in all that God has done in their lives, in all that He will do in their lives.

We serve an amazing God, one who knows the entire story, who sees it all. Someday I hope to be so honored to see how all of this has been woven into God's tapestry. It is my prayer to be a part of God's amazing work, in our own small way. I will raise my children for the Lord, in the Lord, and in love. In love and security, in faith and family, so they can go forth and carry that on in their lives. I have no idea how many lives they will all touch, how they will move the world, but I have no doubt that they will! And I am so grateful to have been a part of it.

And NO, I don't pity my children! I rejoice for them and with them.


Laurie N said...

Few things hurt as bad as when "friend" cuts you to the quick. Some people will never understand.

Believe in yourself, believe in your children and know the truth in your heart.

gbmom2407 said...

I am so sorry you had to read that from a "friend". We have had a similar situation (regarding our own children and also the possibility of us having more). There were "friends" who never even have met our two year old because "we have too many kids". You don't need that in your life. You are doing God's will and that means you are doing the right thing. Keep up the awesome work. You are an amazing child of God, wife, MOMYS, career woman. Personally we think you ROCK! Praying for peace for you.

Courtney and Paul said...

Very well written post. I think you said it just right when you talked about grieving that they every had to be placed for adoption. This is truly where the grief lies. He does have a plan - who are we to judge. Thank you!

Vivs6kids said...

Nicely written post Christy - hopefully it helped for you just to write all that out. God is in control and we live our lives for Him.