Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Do we believe in God's Redemption Power?

The past many months i have been quiet.  I have been quiet because of many reasons. People don't believe this but i have even been quiet on FB.  Comments were made over these eleven months that hurt. People said things that made me go further and further into quietness. What is amazing is that TODAY i have decided WHY i no longer CAN be quiet.  I believe in God's redemption power!!!

Let me explain and yes, i am sorry but, this one is going to be LONG-VERY long!  When Sophina was in the Children's hospital, many people asked why i would show the pictures of her looking so horrible.  THEN, when she had her surgery some people were horrified that i would take pictures of her coming out of surgeries with all of the gadgets....with her looking so terrible and blood everywhere.  I told them the reason and now it is applying in my life again.....because i want to be able to show her where she came from.  I want to be  able to show her how far she has come.  I want her to know what she went through.

Another background that i feel comes into play here is in the Christian realm.  In the Church as i was growing up and even now, as a whole, on the average, we say that we want people who are searching, people who are living on drugs, sexual sins, struggling with addictions, come through our doors BUT our human response to people who may smell of alcohol, or dress inappropriately, or just plain ole stink are NOT the ones that we all run to embrace on a typical Sunday morning where we come with our own masks of what we ourselves are struggling with.  The depression, the anger issue, the pride, the swearing, the things that we watch when no one is looking, the sins that no one can see....those are the things that we can hide......and that is EXACTLY what the evil one wants.... HIDING.  BECAUSE when things are brought into God's light....that is when the HEALING happens, THAT is where God is, that is where TRUTH is dealt with- in the LIGHT.

Now, for what i believe about international adoption, as that is all i know AND at is only my child.  From the very beginning, i was warned that i probably should not be sharing what i had shared.  So, i closed it down a little.  Someone else said that i was sharing too much.  Someone else said that my posts were too long.  It continued to where now i have been sharing very little of my heart AND thus, my heart has been getting covered in layers of protection from pain instead of vulnerable and open.  THAT is who God made ME.  I have always been an open book.  It has been since i was young.  Victoria reminds me of ME when i was her age and believe me it doesn't get her a lot friendships either.

This week is marking eleven months of having Ethan home with us....being in our family.......being my son!!!  I believe that HIS LIFE is going to have God's redemptive power written all over it one day BUT until then......his life.....****tears****.....his life has been a very hard one.  His life is NOT one that everyone WANTS to see.  His life with us is HARD.  His life with us is ugly.  His life with us is TOUGH!  His life with us has moments of pure joy for something that other people see DAILY, several times a day even. Yet, his life with us has taught me more about God's love than anything else in my entire forty-seven years.

Our son bit me HARD within the first few hours of being in the van leaving his orphanage.  My thought was that he was teething BUT I was immediately shown his teeth chart showing that the teeth were all in.  I had a bruise for a week.  Those days in the hotel were scary to both Scott and i as we watched a little boy be so scared and not knowing how to be in a family as all he had ever known was a big cold building with workers in uniforms and dozens of other children.  I was completely exhausted when we landed and couldn't wait to collapse into someone's arms.

Scott was only able to be home for seven days and we knew that it was going to be TOUGH that very next morning home as we prepared for Mother's Day service.  What i know now is that what we experienced that morning was NOTHING.  It was so hard to have Scott leave and Scott hated it just as much as i did (and still does).  The hitting happened the very first morning with Sophina getting hit in the head HARD with a hard plastic cup.  Sophina, on that first day, was HORRIFIED that anyone could ever be mean to her.  We made him ask her for forgiveness.  She struggled for only a moment to forgive but we have it in a picture.....her eyes red (showing the long sobbing that she did of a broken heart more than a bruised head) but she held him entirely, without holding back.  This month, whenever Ethan gets within three feet of her she instinctively backs up to protect herself.  She has been pushed, hit, had her hair pulled and on rare occasion, has been bit by her big brother.  One day, i pray that he will do the opposite.  That first day when he hit her over the head, he didn't like it that she cried....he STILL can't stand it when she cries.  He almost always wants to comfort her but many times will push her hard again so we are ALWAYS standing RIGHT THERE when forgiveness is being 'asked' for!

Ethan pulled hair like crazy.....of all of us females.  For some reason, Ethan tends to do things in spurts and right now that is on the last of his list of 'tools of owies'.  He would pull Sophina's hair when we would have it in a pony tail or when we wouldn't.  All of the females had long hair when Ethan came.  Ally cut her hair first, then Catia and Vica and i haven't yet.  He does not pull hair at school.  Nor does he hit, bite or hurt others physically.  Of course, it could be because there is almost always an adult nearby him at all times.  Adults are not ones that he messes with too often, except maybe to pull off their glasses.  We were also told that that is not a place where his attachment issues are struggling within him.  Also, we have found that he instinctively knows who he can 'control' and who he can't.

The hardest part of all that Ethan does is not the poop issues (it happened too many times where he would get the diaper off and eat what was in there BUT Mommy is smarter now AND will never again allow him to be in his crib with a non-duct-taped-diaper with his pj's on the correct way EVER no matter how much i need him in a time out), not even the issues of the physical stuff but rather the laughter in his eyes and his laugh when he does it.  It has been eleven months now and yesterday was probably the hardest day so far.  It was just so continual.  He seems to take pleasure in his painful ways.  One of the things that we heard and i personally saw was that when a child SMACKED a worker HARD across the face, the response was laughter and going on with her conversation.  My thought was that i was PLEASED!  I was thrilled in fact that they hadn't beat her (that particular child) up.  I now no longer am PLEASED.  I am horrified that our son believes that it is FUNNY to hurt another person.  I have been told that it will take as many years as our son was in the orphanage to unlearn what was put into him BUT when it is the first three years of life.....i am wondering if it may take longer.

Ethan has had tantrums since day one that blew my mind and still do.  This past Easter was one of the worst!!!  He was mad at me that i didn't have his banana ready for him when he came up to his high chair to get in and started yelling at me in his gibberish and not just yelling at me but SCREAMING at me.  I then told him calmly that he was NOT going to get a banana unless he stopped screaming at me and now had to ask nicely for a 'banana please'.  It was forty-five minutes.  Forty-five minutes of LOUD screaming at the top of his lungs.  (he has amazing lungs)  We had to take Sophina out of the room because it was too much for her.  Then he finally calmed down and ate his banana, after asking nicely for it.  I had his beloved hot cereal ready for him and he pitched another fit and for the first time, i took him out of his high chair and put him in a time out.  It was another hour.  Meanwhile, the girls were trying to get ready to go to church.  It was utter chaos even though we had been 'ready' the night before.  I knew the night before that Easter was not going to work for Ethan and had told Ally who then told Nate (our son-in-law and father of our grandchild ;) ).  Nate came in to pick up the girls and to give hugs to Victoria and i as we were staying home with the twins.  When Nate saw me he looked with a question in his eyes as to what was wrong and then hugged me to which i collapsed into tears.  The past three weeks have been the most exhausting of the eleven months.  To receive that hug was an answer to prayer as the Lord KNEW i HAD to have touch right then.  It was a treasure to me.  The girls went to church.

I have missed more church than i have been to.  WHY?  I know that our pastor would be fine with our being there BUT may i tell you what our Sundays looked like.  It was CHAOS, no matter how much we prepared the night before.  One of the twins would either poop out an outfit or refuse to eat or would wake up so crabby that we would be exhausted in the first hour and know that there was no way that anyone would hear the sermon in the foyer as it echoes in there.  Or....we would finally get everyone into the van and into church but the noise would be too much for Ethan even though my soul NEEDED to BE WITH these people.  By the time that the hundreds would get into the service, Ethan would be worked up.  SO, we learned to go 'late' so that the music would be started already as Ethan LOVED music!  BUT, what we found was that IMMEDIATELY after the last note was sung Ethan would start SCREAMING loudly.  Of course, everyone would turn around instinctively.  SO THEN, i learned to leave when i felt like it was the last song and go to where i was right next to the back door.  THEN i would try to hold him or have him sit next to me out in the foyer.  I was wanting to teach him, like he learns in school, that there is a time for quiet.  I would literally and i MEAN literally be in a MASSIVE sweat by the time the service was done.  THEN, Ethan would be seeing men and women talking in the foyer and children running around and wonder why i was holding onto him and making him sit.  It happened the same way on the last Sunday i was there....Palm Sunday.  The reason that i MADE us go was because it is our daughter Catherine's favorite church day of the year and she wanted us to walk in with palm branches as a family.  I walked in with Ethan holding his branches for just moments before dropping them and Victoria had Sophina with Catherine behind us with a friend.  IT WAS SO WONDERFUL being a family praising the Lord and not having to worry about Ethan making a scene.  A treasured few minutes.  Ethan did a FANTASTIC job that morning at church even though he had woken up in one of the grumpiest moods ever and THAT my friends is GRUMPY.  I had run with him (SCREAMING) over to where i put oils on him twice a day and instead of just on his feet, spine and chest....i SLATHERED him in all of the 'calming oils' all over his arms, legs, back, chest, neck-EVERYWHERE.  HE WAS CALM and i couldn't wait until Easter Sunday, the next week!  One day we will get there and i know one day even further down the road, HE will be LOVING to go there and even further i pray that he will be loving the Jesus who loves the unlovable, the sinner, the outcast.

You see that is what CHRISTianity is all about!  CHRIST did NOT come for the healthy!!!  He came for the sinner, for the one who stinks, for the one who strays, for the one that no one else wants, for the one who is dirty and broken AND CHRIST brings LIGHT into that darkness and that filth and He changes hearts and heals what is broken.  What i have FINALLY decided and now do not care if anyone else agrees is that my son, whom i love dearly and would protect completely, is my son.  I will be sharing the whole picture because i need to for what i believe is right.

He may not be a child that you want to hear about or may scare you from adopting yourself BUT I PRAY THAT THIS IS NOT SO!  We did NOT adopt because it was EASY!!!  We did NOT adopt because we wanted a perfect child!!!  The last reason that i am writing what is going on here is because when you feel like God is calling you to adopt....i want YOU to be READY!!!  I want you to know that it is HARD!!!  IT IS TOUGH!!!  IT IS EXHAUSTING!!!  IT IS GOING TO STRETCH YOU TO WHERE EVERYTHING IN YOU WANTS TO GIVE UP!!!  BUT IF GOD CALLED YOU....THEN DO IT!!!!  God is a God of redemption!!!  He is a God who makes things NEW!  Our son may struggle with control, with being kind to his sisters, and may struggle with even knowing how to love for YEARS and i pray not BUT maybe even the rest of his life!  YET, GOD is the One who kept opening the doors for us to GO and bring our SON HIS home!  God is the One who will USE Ethan's hard as it is, for HIS glory!  GOD is the One who called us to THIS be HIS family!!!

I am NOT a super human!  In fact, i feel like a complete failure in being a mother to a boy let alone to my daughters!  PLEASE do not idolize me because i am NOT worth idolizing!  GOD IS!  IF you do not want to see the ugly, the sinful, the messy life that i am living than please just let me go.  BUT if you would like to be with me on this messy journey of my new life....then PLEASE try to give me an encouraging word, a Scripture, a song or a prayer because it is needed.  I cannot do this alone!  God did not mean for us do LIFE on our own OR even with 'just' Him!!!

PS  I will also be writing all of the things that are NOT hard in our adoption process.  I didn't have time for this post BUT God was screaming it in my ear this morning as i was on my hands and knees cleaning up poop from Sophina!!!  Yep, last night it was Ethan's and this morning it was Sophina's (both were my own fault and BOTH brought me a LOT of learning... God is like that....He even uses poop to teach me a lesson!)


  1. Thanks for this post. Those of us in process--we're looking for HONESTY. We want to be prepared. I thank you for putting it all out there so others, like my family, can know we're not alone when we get there.

  2. I adopted my son at 9 days old, and he has a lot of the same behaviours (Aspergers), except he disassociates while having these tantrums. He is now 8, and we.are.FINALLY making headway. It hurts as a Mom. Where is that smiling face? Those amazing hugs? What am I doing wrong? Why did I do this? I have asked myself those, and lots of other questions.

    I can offer you an ear and those virtual hugs. I hope it gets better for you soon.

  3. Oh Connie. No words. Thank you for being honest!!

  4. My new friend Connie :-), you don't know me but you are my sister. I'm Star, child of the King, homeschooling mom to 4 sweeties in beautiful middle TN. My heart breaks daily for the children who so desperately need families, both here and abroad. For 2 years in July, I have been dealing with my most difficult little lovey (I thought I knew difficult before, but apparently I was mistaken ;-) ). My story does not compare with what you are going through, but my little man stretches, pulls, and pushes me every day. So, in a small way I can understand. I believe that life is precious, every life. I believe that God has a purpose for every single person. I believe that what God is working in my sweet little son, he is also using to work in *me*. I know that is true for you too Connie. May God bless you richly as you seek to take care of your family. I pray He gives you strength to walk one day at a time, to rejoice in the smallest victory, to live at peace in the storm, to walk on the water with your eyes on the author and finisher of your fate. Though the storm rages, I pray you only see Him. I pray that He does amazing things in your life and others are able to step out in faith because they have heard the word of your testimony. Walk in peace and joy today my sister, The great "I AM" is with you.

  5. I guess I don't have a real encouraging word, I wish I did...I just want to say that it is wonderful to read an honest account....adoption is not just about "love" it is about hard work! It's not enough to just want a child to love. You have to want that child 100%, good bad and ugly! Keep it up and hang in there!

  6. This is very real and very needed. I hope you know how much posts like these make me think and make me prepare and pray for guidance. We are adopting an older child and there is a very real fear there. Fear of the unknown. What will she be like once we get her home? How will we deal with behavior issues? How will we change to parent her vs. our 4 bio kids? Believe it or not, the ugly posts help. They show me that adoptive families are "regular families." Thank you for posting this.

  7. Please keep sharing! I so love you and your honesty! <3

  8. Lord just hold Connie in your loving arms, as she does what you sent her to do.
    Thank you Lord that she has the strength to be honest and open.

    Jude 2 Mercy,Peace, and love be yours in abundance.

  9. I love your openness. Way too many people focus on the good and paint an unclear picture of adoption. We ALL hurt. We choose what part of our lives we want to share. I wholeheartedly respect your decision to be humble and vulnerable and follow GOD's call. It builds a compassion and empathy that is lacking in our society...even as Christians. This was beautiful and I am honored to call you friend. Love you...

  10. Hugs & Prayers! Thanks for writing whats on your heart.

  11. thank you! thank you! thank you!

    I have LOVED that you are so honest. It always seems like rainbows and lollipops when people adopt because they are too scared to speak about what is really taking place. And those that do dare to write about their child's challenges get bashed.

    People need to know what life without love and care does to a child, they need to understand that children are not meant to live their lives with only basic care and how else will people find out the truth and work to end the orphan crisis if people don't speak up?

    Keep blogging, sharing, and posting, we need more parents to speak up and share the whole story.


  13. This is the first time I have read your blog. What an awesome post. We are waiting for a match right now. It is refreshing to read the "real" stuff. The hard stuff.

    I believe that church is a hard place to bring some children to. It makes it very frustrating when you go to church only to sit in another room during service. It makes you wonder why you left your house in the first place :)

    Is there any way that you could have a babysitter/family member watch your children/Ethan once a month at your plac so that you can go to service for a couple of hours and renew yourself? Is there respite that you can look into?

    I understand that you want Ethan to be there...I really do get that...but a mom needs a break to just to breathe...and what better place than the house of God?

    These are just thoughts I had while reading. I never read any other posts and so I know nothing about you. I pray that your family is able to find a new normal soon. Bless you!

  14. The following is one of my favorite verses. I've often clung to it on days when problems seem to overwhelm: "Fear not, be strong and courageous, do not tremble or be dismayed. For I the God of heaven and earth am with you!" You are not journeying alone, even when days are dark. . I will pray you soon see the Son in your dear boy's life.

  15. Thank you for your honesty. Praying now for all of you and for a few minutes of peace today and everyday.

  16. The only verse that comes to my mind right now goes something like this: Don't be weary in well-doing for in due season you will reap a harvest if you don't give up. I hope that encourages you as much as it does me. Keep going. Your labor is not in vain in the Lord. God is not deceived or mocked--he well sees all the love you are sowing into this precious life--and what you sow, you will eventually reap.
    Joy McClain

  17. We all need to know that we aren't alone in this journey. This painful, grief stricken and exilerating journey. One that makes me go through every emotion in the book within a day.

  18. Thank you for your honesty. We have adopted 5 kids with various special needs from foster care here in the states. Our 11 year old came to us when she was 2 and has reactive attachment disorder among other issues. I was in the delivery room when our now 3 year old was born. She has had everything from open heart surgery, completely GJ tube fed, weekly immune therapy and recently brain surgery. As difficult as all of our 3 year old's issues are, I believe dealing with our 11 year old is even more difficult. I'm so glad that you have God to lean on, I can't imagine doing this without him. Many many prayers to you and your family.
    Matthew 25:21 Well done good and faithful servant!

  19. Oh Connie. I had no idea. I mean i know you have said things were difficult and there have been hard days and i have always wondered how you manage it all. But i had no idea to what extent you meant. I'm in tears. Tears that it is so hard, but mostly tears for Ethan. I'm saddened and mad that a little boy cannot just enjoy his family completely. That so much harm has already been done to him.These should be the happiest most carefree days of his life. Then there are tears of joy that you said yes! YES! To the Lord when He asked you to be Ethan's family. Where would he be without you. Many prayers for you and your family for continued strength!

  20. Thank you so much for your honesty! My husband and I are preparing to adopt two children right now, and you are right: being prepared is the most important part. Your post touched me deeply. You, your family, your children, and Ethan in particular will be in our prayers!

    God bless,

  21. So good to hear from you Connie! Thank You for sharing your heart! (((HUGS)))