This is the second post in a three-part series called “The Whole Story”. The first post, Breaking the Silence, can be found here.
I have been a believer in Christ, for a long, long time. A good 27 years, I think. In my journey with the Lord, there have been some amazing mountain tops, but also some devastating valleys. Most of those valleys, however, were brought on by my own rebellion and stupid mistakes. I might be stuck in a pit, but I knew why I was there and what I had done to precipitate it.
Well, today I am writing to you, newly departed from a valley – a good 6 month long one. This valley is the first one in a very long time that I can say wasn’t caused by my own sin. I found myself in this one because of actually obeying God, rather than rebelling against Him. Now, it’s not that I was so shocked by the fact of that. (I know that the Bible never assures us easy living if we just following the Lord.) I was simply shocked by what I learned about myself during the whole process. So we go ….
Adoption is HARD. I knew it would be. Kind of like parents expecting their first child know raising children is hard. Everyone tells you it’s hard, so you believe them, but until you experience it, you just CAN’T know. Not really know, at least. So I did believe that adoption would be hard, but I didn’t know to what degree and I totally missed the mark on why. I thought that our adopted children would have lots of issues, but I never anticipated that I would have just as many. I expected them to have trouble being nice, but I had NO IDEA that I would have trouble being nice. I knew they would have a hard time adjusting to a new family and life, but I had no idea that I would. I expected them to grieve the loss of everything they previously had known, but I was surprised when I did. I expected them to be angry, but I had no idea that I would be SO ANGRY. Nothing was what I planned or expected.
By the time we met the babies, I had been a mother for five years to three different children. In that time, I never once struggled with loving any of them unconditionally. Not even for a moment. Before meeting the babies, I had never even considered that I wouldn’t feel love for them in the same way. That it would take me a long time to attach. I had fallen in love with their referral pictures and “missed” them even before ever knowing them. How in the world would I not love them?
Well guess what? I didn’t. Not only did I not love them, I didn’t even like them. All of the compassion I had previously felt for them and their circumstances was gone. To be honest, I got to a point that I just flat out didn’t want them. All of these emotions didn’t necessarily flood me while we were in country going through the adoption process, but they came pretty quick upon our arrival at home.
How in the world could this be happening? How could this be me? I LOVED being a mother! It really was my favorite thing, and I worked HARD at it. I have attended countless classes, speakers and even some conferences on Christian parenting. It is a rare day that I am not in the middle of at least one parenting book. Being a mom is who I was and what I did. And I felt like I was a pretty good one. Until we adopted.
Now I know there are those of you out there who are thinking, “Not want them? Seriously? What a monster!” I would guess that some of you thinking that are in the process of pursuing adoption or just really have a heart for adoption. Let me assure you that I would have had the very same thoughts if I were reading this blog before we got the kiddos home. In fact, I probably would have labeled the author a heartless pagan and never visited the blog again. Let me encourage you to keep following the story. A HUGE lesson I have learned through this whole process is that there are a whole lot of people in this world going through difficult circumstances, and while you might think you know how you would act in a particular scenario, YOU HAVE NO IDEA.
I would never in a million years have guessed that I would struggle with the things that I have over the last 8 months. I’m sure the Lord had great purpose in shocking me so. I tend to be very black and white, which causes me to really struggle with judgmentalism. Over the years, the Lord has continued to refined me in this area, but this particular experience has opened my eyes to how truly faulty it is (ignoring the obvious – that it’s wrong).
People and circumstances just can’t be organized into neat little categories, as much as I would like that. Life just doesn’t work that way. It’s not neat and organized. It’s messy. Conclusions cannot be drawn from one snapshot of someone’s life. It doesn’t tell the whole story. Even people with great theology who love Jesus and have the Light of Life, can have snapshots that look like death. Thankfully, for those who love the Lord, that is never the end of the story. And praise Jesus, it’s not the end of mine!
This is the second post in a three-part series called “The Whole Story”. The third post, It’s Who’s Fault?, can be found here.
Amen Sister. I hear you. Thanks for sharing and I can't wait to keep reading!
Leventhal Family says
I know going through the process of getting your thoughts and feelings "on paper" will help heal and grow your heart as you come to a place of contentment. I know we've had a few conversations about the transition, but would love to be able to encourage you more!
First of all I just want to thank you for your courage in sharing your experience and admitting to you faults and weaknesses. That in and of itself is NOT easy to do, but it's evident that God is doing a work in and through you as a result of it.
Second, let me just tell you that I TOTALLY relate. No, I haven't adopted any children legally, but in
I am so proud to be married to you! For everyone listening – I have a front row seat to all of this and I am here to tell you that my wife is amazing! I love you tons –
I think you are the absolute opposite of a monster!!! Thank you, thank you for being so transparent. You are not alone in your human nature, though you are a rarity in that you are willing to publicly voice such raw experience in a sincere attempt to glorify God, while pointing others to him. As a hopeful adoptive mother, I am so grateful that God has given you the courage to share these
Thanks for sharing this Jessica, I know it's not easy.
I am thankful for honesty and authenticity!! I truly love people who are courageous and bold. Miss you guys 🙂
I know exactly what you are talking about and I encourage you to check out Nancy Thomas at http://www.attachment.org In her store she has a series under parenting the challenging child called "When Love is Not Enough". It has truly changed our life. All adoptive parents go through this. The children do not want you to love them, because they have been traumatized and have experienced great
Oh and I need to say, your heart is in the right place and you are going to make it through this trial! It will be the biggest blessing in your life after it is over; I want to encourage you- it WILL GET BETTER!
stephanie garcia says
Thank you for poignantly and honestly sharing your experience. I found myself nodding along and reading your post to my husband. It has been over two years since our two toddlers arrived home from Haiti, but I remember clearly how unprepared I was for my own feelings and frustrations many, many times. We needed God's grace minute by minute. May He continue to be your supply as your beautiful
Wow! That story is mine exactly… So happy that I am not the only one.! Adoption is hard.