It’s ONLY been five weeks. It’s ALREADY been five weeks. Whether half full or half empty, things are definitely looking up around here.
The first month was nothing short of intensely, extraordinarily other-worldly. There is no other way to describe diving into the deep end the way we did. Jet lag, communication barriers, and raw grief defined our days — and our nights.
By week four, Scott and I felt like we were at our wits end, wondering what had just happened to our seemingly normal, mostly predictable life. One night, in the midst of tears, I crawled into bed for some snuggle time with my eight year old daughter. I pulled out my phone and under the cover of night, I sent an SOS email to our local social worker. What are we supposed to do? How do we begin to create some semblance of normalcy when we feel we’ve lost all control? I am the Mom. I’m the one that’s supposed to comfort my sweet little ones and tell them everything will be okay, not the other way around. I guess you know you’ve done something right when your daughter rubs your arm and dismisses your protests that I should be comforting her and says, “Well Mom, you’re the one that needs to be comforted right now.” Humbling moment to say the least.
Not to worry our social worker replied. A house call was on the books.
That Saturday, two angels appeared on our doorstep. I’m going to give a major shout out to Hope’s Promise Adoption agency out of Castle Rock, CO! When our social worker and the director of the agency showed up together, I knew we had called in the heavy hitters.
These two women sat with us, observed, listened, encouraged and ultimately gave us some much-needed tools for our parenting toolbox. Some of these tools were familiar to our hands. We just needed to dust them off and begin to implement them again. Others were more adoption specific. In some respects we feel like first time parents again as we learn to wield these tools in our novice hands.
Either way, our family is beginning to gel. We are learning to trust and we are falling in love.
A good friend of mine (love Stef Hille!) taught at my women’s Bible study the other day and used an analogy that resonated with my heart and reality at this stage of the journey.
Our patriarch Jacob wrestled with God. As Jacob limped away with a permanent reminder of his struggle, God changed his name to “Israel” – which means “struggles with God” or “wrestles with God.”
What is it about human nature that compels us to wrestle with the One who loves us most? Just as Jacob wrestled, I wrestle. I wrestle against the will of the One who died for my sins. The One who only wants to lavish love and abundant blessing. Unfortunately, my half-full/half-empty perspective limits my ability to fully live into this love. But His love persists. His love prevails. It will NEVER leave nor forsake.
Our sweet children operate in much the same manner. As our social worker described it, “they are fighting for their lives.” This is the third place they’ve lived in a short amount of time and they aren’t sure they can trust you yet. Maybe with their breakfast, but not with their lives.
Even though we know this is a safe, loving (albeit human!) place to rest our heads, Kelel and Senait aren’t entirely sure they’re ready to dive into the deep end with us. They gingerly wet their toes in the safety of the shallow end. Just as our God beckons us into the vast adventure on the other side of the pool, we beckon them to take our hand and trust our love.
The only difference, admittedly an ENORMOUS, game-changing one at that, is we are human and God is divine. His love is perfect, our love is only made perfect through Him. His love is unchanging, ours may seem to vary depending on the hours (or lack of hours) of sleep we logged the night before.
No matter what the day brings, however, we are learning to put our lives in his hands. This is the only way to enjoy the adventure and blessing that awaits in the deep end.
I would be remiss if I didn’t attribute at least SOME of our regained sanity to the fact that all four kids are in school this week! Kelel started first grade and Senait is in two mornings of pre-school.
Kelel loves his new buddies and chivalrously picked out a few presents to take to his teacher on the first day. He thoughta bag of coffee and a ring should do it. I happily picked out a beautiful bag of coffee, but steered him away from a ring. After all, we don’t know her ring size and this may send an unintended message. So, we settled on a bag of coffee, a small wallet and some silver hoop earrings. The boy does know how to treat a girl!
Senait looks forward to her time with Mrs. Dobyns (a.k.a. “Ms. McDonald’s) 🙂 every Tuesday and Thursday morning. These children are so beautiful and it is a blessing to watch my quiver of four begin to enjoy each other, laugh, play and unabashedly give each other “I love you” hugs.
I will leave you with a few pictures of our new life together as a family of six. Honestly, it warms this Mama’s heart to see all the beds full with sweetly sleeping children. Not to mention this implies that, at least for a few hours, none of them are in our bed!