I can’t believe Mikias has been home for over a month…time is flying by so quickly as life with two children is so much more busy! Tonight is the first night in a while that I’ve had more than 30 minutes to just relax and as I was catching up on some blogs, I ran across one that a friend had e-mailed to me about a family who had just brought home a sibling group of four! What was most refreshing about her blog was her honesty about the struggles her children are enduring now that they are home. So many times, adoption blogs showcase all the glory and bliss of an orphan being united with his/her forever family, but one never really knows what life is really like day-to-day.
So, with those thoughts in mind, I thought I’d shed a little light onto the last five weeks of our life, particularly for those of you who read this blog and might be encouraged to pursue adoption one day (and I pray that you do!). With all the reading about adoption and prep work I did prior to his homecoming, I can honestly say that Mikias’ transition into our home has been a relatively smooth one. I knew there was the possibility of major attachment issues or long periods of grieving, but we have seen very little of any of those types of things. This is not to say that more will be revealed as he continues to adjust to our family, but for now, he seems to really enjoy being around Kevin and me and even told a friend-translator that he is sad at night because he has to be away from Mommy and Daddy. Nighttime seemed to be our biggest struggle at first…he had terrible night terrors the first week home, but once we finally discovered his fear (that thieves were going to break in) and had our friend-translator assure him that he was safe in our home, his sleep improved greatly. In the last couple of weeks, the greater challenge has been discerning genuine grief from mustered-up tears to manipulate a situation. Honestly, this is where I am constantly on my face before the Lord, asking for wisdom and grace and compassion. And God has been so faithful to help me in such difficult parenting. I’m learning my son more and can more easily distinguish his true sad moments in the day (usually around rest time or bedtime or first thing in the morning). And Mikias seems to be understanding our role as the authorities in his life and submitting himself to us happily instead of pouting every time he doesn’t get his way. Oh, how many times I’ve longed for a book that combines biblical parenting and adopted children (maybe I’ll write one some day!). But as I haven’t found one yet, I continue to rely on the only infallible source of wisdom and truth, God’s Word.
I long for the language barrier to become less and less of an issue. While we are communicating 100% better than the first week together, I want him to be able to tell me what’s going on inside his little mind or what his heart is feeling when he wakes up sad in the morning. These are the things that I know will only deepen my love for him, but for now, it is much like loving a newborn baby. You daily pour out your love and energy on a baby, but not much is reciprocated. Eventually you get those first smiles and laughs and then you finally get to see a personality begin to evolve. As more of your baby’s personality and personhood is revealed to you, you find yourself loving your little guy or girl that much more. I know that I love Mikias, but I just cannot wait to find out who he really is on the inside and that will only come when he can communicate his heart to us. Thankfully, God has given me glimpses…and I’ll keep hanging onto those until he can verbally share more. And as I long to be a faithful mom and steer his heart toward the Lord, I see so many character issues that need attention and work. And yet because we cannot speak the same language, I have to literally ignore many of these right now and trust God will give us the time we need when we are able to finally talk.
Without question, the single most difficult trial of his transition into our family has been they way God has used it to blatantly reveal my own sin to me. My first two and a half years as a mom have been relatively easy. Molly Kate was in every sense of the word an “easy child” and though she’s struggling more now as she has to adjust to a shared life, she is still a delightful little person and often times makes motherhood seem like a piece of cake! But in learning to care for the needs of two children, constantly having to stop what I’m doing to handle the sin issue in the middle of what seems like hundreds of daily arguments between the two of them and meet the physical needs and demands of my body because of the sweet little boy growing inside of me, I have come to groan like Paul, “wretched man that I am!” (Romans 7:24). I’m impatient. I lack compassion. I’m selfish. I idolize thirty minutes alone. I complain. I worry. I’m angry. I’m bitter. I’m overwhelmed. I fail to turn to Christ in my moments of need. I fail to think of Christ at all some days. Yes, yes…the greatest pain of all has been the revelation of the depth of my flesh and the way it seems to constantly and frequently rear its ugly head. And yet, God has been most merciful in my struggle to not despair…how sweet the promise of Romans 8:1-2:
Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.
Our closing hymn in last night’s evening service was “It Is Well With My Soul.” As we began the third verse, I found myself wanting to shout, not just sing:
My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
My blog is aptly named as God continues to refine my faith. Silly me to think most of the refining was happening prior to our adopted children coming home. Praise, praise to God that He does not leave me as He found me and uses every minute of my every day life as a wife and mommy to two (hopefully soon to be four) to make me more like Jesus.