I have wanted to write about the realities of adoption (TRUE reality) ever since we started the process. And, for the most part, I feel like I did. I don’t really do fake well…so it just kinda comes naturally for me. I was honest and up front about my feelings and how things were going on my personal blog. But then something happened.
What happened, you ask? LIFE. You know what I mean…when I say LIFE? I started to tread water…frantically. And I was staying afloat…just…barely. And that constant struggle to stay afloat pretty much sucked the life right out of me. Sounds a bit harsh, I know. But, it is the truth. We were home with our son from Uganda for maybe a day or two…and I didn’t have it in me to blog anymore. Let me be more specific…
I have not had the kind of life that I would consider “easy”. If I am being honest, I don’t really know of anyone who has. But, with challenges from my childhood, teen years, marriage, and short parenting experience…I knew stress. I knew how it felt and how it looked. Me and stress…well…we were kinda buddies…I was just so used to living in a constant state of high stress. I learned a lot of things the hard way as a teen…probably because of my childhood. I hung out with the wrong people and didn’t make the best choices. I ignored that tugging that God kept giving me to come back to Him. He was always there though. Looking back…I see it clearly.
When I got married…I started to realize how life was to be lived. And I developed a very close relationship with the Lord. But my husband didn’t quite get it and four years in…his alcoholism had become unsafe for our family (at the time we had a daughter who was about 1), and we were separated. This is when it got REALLY good! God really did some intense work in both me and my husband. He went into treatment and got sober. And I let go of control. We each fought and conquered our own battles with the strength coming only from God. After a year, we renewed our vows. About a year after that, we decided to adopt. This is, of course, a very condensed version of our truth.
I say all of this so you can kind of understand where I am coming from and see what I mean when I say that I know what stress looks like. I did all of that – right down to living on my sister’s bottom bunk with my baby girl – without needing to “seek help” from an outside source. I went inward. I found God (whom I already thought I knew) – in the way He wanted me to find Him. I turned over EVERYTHING to Him. And it felt GOOD!!!
So…when we decided to adopt we were ready to go! Right!?!? HAHAHA!!! I love to look back at that time and think of how naïve we were. Not in an ugly way…more in a beautiful way. We started the process, and 4 months later (that’s right FOUR MONTHS LATER), we came home with our son, Owen Mukisa. Right about the time we got our referral for Owen, our daughter (Gracie) was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis.
And so two very difficult journeys started. I had never left the country before and I was absolutely terrified when we got to Uganda to bring Owen home. I was sick over leaving our daughter. And God moved. He worked. He put everything into place. And it was AMAZING. We were home with Owen within about 3 weeks. It was a miracle! So why did it feel like the “poop” was hitting the fan?!?!
We were home from Uganda for 3 days and my firefighter/paramedic husband had to go back to work. I made the difficult decision to quit my job…and we prayed that there would be enough money to make it work. To this day…I am not really sure how…but God makes the money work!
THEN I ENTERED CRAZY TOWN. Like…really…CRAZY TOWN. The day would go by and I would not be able to remember anything that happened. I would start a sentence and forget how to finish it. I would walk down the hallway and forget what I was walking to get. There was screaming, and hitting, and biting, and whining, and I was SHOCKED at how poorly I was handling it. Guilt became my new best friend. I was disgusted with myself and felt like I was such…a…failure.
We don’t have the time…nor do I have the emotional capacity to go into the details on this. Maybe I will write about some of them one at a time on this blog. Who knows what God will lead me to do with those beautiful, broken bits of life? For now…what I really want to talk about is how vitally important it is to talk about what you are going through. Talk to a friend, a family member…or a professional. When I got shingles for the FIRST time…I started to clue into the fact that perhaps my body was exhausted. I already knew my head and heart were. I felt like I was failing my children…my most valuable, beautiful blessings.
SO…for the first time in my life…I reached out for help. After all…both of my children were getting the help they needed! I knew, right away, that THEY needed to find healing. Why it took me a while to figure out that I deserved it…well…that is another topic. Finally, I decided to do whatever it took to fix myself. I needed to lengthen my fuse. I was aware that my life was stressful. Anyone could see that if they spent 5 minutes at my house. But, that did not really matter. It was MY LIFE. And I needed to do it well.
I talked to a counselor and she quickly recommended that I talk to my doctor about taking something. I couldn’t help but think that it was like me giving up on God. God is bigger than this! Why should I need to take meds to help me cope???
So I prayed. And then I prayed. And then I prayed some more. And I made the appointment. Then, I showed up. One step at a time, right? When I left the doctor’s office that day…I couldn’t believe what happened. As I spilled my heart out to my general practitioner…with whom I had no kind of relationship…I realized he totally understood me. This man…who had pretty much nothing in common with me…got it. Then he asked me if he could pray with me. WHAT?!?! Can he pray with me??? Of course! So, we prayed. And I left 100% fine with the prescription of Zoloft he gave me. Little did I know…this was day 1 of a better perspective of life for me.
Do I think everyone needs meds? Of course not…that would be silly. Do I think that there are lots of Mommies out there who are struggling due to a depletion of “normal” brain chemicals??? Of course I do! Are you one of them???
Go. Find. Out.
As I type this blog…I now have shingles for the SECOND time. We have been home for a year and a half. Gracie has been diagnosed for about the same time. And life has NOT gotten easier. I wish I could tell you something else…but that just would be a big, fat lie. So, I’ll be real. This isn’t easy yet. Not sure that it ever will be.
Here is the difference between today and a year and a half ago: MY SOUL IS AT REST. Do I always get it right? No. Do I still get stressed? Yes. Do I still experience guilt? Sometimes, I do.
BUT…I can honestly say…that I see God’s hands all over my life. I see that he is working miracles. I see that He loves me SO MUCH. I see that I am strong…otherwise He wouldn’t have picked me to do this. I see that He is using my life for His glory. What an honor!!!
I can tell you with the most honest sincerity…I HAVE HAD THE MOST DIFFICULT YEAR OF MY LIFE THIS PAST YEAR. BUT IT HAS ALSO BEEN THE MOST BLESSED AND BEAUTIFUL YEAR OF MY LIFE. And I hope that the years to come are just like it.