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Saturday, September 1, 2012

a different season/different emotions

I AM STILL ALIVE!  After going to Uganda, mama had to take a break from life and just lay on the couch with my youngins' playing games, reading books, and watching TV.  Time out for my two middles to watch their newest flips in gymnastics, and the late night talks and games to attend for my oldest two, and last but not least my sweet hubby:)

Preparation for school set in and I am still not finished with all of the "parent nights" at school.  This is the first time in 16 years that I have not had a preschooler at home.  I thought that once my kids got in school, there would be LOADS of time to organize, bake, etc...haha..not so.

 Being in Uganda left my heart feeling empty and desperate to come home and take a closer look at my children that I have through adoption.  As i looked into the eyes of the children in the baby's homes, i couldn't help but see the emptiness in their eyes, which led straight to their hearts.  My heart was broken for them and my head kept leading back to my house in Nashville.  While my children's eyes are not hollow, there is a part of their hearts that still isn't whole, and I can't help but wonder if it ever will be.  My boys I have had since birth.  The only thing they know is my heart and my home.  I know their heartbreak  will come later.  It just will, it is inevitable.  Until then, Mike and I will be on our knees.  Our prayer will be that HE will fill their hearts with his peace and love instead of the abandonment that could very easily creep in.  While it breaks me to think of the future and what we will be dealing with, I am forced to deal with the broken heart at hand, MY SWEET JOSIE LOVE.

Josie will turn SEVEN in February.  It is so hard to believe.  We will forever be dealing with the stigma that is attached to HIV/AIDS.  There have been many children with HIV adopted through Josie's story.  While it brings a smile to my face, it also feels my heart with sadness.  Many of the families that have gone to bring these children home are not willing to disclose that their children are positive.  While I COMPLETELY understand the fear that accompanies what your child might endure because of the virus ( I feel the fear also, thankfully, Christ carries that burden on my behalf)  If we are not willing to walk the journey and bring light to the darkness that accompanies it, then Christ is not glorified in the capacity that HE could be.  Which in the end, just adds more stigma.  This is a VERY controversial subject, one that I really struggle with deep down.  The past several years I have encouraged these adoptions and maybe haven't done my due diligence in preparing hearts on how to deal with life and not fear once you get these children home.  It saddens my heart.  It makes life harder with Josie because there are MANY "positive" children in the US now, sitting in the infectious disease doctors all over the nation, not willing to take a bold stand on behalf of these children and educate  others on the virus.  If their parents are not willing to educate, encourage, and enable then who will be their advocates?  WHy not just hand it over to Christ and walk in the light?  No lies, no secrets, just living our your faith walk that HE has given you to show who HE really is, each and every day.  is it hard? YES.  Does it make you more dependent on Him? YES.  Does it free your family up to live out LOUD the journey that HE has given you? YES.  Does it release you from the fear that satan  has you bound in? YES.  Does it make my heart ache that fear overrides Christ? ABSOLUTELY.

I have been so focused on getting Josie Love walking, talking, and healthy that there hasn't been a need to think about her heart.  We had to get her "living" before we could focus on anything else.    As she has matured and is interacting with more people and living life normally, and as i look deeper into her soul, she is a broken little girl.  The negligence in her life the first three years has left cracks that only Christ can fill.  Mike and I  spent time with a counselor last week trying to "unpack" her past and future and I was left with a heavy heart.  The first few years of her life are TOTALLY blank.  To go back and   try to fill in the cracks feels totally overwhelming.  BUT, we will and HE will.

Many people go into the adoption process not understanding the depth of heartbreak that it will leave. (hence the disruptions)  MOST people have no idea how broken these children are on the inside because the outside looks "normal."  I PROMISE you, if you do not deal with abandonment issues once coming home, you WILL deal with them at some point.  IT IS PART of the adoption process.  Your child might be 18, but at some point, you will HAVE to unpack that part of their heart that is closed.  IT is NOT for the faint at heart, it is HARD, will be HARD, and makes your heart feel SO heavy that it is suffocating.

SO, what to do?  pray.  pray each and every day for Christ to enter into their hearts NOW.  That while they are too young to grasp HIM, they will FEEL HIM in a mighty way.  That RIGHT NOW, HE will fill their hearts with peace that you can NEVER do as a mom or dad.  These children are broken on the inside (EVERY ONE OF THEM)  and HE has to intercede on our behalves because we will NEVER be enough.

Join me in praying for all of these children.  Pray for all of the people that are in "process" of adoption, that they KNOW what they are getting into...that it is HARD.  (maybe not in the beginning but at some point it will be)  and last but not least,  pray for my heart so that if one more person asks me if adoption is a "fad" that i don't punch them right in the face.


Unknown said...

Thanks for these wise words! We live in a broken world and how we need Him to have hope! Your prayer for adopted children has been mine and will continue to be as we foster little ones who are then adopted. Only He can heal the wounds!

Sara B. said...

Thank you for sharing your heart Suzanne. I remember meeting and talking with you a little about positive adoption at T4A last September. You shared some of your struggle with having disclosed then and I'm thankful that you are speaking up. We're adopting one more child, a little girl who is from Eastern Europe who is also HIV positive. Up to this point, we've been very open. Our family has moved overseas and we're praying again through how much we will disclose and to whom. I know we would have never considered adopting an HIV positive child if we had not heard stories like yours. And I know more than a few children who are home with families now because we've been open about our journey. I know some families do not disclose because they want to protect their children, but I hope with you for more families to bring it to the light, to give it to Jesus, to walk in truth. Hugs.

Rhonda Wicks said...

Love you. . Love your heart. . I think of my sweet Gaby as I read this blog. . She is 18. . But will still need her heart filled. . Punch away! I am right behind you with my boxing gloves on!

We Are Family said...

Beautiful post and family photo.

Jenn Nahrstadt said...

honey, can you even believe it's SEPTEMBER already? i love hearing your heart, so thanks for sharing. you are walking a road with many hurdles in it, but NONE that He cannot remove. hugs, mama.

Karen Twombly said...

Suzanne, Thank you and I hope you will continue to write on this topic. I am at the beginning stages of adoption; I am in Nicaragua with my husband and 2 of my 3 teens (1 in college). We are foster parents to the 4 children we are adopting (ages 9, 7,6,5). We hope to be back in the states with their adoption complete by Nov. As I type, they are with their tutor (a very godly young man who is a native of Nica) learning English. We long for the day when we can fully communicate with our children!! We are thankful they were in a Christian orphanage that taught them about Jesus. But I have no idea as of yet what we will have to "unpack."
Thank you for putting yourself out there!

Sandi said...

I love your heart! Even kids adopted locally need that same attention to the loss they feel regarding their biological family. So many people don't address it and have to deal with the consequences later. I am so glad you talked about it! I agree that the only way to truly allow HIM to work is to be completely open and honest. THANK YOU!

Jenay said...

Amen to this whole post...right down to the punching. I want to copy and paste so much of this post. I do not deal with the HIV part of adoption, but I can relate to every part of it and it was beautifully written and tells the TRUTH. Thank you for sharing!!!

Deb said...

Suzanne, I can SO relate to this on multiple levels. Seth's "pain" is yet to come... being in my arms so early in his life. Leah's pain is palpable sometimes and she's been home almost two years. Her story is wrenching and (at times) I feel incapable to handle it. Then there is the HIV piece. On those days when I feel regret about disclosure, I think not only about the children who have come home because, in part, of our story, but I also think of my friends and family and even strangers who have had their EYES OPENED because of my girl. I'm thankful that your story helped me on my journey.
Any chance we could use this blog post on our Project HOPEFUL blog?

Woven Together Forever said...

Suzanne-You prayed with me for my husband (Marco) to be open to HIV+ in Hershey PA in 2010-this month we are finally bringing home 3 from Ethiopia-one is HIV+! We have chosen to disclose-to educate and to advocate in our family, our church and our community. THANK YOU for really stepping out, for sharing your sweet Josie Love with us. If it were not for you and Carolyn -I really feel that my eyes would have never been opened to hearing what God wanted for our family for many years! Praying for you and your beautiful family. Blessings, Michelle

"Are These Kids All Yours?" said...

What do you mean adoption isn't a fad? Just messin' good think we live in FL huh? Actually we just came back from TN. Wish we could have seen your sweet family again!!! Maybe next time!

Your words are true and I can relate so well to them. The crevices we will never know, the holes that we may not be able to fill.

People ask me all the time - how do you do it? My famous answer is lots of prayer. What they don't know is the desperate hours we spend in praying for our children's healing, desperately seeking wisdom from others who have done this before. Desperately seeking the Lord's guidance on how to parent children who need an extra dose of HIS UNFAILING LOVE!

Praying for you too Suzanne as you are doing the same.

It is almost funny that when we brought Michael home we talked all of 5 minutes about whether to disclose or not. It was a pretty easy decision- thanks to you and others we know!!! It gave us boldness to know that it is FINE to disclose- fear comes, but our God wipes away those fears. It has given us much more sense of "normal" because we don't try to hide it at all.

Sheila said...

Thank you for posting this. God sent me to your site. We are in the process of adopting a 6 year old with HIV. Now that we have the referral, fear is filling my heart. I have so many questions and no answers. I hear about the horror stories of adopting an older child, but God keeps whispering into my ear that she is the one. The only thing i know to do is pray. Pray some more. Cry out to God. I know this child is ours, but the fear of the unknown sometimes cripples my heart. Then i read scripture, but it's a viscious cycle that has been going on for the past few days. Thank you for sharing your heart.

babslb said...

Thank you so much for writing. You are right - us as parents will not be enough only HE will. We walk this walk and it is hard no simple solutions a journey

Andrew and Esther said...

Thank you for this post!! Loved it so much!!

Sharon said...

Thank you for putting this out there. The longer I am in the "adoption community" the more I realize, sadly, how unprepared so many families are for the heartaches that their children have and will need to work through. And how difficult it can be.
I loved your last line, too!


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I am a lover of Jesus. I have the most fabulous husband that anyone woman could ask for. The Lord has blessed us with 7 beautiful children. I started this blog so that friends and family could follow our trip to Uganda to visit Katie Davis. I have decided to keep blogging to help bring orphan awareness to the world around me.
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