Wednesday, August 15, 2012

No regrets...Choosing to look ahead

I have finally allowed myself to catch up on emails, journal and actually complete a thought... let alone...just cry.  

Crying is good...tears are healing.  It's good to finally FEEL again.  Throughout the past couple of months, Sol and I have had no choice but to be strong.... as a result, we are exhausted. 
Now God has graciously given us some time to heal, rest and reflect. 

Recently, my reflection has been centered around the question/comment I have received from several peers as to "Why were we so naive in bringing our current children with us to Ghana?"  I finally felt the necessity to speak up and answer this potentially offensive but curious question... because I think it would be speaking on behalf of our children too.

So to start off... we have NO regrets towards bringing Ethan and Isaac with us to Ghana. We would NEVER chose to place our children in any type of dangerous and harmful circumstance! 
Our hearts continue to ache as we watch and listen to our children daily process their fears and frustration. 
But the truth is...
we made a choice as a family to adopt.
It wasn't just Sol and I. 
At a high cost, Ethan and Isaac have chosen to be part of this journey with us.
When we invited them to join us, we didn't paint a perfect picture.... we gave them the real thing and told them how hard it was going to be. Of course they immediately accepted because in their minds they could only imagine the fun of having more siblings! It just showed us that God had already been working in their hearts. 

We felt a strong conviction in bringing Ethan and Isaac with us to Ghana to meet their siblings for the first time. We wanted them to see, smell and taste Ghana to help them understand their siblings' culture and life.

It was priceless and the memories made are so precious.

The first day we met our children at their home, we were warmly embraced by neighborhood friends and extended family. Our oldest boys took Ethan and Isaac by the hands and ran off to chase lizards. There was something SO beautiful about that picture.... It was if they had all been waiting for this moment.

From the second we stepped foot on the beautiful red dirt of Ghana, we never heard a single complaint from any one of our children.... Not even during the long, hot and dusty drive in a taxi to an orphanage to deliver soccer balls/jerseys 
OR walking blindly in the dark after a crazy thunderstorm through thick mud to meet and pray for a lady that was very ill 
OR even waiting 6 hours for our court hearing without an iphone or ipad to entertain them.
Mind you.. - we were speechless.
These are Southern California children I'm talking about!
They had every reason to complain. 
But they chose not to....
BECAUSE
I think they saw something far more precious and valuable. 
(God gave them a different pair of glasses)

When we arrived at one of the orphanages we planned to visit, all 6 of our children immediately gave hugs and high 5s to every single child. Although a storm hit us pretty hard while we were there, our older boys managed to pump all of the soccer balls in the dark.
They weren't afraid of engaging in the messes and being a part of this moment.

God was doing something so beautiful in each one of their hearts.... something so personal.... Just between them and Him. 
It wasn't anything Sol and I could even try to teach or show them. 

You may think I'm biased towards my children... perhaps I am, but really... I was shocked at how Ethan and Isaac embraced the Ghanaian culture and life... let alone allowing themselves to love and have compassion on the less fortunate.
We were SO amazed at how all 6 of our children completely blended together the first night we became a family of 8. There was no separation or difference. 



None of us would have been able to experience these sweet moments if we chose not to bring Ethan and Isaac with us.  It would have still been beautiful... but not complete.

The trauma that we experienced will never be erased from our memory, but the beautiful memories that came before and after continues to bring a smile to our children.

Our prayer for all 6 of them is that in spite of hardship and suffering, God would give them the courage to persevere and not live in fear.

Our prayer for ourselves as parents is that God would continuously give us wisdom to equip, teach and guide our children.

He has a specific journey chosen for each one of them. He loves and cares for them more than we could ever.  Sol and I have been shaped through alot of hardship in our own lives.  Over the years, we have learned to step back and just let God take over. 

We make the choice everyday to look ahead and walk courageously... even when we don't have the answers. I know our journey has raised many eyebrows and rubbed people the wrong way... but we are okay with it because we have full confidence that we have always been exactly where we should be
- in God's hands.

24 comments:

  1. Christine, your families hearts have been in the right place from the beginning. You had no idea that it would be that difficult. You do not have to explain yourself to anyone about your choices. I know you probably had to get it off your chest and I would have done the same thing. I agree it is a potentially offensive question, maybe not potentially maybe just offensive. You don't have to explain it to anyone just because you chose to share your story with us. People need to understand that in our faith walk we can not predict every turn, we just have to trust God for the turnout. You are a brave family to take on 6 kids. People should just pray for you, not drill you. Love you guys. Brenda

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  2. I think it's so amazing that you chose to involve your kids, including your travel. During our adoption from Haiti we took our kids with us on nearly every visit. The result is that our son already knew his siblings when he came home, which was a precious gift to all of them. We also had negative consequences occurs as a result of taking our kids, but I still have no regrets. Good for you guys. Praying for a speedy reunion for your whole family.

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  3. I found your blog through another one and have been following you since you were in Ghana. I had shared with my 17 year old daughter a little about your story back when you were still in Ghana. Last night during family devotional she asked us to pray for your family. It was totally out of the blue. God had just laid your family on her heart. We will continue to pray for you all to be reunited and for healing to come.

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  4. Nothing in life is guaranteed to be safe - we take a risk every time we drive to the grocery store, or as people in Colorado will tell you, go to the movie theater. You had no way of knowing that anything would happen in Ghana; people take their kids all the time and have nothing but safety - we did! I think it's naive and awful for people to ask you how you could possibly have chosen to take your children with you, and I'm sorry they see it that way.

    I know that the glory of God has been and will be made manifest to many others because of what you've gone through, not in spite of it.

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  5. The picture of the 6 kids together is all the explanation needed.

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  6. We've raised our children in Ghana, and we've hear the same over the years. Dr. told me when my daughter was a baby that I was a selfish mother to take my baby to Ghana. If he could only see her now! Your kids all of them had 10,000 angels + and a Holy God with them the whole time! What a story they will have to tell and WOW how God will be glorified! HC

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  7. Christine...
    Of course you wanted Isaac and Ethan with you when you met your children! You needed to include them in the creation of this family because they are a vital part of your family... Traveling without them would have been horrendously stressful on them as well as you. Leaving them behind wasn't something I would have been willing to do either. I completely understand you wanting your entire family together in Ghana when you met your newest children. People will always find something to criticize others for. You know it was the right thing for your family. You will all get through this and remember...you only ever need to please our heavenly father...and you have done that abundantly. What is next? When will you be able to all be together at home?
    Sherrykidsmom10@aol.com

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  8. My cousin and his family adopt from China and they take their bios with them when they go to China for the adoption process. I don't think it should be any other way...
    I am praying for your children still in their country of birth to be reunited with you in Cali....God is Faithful.
    Love from NC

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  9. Christine, I've been praying and worrying for you and your family since I was first informed from several fellow bloggers (The Blessing of Verity, No Greater Joy, and Mercy & Love). I am humbled by your ability to look at the positive in all of this, and not let your faith be shaken. I will continue to pray for healing for all of you. Are all 6 of your children with you now, or is there still a return trip required to bring everyone home?

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  10. I think it's easy to look from the outside and judge, but each of us is only accountable to God. I will pray that God will heal your wounds and that the wonderful memories will grow in their minds. When will you be able to go back and get your other 4 children? Thank you so much for sharing a new picture. Your family is beautiful!

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  11. Christine and family...I can second every single comment that has already been left for you here. You don't need to explain yourselves to anyone on this earth. I think of you daily and hope to read very soon that all 6 of your children are together at home in California. God Bless.
    Sherrie

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  12. Thank you for sharing!
    God's Love Shine On You ALL Forever!

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  13. i love how you share from your heart, chris. so excited to see what God has in store. crying and rejoicing with you guys. so proud to be your sister; your and sol's journey has taught and continues to teach us so much. love you!

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  14. Chills.....beautiful chills because your words are true and heartfelt. I think the way you describe it is- A MIRACLE of God that happened! PRAISE HIM for the great things HE has done!!! PRAYING FOR YOU!!!

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  15. Thank you for sharing your story. As a mother of a Ghanaian son, I have closely followed your story & you and your family are always in my thoughts. I am so impressed by the strength and love that your family of 8 has in spite of everything. Cannot wait to see all of you re-united! XOXO

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  16. Praying all of them home Christine. You and Sol did the right thing and I know your kids will thank you when they're older. The sibling picture is simply beautiful. A family handpicked by the Father. And He makes no mistakes. Hang in there dear bloggy friend. You're an amazing example to so many. Much love from dayton

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  17. What an amazing testimony! Janet

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  19. Blessings on you and your sweet family. Why people feel the need to be so helpful with their unhelpful words and questions remains a mystery. We will be praying for healing and a speedy forever reunion with your waiting kiddos.
    Love ya Michele
    http://growingthebards.blogspot.com/

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  20. Anyone who asks such a question probably hasn't travelled much. When we adopted our two boys from Ghana, I stayed there with my oldest son (then 7) for a month. My extended family lives there and has been there approx 17 years with their three children. It's NOT a war torn country! Being there, seeing Ghana, and being able to get to know his brothers slowly over time was so helpful to our oldest son & also to his two little brothers. I'm so glad we were able to do it!

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  21. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

    When we travelled to Ghana to bring home our 3 adopted children, we weren't able to take all of our bio. children. It would have cost us over $20,000 for the extra travel expenses. However, they were all very involved (and very excited) about adding 3 children to our already extra-large family.

    We had to stay in Ghana for over a month, and we left 8 kids home alone (the oldest at home was 21 . . . working 2 jobs . . . and homeschooling the younger children). They all made huge sacrifices in order to have us away for so long (with no extended family or close friends helping out). But, we were all doing what the Lord had called us to do.

    We ended up having some very difficult adoption transitions, and currently only 1 of our 3 adopted children is living at home. People question why we would even bring such trauma into the lives of our bio. children. But . . . again . . . we were doing what the Lord called our family to do. He does not promise easy. He does not promise Fairy Tale endings. But, He does promise that He will always be with us, and that He will use our worst trials to work in us and through us.

    Keep seeking Him. Keep following His will. Keep trusting that He will use this trial to teach each one of you more about Him.

    Laurel
    mama of 12 (ages 10, 11, 12, 13, 15, 19, 21, 23, 23, 25, 26, 28)

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  22. Christine, I just found your blog through AdoptTogether and am just now hearing your story for the first time! My heart, love and prayers go out to you and your family!! I rejoice with you and the beauty of your family of 8! Thank you for sharing this. As a family of 3 in the midst of our adoption journey (via Colombia), both the husband and I have discussed the importance of taking our daughter with us. That is is a family journey, one we travel together! I don't think any of your children will forget the first moments of becoming a family as one! Thank you for glorifying God in the midst of hardship! He is so proud of you! =)

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  23. I just stumbled upon your blog and this post. I haven't read any of the other other comments, but I just wanted to thank you for sharing! Our family is adopting a 4 year old boy from Ethiopia. We expect our first trip ... soon & then to bring him home early in 2013. We have 3 bio children, ages almost 10, almost 8, and 5 and have been praying about bringing them on the 2nd trip. I am so thankful for others who have the same vision we have. This is such a family adventure, a family's step in faith, a family's choice to look outside of ourselves ... We are praying that the finances will come through to enable us to bring the whole family!

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