Friday, March 15, 2013

6 months of plowing


It's been 6 months of hard work.  6 months of bonding with our kids, teaching them, trying to build a deep rooted foundation. 6 months of pouring into their wounded, hurting hearts.
6 months of  " plowing the fields to prepare for the first season of healing..." 

I'll admit... lately, I have been feeling pretty defeated. A few days ago I hid myself in my closet and threw a "mommy style" tantrum. How long will Sol and I be "plowing" in this same area of our field?  How much longer until "this child" decides to reach out, grab our hand and never let go?  How much longer until our children stop fighting and sabotaging themselves?  When will our children start to relax and realize their extremely passive aggressive behaviors are not a successful way of communicating? I know, I know... it takes time. But at that moment of my tantrum... I didn't want "THAT answer"... I just needed hope.  Honestly, right then and there... I wanted a quick fix.

During one of my lengthy conversations with our 8 year old daughter, I asked her to stop and take a few deep breaths to get her to relax and reminded her that she was only fighting herself.  I let her cry and gave her the freedom to express her pain.  As exhausted as I was, I tried so hard to communicate our love and God's love to her. At the end, we both realized that she didn't even know what love means. 
I took a few deep breaths and gave her a tight hug.  I was out of words...I hoped and prayed that my hug would be just enough in that moment to pour into her confused and broken heart.  There was nothing more I could say or do that would provide instant healing. 

Our journey seems so heavy, lonely and overwhelming at times that it's easy for me to forget that He never asked us to do this alone.  He promised that He would equip us even during the moments where we feel so deflated. 
This week was just one of "those" weeks, full of home school battles, defiance, passive/aggressive attitudes, doctor's appointments etc...  Perhaps we started on the wrong foot or maybe it's been 6 months of hard work and I have finally hit the wall. I felt alone, exhausted and so depleted of patience and grace.  I had friends (non-adoptive) that tried to comfort me by relating their parenting struggles with ours... I have always been so grateful for their support... but this time I so badly wanted to remind them that "it is not the same... adopted children bring completely different challenges...it's as if we have 3 kids with special needs."  As much as I didn't like how sensitive I was... I realized it was brought on from my own weariness.

Adoption is beautiful... but it is undoubtedly hard work.  It's days, months, years of plowing the fields of our children's hearts for various seasons of healing and freedom.  Every moment and every day counts. As defeated and exhausted as I feel right now... the plowing must continue. 
I can't blame our children for their defiant, manipulative behaviors. They had to survive and it's taken them years to become this way... it's not their fault and neither is it our fault for not being able to attach with them in the way that we had hoped for by 6 months. I am slowly learning to set low expectations of myself each day, say "good-bye" to guilt and genuinely be thankful for what God has blessed me with.
On the other hand, when mommy is running on empty... the rest of the family suffers. My goal for tomorrow and the next is that I will find a way to take care of me.  And yet even on days when there is no time for me... I know that
"..my God will meet all your(my) needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus."

12 comments:

  1. This week marks 5 years since we brought our 3 children home from Ghana. 5 . . . very . . . long . . . years . . . filled with unbelievable heartache and pain. 5 years of plowing. One precious daughter who's heart is still wrapped in concrete, unable to accept our love, and unable to love in return.

    I do understand. And, no, your non-adoptive friends have.no.clue.

    So sad. So hard. So sorry.


    Laurel
    mama of 12

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    1. Laurel - if you're on facebook, we have an incredible support group called "Ghana Adoption" - please consider joining us!

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  2. Oh sweet friend...you are not alone! While not all of us can relate to specific challenges you face having experienced all you have, the daily battles, the weariness, the lonlinessof plowing the fields transend and you have an adoption community who loves you and is here to support you in any way we can. Prayers & hugs.

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  3. My heart goes out to you, it truly does. I'm so very sorry for the struggles you have been dealing with. And just like Mama of 12 said, your non-adoptive friends have NO CLUE!! I can't say it's been hard for us, we have one adopted child from China and she was 12 months when we got her and she came with no issues, just pure love and has been home now 1 yr this month. I want to say that it's going to take time, especially with 6 young ones. I will pray for you, your husband and those beautiful children of yours. I'm to so very sorry.

    Sherri

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  4. Christine - Thanks for your transparency! We are not there yet as we are still waiting for a referral & checking through waiting children lists to find our son, but I so appreciate when adoptive moms share their experiences honestly! That being said I thought your idea of "plowing" was such a good metaphor! It indicates the hardness of it for sure, but I think it also indicates the painfulness of the process for the child as well - to think how difficult it is to dig up roots that already exist (of feeling unwanted, unloved, etc.), but that it is just part of the process of growth that has to occur for new soil & new roots to be laid down deep enough to grow! Prayerful right now that you will have perseverance in all the hard work you have ahead. It really reminds me of Galations 6:9 "Don't get tired of doing what is right, for after a while you will reap a harvest of blessing if you don't get discouraged & give up!"

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  5. I can enter in so much to your post, it is heart-wrenching! Our 2 adopted children (from ET, ages 7&3yr) have been home not much more than none year but I think the sun is starting to shine and I feel hope more now... I can so enter in to the exhaustion emotionally as well..!
    Hang in there!!

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  6. Six months is a drop in the bucket of attachment work. (the things the agencies don't tell you....) According to our attachment therapist, it will be a lifetime of -- to use your metaphor -- plowing. And I have learned to batten down the hatches on spring ahead week. So don't beat yourself up about this week being a bad week. It was bad here too, and we're home three years. And bless our non-adoptive friends who try to reassure us but have no.idea. You're journey is not lonely -- we older-child adoptive parents are all here walking the same road with you. And plowing. If I have a bad day, I go to bed telling myself tomorrow will be better. Usually I'm right.

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  7. We are 5 months in. And I just wrote a similar post. (((HUGS)))

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  8. Nine years with two of mine, and I see beautiful, cooperative, loving fruit. Five years with two others, and I still see passive aggression, although there has been a lot of growth but sometimes cannot get beyond the "stuck", and a year and a half with three; just hit a traumaversary and we are two steps back..........{{{hugs}}}

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  9. Hang on friend and keep praying! Joy comes in the morning!
    Joy

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  10. We're praying for your family. We adopted our sons in Feb. 2012, two unrelated almost 4 yr olds. They had not met each other before the adoptions and didn't like each other after. It was very difficult for the first eight mos. We didn't think we could make it. The passive agressive behaviors, the defiance, and the constant competition between the two for negative attention felt like it was going to tear our family apart. It was so bad that we were doubting that the Lord had truly led us to both of our sons, which He did. We know He did, but it just seemed too hard. Some dear friends, who are also adoptive parents did respite care for one of ours sons for a week at about the 7 mo. point. That break, the encouragement we received from others, and the many prayers that were said for us is what got us through. At about 8 mos. we started to have a day here and a day there, where things just felt like, you know, family. A day that is nothing special and everything special at the same time. Trust was slowly starting to come, and even though they weren't playing or talking to each other, our boys were not openly acting out, or passive-aggressively acting out as often as before. We starting to get some time in between to catch our breath, and build our bonds. We have had to come to terms with unmet expectations and trust in God's love and His perfect plan for our family. We had been stretched and blessed because of the addition of our sons/brothers to our family. We love them very much and can not imagine life without them. We'll be praying for your family. Thank you so much for sharing this with others. We think your family is beautiful and we admire your strength and obedience to the Lord. God bless you guys! Love & peace ~The Foro Family

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  11. I pray things are getting so much better for you. I wrote you an email after I read your post not long ago about our experiences with my adopted daughter. I just wanted to let you know you are all still on my heart and I am praying for you. I remember often when I was about to just fall into a pile from the feeling of defeat and exhaustion I would pray for just a day. One good day. One better day. Just a break. And God would grant me that and it helped so much. May God give you the strength, the supernatural strength, to walk this road according to His plan. Giving you a season here and there to see a glimps of the good that will eventually be your happy family in the end.
    God be with you and protect you. Peace to your heart. susan

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