Friday, September 21, 2012

God's redeeming love

A little over two years ago, I stepped off an airplane for the very first time onto Ghanaian soil.  From day one it just felt "right". It felt normal and I felt at place.  And I was broken for little ones that needed love, that needed hugs, that needed me to just be.

This was also our first trip to meet Samuel and Helen.  Oh, I can remember that day like it was yesterday.  He walked across the room with a HUGE smile on his face and wrapped his little arms around my neck while she stood back very unsure, untrusting, scared.

I knew our work was cut out for us with our sweet daughter.  And for the next two weeks while we were in Ghana she proved us right.  Time after time she tested us and tried us.  It was a very long two weeks, but two that I would NEVER trade, even in the hard.  The really, really hard.

Once we got home and waited to return to pick them up, we kept praying for little Helen.  Our sweet angel who had endured (and was still enduring) so much pain.  So much suffering.  Words can never erase any of it.  In my mind, I thought Samuel would adjust so well when he came "home".  We had all bonded while we were in country with him.  He was so happy and loving.  Something was brewing, though.  Something that would stand between he and I, but no one else in the family.

In November of 2010 we landed in the US as a family of 7 and everything changed.  Some good, some not so good.  Some really, really hard stuff.  Some really, really good stuff.  And I saw something so different than what I had seen in Ghana.  I saw a desperate little boy, hurting deeply.  Confused and trying to understand.  Thrown into a new culture at the age of 6+ and not understanding "our" ways.  A little boy who had never really experienced love.  Who had never been shown affection.  A little boy who was confused about his whole life now.  He had been lied to, deceived and my heart was broken.  I wondered if he would ever trust again.  I spent hours rocking his little body as his tears poured down his face.  And I prayed for God to give me the words, to live through me, to help me parent a little boy that I loved so much.  And I did this while my husband traveled for his job and I realized how much our son needed his daddy to be home.

As the months passed, Samuel went through so many transitions.  He disobeyed (almost nonstop).  He hit.  He fled.  He had almost no regard for me, but oh how he adored his daddy.  That didn't help, though, because he was only home 3 days a week.  Almost every day, I thought I would reach the end of my rope. I wanted so desperately to help Samuel, but I felt like I kept hitting a wall. I felt this distance between the two of us that I came to despise.  We just couldn't "get" one another.  There was a constant disorder, disagreement between us and I hated it.  On the other hand, he had attached so well to his siblings.

Righ and I (along with many friends) covered Samuel in prayer.  We pleaded with God to restore the relationship between he and I. And at times, I lost hope that it would ever come.  Then, I was reminded that God gave me this beautiful child and He was bigger than the wall between us.  He is a God of redemption. Redeeming love kept playing over and over in my mind.  Redeeming love.

When Righ, Sydney and Keenan hopped on that plane two weeks ago and I was under the weather, I didn't know how things would go.  God, however, did and He has AMAZED me.  Their trip is exactly what Samuel and I needed.  A good two weeks to BOND completely, wholely. For him to sit with me and listen to me tell me for the millionth time I LOVE YOU. I will never leave you. I am here and I'm not going anywhere.  For me to ask him if I can hug him and for him to say, "Mom, no one ever hugged me before you.  I really like it, but I'm just not sure what to do."  A time for God to break my heart all over again for this treasure He gave me. A time for Samuel and I to make a deal that he has to intitiate one hug each day and I do the same.  The joy on his little face over that deal was remarkable.  I needed time to see Samuel thrive in the helper role.  And he needed to feel needed.

I have watched this little boy become my guardian over the last two weeks.  Constantly helping me, wanting to do something for me because he LOVES me.  It hurts me to walk up and down the stairs so he helps with Bless in the mornings and at night. This morning, we were all awake except Bless and he started crying.  Samuel jumped up and came back with the sweetest little guy all cuddled up against his shoulder.  Tears of joy and happiness and relief and love poured down my cheeks as I realized once again just how awesome our God truly is. How He is a God of redeeming love. And how he had done a mighty, mighty work in our family.

So many people have said adoption is so hard. Yes, it is.  And the hardness doesn't get talked about much.  Sometimes it does, but sometimes not.  After bringing four little ones home, I am no expert, but I know what we have lived through.  It has been HARD, but so worth it.  I would live each moment again to get to where we are today.  Do we still have struggles?  Of course, with each of our adopted children, but also with our biological ones.  We will always have struggles, but they will never be bigger than our God.  He is greater than all of them.  ALL OF THEM.  Remind yourself of that in the hard days, the days when you feel like you are at the end of your rope.  God will be there waiting for you, constantly waiting.

Romans 8:31 - When God is for us, who can be against us?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

6 months and a trip

Six months ago yesterday Sydney, Keenan and I stepped off an airplane with Joseph and Bless.  Two sweet boys that had stolen our hearts.  Two sweet boys that God said, "those are your sons".  Two sweet boys who made our family of 9 complete (for the time being).

As they adjusted into our family, it seemed like they just "fit".  Yes, Bless threw 2 year old temper tantrums and still does occasionally.  And Joseph is learning to ALWAYS tell the truth and that he is loved here unconditionally.  So many adjustments we have gone through with all 7 of them. Some good, some not so good.  It's just part of the territory. Adoption is amazing, but hard.  It's a faith walk.  It's all about trust.  Trusting in Jesus to give you the strength for each new day.  BUT even on those hard days, this makes it worth it.  This makes it ok.

And then yesterday I found us back at the airport.  This time on a different journey. Righ, Sydney and Keenan are headed back to Ghana, but not for an adoption. This time it's solely a mission trip.  A trip to serve God's children, to be His hands and feet, to follow Him wherever He leads them.  A trip of total surrender to what God has called our family to do.

My sweet Sydney will be traveling back to the place she feels God has called her....Africa.  And this is her first trip without me.  (She's delivering hugs to all the little people, my Ghanaian friends and my sweet friend, Robin and her crew.)   

Keenan has fallen in love with the people of Ghana like I never imagined he would and it makes this momma's heart happy.  Recently, he asked when we would be moving to Ghana because that's where he feels like he fits in the most.  Ahh, my heart.  Not now.  It's all about trust.

And the love of my life.  As the leader of our family, he's journeying to where our hearts are, to where four of our children have been born.  He's following Jesus to where He has called him.  

Those precious people took a piece of my heart with them yesterday. 


A longing heart that desires to be in Ghana loving single mothers, hugging little ones, whispering "Jesus loves you" in their ears and scooping them up.  Now is not the time, though.  Soon.  For now, my hands and arms are full of 5 little treasures that adore me and vice versa.  Little people that God blessed me with.  Little people that He has entrusted to me.  Little people that I pray will learn to love our God more than anything else in this world and to follow Him at all costs.  Little people that are still adjusting and some of them overcoming trauma that will take years. Little people that give the most incredible hugs that can heal most anything.

So journey with us over the next two weeks as our family is on two continents loving and serving Him in both places.  Pray with us for God to continue to break our hearts for what breaks His.  Break completely, wholely.

for we walk by faith, not by sight. 2 Corinthians 5:7