Friday, November 24, 2023

Hard Places

 I, probably like others out there, naively believed that consistent love and structure could "fix" the traumas of foster care & adoption.  That becoming part of a healthy, Christian, family would {certainly} not eliminate all past hurts and unhealthy life experiences, but that it would do most of the work of bringing about that healing. We've had quite a rude awakening!  

I am diving in deep with this post, and want to preface it by saying that love and structure are a huge part of the environment required to experience deep, meaningful, forever change.  But what about when those positive, consistent factors are in place and things just get worse?  What do we do then?  How do we move forward when the foundation we felt we needed, is not holding up the weight of the life we are living? 

This has been our experience. This is what we are walking through now, actually. Our story is not as common as many adoption stories.  Most folks, even those that adopt many children, do it over a period of time. I know this is a big factor in the weightiness of our struggles.  We went from two children to five, then 7.5 months later, six children, then just a year later, without any warning, added a seventh . So in less than two years we went from two to seven. Let me tell you, that's a huge learning curve!    Add in early life trauma, foster-care trauma (the trauma of being removed from your "normal" and then the shock of realizing it was very much NOT normal), missed diagnosis of an emotional/behavioral disorder, autism, drug addiction and withdrawals at birth, then a medically fragile & heavily drug-exposed baby... most assuredly a situation where ignorance was bliss and had we known, what we know now, we might have missed God's calling to this life because we very likely, would not have said yes.  On top of our youngest five's struggles, we went through a major medical event with Mark's heart surgery and near-death experience. My heart aches as I think of the struggles Trenton & Kamdyn experienced through all of this change and uncertainty. Even as I type it all, I have erased and retyped it, because it seems like too much. 

My first reaction is to want to cover it up and just "forget it" not replay the hard stuff; but this is a story, still being written, of God's immeasurable goodness in our lives! A story of the faithfulness of our Father and Friend who is still at work and still able to breathe life into the dark, traumatic places of each of our hearts. Especially for our Littles, who entered our lives having experienced more pain, heartache, neglect and abuse than you can imagine possible in such a short lifetime. Something I have learned so far, is the power of speaking life. Of telling and retelling how God has been so powerful in our lives. I believe that our testimony is and will continue to be a huge part of healing! That remembering and sharing the plan and work of God, in our family, will increase our faith and help bring healing that simply loving and teaching could not bring about... And in the process, it will encourage someone else who is shuffling along with their hands held in front of them because they can't see what's ahead - I understand because many of my days also feel that way. You know how when you suddenly walk from a very light place into a place with little to no light? How even when you should know the layout of the space, you feel uncertain about what's in front of you and fearful of stumbling? Let me shout it out, THAT IS THE ENEMY! That is why I love sharing. Often times it's may just be for me... but reminding myself of God's faithfulness is so powerful!! Looking back to see how He truly did go before us and even when we felt/feel like we're walking in utter darkness, He is there!  That is powerful and so comforting!

So how are we wading through this thick, swampy, path of parenting children from hard places and with much baggage, some even with trauma before birth?  We're making many mistakes - asking for forgiveness - doing our best to be real and authentic - striving to model living our life for God and His plans and purposes for our life and being quick to point out how He blesses us as we trust Him - seeking Godly counseling - building a circle of family & friends who quite literally "hold my arms up" as we push back against the darkness that has tried to attach itself from such an early age - speaking life - praying - crying - trusting God to be our strength & asking Him to fill in the gaps where we miss the mark! 

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