Friday, October 7, 2011

Bonding through the Cracks

It was a 4 year journey, to the month.  Our adoption was anything but typical and we truly had no idea what we were getting into at the time, but we knew we had to be obedient to God’s call for our family, and He had made it abundantly clear, this was the way He intended for us to grow.  He had made us large vessels and we were ready to be filled.

Those years were full of classes on adoption, bonding, and fielding the inevitably offensive, but well-intentioned comments in the grocery store.  We read a few books, involved our family in an active and support adoption group in our community, and we fundraised.  Oh, did we fundraise, which is so ironic because the last thing we every saw ourselves doing was asking others for money, but God moved and we were provided for.  (More on that later because there are some incredible stories to be told).  We welcomed home countless other children into their forever families, aching a little more each time that we had not felt our own precious ones in our arms and clinging to His promises of perfect timing.

All that to say, we felt ready.  We knew there was no way to be completely prepared, but we thought if anyone had put in the time, we had, and it would all be ok.  Our clay walls felt thick and hardy from the journey.

We were so wrong.

Prayers had been lifted for months, years, beseeching the Lord to prepare our children’s hearts for their new family.  While they waited in those dire conditions for their forever home we asked for a supernatural attachment to take place, exceeding anything human.  God answered and performed a miracle, above and beyond our expectations.  Yes, there were issues and struggles for both the kids at times, but they LOVED us and they KNEW us from the first moment our eyes met (although Craig did an amazing job describing it *Redemption post*).  It was amazing.  No words describe what it truly felt like to have that tiny body finally resting in my arms, or those little arms wrapped around my neck so tight.

They were finally ours, we were finally together.  Four years and it was finally over.

Nope…it was just beginning.  We had thought that wait was nearly unbearable…it could not get any worse than being oceans apart from the helpless babes you loved with your whole heart.

The only thing worse was finally having them in our arms and realizing it was not the children who were struggling…it was us, it was me.  The clay was cracking.

But wait, I loved them more than life before we’d even met.  All those long years, I loved them.  What was going on?

I was so confused, sad, angry, frustrated, terribly sick and eventually depressed.  How could this be?  No one had mentioned not being able to fully embrace and love their adopted children from day one…it had all been about the children’s struggle…not our own.

But here we were, in Africa of all places, and I was watching our family fall apart (at least in my feeble eyes).  Everything I loved, our precious little family unit, was coming undone at the seams and I was terrified.  I wanted out; I wanted it be over; I wanted to go home and forget any of this had ever happened.  The fissures were deepening, and I wasn’t sure how long I could hold together.

Yes, it was ugly beyond imagination and I will not bear every detail because some of my thoughts were horrifying to even myself.  I was in a place I had never known I could go; in the deep crevices of my vessel there was a black sin that had never been exposed.  It was terrifying, but I was desperate.

Separation came and our family was divided for a time…some in Africa, some here at home.  My hurt turned cold and a protective layer hardened around me.   Without thought, I was keeping God out.  I was clinging to the hope that change would not come, and I was content to stay in my bitter state if that’s what it would take.

Friends pressed in.  And not just any friends, but the ones who will stay up until 3 am because they are unwilling to let you go; friends who will drop everything, even their four kids, to drive 2 hours and just sit over coffee, waiting for your vulnerable crack where questions only they could ask might seep in and find their tender landing place; friends who will pack their kids in the car and make a 9 hour journey just to rub your feet and catch your tears, do your grocery shopping and make your lists to keep you moving.  These friends, these vessels filled with the Holy Spirit pressed in, found my cracks reminded how to let the sin drain through.  Slowly at first, just a trickle, but it began.

The details of all that took place between then and now may find their way into later entries…there’s more than I can process into words all at once.  But it was a bleeding process…spilling through those splintered openings, with pain and surrender every drip of the way.

The more open those cracks became, the more freely the black muck that had sat like sludge in the bottom of my vessel began to flow.  It was my sin, my selfish heart, my perception of how life should look…not the children or anything they did or didn’t do.  It was me.  My black liquid sin.  And God began to drain it out.  One painful drip at a time.

Sometimes I felt like he was using a crowbar to widen those openings and at times I feared I would just break into a hundred pieces…honestly, at times I hoped I would and then maybe it would be over.  But then came grace.  Grace in the form of Christ’ blood patched the cracks, filled the fissures, and sealed my vessel.  And I was filled.  Filled with the LOVE of a Father who adores His children more than any words can express.  He filled my patchwork vessel and I began to see His plan, one small spec at a time.

For my husband's perspective on it all click here and then here for the follow up

1 comment:

  1. how have i not read this entry? i was scrolling down and just saw it. oh jenn, i love you. you have a beautiful way of telling your story. i love your honesty. be kind to yourself. He is kind to you. i love you and feel so blessed to walk this journey with you.