Saturday, August 24, 2013

And the TRUTH Shall Set You Free...

It has been two years since Isaiah and Ruth became a forever part of our family.  It's been a year since I've had the courage to log onto this blog.  A long, emotionally draining, grasping and clinging to the hem of Jesus's robe, kind of year.

At first I didn't post because I convinced myself that no-one wants to hear the ugly and the hard side of adoption.  

That isn't true.  

I didn't write because of fear.  I didn't want to be judged by those that had never walked the road of adoption.  My pride told me to keep quiet because I was suppose too have all the answers.  And after enough time passed, I just became to overwhelmed to write. 

I began to see our failings as my failings.  I saw every setback and emotional breakdown as something I wasn't doing right.  I saw every failed test as my inability to teach.  I took every lie I was told incredibly personally.  With every "My REAL, BIRTH mom loves me more!" I would lay a stone around my heart.  And the construction of my wall was going unreasonably fast.  

It eventually took me out.  I just wanted out, but I din't know how...I felt trapped.  I didn't want to get up and home school a child that was going to argue with me about E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.  I didn't want to pray for a child who was just going to spit venomous insults in my face.  I didn't want to discipline a child who was just going to steal again and then lie about it.  
My well ran dry.  There was no grace on reserve.  My love now had conditions.  I began keeping score.    

I knew it was wrong.  I knew what Karyn Purvis (the adoption whisperer as I lovingly refer to her) would say about this.  But what shamed me even more is that I knew what the Bible said about this.  I KNEW!, but I couldn't help it.  I was drowning and it was all I could do to keep my head above water.  

Well-meaning people asked and commented, "Oh how wonderful adoption must be!" "Heavens, your family is too cute!"  Or my all time favorite, "I would adopt in a heartbeat if we could get the kids ya'll got!"  (Yes, we live in the south and that is how we really talk.)
And I would find myself just methodically nodding my head saying the only true thing I held on to, "God is good."  It satisfied their need to believe that all was wonderful and it reminded me that I believe in a God that is sovereign and whose will is perfect and He, that called us to this, will carry us through.  

I don't think I'm alone in this struggle.  I know there are mamas and papas out there that are struggling to find that one thing to love in their child.  They are fighting the enemy through every thought condemning their child.  
This isn't a battle won over night.  This isn't a battle fought flippantly while standing up texting your BFF.  (Though you desperately need a BFF!)  

This is the kind of battle Ephesians 6 talks about...  

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but it's against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms."  

Our children are not our enemy!  They are not out to  get us, even though that's how it feels in the flesh!  

Adoption is authored by God.  He is the only one that can redeem!  Not us.  He may choose to use us in the healing and the restoration of our children, but mamas and papas, I'll let you in on a secret that took me two years to finally hear... WE.CAN.NOT.HEAL.OUR.CHILDREN.  
We can not bestow upon their heads a crown of beauty where once only ashes lay.  We can not turn their spirit of despair into a garment of praise.  Only HE can.  

Please understand this was a very personal journey between God, myself and my incredibly resilient children.  It has been a time of refining and molding of my heart.  It has been painful and lonely.  But it's also been glorious.  The Lord has shown me that when sin increases in my children's life, my grace must increase all the more.  (Romans 5:20b)  He has very clearly shown me that He does not show favoritism and nor should I. God has shone a light into the dark parts of my heart; parts that needed healing and restoration a long time ago.  Parts that I would have kept locked up had I never been called to love two hurting children born not from my womb.  And for that I am, and will forever be, grateful.  

I am not at that magical, perfect place of harmony and unity.  But I see the light.  And as we travel this narrow road, I am continually humbled and reminded that we are far from perfect.  My kids are going to interrupt.  They may even tell me no.  One of them might roll their eyes at me (until they are set straight by their father and then come directly back to me to apologize.) :)   They may still grieve.  They may miss their birth mother and country so much that they lash out at me.  That's o.k.
Because I've learned that what's behind that anger is a gripping fear that he can no longer remember what his birth mamma looks like.  And that scares him to death.  
And what's behind her harshness is a fear of failure.  A fear of acceptance.  A fear of not being loved unconditionally.  

I look at our adoption as the lifeline that was thrown to me.  It saved ALL my children from the demands and pretenses I put upon myself and my family because I felt the  weight of the world looking upon us.  It saved us from selfishness.  
It is teaching us compassion in a way that is very personal and real.   It has taught me that it's o.k. not to have all the answers.


I failed...and yet I'm still here.  Much to my surprise, it didn't kill me.  It made me stronger.  It taught me humility and submissiveness.  I experienced that His love truly NEVER fails, it never gives up and it will never, ever run out on me.  It showed me that His grace increased for my sin.

"But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.  That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong."



  1. Jennifer, thank you so much for sharing this very personal journey. Though it is personal, I know that many of us can relate to so many parts of what you have written. So thankful for The Redeemer who brings beauty from ashes. And I'm so thankful for your faithfulness to keep pressing in, even when it is difficult. You are blessed and a blessing.

  2. Your honesty helps everyone else walking a similar path whether that is through adoption (and I know several) or birth (that also happens). Thank you for sharing. Adoption, especially international adoption, is not for the faint of heart. In the end it is all about relationship: with God, with our children, other family members and our community. I found David Howe's books most helpful.

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  4. Jen, great and vulnerable post. I appreciate your insight into sometimes feeling like every shortcoming in your kids is your fault. I live with that fear all the time and it does not make for a happier home. It is hard to let go control of kids as they are such a reflection of us. How tempting to receive our identity from them and their behavior. I can see that God has provided so much grace and love for you in this trying mission. I can see also that you are becoming grace to them. Well done sister. You are a phenomenal mother and a powerful ambassador for the kingdom. Thanks for this post. Proud of you!

  5. HI Jen, I am intimately familiar with this path you are walking. It is the hardest thing, isnt't it? Being asked to respond in grace and love when none of it is coming back your way. The ironic thing is that with my bio kids I really thought I was just a good mom. I didn't realize how much of my 'good mom' was simply a response to well-bonded kids who gave me plenty of warm fuzzies. (Even in the teen years, when positive interaction sometimes diminishes, with kids who've always been with you, you have YEARS of happy warm memories to lean on and sustain you). True Christ-like love is so much harder, though, like you, I do see progress and hope for the future!

    Anyhow- I'm writing because in going over a post from my blog, I saw again your offer to ask your kids about their early months home-- what helped them settle in, what was hard, what you did that they loved most, etc. I also have a post up on my blog now asking for similar input from siblings of adoptees. Would you be willing to ask all your kids about these things? I am working on a book chapter about adoptees and siblings, and how adoption feels from their viewpoint, and I'd love more input from children. If you are still willing to chat with your kids, drop me an email Thanks so much!
    Mary, momma to 10, including 4 from Ethiopia and 2 from Korea.