Life Update: Building Beauty from Ashes

I write often about homeschooling and cooking, and I love sharing what God is doing in my life and how he is reshaping my heart, but I felt like you all are owed an update on the original reason I started writing: to share my journey through the world of adoption. My, how our world has changed. I am remiss for not sharing this with you all. Here we go. The update of all overdue updates:

When I first began this blog, however many moons ago, the ultimate purpose was to share with family and friends our journey through adoption. Private domestic adoption. That was back in 2011. In that time, some of my best friends have grown their families by two, three, or even four (!) babies. My husband changed careers. We bought our first home. I adopted an adorable rescue dog. And, somewhere in there, we decided to become foster parents.

Caught up now?

I kept you informed with the foster children who came and went, and said prayers and shed tears each time we had to say goodbye. But then we got the call that would change our lives. One beautiful summer Friday, while we were enjoying a cookout on the porch with one of our closest college pals, the phone rang.

They had a 19 month old boy and an almost-3 year old girl. No idea how the case would turn. No idea if they would stay the weekend or be with us forever. We didn’t know their ethnicity. We didn’t know their names. We didn’t know their health status. Would we take them? We took a leap said yes. Because sometimes in life, you just say yes. They showed up and our worlds were turned upside down.

That day was June 6, 2013.

Adoption Day

They became our forever children, names changed and all, on September 4, 2015.

After 796 days in limbo, they became ours forever.

I’m not a fan of the new Pinterest trend that shows the adopted children holding a sign that says how many days they spent in foster care. I’d rather my children not associate the time before their adoption as “foster care,” because they were never with another family other than us. They came home to us on June 6, 2013.

I’ll say they were in limbo for all of those days. Stuck between many homes. Learning the rules of our house, mourning the loss of another. We couldn’t permanently decorate our daughter’s room in the fairy style she so badly wanted, because of a truth we wouldn’t say out loud: “What if she leaves?” We were all in limbo. Wanting to fully dive in and love them like they were never going to leave, but also wisely guarding our hearts just in case. And I know for them, it was the same. They wanted to love us, but felt as if they were betraying someone else if they did. So in limbo we all stayed.

That day, the judge said he had more people supporting us and celebrating with us in the courtroom on that day than most adoptive families. He also added, “But it should be like this always.” We even hired a good friend of ours who is a professional photographer to document the entire day. While she had documented birthing sessions, it was her first adoption.

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Photo by Katie Woody Photography

Happiness Forever After?

I think it’s easy to talk about how difficult it is raising children who come from hurt and trauma while ignoring or refusing to acknowledge the brokenness and hurt we as parents also bring into the equation.

Pulled in different directions by many people who felt they knew what was best, I know the time was hard on the kids. While the storm of the case has died down, the storm in their hearts (and ours) hasn’t died down yet. That process will take years.

But, they are ours. And we are theirs. 

People are quick to talk about how far they have come, or how much they have changed for the better, or how much we have helped them or saved them, but no one talks about the fact that we’re all broken and full of hurt and sin. In God’s ideal plan, none of it would have looked like this. The hurt, the loss, the pain, the anger, the grief, the rage, none of it. He has a plan to restore our entire family to the beauty he originally envisioned.

I really dislike when foster parents are called “saints,” because you don’t know the darkness or the doubts in my heart. You don’t know my fears for the future or the questions I have. You don’t know the work it takes to create a feeling of family among strangers.

We’re all learning this together. Some days I cry because I don’t have a clue how to do this adoptive parent thing. No reading in the world can really prepare you. When you separate ME from the blood of the Lamb who covers me with his grace, it’s really a mess under there. But God’s promises endure, and I will hold fast to them.

Some days, I think they were an answer to our prayers, and some days I think we were an answer to theirs. I know for sure that one day, this whole story, not at all how I imagined it or necessarily wanted it, will come together as a beautiful testimony. Being in the middle of a time or trial that you know will one day be a fantastic testimony is hard. Sometimes parenting our kids is really exhausting and heartbreaking, because we are parenting kids whose hearts have been broken. They know pain the likes of which most adults will never understand. But my faith rests in the promise of God:

“To all who mourn in Israel he will give: 
beauty for ashes; joy instead of mourning; praise instead of heaviness
For God has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory.”

Isaiah 61:3 TLB

Regardless, we are a family.

God is building beauty from the ashes of all of our dreams. For all five of us.

And let me tell you- Jesus saves me every single day.

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2 Comments

Filed under Adoption General, Faith and Adoption, Fostering, Parenting, Personal Posts

2 responses to “Life Update: Building Beauty from Ashes

  1. This is a beautiful post. I will never forget seeing you post that your children who were yours in your heart, were finally yours in the eyes if the law. Thank you for sharing your story.

  2. I am glad that you wrote this, because it is honest and from the heart. I will say this, I do think of you and of course your dear spouse and sweet eldest son as saints, not because you are sinless. I know you aren’t. Not because I think it is all roses and sunshine, and you never have doubts. I’d worry if you didn’t. I think of you three as saints because you trusted God despite those doubts. You trusted God when it was so hard you only were able to hang on because you did feel like you might be saving them. I’ve watched them blossom. I’ve seen the struggles they go through. I know how torn they were, and I could see the fear that “this wasn’t forever” in their eyes sometimes. I know there will be more rough roads ahead. I also know you five will get through them together, because you all understand that when your heart is full of doubt, and you are surrounded by doubt, doing what you believe God needs and wants of you is the choice you always make.
    I love you

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