Wow, I am surprised I remembered my login code! I am at a Created for Care conference and I am feeling overwhelmed, surprisingly emotional.
I cannot believe all that has happened in a year. I just abruptly stopped writing because it felt too big, too much, just too much. Things went crazy after my last post.
My last post makes it look so neat and pretty, so tied up with a bow. The reality is so so much different. My close friends and those in the know would tell you how ugly and overwhelming the last year has been.
I met with an old friend yesterday as she is beginning to walk down her road to adoption. She is nervous and scared, unsure of what to expect. I texted with another dear friend who is hoping to travel soon to get her baby girl. I remember those days leading up to our travel, the fear and longing. Well, mostly from the months leading up to our first court date. I remember the terror of getting everything done and leaving my babies in less than 48 hours.
I am glad to be on the other side. I told my first friend yesterday that the first six months were awful. Kenny and I whispered in the night wondering what have we done? This wasn't how we pictured it...
There was so much mind numbing uncertainty, so many questions. and for me, so many plates of food in my face, slaps on my face, spit on my face from a certain firecracker of a girl. I just wanted her to love me and I couldn't see how that was ever going to happen. Now that relationship is healing and evolving, growing but still ever so hard. Trying to gain trust and picking up pieces when I fail her yet again. It is a dance of nervous, hand wringing partners, trying to figure out what the next step is..
My other beauty was just so good. Just way way too good. As if there was a chance that if she made one wrong step it would all be over... She held her world cupped in her hands, tiptoeing around in case she upset something. I cried with relief the first day she knowingly disobeyed me, kissing her cheeks and telling her how I loved her, even when she disobeyed. I love that she disobeys now, glad that she is relaxing a bit and realizing that we are going nowhere.
My boys are my heroes. They LOVE with abandon and have taken their sisters in with their whole hearts. They watch over and protect. They yell when they break their stuff and push back when the girls push too far. They hold hands and kiss their cheeks.
But it has been hard for them too. They didn't like seeing their mother hit and spit on. They couldn't figure out why I didn't respond with more grace or yell more than before we left. They were so sad when we were gone, they felt abandoned by us. Jack whispers in the late hours of how sad he was and is, how things weren't quite what he expected. How could he love and dislike all at the same time? Why were things not easy now that we were all together?
But we are making it. The first six months were beyond hard. Then it just started getting better. We found our groove and figured out what makes us tick, what makes us the Brown family. We are getting our stride and coming out of the fog.
I have longed to write and share but it has just been too ugly to put down. I am not at all who I thought I would be as a mother to my family. I had notions of being the therapeutic parent that all my kids could turn to. I had read the books, talked to people, I felt prepared.
Then reality hit and it turns out that I am still just the same old me. I yell at my kids too much, lose my temper over nothing, and have incredibly high expectations that get shattered over and over again. I am me.
And in that place of brokenness I find hope. Not in me or my books, or the latest truth I read on a blog.
I find hope that in my weakness my God is strong. That He has put us together, just how and when He wanted to do it. And I can relax a bit and on the good days realize that I DO NOT have all this together, but He is carrying me and my family.
I am so happy to have us all together, so filled with joy when I look around and see those faces. I love riding in the car and listening to them talk and laugh and dance and fight and try to make each other tow the line.
We are family. Imperfect and broken but we belong to each other.
There is beauty in that. To see that from all of our brokenness a beautiful thing is rising up. I don't always like the redemption analogy. I worry that it would make my girls feel less than or like they had no worth before the adoption. But I love the picture of a relentless pursuit by a God who knows and loves far beyond what our finite minds can handle. I love that my girls who are amazing and funny and sassy and sweet are with us. That somehow two girls from across the ocean call America their home.
Not to say there is not pain in the midst because there is great pain and loneliness in giving up all that you know and coming across the ocean with two crazy muzungus. But that love and happiness and peace can come out of that pain is a beautiful thing.
Here is to many more years to come...