Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Darkest Hour

We have all experienced tragedy, pain, sorry, and hurt in our lives. Those times weave a thread into our lives that God uses to teach us more about Himself and to draw us to Him. Sometimes, we use that same thread to become bitter and angry. I have recently looked back at several of those times and tried to truly process what God was doing.

Some of the most painful times in my life have to do with loss.....the loss of freedom for my dad when he was sent to prison in 2002, the loss of JT's dad in 2005, the loss of our home to a fire in January of 2005, etc,. There are other losses but these are the ones that come to mind first. Then, there was our adoption of Jett in 2007 (December). A loss? An adoption is a loss? Yes, for us and for Jett, it was. It was the darkest hour in our lives, and no one else knew.

As I said in an earlier post, we are just now even talking about that time in our lives. It has taken us several years to heal from the pain and everything that happened, so I hope to capture what it was like..... I hope that one day Jett can read this and know that we fought for his heart and soul with tenacity. I hope he remembers the long days and knows that we loved him whole-heartedly through it all. I hope our family can recall the spiritual battle lines that were drawn and the war we waged within our home. I hope, more than anything, that God alone is exalted and praised for His faithfulness and His goodness through the trials.

When we saw Jett for the very first time face to face, it was an overwhelming sense of fulfillment for me. The child that we had pursued for almost 2 years sat on the tile floor of an orphanage in Solola, Guatemala. He had NO clue who we were yet he smiled sheepishly anyway. My heart burst open and tears flowed without any stoppage in sight..... As I looked into his little brown eyes, God spoke clearly to me: "I pursued you like you have pursued this child." My heart was full, and I knew that God's purpose in our lives to adopt had been fulfilled. We had finished the race..... We had 2 weeks together in Guatemala, and we were good. There were some red flags along the way but nothing that we didn't think we could handle. We were wrong. Dead wrong.

Less than a week after we got home, JT had to fly to Arizona to finish leading a trip. I was furious.... This could've been prevented, so someone chose their own desires over the good of our family. I wasn't mad at JT, but once he was gone, I was. How could he leave me with a new child who doesn't even speak English yet? I was angry with God. Don't they know that I'm no good at this....I have NO patience....I cannot do this! Jett would rage and grieve every day....multiple times a day. If he did anything he wasn't suppose to do (stick his fingers in an outlet, hit the girls, run out the front door), and I told him, "No,"...well, he would lose it. Seriously lose it. Ugly cry, kick your legs, stomp your feet, grit your teeth ugly cry...scream...cry more....rub your eyes until they are about to pop out, tighten fists, straighten your body and refuse to budge cry.... The girls would generally just go to their rooms or somewhere else in the house. I was left alone to fight this battle. If he did it once a day, he would do it 10 times...or 20....felt like 50.

If the phone rang, I cringed. Do I dare answer it knowing that he could blow at any moment? If I walk out of the room, what will happen? The girls were withdrawing as they saw their "cute little brother" taking over the house. He was clearly running the show, and it seemed that everything revolved around him. He couldn't be let out of our sight for fear of what he might do. I was weary and so over the adoption part of our lives.

The worst part to me....going to church. Yes, going to church. We would go to church and people would see Jett and talk about how cute he is and what a joy adoption is and how great it was that our family had adopted. And, I wanted to scream, "If you only knew the chaos of our house! This is hard...don't adopt! Don't even think about it!"

JT came home from that first trip but had to travel again six weeks later to Africa. It was the WORST time ever....I must have called him 4-5 times a day. Jett didn't want anything to do with the girls...or me. He couldn't stand us. He didn't love me much less like me. It was so hurtful and hard. I would just hold him and cry. God showed me great pain and suffering, and my heart ached for all of us. How was God going to heal this? Was He going to heal this? Was this going to be our lives from now on?

We made some serious mistakes during that time.....having friends over too much (Jett needed to settle in our family and be secure with just us first), traveling to AZ, Africa, Indiana, resuming normal life as if nothing else had happened.....meanwhile, we were dying. It was painful and tiring. But life, as we had known it, was still going on around us, and that was the hardest part. We were isolated, and it felt like no one understood our pain. We couldn't even put it into words. We felt like we were drowning and people were just watching. Pick yourselves up by the bootstraps.....move on...come on, you can go out to eat....it's no big deal....he'll grow out of it....can't you just leave him with a babysitter..... Oh, the many things that people said that were well-meaning but hurt to the core. I felt trapped....I couldn't breathe....and I had no one to turn to who understood.

But, God used that year (more like 18 months) to strip us down to the core and the basics. He bonded our family in a way that I cannot describe. He showed us His faithfulness. He healed ALL of our hearts. He became our only focus. He convicted us of many areas where He was not being exalted in our lives. He rebuilt trust and established friendships. He cleansed us and even gave us the desire to adopt again. He showed us His love...in abundance. He graciously poured out His mercies upon us.

It was our darkest hour, but it was His shining glory. He drew us to Himself and loved us when we couldn't even utter our gratefulness. Looking back at that time, I see so many lessons, but I think this post is long enough. Hear the cry of my heart....adoption is a beautiful, difficult and uneasy process. It glorifies God....even in the hurt and pain...it brings Him glory. Thank you Lord for the valley that you walked us through and the hills you made us climb. We are grateful.....for You and You alone. You reign, and we do not. You rule, and we do not. You are exalted, and we are not. Praise Your great name!


Lora Lynn @ Vitafamiliae said...

Beautifully said, friend. Thank you for sharing your heart.

Vertical Solutions Media said...

Oh how I wish I had known what you were going through. As you know, I walked that same road... only with 4 at once. I swear they would "tag team" me to see if they could make me crack. I could tell you stories that would curl your hair (oh, wait... straighten your hair. LOL)

Thankfully God is bigger than any challenge and He grows us in ways we would never experience but for the trial.

People used to say to me "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." I say that's wrong. God gives us more than we can handle so we have to rely on Him to get through it.

Your family is precious and the wisdom you have received through the adoption of Jett will bless those who find themselves on that road in the future.

Love you all!

A said...

Thank you for this post. We are still smack in the middle of this darkest hour. It's pretty unbearable. This helps me look forward to the day that I can look back and write this post myself. You guys are an encouragement to us.


mj (creates) said...

thank you for sharing so transparently! We did the opposite...we DID eliminate almost everything else in our lives to let her bond with just us for the first 18 months or so. The isolation is the same. It's either voluntary or involuntary but isolation all the same. Makes me believe that it is part of the process. I know for us it was a critical part.

DW just asked me this AM if he thought we should continue with our adoption...2.5 years and counting so far (again). It has never occurred to me to quit, but the weariness is overwhelming at times and for some reason summer seems to be almost unbearable for me...the restlessness.

Thanks again for sharing. I will keep you in my prayers :)

Hannah Bunch said...

I've been meaning to post on your previous posts, but I'm glad I waited until this one. I'll never forget in 2002 when you found out about your dad. I truly believe that it is a time I will never forget, not because it effected me in any way personally, but because I was around you and JT and saw how you handled it and it left on imprint on me and my life.
You both were there for me and sent me such encouraging words during a dark hour in my life too. I won't say I've walked in your shoes, but I have definitely experienced a lot of this being a teen/young mom. It was difficult for me too, I had no idea what I was doing and was alone with a child by myself at times too! Looking back, God was ALL over it! I'm so thankful! For God to use you in a way that was so difficult and then use it for His glory is amazing. I feel the same way. In the middle of it, I wasn't sure I was going to make it. I trusted God, but I felt like it was too much. To be on the other side and to be able to share that with others like you have is awesome! I just spoke at a moms group a few months ago and told them if someone would have told me this is where I'd be XX years from now, I wouldn't believe it. Our God is so good. You both have the amazing ability to touch so many people in what you do. I am truly honored to be called your friend!

Giann said...

amen! Thank you for sharing this....touched me.....thank you....

LaRessie said...

What heartfelt words!! My heart ached reading this. Even though I haven't experienced adoption and the valley you went through, I feel the pain of isolation. This gives me hope!! I know that God is drawing us into Him!! He makes a way to prepare us for His plans only if we will allow it. You are such a special person and I am so glad God has allowed me to know you!! I hope to meet all your family someday!! God bless you all!!

Nancy said...

I love the fact that you are so REAL in this post & you can look at Jett & know God has placed him in a wonderful family - you two are the type of parents that will GLORIFY God in good & bad situations & I will always admire you for that!!