Wednesday, February 20

Adoption: Things I've Learned

It is so hard to believe that we have had Emme here in our home for 13 months! From the time we signed on with our agency to the time we stepped off the plane here in Texas with our sweet Emme it totaled a 16 month wait.
Which felt like ETERNITY.
It was a long hard wait for us me. And Yes, I realize that there are families who wait far longer for their children (bio and adopted) but this was my story and my wait and it was hard and long. But so very worth it.
It is true what other adoptive families say about how when you have your child in your arms forever all the pain and tears and 'suffering' you went through to get to that moment seem to flee. They simply vanish from thin air and that period of the 'waiting' process seems like a lifetime ago.
I feel like I have learned a lot about adoption over the last year. I am sure I will learn more and more about it as time goes on. But this last year, with our sweet Emme home, I have learned so much.

I have learned that adoption is not glamorous.
I have learned that it is hard.
I have learned that it is beautiful, pain, exciting, adventurous, challenging and fulfilling.
I have learned that adoption hurts.
I have learned that adoption heals.
I have learned that adoption is a gift.
I have learned that adoption stretches your heart in ways that you didn't know it could be stretched.
I have learned that adoption is not for the faint heart.

During the wait for Emme I dreamed about her like I did the boys when I was pregnant with them. I would sit and wonder what she was like. What she sounded like. What she felt like. What she smelled like. What it would be like for her to be in our house and with us everyday. It is amazing how God can place a love in your heart that runs deep into your bones for a child that you did not carry. For a child that you have not even met yet. A child across an ocean. It is amazing how God transforms your heart when you say yes. You find yourself vulnerable to so many foreign feelings and emotions.
And then that day comes when you pick your child/baby up from the orphanage for the last time and they are forever in your arms. That day for us was not as glamorous as I had imagined for the last 16 months. I had this image in my head of her being excited that we were there to take her home. I imagined her smiling and being happy. I imagined floating out of those gates on a heavenly cloud. (not really but you know....kinda) I  imagined laughter and love not tears and bitterness.
Our gotcha day was quite opposite.

Gotcha Day
Emme was terrified. I am thankful God spoke to me on the ride to her transition house and reminded me that though, this day is very exciting for me, it is one of the most terrifying days of this little girls life. While I was on cloud 9 she was shaking with fear. Fear of the unknown. All she knew was that people who don't look like her, sound like her, dress like her and people she didn't hardly know where coming to take her away from the only comfort she had. My heart broke with compassion for my hurting girl.

Gotcha Day
But oh how the Lord redeemed that all!
He restored her fear and gave her joy. He took her pain and gave her laughter. He took her sorrow and have her peace. Oh how thankful I am that he sees us...big and little...and meets us in those dark places and carries us through.

Two days Later!
On this day I learned that there are two perspectives to adoptions. The parents and the child's. On this day I learned that adoption it tender, sensitive and scary.

During the days/weeks/months following our arrival home I continued to learn new things. Both big and small and some funny.

I learned to not be offended when Emme rejected me after she had been with other people or when other people were around. At first it was hurtful. I wanted to be the only one she loved and needed not everyone else. We did cocoon but still it didn't always help. After a year, she still is weird after a sleepover. I guess that will change after time.

I learned to not be so embarrassed that she has no boundaries. She doesn't understand, still, what is appropriate and what isn't. She has no concept of other peoples personal space. Maybe she will learn as she gets bigger.

I have learned that people say really weird things to adoptive families. Especially international and transracial families. Like...
How much did you pay for her?
Is she your real daughter?
Oh instead of Brangelina your Phillenna!! (This really happened and I about died from laughter)
Are you babysitting?
Asking my boys ... "Oh is she your friend?" Beckham always answers... "No she's  my sister and shes BLACK!" I die.
Why wouldn't you just adopt from here in the US? Why do you feel like you need to adopt from Africa?

I have learned that it is ok to let her hurt. In the first couple of days she would weep in her sleep. She would break out in a Man Sweat, her heart would start racing and she would moan and cry deeply. While dead asleep. All I knew to do was to kneel beside her bed and pray fiercely for fear to leave and for peace to enter.

I have learned to spend good intentional time with her. Encouraging her and babying her. She eats it up and it feeds into her love bank. I am sure she never got much of that.

I learned that adoption comes with a battle that is unseen. One that is hard to describe to people who have never experienced it. We like to call this Spiritual Warfare. It is a war and it rages fiercely and we pray with urgency to over come. It brings weird division. Unsettling emotions. It brings out sin and just plain funk. But all the while it makes us better, stronger and more dependent on the Lord.

After one year Home! Emme is a completely different child then she was when we met her in November 2011. Her face is full of life. Her laughter is filled with joy. She brings up joy and love and adventure. I often watch videos of her from those early days together and I marvel at how radically different she is. That my friends is the power of Christ, love of a family and nurturing from the ones she loves. I learned that adoption is more then just bringing a child, not your own, into your home forever. It is a promise the Lord himself gave to set the lonely in homes. Through adoption we get to be apart of God's bigger agenda. We get to be apart of His promises fulfilled. Adoption is a story of redemption. A story of healing. I am thankful that God has allowed us to be apart of this story.

For this child I did pray and oh how blessed we are to live this beautiful life with her.


  1. I absolutely adore this post. THANK YOU for sharing honestly and openly!

  2. Oh my goodness! I was almost in tears this morning with fear and I hardly ever get near crying. BUT my good God has placed some things in front of me to remind me of his peace! Thank you for posting this!!

  3. Beautiful story and beautiful forever family!!! I love that I've had the joy of watching you love big in Ethiopia!

  4. best ever post. love it. all of it.

  5. This is such a beautiful story of redemption in so many ways. It's really weird because because I keep coming across these blogs that I love and they are all involved in adoption- especially Africa. I am so overcome with the Beauty of Christ in all of these stories- its almost addicting. New follower- and so thrilled to see what God does in your family!

  6. oh, my goodness. I'm in tears. she's so beautiful.
    what a beautiful story of the Lord's great redemption.
    peace and joy restored- praise the Lord! :)

  7. I love this~ Sooo very precious! I'm so glad God has blessed you and your husband with her! She is sooo precious i can't get enough! God has laid on my heart to adopt from africa aswell and even though i may not be married yet, it is so encouraging to hear your story and read what a blessing she is to you! Can't wait to read more and see more of her pretty little smile! :)

  8. Well, now I just got sucked into your blog and am loving it. :) If you are willing, we'd also love to feature this post. Just let me know.
    co-administrator of WAGI


Thanks for sharing your thoughts, love and encouragement.
It is always so appreciated.