Adopting from Ukraine is HARD.
And it takes a LONG TIME.
Not only stateside working on paperwork, but you can count on ~ 7 weeks IN COUNTRY, if not longer.
Being separated from the six while going after the seventh was UNDOUBTEDLY the hardest part of the whole thing.
Even now it can bring tears to my eyes to remember how my heart ached being separated from them all.
Just over a week into our trip, I got this email from one of my daughters:
I just wanted to fill you in on what happened to Piper. I am not sure how much you know so I will just tell you everything. Piper was carrying some hot tea over to the sink and it slipped out of her hands and splashed on her. It burned away some of the skin and continued to burn it away as we put cold water on it and called the doctor. Piper was in a fair amount of pain but handled it very bravely. The doctor said to go ahead and take her into the ER. We wrapped her arm in plastic wrap and Mrs. M. whisked her away to the hospital. The pain increased as they made their way to the hospital but they were not supposed to put ice on it because the doctor said that it would cause more pain in the long term. We called the ER and warned them that they were on their way and thanks to that, they were seen amazingly quickly. (Thank you God!) TPlease keep her in your prayers. (especially that the pain would ease and she would stop shaking) I love you and please don’t worry. 😉
PLEASE DON’T WORRY! Notice her winking smiley face. She knows that with this email, that exhortation is absolutely pointless.
I agonized over that email, the pictures that came, the separation from them all, my inability to physically protect ANY of them. Again and again I flung myself on my bedrock belief that …
God is GOOD
God is SOVEREIGN.
When the separation got so bad that all I could do was curl up in fetal position, cry, and pray … I rested on my confidence in the reality of this childhood song
Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to HIM belong
They are weak and He is strong.
Jesus loves ME. My children belong to HIM. We are all absolutely helpless. But He is, indeed, absolutely strong.
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
Yes, Jesus loves me
The Bible tells me so.
He loves me. And He loves my children. And even when every circumstance around me tells me otherwise … even when more than anything I want to tuck them in bed, kiss them, pray for them, sing to them … and, I can’t. The Bible tells me in a million different stories … He loves us.
And I believe it. I believed it as I cried myself to sleep. I believed it when we hit roadblocks. And I chose to believe it when that enemy who seeks to steal, kill, and destroy whispered lies in my ear. “You’re a bad mom.” “You left your children.” “You think you heard God’s voice, but you didn’t.”
With the help of my husband, I didn’t listen to the lies, but trusted that we HAD heard.
So, with aching hearts, we stayed in Ukraine. Bill and I, we went after the seventh. And by God’s grace, on November 18th we brought her home.
But, there was cost.
There was cost to our family connectedness. There was cost to our marriage. There was cost to our church. There was cost to each one of our children.
Shortly after Christmas we began Friday Night Family Nights. Along with our Date Night, we began to protect this night, plan for it, guard it. Since January, we have moved Family Night to Saturday night once, but other than that, I think we haven’t missed a one.
And, it’s been good.
We’ve watched movies, played Twister, watched movies, made s’mores, watched movies, gone to see Sara Maria in Seussical, watched movies, written letters, and watched movies. Do you see a theme here? The point is that it doesn’t have to be that big of a deal. But what Family Night has done for us is give us a regular UNTOUCHABLE time of connection. ALL the kids, including Katya, look forward to Family Night.
A kid-friendly dinner, followed by a FUN dessert, ending with some activity – that’s the extent of it.
After the deep pain of weeks of separation, we needed connection. Badly.
Many of you already have regular Family Nights. I’d love to learn from you. How did you get started? What do you do? Others of you need to work this into your schedule. If this is you … if you’d like to start Family Night but don’t know how, I’d love to come alongside you. I’d love to pray for you, hear your story, encourage you if I can. Leave me a comment and I’ll email you. Really.
You may not have come through a grueling adoption the way that we did, but your family needs Family Night just as much as ours does. You need this regular APPOINTED time of connection. If your kids are little, start NOW. Don’t wait until their older. Build it into the fabric of your family life NOW. If your kids are older, it’s not too late to start. It’s really not.
For us, tonight was Dominoe’s Pizza, Banana Splits, and Britain’s Got Talent followed by Monster’s Inc. Not too hard.
And … Piper healed beautifully. Unbelievably beautifully. So much pain. And yet the Lord healed her. In healing her, He gave me hope. Not only hope that He is the healer of bodies and burns, but of broken hearts and lives.