One year ago yesterday, March 13, 2012, we woke up in Ug*nda as a family of four knowing that in a couple hours we would be headed to get our daughter and sister, Roseline. From our side of things we were thrilled. We couldn’t wait to hold her, kiss her & love her. I wish I had stopped then to think of her grieving heart. It honestly didn’t cross my mind. I wish I had realized that her world was about to be shattered. When we arrived one of her caregivers was holding her. I couldn’t wait to get her in my arms. You know all those videos of the sweet kids in their new mommies arms? Ha! Here’s what it really looks like. A child absolutely TERRIFIED of you.
Our sweet Rosie girl shut down that day. If she’d been fun and lively in the baby home we wouldn’t have known it. All we saw was a listless child. If you put her head to your chest she didn’t move; when you picked her up she was flaccid. She was heart-broken. I can’t imagine the deep grief she was experiencing. We held her, we loved her and we tried our best to help her process, but it was hard. One way her grief came out was anger. She would rage. It’s difficult to describe. She would look at you with absolutely zero recognition, even weeks and months after we’d been together and she would hit, scream in terror and fear. It didn’t matter what we did to console her nothing would calm her hurting heart. To say this was difficult for John and I would be an understatement.
You so rarely hear people talk about the first few days, weeks, and months as an adoptive parent. It’s because it’s hard. I personally felt like I was drowning. I knew we were walking the journey God called us to, but didn’t feel ready or able to share how hard it was for me. I felt like I had an image of, “I’ve got this under control” to maintain and I honestly thought that no one really wanted to know the truth. The last year broke me; the last year taught me to be honest about who I am and about my struggles and pain. It taught me that if someone didn’t want my openness then they weren’t someone to hold close. If anything it has prepared me for what is about to come. I know that we have begun another difficult transition, but I feel more prepared. I feel ready to admit that I can’t do it on my own, ready to say that this is really hard and ready to accept help. I have formed some fantastic relationships in the last year and rekindled some “old” ones. I have “those people” that I can pick up the phone and call and say, “COME QUICK, I’M DROWNING!” I didn’t have that last year. God has provided what I didn’t know I needed last year.
Thank you for your continued prayers as our family is half & half. It’s hard having half our family at home and half of us here. I think the hardest part is the unknown timeline. If I knew I was going to be home in , say, three week I could begin a countdown, but I don’t know that. It could be two weeks, it could be five. That’s hard. Thank you for holding us up and for your support. If you’d like to read more about supporting adoptive families check out this great post by my friend, Ashlee.