Where do I begin to download...
I live in a house filled with noise...6 children often "make a joyful noise unto the Lord" and sometimes my 'sensory-sensitive self' finds it...very loud. Moments such as these, with 6 sleeping angels, leave me to my thoughts, which I often crave in the noise of a productive day. On this day, my thoughts are filled with joy, burden, deep love and sorrow all at the same time.
The past few weeks, I wish to label as "in the trenches" of parenting and life in general for the Asperger family. As an adoptive parent, I often wrestle with when to share the stories of my children and when to keep them private, but often I am prompted by the Lord that someone out there needs to know that they are not alone "in the trenches" of this blessed & difficult journey of redemption for our wounded children.
"Only 7 years..."
A phrase spoken by my 10 year old Ethiopian son a few weeks ago that continues to resonate to my very soul. In the midst of a busy morning, a casual conversation ensued about what time mom went to bed last night. I honestly stated that it was about 12:00 am when mom went to bed and I arose to the alarm at 5:45. My oldest boys commented that "you must be tired", "do you wish you got more sleep" and I honestly replied that it is ok..."I only get 18 years to parent each of you as my children and I will have plenty of time to rest when you are grown". At this very moment, the Lord directed my gaze to my 10 year old Ethiopian son. I looked into his eyes and stated, "and I have only been given the gift of 11 with you, so I don't want to waste a minute of it". We exchanged a smile and then I saw a look on his face that I have grown to love and dread at the same time. After a few thoughtful moments, his reply was, "....so mama Medina only got 7 years...". This is my son, whom I know, beyond the shadow of doubt, loves and is fully bonded to us as his parents. I also know, beyond the shadow of doubt, that he has another mom, in Ethiopia, of whom the Lord Himself chose for Him to born to, that he loves and should not be denied the gift of loving still.
In the routine of a typical busy morning, for a brief moment, we shared a quick moment that I have grown to love in this journey of redemption for my wounded children...our eyes met and I said to my son, "...you are right honey...and I am so glad that we know she accepted Jesus as her Savior so we can spend eternity with her in heaven. The bible states that when we get to heaven, this time on earth will feel like the blink of an eye..." We exchanged a smile that cannot be described in words...time did not stand still...the noise did not cease in the house...but, the Spirit of the Lord was upon us.
Parenting wounded children is Holy ground. I do not know how one would tread this water without full, undeniable trust in the Lord because every moment counts and there is often no time to ponder over the best response or read up on the latest literature. It is in the moment that it counts and I praise the Lord that I can fully rely upon His Spirit at work in me to adequately do the job He has called me to do.
In those moments I find myself loving mama Medina with a depth that has no earthly comprehension. She has given me the gift of another level of accountability that I do not have to entertain with my biological children. I am always accountable to God for parenting all of my children with intention and purpose to bring Him glory. However, I met mama Medina...I hugged her with my own arms...I watched her face light up when she saw her sons and held them in her arms...I heard her pleas for their well being with my own ears...and I watched her walk out the orphanage gates and leave her sons with us as our son (hers & ours) stood, silently weeping as she walked away... I cannot deny her mother's heart and I have chosen to be accountable to her as well as the Lord. I think of her with every decision we make for our boys...it is painful and it is good. It is the cry of my heart that I will be able to embrace her this side of heaven and thank her for her presence in my life. She has left a 'heart-print' that will eternally impact the way I parent all of our children.
"Why didn't she stop to help me?!"
One evening last week, I stopped in Eliana's room to help her clean up before bed. Out of nowhere she stated, "I miss Guatemala". Eliana arrived home at 6 months of age and has no intentional recollection of Guatemala...but her soul continues to beg for answers to the pain of abandonment she carries deep in her heart.
"What do you mean?" I ask her, always waiting to hear her heart versus putting thoughts into her head. She breaks down into sobbing tears and says, "I miss mama Elvira". "What do you mean?" I ask. "I am sad that she didn't get to be my mom...I wanted her to be able to be my mom". Once again, Eliana loves us and is fully bonded to us, but children becoming orphans was not part of God's glorious design...sin entered the world and there begins the plight of the orphan. I give her the standard line, "Eliana...mama Elvira could not take care of you and she loved you enough that she did the very best thing for you...God chose us to be your parents and we are so blessed that He chose us." Eliana's response (still sobbing), "I know, BUT...Why didn't she stop to help me? I needed her to help me and to be my mommy!" These are the moments that my heart shatters into a million pieces. I can love her...nurture her...hug her...tell her I love her...adore her, but it will never take away the deep wound of abandonment in her heart. I cannot fix that for her. So I sit on her floor, rocking her in my arms, tears running down my face...grateful that our Abba Father is cradling both of us in His arms as we rock back and forth... In time, as she grows closer to the Lord, I pray that she will find rest in knowing Her Savior "never left her or forsake her", but for now...I pray the Lord can use my human-ness to show her His redeeming love.
Although, at times I am weary "in the trenches"... I am forever grateful that God called me to this journey. For if I had never sat in the trenches with His children, I may never have known the "love the Father has lavished upon us", I may never have learned to trust Him the way I do today and I would have never witnessed the courage that He has given my precious children on their redemption journies... thank you Jesus for your Holy ground... and for each and every moment you craddle us through...