Thursday, July 15, 2010

invisible baggage

As much as I want to be positive about our experience, I don't ever want to paint an unrealistic picture of what adoption really is. And so, because of my desire to keep it real (HERE is another great post on keeping it real) and help another who may be struggling with the lows of adoption...I share.

The reality is, most international older (other than infant) children who are adopted do not come into your family alone. With them, they bring their invisible baggage. You may not see it very often, but it is there. The difficult circumstances that they have been through that, at times they don't know how to handle the pain. And due to the limited information that you may have on your child's history, you may not even know what they cart around in those bags.









As great as the strides you make each day to help your children heal from the difficult place they come can't fix it for them. You can't make it go away. You can't go back and change history. You have no control of what they have gone through. And to be honest, they have gone through a lot. (Read a good possible situation HERE to understand what might have taken place in their life).

Our social worker reminded me that it is important to accept that I can't change it and fix it. Acknowledging it will help me focus my energy on being supportive when our boys are struggling. And struggle, they do. There are times it feels like we take 2 steps forward and then one step back. We are not where we were 5 months ago, but we are not where we long to be.

I pray every day that GOD will heal the hurt and pain and brokenness. see the brokenness first hand is hard. Grieving is normal for these kids. And they grieve in many different ways. Crying, sleeping, refusing to sleep, acting out, disobeying, rejecting, being difficult...all normal ways for these little ones to act. And one of my new phrases I've come up with is, "just because it's normal, doesn't mean it's easy". Everything we have experienced so far is NORMAL.

These little ones don't have the coping skills to process what they are feeling. And there are times that something triggers something from their previous life and then we have a few days of set back. A few days of grieving, rejecting, showing us their brokenness.

We had one of those days yesterday. Chuck had gone for his morning walk with Tyce (our 4yo) and he was all smiles and happy. Then they walked into the kitchen and I greeted him. The moment he saw me, his face fell. He wouldn't make eye contact with me. He was angry and defiant, he rejected me all day and was just out of sorts. The only thing I could get him to communicate was that he had a dream about Ethiopia and it made him sad. It clearly triggered some difficult feelings toward me, the mama (which is NORMAL to have rejection toward the mom only). And when he saw me that morning, he was reminded of it. I don't know if it was something about his birth family, or being left at the orphanage, or who knows what. But those feelings are real and he is a broken little 4 year old that is trying to process the pain the best he can.

And in those moments, I stay close to him. Hold him, pray with him, say loving things to him and try to reassure him that I will always be here for him and love him. And when we have days like that...I pray. I pray that God will heal their pain and hurt. That the Holy Spirit will do a miracle in their lives that will transform them to children that can understand love and God's grace.

So, today, we get up and the very visible baggage that was being carted around our home yesterday is back in the closet. It isn't gone, for the pain and brokenness is deep. It will be back and we will be reminded that they have experienced significant hurt in their little lives and we will take another step back. It will be an obvious reminder that they need the flow of the Spirit in their lives. The healing touch of Jesus.


  1. Thank you again for sharing the realness of your life. Praying for you guys. You are a beautiful family.

  2. Oh, wow, Cris. We hear you... and own luggage in some of our closets as well. Praying for you today to our tender Heavenly Father.
    MUCH LOVE, Gillian

  3. I enjoy your sharing and being honest. I am praying for your boys and your girls ~ that they all feel God's love and healing touch for whatever troubles they face. Hang in there, YOU are amazing and the kids know it, even in the tough days, they know it. Hugs to you.

  4. thanks so much for sharing and being such a Godly example in my life. you have a beautiful heart.

  5. Posts like these always remind me that others are on the same road I'm on....thank you.

  6. "Our God, who we serve is able to deliver us from the firey furnace..but even if He does not - we will remain true and faithful to You!" (paraphrase from Daniel 3). Sorry for the hard times! I guess they make the good times even better! Be assured - you're doing it right! Love you lots!

  7. This is a great post with many beautiful and hard truths. There is SO much luggage piled up in my house right now that it's hard to walk around!! LOL! But seriously, God called us to this and HIS grace is enough. Praying for you~

  8. AMEN! We see that baggage come and go on a constant basis. Sometimes because of their past, sometimes just because they are still children and learning. Either way- God knows and heals. Just makes me long for heaven even more- knowing that every tear will be wiped away, and there will be no more hurting there!

  9. WOW. This is SUCH an eye-opening, real, hard...and even in a hard way--a beautiful post. Thank you for taking the time to process the hard stuff and for sharing it. Even though we brought home our son at 11 months old...I imagine as the years go by there will be many setbacks even though he won't remember as much as your boys. You are SUCH an amazing mom Cris--and I love watching how you die to yourself and allow the LORD to work through you!!!!

  10. Isn't this the hardest part of adoption? The unseen pain and experiences that you will never fully know or understand. But, how wonderful to have a Savior who has been through it with your little one and will continue to carry them through those baggage days.