Back a few weeks ago, I was in the throes of no sleep and trying to bond with a child that I barely knew. Many mornings I spent on the phone with our social worker trying to figure out what to do to keep myself going. Several nights found me sobbing in the dark of the night wondering what we had done to ourselves.
One morning on my way back from dropping Jenna off at school, I decided NOT to call my social worker, but talk to God (duh...should have been doing this from the start). I didn't just tell him how I was feeling but I listened. My main question was "What do I do for Kylie to help her trust us?" And He said, "Give her what she needs."
Yeah, well, that would be great except we were already giving her everything she needed. Everything that we could. So I said, "HOW?" "How do I do this?" and He gently reminded me that *I* couldn't. And there came a phrase that I will never forget. It was a phrase that was VERY hard for this sleep deprived Mama to swallow...
"Joy in the sacrifice".
I'm here to tell you, there was NO joy in the sacrifice at the moment. There was NO joy in the lack of sleep...the screaming herself to sleep every night. The never-getting-to-sleep-in-the-same-bed-as-your-spouse. There just wasn't much joy at all in my caring for Kylie. And a big ole DUH because obviously she could feel that I wasn't much enjoying myself. So right there in the car, I repeated, "Joy in the sacrifice" and I decided that I would remind myself of several things when I felt myself getting frustrated...
1. This too shall pass. I have an almost 11 year old. It will pass faster than I wish it to and then it will be gone. Never to be relived again.
2. I can't do it. But with God I certainly can. As I tell my friend Elizabeth all the time, "If God brings you to it, He'll bring you through it." That is to say, you very well might not have the strength to do what God is asking you to do (whether that be adoption or something else going on in your life), but that's the precise point where God steps in and equips you through Himself to do it.
3. We are repairing the scars of loss and abandonment Kylie experienced early on in her life. January 31 in Jiangsu China...the average temperature in January in Lianyungang (where Kylie is thought to have been born) is 4 degrees. FOUR DEGREES. Imagine leaving your newborn daughter...literally hours old....in the freezing cold. Alone. Even in a baby, those are hurts that have to be repaired. And we've been tasked with that job. And keeping that in mind helps me remember what my job is here.
This adoption thing is NOT easy. But parenting ANY child is not easy. There are bumps along the way...uncertainties and fears. But such is life. So many more families out there are dealing with much worse...children with terminal illnesses or facing a terminal illness themselves. This LIFE is not easy. But in the end...isn't this what it is about?
JOY in the sacrifice.