Since bringing David and Maria from Peru 5 months ago, I’ve been at a loss for words.
Before we traveled, we were well-educated about adoption through trainings, books and blogs, as well as gleaned wisdom from families who had previously gone through older-child adoptions. But similar to pregnancy and childbirth, or any major life-change, experience throws a cold glass of water in the face of knowledge.
We Had No Idea.
We were educated, but not prepared. Just as a woman can be ready for the pain of childbirth, or can read about post-partum, until she actually lives it and feels it and agonizes through it, it’s nothing more than words on a page and knowledge in her head.
Real-life turns knowledge and book-smarts into wisdom and compassion.
David and Maria lived several important years apart from us, and experienced loss and trauma we will never know or understand, but oh how we felt the echoes of it. The grief that consumed our home was dense and weighty. One child grieved through tantrums and screams and guttural aching. Another grieved through anger and disobedience and barriers.
And we were unprepared…but how can you truly prepare for something like this, unless you experience it first-hand?
Maria was absolutely terrified of our dog Champ, and screamed and cried every time she saw him. Neither child would sleep unless Chris or I slept in their bedroom with them. The grocery store was terrifying with noises and people and lights and music and commotion. There were new foods and textures and smells and language and So.Many.Doctors.
Even our home--their casa siempre--had objects or places of fear--ceiling fans and basements and forced air furnaces. I worried the weight would break us.
But you all stepped in, you wonderful neighbors, friends, and family ~ God provided tangible relief through our amazing community.
Home-cooked meals were delivered for two months, groceries showed up on our doorstep, alongside bags of clothes, toys, books, and games. Champ was walked and cared for by neighbors every day for 4 weeks. Neighborhood teachers visited, and the best kindergarten teacher in the world had a weekly play date with David and Maria.
Both kiddos flew through clothes as they grew and gained weight through good nutrition ~ especially Maria, who shot through 3 clothing sizes in five months. And clothes were graciously donated. There were too many kindnesses to list.
I almost want to apologize to anyone who saw me those first few months. I was a wreck trying to hold myself together, and still comfort our children whose lives had all been rocked. And there wasn’t enough of me…so you all stepped in, and loved on our older children by opening your homes and including them in your family activities, driving them to sports and activities, and taking them on individual date nights.
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. We have been blown away by your gracious love, friendship, and support.
And we’re healing and growing and smiling and adjusting to our new normal. As it has turned out we didn’t break, we were just bent…and we’re all more compassionate and aware of the small joys because of it. We’re a loud, rambunctious family ~ God gave us 5(!) children, each of whom have lots of opinions. Two of our girls talk almost non-stop, and everyone has to raise their voice to be heard, and there are days it seems I have multiple personalities with all the voices clamoring my name, and somehow it’s beautiful.
We’re united and comfortable and falling in love.
Since our beginnings, An Open Door has always felt a strong call to provide orphan children with loving, Christian homes.
There are more than 153 million children in the world who have lost at least one parent, and there 8 million children living in orphanages -- not counting those living on the streets or trafficked as slaves. Every year, there are also thousands of birth parents who face the incredibly hard decision to place their child with the best family possible. What a humbling privilege it is to be there for these children and families.
Since 1987, An Open Door Adoption Agency, Inc. has placed over 2,100 children. These include 1,400+ children from the state of Georgia and 700+ international orphans. Each of these precious lives represents many more people touched by adoption -- from the birth parents to the adoptive couple to the children themselves. What a great privilege it is to be there for them to complete their desire for a family.