“Hitting the marathon wall” is a much-feared and much-discussed phenomenon in marathoning. Runners speak ominously about a sudden wave of fatigue that sets in at about 20 miles into a marathon. At this point, they say, the race is half over. (source)
Truth bomb alert, some of you have been battling in these trenches a lot longer than I have. Running the race that has no foreseeable finish line in sight until Kingdom come. For most of you who know me, you know that I love being transparent, I love talking (way too much), I am a little bit cheesy, and I am very passionate. I am passionate because I know our King in Heaven always has the victory, I know He has called us to love the least of these and to give all of ourselves to serving those in need. But have you ever heard of ministry burn out? How about loving a child so much and not having them respond the same way? You see, this story is not about our son so much as it is about me.
I drop into the picture in April of 2017 one month before my son turns 16. I see his adorable picture and think to myself, yes, let’s host this fellow! What can you tell by a picture? He looked so sweet, and he is so sweet, but, really, what does a picture prove? We find out shortly after that he will be turning 16 and it is one of those situations where we need to quickly get the documentation in. We did it! We got our taxes back and had very little to spare, but we sent in our I600A. Every document comes at a cost. For those considering adopting, it all costs, but if you keep going and fighting for your kiddo I assure you there is a way. Next step, meet the kiddo. Um, he wasn’t this precious little preteen anymore, he was full on cool dude. In fact, he intimated me by how “cool” he actually was. Don’t ask why, he is still just a kid, but yes he is cool. Something people don’t always share is that these children, the ones we think we are saving and are so in love with before we ever met them, DON’T KNOW US, and they certainly don’t think they need us, and they definitely don’t love us. Why in the world would a child who was raised without parents know their need for parents? I mean, they might like the idea, but drop a 16 year old man-child into the picture and ask him if he thinks he needs parents. His first questions were “when can I get a job?” and “when can I get my license” and “how long do I have to put up with you before I get to be on my own?” (okay, maybe not exactly, but something like that). I still struggle with the question, “does my kiddo just want America, or does he actually want to be part of our family?” At this point it makes no difference, because in the end he gets both, and we will teach him about what role a family will play in his life. That is us. Yes, God considered us up for the challenge. The truth is, he became my buddy and my soon-to-be-son during his second month of hosting; and then he was gone, and he was silent.
I wish I could give updates on how excited he is to come home, but the truth is that I don’t know and I often wonder and doubt. My husband is a smart man and has let me in on R’s secret, and that is that R probably doesn’t even know himself how he is feeling and what he wants or expects. He doesn’t know what life with a family looks like. He doesn’t know what life outside of the orphanage looks like. For hosting families who are wondering and have never been told this truth, they want to forget us; every single day they want to forget us, and that is why they are silent. Okay, maybe that is not always the case, but the joy and closeness they experienced in your home and with your family made them feel. Feelings don’t help you survive in an orphanage; in fact, they often turn it in to a living nightmare of knowing what it is that you don’t have. So, since August 28th when I said goodbye, my heart has been broken. I sometimes find it hard to get off the couch and function. I am a mother, I have many, many things to do. I have waited for my friend and son that I sent off on the airplane months before having filled his head with promises that i will come. Actually, I did manage to go, but it wasn’t the same at all. These kids put walls up so tall that it is impossible to scale them. I feel like I have bloodied and bruised myself on these walls. You know when you hurt so bad that you are in shock and you can hardly breath and tears don’t come until it all sinks in? Yes, that is where I am at. He didn’t do it to me. He has not asked me to love him, he has not asked me to keep on fighting, but the boy I met this past summer did, and I am going to continue to do so.
So all of you have seen my joy and my fundraising efforts, and often there are very few words spoken afterwards, but I am beyond thankful for all of you. I am limping to the finish line to my son who doesn’t even know he needs us. I am not his hero, and although many have said what a blessing I am to him, I feel like that could not be further from the truth; he is the one who taught me how to fight, and I am, and we are almost there. We just spent two weeks traveling around Ukraine to deal with documents and spend time with him. My kid was trying to peek out of his bunker, but it is hard. So I want to thank you! You have all prayed and given and encouraged and been invited to endless online parties and fundraisers and without you I would have fallen long ago. You all kept me going and helped me to keep my eye on the prize. I was able to see God’s hand in this journey even when it hurt so very badly. I remember one day walking around Walmart asking God to take the pain away. I must confess that when the pain isn’t there I don’t pray the same! But my son needs Jesus, he needs to know the love of our Heavenly Father, and he is not the only one. We are so close to being done, but still I will not rest until he is home. Even home is not a guarantee, so I will continue to ask you to pray that God would renew our strength and make all things new in our son’s life! All this being said, if our applied grants are awarded us, we are now only around $1,900 shy of the needed funds to bring R home! Please let us know if you would like to be invited to our private FB adoption page to more closely follow our journey and maybe even sponsor a puzzle piece or two. Also, as we still have to make two more trips to Ukraine before this is all over, please contact us if you have any airline miles you would like to donate, they are a huge help.
“I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted.” [Job 42:2 ESV]
He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, [Deuteronomy 10:18a ESV]
And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. [Galatians 6:9 ESV]