I am at War
Thank God He’s already won.
As I pursue my passion for writing I find I am drawn more and more to share both my adoption story and my faith. To be fair to both, the truth of my journey as an adoptive mom and my journey as a Christian woman, I need to share something hard with you.
I am at WAR.
My husband and I chose adoption not because we struggled with infertility, nor because it was a “good” thing to do. We chose adoption because our daughter was right in front of us, needing parents, and we could not imagine her not being in our lives. As I have shared in previous posts, welcoming Miss T into our home presented us with a number of difficulties; from being accepted as her potential parents by the system, to attachment disorder, to the typical parenting challenges, to our own lack of experience. From the very moment that “the God we did not know” placed it on our hearts to adopt, we were at war.
As I mentioned in previous posts, we adopted both Miss T and her little sister, J. Having both girls in our home resulted in T’s reactive attachment disorder resurfacing and we faced an extremely challenging situation only two months in to our parenting journey. Fast forward a bit and life more or less settled down. We showed our girls plenty of love, acceptance, structure, and even some fun. As we reflected on our lives and how the girls joined our family, we also came to a faith that has resulted in a great deal of personal growth and has shaped how we parent our children for the better. We are now parents of five, and although some days are pretty hectic, and at times a little overwhelming, I believe we are managing 5 in a more healthy and joy-filled way than we handled 2!
Our life is good. A good life is not, however, one free from struggle and trial. A good life is one in which we have the resources and support both in and around us to face and overcome the trials. As time moved on, we were able to talk through some many “adopted kid” concerns that we thought the war was essentially over. Sure, there may be a militant uprising here and there, but essentially, we thought the worst was behind us.
We thought the war was over.
Although we were warned of the parenting challenges present when raising a child who has suffered a trauma, we believed she would overcome. We still believe she will overcome. We also believed our love and counsel, and the loving support of those around us, would be enough. On that point, we were altogether wrong.
We had thought the war was over but as it turns out that what we were experiencing was only a temporary cease-fire, not a full-fledged truce. There were the occasional rifle-blasts that some astute military analyst may have recognized as signs of unrest, but I did not. I heard the blasts, I was on-guard, but I wanted to believe that the war was won. I did not realize that deep undercover, there were terror cells just waiting for the opportune time to attack.
Sometimes love is not enough. Sometimes, no matter how tightly you wrap your child in your arms, no matter how many times you tell them that the dark days are over, no matter how well you listen, no matter how well you counsel, no matter how heart-felt your prayers; sometimes you are simply not enough. Sometimes you need to call for back-up; sometimes a professional is needed.
While God could remove the pain, He could sovereignly heal my little girl from all the damage she is carrying from her past, He won’t. Or, at least He won’t through divine intervention. He will however partner with her, with us. He has our back and He is directing our steps. When we had no idea where to find a suitable counsellor, He lined up the perfect one. When I am encountering troubling behaviours and my human side wants to turn to anger or fear, He calms me and guides my words and actions. When I need it most, I am given moments of “intuition”, or well-timed words of guidance and love from those around me.
I am at WAR, but I have the most unbelievable General.
While I stand on the front-line, He has my back. I am in the trenches facing the mess and the pain; juggling my time and regular obligations with one hand and the additional needs of a hurting child with the other. Thank God I am not alone. At times in the dark trenches it is easy to forget the flesh and blood people surrounding me, ready to lay down protective cover-fire, or grab my hand and lead me to safety. It can be all too easy to forget the General who is calling the shots and ensuring a victory for the good guys. I cannot see the General at my side, but a simple pause can give me the time I need to remember who is fighting with me.
My General, The one who said It is finished, is at my side. Though I cannot see Him, I can sense him an I know that the victory over this adversity is already assured. I can, and will, make it through this stronger and more well-equipped for whatever other challenges may lie ahead. I can do this, not because she will come out of this stronger and healthier, but because He is with me. Because of Him I know I will come out of this stronger and healthier. While I have faith that my girl will overcome, that is not where my hope rests. My hope rests in the one who gave it all for me, for her, for us.
While we wrap our arms around her and press on, I see the arms of those who love us reaching out to protect and guide us. We are at WAR, but the victory is assured. With one hand we let go of our girl to reach out to God for guidance. That same hand hurls grenades at the enemy that has already lost, and we continue to press on.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 NIV
While we attend to the physical and emotional needs of our children and ourselves at this time, we find our strength, encouragement and victory in the finished work of the cross. No matter how hard and dark the day, He is good. And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 ESV
Parenting an adopted child has been one of the most challenging decisions we could have made, but the honest truth is that I would not have it any other way. Am I a glutton for punishment, saying I enjoy the struggle? Not exactly. I appreciate the resiliency that is growing in us all; I can already see how God is using these challenges to grow us individually while also strengthening our relationships. Trials are hard, but they are necessary. While adoption may not be the easiest path at times, it is so very worth it. Our daughters are absolutely worth every tear and trial, every hardship and heartbreak.
WE ARE AT WAR for our daughters; what a divine privilege to be called in to battle on their behalf.