Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Thankful Thursday: Unexpected Community

(This Thankful Thursday post is a little early, but I gotta post when I have internet!)

I’ve cried a lot over the last few days. And I’m not a crier, y’all.

It all started on Monday when I felt led to finally post something about our adoption and the struggle it has been. I read it and re-read it. I hesitated. I prayed about it. And I did it.

I had no idea what the result would be but I braced myself for criticism. My words were transparent, hard, and that’s not always well received.

Instead, I got an immense outpouring of love and understanding. I literally couldn’t keep up with my inbox for the e-mails and comments on my blog. I’ve never experienced anything like that before and it made me cry to think that there is a whole big community out there of people who are walking this same road, fighting hard for these kiddos that we love so much but feel overwhelmed with the day to day battles.

To all who read and heard and understood and spoke words of hope and healing or who shared your story and your struggle, you blessed me immensely. You thanked me, but I thank YOU!

To the few who read and didn’t get it but felt led to comment anyway, I hear you, too. I didn’t get it either. I still don’t most days. But God is faithful!

To the adoptees who spoke out, thank you. Your words are necessary to this story. You are our heart in this, after all. If my words hurt, I am sorry. The reality is I was not adopted as a child so I do not understand your perspective, but oh how I want to! I want to hear from you. I want to learn from you. Please be patient with us as we learn and we will strive to do the same.

To the one who suggested that saying to stop romanticizing adoption would be like saying to stop romanticizing marriage, I hear what you say. But what I’m trying say is that marriage is beautiful, but we still have marriage conferences and blogs and books about the difficulties it can and often does bring. Let’s do the same for us adoptive families who are struggling in this fight to help our kids see and feel this love we have. If you want to defend the kids (and praise God you do!), reinforce the parents.  Admitting that marriage can be hard and addressing those issues does not keep others from getting married and I know that those who are called to adopt will no more let this hinder them than the mountains of paperwork and years of waiting. It will just help them be better prepared for the potential challenges ahead.

To the one who said they are “worried” about me, thank you for your concern. I’ve worried about me, too! But God is good and His grace is sufficient. Thank you for offering the resource suggestions. I will definitely look into those! I’m always open to suggestions and learning and growing on this journey that all too often seems like too much. I don’t have all the answers, I just have the one: Jesus. And oh how good He is!!

To the one who said I sounded self-righteous, oh how God knows that is not true. The times are innumerable that I have cried out to God and told Him he picked the wrong person for this job because I am so broken myself. I am filthy rags outside of the grace of God and I need His new mercy every morning. Please choose your words carefully, friend. I appreciate that you are knowledgeable but I pray our knowledge will never cloud our words of love and compassion. Knowledge without love is useless (1 Corinthians 13.2). Yes, this journey has been incredibly lonely (we live in the Amazon Jungle!) but God is ever present and meets our every need. That’s the beauty of grace that He can use sinners like my husband and myself to speak truth into the life of this precious child of ours. This was me reaching out for the community that you suggest and God in all His great goodness has provided it.

To the one who referenced their adopted child as “store-bought”, I respectfully had to delete your comment. It was offensive to several adoptees who were reading the comments and that is the last thing we want.

To the commenter who referenced me as “original poster” and said I made a mistake talking about the hard, hi, my name is Ashley and I am your sister in Christ. Let’s choose our words carefully and remember that just because we can’t see each other’s faces, there are real people on the other side of that screen. I actually had to re-read my post because I thought maybe I had missed something in there because your words were so intense. We live six houses away from the house where my daughter suffered all kinds of abuse and we see her biological parents and her abusers on a regular basis. I feel your hurt for your oldest who still remembers her mother, friend, and I understand. We’re in this together so let’s build one another up. We’re on the same team.

If you commented, I want you to know I prayed for you. Each and every one. I went name by name, even those who were anonymous (that were many) and I prayed specifically for you. That’s all I know to do at this point. Maybe God is up to something much bigger?

To all who e-mailed, I will respond!! The internet here is hit or miss, so it may take some time. Thank you for sharing your stories. They have given me a breath of fresh air on this journey and I am forever grateful!

God is so good. I feel like I’ve just come upon an oasis in this desert and now I’m surrounded by other families drinking in deep from the Living Water.

This journey just got a little more beautiful.


  1. This is a very gracious, loving response!
    Bless you for honestly sharing. Too often in Christian communities the pressure is there to appear like you have it together. Struggles are seen as a weakness in faith, or mistakes in decisions. Reality is that we live in a fallen world, where life is a struggle no matter what we do. And I really believe that the all-seeing God who loves us, challenges us in ways we never dreamed of so we can change and become better, so we can see how much we need Him, and so we understand others better,.... Hugs!

  2. A friend emailed the link to your entry on the ugly side of adoption.
    Your entry is raw, honest, truthful. Truth sets us free. Thank you for being willing to bare naked truth. I was so encouraged. No doubt others are being set free as well- by the truth that the hard part of adoption is "normal". It's freeing. We need to admit our battles in order to overcome them. We are in the midst of our third and fourth adoptions. It's hard. But. Hard is good. Hard causes me to rely on the One who makes beauty from ashes. He writes beautiful stories. I've learned that broken hearts let His light shine out into a world desperate for hope. Perfect hearts are not so beautiful- there are no cracks for his light to pour thru.
    Thank you. It was one of those extra hard days when your post came my way. I felt horribly discouraged. Im grateful that He reminded me through you that hard is good when He is there. Thank you.

  3. Just came across your blog on The Ugly Side of Adoption and just wanted to thank you for that. My husband and I just became licensed to foster to adopt. We, like you, have two daughters already and thought our family was complete until about a year and half ago. The Lord laid it on our hearts to foster to adopt and we tried to talk him out of it for many months but He continued to say this is what I want you to do. We asked him to reveal His plan and He did. The age we have felt led to adopt is 5-10 years old and as you know well that is a hard age. They have often experienced many years of trauma by 5-10. As I read your post, it felt like I was writing everything that I been consumed by and worried about over this last year of preparing. And even though as I read I felt like you were confirming what I fear could be our reality, it still gives me hope so thank you so much for sharing. I know it won't be easy. I know I can't do it on my own. I know without God's love and grace I will fail miserably. I either get two responses from people, either they act as if want we are about to do is wonderful and fairy tale like or they ask us if we really understand what we are getting into and assume that we haven't counted the cost. I know its going to be hard and I'm scared and appreciate people like you who are honest and remind me that God's grace is sufficient and His mercy's are new everyday. Thank you so much and God Bless!

  4. Thank you for posting your blog the other day! I loved it! My husband and I adopted 3 siblings from Peru in 2011. It has turned our life upside down and inside out. God has really be so awesome, but it's the hardest life right now. Thank you for being real and sharing the truth about adoption and trauma kids and trauma parents. It's to help others understand sometimes.

    This is a post from a bio daughter and part of her point of view. Her parents adopted 10 children. I thought her post was so good.
    Our site hasn't been updated in several months.

  5. A friend sent me a link to your blog and I've read these two posts - the one on adoption and the follow up.

    I could've written this post myself. We adopted our 11 year old niece almost 4 years ago (She'll be 15 soon). It has been very, very difficult. I went into the process eager, willing, and super naive. We had 5 children already when the adoption was finalized.

    We've passed through some MAJOR dysfunction. God HAS been faithful, of course. He has transformed our family through all of this, in ways that are very healthy and beautiful. Long, slow process, but healing and not just surviving-but-thriving have come.

    It's still really tough. Bonding and attachment do NOT occur quickly, easily, or simply much of the time, especially in older adoptions, I'd think. I struggle to be patient for things to feel normal, and for the relationship to feel natural.

    We've come a long way, though, and I praise God for all the work He's done, and for His sustaining us, and for all He is going to do.

    Thanks for your honesty!!

  6. Your response is gracious and kind. Thank you for being transparent. We need people like you in our world!


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