Tuesday, March 1, 2016

The million dollar question

Photo taken by A Mother's Art Photography

How are we doing? That is a really good question. 

In the weeks that followed our decision not to adopt K, S and A from Ukraine, we really struggled. My health tanked following the kids departure. My cortisol levels dropped to a subclinical level. The last time my cortisol was that low, I was taking supplemental cortisol to keep me functional. Chronic fatigue and pain became a part of my days again. I chose not to start the supplements again because I did not want to have to re-wean off of them. We figured it was a temporary setback due to stress, so Mike stepped back into his caretaker roll as I have been pretty useless. I am not sure how we would function without that man! On top of my health, the girls began to struggle at school and at home. This was their biggest experience with loss to date. We had to put some extra supports in at school and muster up extra patience and grace at home. Thankfully, they have some very understanding teachers with really big hearts! It really felt like all of the work we have put in the last several years to help the twins do well at school despite their issues was coming unraveled. We started to question why we had chosen to rock our seemingly stable boat to pursue this adoption! We wondered whether all this effort had been for nothing. 

It took us about two weeks to get in touch with the kids in Ukraine. It was torture waiting to tell them. We felt honesty was the best tactic since we truly wanted to continue being a positive relationship in their lives. If we were not honest, how could they trust us going forward? We also wanted to be very careful not to make any more promises we could not follow through on. We cannot let them down again! They took the news so much better than we thought they would. Our worst fear was that they would be angry with us and not want anything to do with us. All of us cried on the phone as we shared our hearts. There may come a day that they are angry as they also grieve this loss of a dream. If that happens, we will work through that as well. Since our first phone call, we have been able to talk weekly. It has been so good for our souls to hear their voices and know that they are doing well. 
photo taken by A Mother's Art Photography

In the time that has passed, K and S got to take a 19 hour train ride to meet the President of Ukraine. How exciting is that?! They got to take some tours of Kiev, eat a very nice lunch and talk with the President before returning to their orphanage. They have shared how well school is going (K says the boys are working hard in school for the first time. She says they are starting to learn to read!), new soccer skills they are achieving and much more. They also shared that the boys have asked K to read them the bedtime story we read nightly, as well as singing their song to them (we had a personalized song we sang for each child at tuck-in). It has been so encouraging for us to see that our time together did make a difference for these kids! All of the love that we (and many of you) shared with these kids seeped into their hearts and minds. The English lessons that we are still able to provide for these kids continue to show them that they have worth, that their learning matters to someone in this world. It gives the boys time to spend together three times a week (without this, the boys rarely see each other in their large orphanage), which reinforces the bonds they have built during previous hosting experiences. English lessons give them time with an adult who cares. Their tutor spends time with just the boys two days a week and all three of the kids a third day (K gets English class in school, unlike the boys). This time with a safe and caring adult is a rare luxury in an orphanage environment. K tells us they really enjoy their tutor. I know their life over there is still hard. We still pray nightly that they will be adopted by a family better suited for their needs. However, hearing the smiles over the phone and their excitement about certain aspects of their lives makes a world of difference for our hearts. 

So, how are we doing? We are doing much better. We are settling back into being a family of five. We are getting used to the quiet again. We are slowly making our house 'ours' again and not 'ours and theirs.' We are recognizing that our family is not yet ready to make such huge changes. We need more time for my body to heal. My body cannot yet handle the increased load adoption would bring to our family. This is a hard pill for me to swallow. If you know me at all, you know that 'you can't make this work' was never part of my vocabulary prior to my illness. Being still (Psalm 46:10) is not something that is easy for me. I want to help God move the mountains. I need to learn to wait for Him to move
photo taken by Rose Davidson
the mountains, make the path, and illuminate the way. Our hearts are still with these kids and the millions like them. We still hope and pray to be used by God to help children who are hurting. While we wait for our opportunity, we will continue to make

health--both mine and our family's emotional health--stronger to prepare for future opportunities.

Thank you to all who have loved us through this loss in our lives. We have really appreciated all of the support during this time.

P.S. I have been reading the book, Kisses from Katie, to the girls in the evenings. What an amazing impact this book has had on all of us. The conversations we are having about the world outside of our safe comfortable bubble are fantastic! Either the girls are being kinder to each other, or I am noticing it more when they are (or both). If you are feeling like you can't possibly make a dent in the world's problems, you really should read this book.