Monday, December 8, 2014

The Coming Trauma

I'm on the verge of traveling to adopt two little girls in, hopefully, a few weeks. The thing is, I've done this before, I've adopted before and I know what is coming. Trauma is coming, beautiful, harder than I can imagine or probably even remember trauma.

I remember coming home and feeling utterly alone and wondering what on God's green earth I had done. I remember feeling horribly guilty for the thoughts going through my head and I remember hiding in my room as I slumped against the bedroom door and yanked at the hair on my scalp.

Oh, but heavens, I remember. It hasn't been that long, not even two years. I swore I would never go back. I was quite certain I would never survive and if I did, well, then that must mean that my son had not survived. It was one or the other. We wouldn't both make it out of that first year.

Then, I saw a mom I had met in China post a picture of her son throwing a tantrum and I thought, "Maybe I'm not alone!" I called a friend, a dear friend who had advocated for my son, and I confessed that this kid she had said would be so great, was in fact not, and in fact I thought we were all crazy. I described the blood curdling screaming that lasted for hours and hours. I described the physical assaults on us all and showed her pictures of the marks on my six year old son.

And I learned that this was adoption.

And that adoption was traumatic.

But it was quiet, and hush-hush. We were all afraid, terrified to:
A: Admit that we were struggling, because what if people thought it was our fault? Or what if people blamed us for adopting in the first place?
B: Scare anyone away from adopting. I mean, yah, they would get the scare of a lifetime when they brought their own kid home, but it was better than that kid never having a family, right? Right??

And so silence wins. Darkness wins. And families suffer. Moms scream into pillows and quite possibly at kids, and cry alone at night, afraid to voice their thoughts out loud even to themselves.

I have learned the value of truth, of speaking out and of admitting that this thing we do called adoption is most definitely traumatic.

Books galore on how to deal with the trauma that our kids come home to us with, but not a single book on how to deal with the trauma that YOU will endure. My friend, trauma will come. Hold tight, hang on to the Rock that is Jesus, grab a friend, some chocolate and tissues and a punching bag. This ride is a rough one.

But there is hope. Hope that causes darkness to tremble. Hope that exists because one man, one crazy, loving man head over heels in love with you, died so that we could know one word, REDEMPTION.

Oh, but the trauma He lived for that word, for that one word. And if we read our Scriptures and hear of how his sweat was blood and how even this God-man begged to be released from this trauma, we know deep within our souls that this beauty of redemption is traumatic.

Watch Him, oh watch Him. Keep looking at His glory. While you sit in the middle of the screaming and you are pulling out your hair and you haven't showered in a week, and you have forgotten what beauty even is, keep looking for the glory that is coming. It may not come today. You may not see it this year or perhaps even this lifetime, but you will see glimpses of Him.

Don't count on it coming through that daughter or that son. He never promised you that when He asked you to walk this road. You may only see the glimpse in yourself. But oh, the beauty. One day, while you sit and wrap that arm, you know the one that secretly wants to do harm, in love around that child despite the bruise on your arm that exists from that same child, you will glimpse the redemption of your own soul. And you will glimpse that most beautiful glory of that God-man.

And it will crush you. If you had the energy you would fall to your knees, but instead you will lift eyes filled with tears to the heavens and you will thank Him for wrapping you in His arms despite the many times that you hurt Him.

You will know Him in His sufferings, the very sufferings that you caused.

And you will love Him for it.

At the end of the day that is what matters. That is all that matters.

This adoption will cause you to doubt Him, to doubt His goodness, to question His wisdom, His ways, His love and even His existence. But if you watch for those glimpses you will find Him and oh, how you will love Him.

This blog is a simple journal of the first year of an adoption. Real, ugly, beautiful and raw. Please, join me and let's become one voice struggling together and holding each other up as we walk this journey. Together, let's find peace in the middle of this storm.

Comment below if you are close to bringing someone home or recently have!


  1. Tears.
    We're recently home and it's hard.
    So glad you're brave enough to write these words.

    1. Thanks Meg! I hope this can be a place of healing for so many.

  2. Our first adoption was beautiful. On our second trip, we decided to adopt two children. One of them has done great, and the other came with many undisclosed special needs that have crushed our family and made me realize ugly things about myself. Be prepared for backlash if you admit the unpleasant in adoption. If you're not towing the party line of rainbows and unicorns, the adoption community doesn't want to hear it. My blog got removed from our agency's blogroll after my Orphan Sunday post.

    1. I'm so sorry Shecki. This is a harrowing experience, beautiful, but traumatic and if we aren't able to be honest it just furthers the isolation. Welcome to the place where we keep it real. Sometimes we are tired, sometimes we are angry, sometimes we are elated. It's just the way adoption goes. Being one sided does not help in the long run.

  3. We leave tomorrow for China. We get our sons 12/15. I'll be there for you in hopes of the same ;) We'll get through this together.

    1. Thanks Amy! Hoping to be there really soon! Save me a spot at breakfast!!