Friday, March 13, 2009

Revisiting Uganda

It has been a while since I posted about our experience in Uganda. When last I wrote, it was our first day in Uganda, and we had just met our children for the first time. Why did I quit writing you ask? I know all you mama's waiting on your call to go are wondering why I stopped, and are hungry for info. Well, I'll tell you why...because my first week in Africa was hard. Real hard. Like having a nervous breakdown, loosing it hard. The rest of the time wasn't a walk in the park, but that first week was brutal. I haven't known how to put it all down in writing...but I am going to try. Because I need to, and because I keep telling my friend Laura that this is hard. I want her to be prepared for when she leaves to bring her little people home. My spoken words often times fail, so I want to write them out for her, myself, and anyone else who might experience similar feelings during their adoption process. So in the next week or so I hope to get through that first week...but first a little detour...sort of.

Did you know that pain during child birth (stay with me here, I promise it applies and is good) is actually is an integral part of the mother bonding with her child? It's true, the pain of labor builds up a ton of hormones, and once you deliver, that flood of hormones is released. Once those hormones are released, they help the mother feel all lovey toward this person who was just the cause of the most indescribable pain they will ever experience. Studies have actually been done that show when mothers do not feel that pain, and therefore the hormones are not released, bonding can be and often times is inhibited to some extent. It is really just another amazing design by our infinitely wise and awesome God.

What does this have to do with adoption you ask?


While we were in the midst of our USCIS drama, thinking just maybe this adoption wasn't going to happen, I watched a documentary called The Business of Being Born. This film talked briefly about that flood of hormones that the pain of child birth brings on. Those hormones that cause mothers to think that red, screaming, squished up baby with a pointy head is the sweetest thing on earth. Right there in the middle of watching this documentary on giving birth, it seemed like the Holy Spirit was saying to me, "See, this is my plan. It works, this pain you are feeling now, this hurt, is only going to serve to bond you with these children. If this were easy, if there were no pain, you would never love them they way I want you too." I cried. I was beginning to understand the gift in adoption being heart wrenching. I remember telling our home group one night, after the kids were home that adopting these children was so unnatural and yet so natural at the same time. Another great paradox of faith. Nothing in my flesh, would ever want to travel half way around the world, pay tens of thousands of dollars, leave behind my home and children, and struggle and fight for five weeks in a third world country, to bring home a raise children that I did not give birth to. That is why it so good that this happens because of the grace of God, not my flesh. All I know is this....all that pain, all that waiting, all that we endured in Africa only served to help me to love these children to bond me to them. You don't easily give up on someone you have fought so hard for. Please realize that I am not saying had it been easy I could have walked away...that is not at all what I am trying to get across. I am simply trying to convey, that the difficulties only helped to make me stronger as well as ready to be a mama to these children.

Later I was talking to a friend about the movie...not what I felt the Lord was telling me, just about the how cool God's design is. She began to cry, and told me how beautiful it was the the Lord was doing the same thing for me in our adoption. Allowing pain, so that the bond would be strong. Totally blew me away. Confirmation that what I was thinking and feeling earlier was real.

God is constantly preparing us for what is to come. He knows exactly what we will need, when we will need, and is the Great Provider. He knew the difficulties I was going to endure, and knew exactly what I needed to press on. In His faithfulness, He prepared me, like He has so many times before.

Adoption is hard. I don't have to tell any of you who have been though it or who are in the midst of it that truth. You already know it all too well. You also know that no matter how hard it is, God meets us. He provides grace in abundance. Be encouraged, and take heart. The pain of the labor, to bring your children home, is indeed a gift. Those of you right now who have breaking hearts, wondering when you will have your children in your in the arms of your Heavenly Father. He will finish what He began. His will cannot be thwarted. His plans are exceedingly wonderful and His love exceedingly extravagant.


Cheryl said...

So true... great words!

Thank you for your willingness to share, Melisa. It's a comfort and encouragment to hear from those that have gone before us on the road to adoption.

I look forward to hearing more about your trip. To God be the glory!

Gaunt Family said...

Dang it Melissa! You're making me cry again. I needed to hear those words today. I have been here before, but like we soon forget about the pain of delivering a child, once we get home we also soon forget about the pain we endure in adopting a child. Being in the middle of it again, I couldn't see what was happening until this blessed reminder. God is using you right now to bring the hope and the power of His love to others. I am so blessed to be your friend.

Anonymous said...

(can't wait for future installments, hurry it up already)

I read this book while I was pregnant with J and C. The Birth Book. It was all on natural birth/midwifery/labor/delivery, the whole deal.

The best advice I got from that book was this: The pain you are feeling while your experiencing contractions has a purpose, to bring life into the world. Do not numb the pain. Feel it. Experience it. It has purpose and it's a good purpose. The second piece of advice I really clung to was not to become rigid and contract all my muscles but to remain relaxed and open. The entire time I was at home (and then taken to the hospital with J) birthing my boys I was thinking, "My pain has a purpose. Open open open." :o) lol

I know that sounds maybe a little corny, especially when dealing with adoption, however, I think it applies in different ways.

I have absolutely NO CLUE what I am about to experience in less than 2 months. I do not understand how hard it is going to be, how much I will miss my boys, what kind of hissy fit I will throw if I am attacked by they're all out to get me-seriously, they are, or what kind of stumbling block the g*vt will throw at me/us, how the boys will react and attach, if I'll have to come home w/o Jeff...there are so many unknowns that if I dwell on them I will be overwhelmed. So I don't. And yet, I know they're out there coming at me faster than I think. "This pain has a purpose, relax, stay open."

Thankfully, my God knows just what they are. I really hope its not roaches or Jeff having to go home before me. Mostly the roaches. But even if it is those things, I know that He will lead me through them. I'm sure I'll be a crying homesick mess, however, my hope is to be able to look at this time as a chance to get to know the boys' home, their country, their customs, their food, their bugs, etc. "This pain has a purpose, relax, stay open."

I am way too romantic and idealistic for my own good. I know this. God will help me. I have no other choice than Him.

I'm glad you're my friend and have gone before me.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for articulating this! We are in the middle of our Ugandan adoption and have felt some of the pain. And I TOTALLY agree.

Our situation was one where we were in Uganda and we identified the child. I felt like I cared, loved, and was very much called to our child...but something lingered. Until we had a day where we really thought everything was going to fall apart. It was THEN that I realized just how much I wanted it. Your post helped me see this in a new light. Thank you!

Tracy said...

Thank you for posting that. We brought our son from Guatemala home in October of 2008. It took us almost 3 years, and many times we didn't think he would ever come home. I knew all along God was in control and all of this pain was for a reason. Again thanks for posting.

I feel God might possibly be leading us down the adoption road again. I have been drawn towards Uganda for some reason. I cannot find an agency that works in that country. Do you know of one?

Thank you for your time. I have thoroughly enjoyed my visit here.

jena said...

Your words are beautiful Melissa. Thank you for always speaking truth.