Friday, April 3, 2009

One Freakin' Out Mama

The day we arrived in Uganda, we learned that our judge assignment had been changed. I quickly thought to my self, "No problem...not a big deal." Then we were told that the judge we had been assigned to, had just begun a month long vacation that day. Not good. I am such a worse case scenario kind of gal, so at this point I'm thinking, we will in fact be in Uganda forever, and by the time I see my children at home they will be grown with children of their own. OK, so that's not exactly worst case it is completely unrealistic, but I wasn't hopeful for a good outcome.

This my fellow adoptive mommies (and daddies) is Africa. The only thing you can expect in Africa is the unexpected. NOTHING will go as planned. Well, like we have it planned ALWAYS goes the way the Lord plans.

Thus began our first week in Uganda. Fast forward over the weekend to Monday. Our court hearing is scheduled for Monday morning. Our newly assigned judge has agreed to work over her vacation, and hear our case. We breathe a great big sigh of relief when she shows up, on time, Monday morning.

I must say our judge was wonderful...and I'm not just saying that because I know (well I am pretty darn sure) the Ugandan g*vernment regularly reads this blog. She really did a wonderful job. She took time over her vacation to work to get us all the paperwork that was needed. We received both our court order and ruling quickly. I can honestly say we had no complaints whatsoever about our judge or the job she did. We are greatful for work she did, and continues to do for the children of Uganda.

We head back to Jinja that afternoon, everyone very happy with the outcome of the happenings of the day. I however am beginning to experience this vague sense of panic. At least it feels like panic. It really is a feeling I had never had before. Looking back, I think it was a combination of several factors...

  • Jet Lag
  • Culture Shock
  • Giardia
  • PMS (yes that's right, I wrote that..because let's be serious this can be a MAJOR problem for us gals)
  • Having a full grasp of how far out of MY control things were
  • Already missing my children at home, and knowing we had only just began
  • The constant and nagging thought of not knowing when this would all be over
  • Mostly, I think it was PMS cause it mysteriously went away after a couple of days :)

Monday night was going to be the first night William and Marissa stayed with us. They were thrilled...Richard was thrilled...I was scared to death. It was similar to the feeling I had while pregnant with Grace. I was sitting in the hospital holding my friend's new born, thinking to myself, "Dear God what have we done?" Here I was a gazillion miles away from home (have I mentioned how much of a home body I am?) at the mercy of a foreign government, with these two children....who are supposed to be mine. I kept telling myself, "I want this. I have worked for this. I want them. I love them. I can do this." Like a chant over and over again in my mind. In the moment I was fine. If I, even for a split second, looked into the next days and weeks, I became so completely and utterly overwhelmed, all I could do was cry.

While I am repeating to myself, "I want this. I have worked for this. I want them. I love them. I can do this." The enemy of my soul was screaming, "This isn't what you wanted. You can't do this. Go home." There was a war going on within me, like nothing I have ever experienced before.

"We fight not against flesh and blood, but princes and pricipalities."

Up until this point, I feel I am winning the battle.

Then we got William and Marissa ready for bed.

We took off William clothes, and for the first time saw how absolutely tiny he was. I couldn't breathe. This one thing, this one small and insignificant thing, totally sent me off the edge. All at once my thoughts changed to the enemy's. "This isn't what I wanted. I can't handle this. I can't mother these children, they need more than I can give them. I have to get out of here."

Richard, ever a rock, was dealing with me as he usually does. He would tell me that I could do this, and that this is what we wanted. He told me leaving was not, nor would it ever become an option. These were our children and we would do whatever it took, for as long as it took, to bring them home. I thank God for my husband, for a multitude of reasons, but the fact that he would not let me walk away is one I am most thankful for. I'm not sure he had ever seen me in such a state of panic, but he knew me well enough to know that I loved these children, and that I only need a few days to regroup and focus.

Sure enough a few days later, I knew there was no way I would ever leave my children. I would just as soon die, then walk away from them.

Nevertheless, I still experienced a prolonged period of "post adoption depression." This often ignored, and not spoken of, aspect of adoption hit me fairly hard. I don't know what makes some people more prone to this than others, but it is a very real aspect of adoption. Just like postpartum depression is a very real aspect of giving birth. It doesn't happen to everyone, but when it does happen, the feelings experienced, leave a mother feeling guilty and alone. It's not about whether or not you love the do. At least I did. There was just this...emotional fog.

So in coming posts I hope to write more about it. In hopes that other mama's will know they are not alone. While you probably will not ever hear (read) me telling intimate details about my children and their past, I do want to have an open and honest dialog about adoption. My experience during adoption. Not just the lovely, yummy parts (of which there are many) but also the difficult parts. The purpose of this blog is to encourage others in this process. I really feel, when we only tell each other how great things are, we not only deprive each other, but miss out on showing the world how GOD redeems and heals. When people read blog after blog and story after story of all the feel good aspects of adoption and never hear any of the struggles...what happens when they have struggles of their own? My fear is that those parents may think they are in the minority, that something is wrong with them...their family. I fear some may think they might have made the wrong choice. My hope is that we will all realize that we are weak, but HE is strong. That He will give us the strength to do all things. That He called us to adopt, which will have bountiful blessings...and moments of struggle. I pray we will all realize that those difficulties do not put us in a minority....just a SILENT majority.


berrytribe said...

Oh, Speak Melissa!! Because this has got to be THE hardest thing I have ever done!! 2 months home with good days and REALLY not-so-good days! I'd love for someone to help in the "be real" that adoption is God's plan, but it is not a fairy tale. No pressure, but I can't wait to hear(read) some of your experience. Bless you.

Keltie said...

Melissa your words are once again resonating in me. You are right, the hard side needs to be laid out along with the pretty pink and blue and the happy family pictures. God bless you for speaking the truth.

Anonymous said...

Good thing we live 5 minutes away.

Thanks for sharing your heart. I'm taking it in and letting in sit inside for when I need it. I know there will be good days and really hard days ahead. My 'fear' is that I will not be able to spread myself thick enough for all 3 littles + the the 2 biguns. I know that is the enemy speaking to me...God is able!

S.L.P said...

With all that we have been through as friends in the last 6 years this was hard for me to sit back and watch. It even seemed like there should have been more I could do for you than prayer, but oh did I pray! And was God ever faithful!

Janet said...

Great post, and oh so true. This past year has been the hardest of my life. I have been refined greatly. But I am SO thankful for it! Thanks for the honesty.

jena said...

This is a great post. Everything takes time and sometimes I feel like I am sinking. The phrase 'One day at a time' holds a very new meaning now!