Friday, November 4, 2016

The Waiting

I used to blog. All the time. Remember about a decade ago when everyone took to computer to tell their stories. I read & followed bloggers, tried my hand at sharing and wrote all the time. It became an idol. Was I good enough? Did I blog often enough? Who read my stories? Was my life making an impact? I became obsessed so I stepped away. It was hard to cut the ties but oh so necessary. I couldn't compete with my own self.

I waited for the next obsession to come. It's in my nature. I get a little gung-ho about my projects. So I decided to run. Boy, did I run. At the end of 2010, I made my first New Year's Resolution - run my first half marathon in 2011. At the end of 2010, I was introduced to my best friend who could help me make that happen. She was writing a half marathon/Bible study book, marrying 2 of her passions. I couldn't resist and we started. It didn't take long and I was addicted. Nooooo, not to running. To the relationships I was forming. I could run, talk and get therapy all at the same time with my running group. In 2011, I not only ran my first half, I went on to run my first (and last) ultra marathon (50k!). Why do I tell you this on a blog about waiting? I waited that entire year for my runner's high. The one runners talk about. They can't wait getting out on the trail to "feel" this high. Some say it comes after running a while and you start feeling fatigued then all of a sudden, the "high". Well, I did have moments when energy came and I pushed through the finish, but I can't say I ever found my runner's high. Just 5 short years later, I can barely finish a 5k without cursing. Running isn't my thing. I stopped waiting and moved on.

During my short-lived running career, I learned about waiting in another aspect of my life. Really learned. We started our adoption process with Chris. Man, I hated hearing my phone ring only to see that it was a friend (sorry if you were that friend; I really love you). I wanted every phone call to be from our adoption agency giving us good news. I REALLY hated when our agent called only to see how we were doing. Sheesh! Way to be supportively unsupportive (jk, Patrick, I loved every call we every had). Waiting became a thing I had to try and actively NOT do. I had to fill my days just so I wasn't waiting by the phone or refreshing my email. I went back to school. It was my saving grace. I could actively wait without obsessively wait. I could read a book or take notes while standing on the rampart looking for news.

November 2012 I met her. Totally on accident. I was heading down to Haiti on a medical trip/spend time with Chris. A week before we left we were told there was a premie newborn that had been brought to Lifeline. Our town collected premie onesies and premie diapers. When I got to Haiti, I held her because babies need to be held and loved and touched. There were plenty of other hands that held her, but I happen to be holding her the day I knew she was supposed to be in our family.

The Waiting. It has been 4 years since that week. It has been 47 months since we started the adoption process with her. Due to changing laws it has been 35 months since we entered the Haitian system to adopt her. It has been 23 months since our family's dossier was approved so they could present her paperwork and we could be matched. We have been actively waiting, standing ready to go on our 15 day bonding trip at the drop of a hat notice. We haven't taken vacations so that Tracy has enough time off. We haven't called in favors from family and friends, cuz let's face it 15 days in our shoes with 4 kids can be HARD!

I just got back from a medical trip in Haiti with my oldest. She got to meet her baby sister for the first time. They are a decade apart in age. Every month baby girl doesn't come home is another month Ellie doesn't have with her sister before college (I know we are forward thinkers). That trip was the hardest because I found out information that our agency doesn't know. They tell us they are working hard to gather information that I found out within 24 hours of being on the ground in Haiti. The problem? I can't do anything because we aren't matched and I can't interfere, be involved, pay more, stand up for my girl. It's against the law at this stage in the game. Still we wait. Why? Because she's not an idea or a name or a project, she's my girl. Her name has been etched on my heart. Her bird has been tattooed on my body. She is my heart.

We are being held captive to a corruption so deep. We are begging God to show us where to fight, and He has given us some direction and strength. In this waiting, we are more active than ever. We are now asking questions, calling people to the rug and stepping in where others have not. We will walk up to that line of legality and do everything in our power to bring this beautiful little girl home.

Until then...

Jamie Grace - The Waiting

What will it look like?
What will it be like?
When my world turns out like you planned
And when will I get there?
Feels like I'm nowhere
My dreams are like dust in my hands
But I know
This is the waiting, I anxiously wait,
As I hold on to Love that won't ever let go,
And in these times when my patience is tested
Won't you remind me that I'm not alone
Here in the waiting the waiting the waiting

All of the questions, secret confessions
Lord, you'll make sense of it all
And I know you'll show up so I'm letting go of
These thoughts that are taking control
This is the waiting, I anxiously wait,
As I hold on to Love that won't ever let go,
And in these times when my patience is tested
Won't you remind me that I'm not alone
Here in the waiting the waiting the waiting

Oh and I know, I know this is the Waiting the waiting
And in these times when my patience is tested
You are the Love that will never let go
Here in the waiting, the waiting

So I'll be here waiting, waiting, waiting
Believing you'll never let go.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tears

My husband and I have been going to family counseling with our adopted son the past few months. Our son doesn’t like going and talking about anything, especially emotions, so we decided to go just as a couple last week. I sat there bawling off and on for the entire session. I told the counselor I believe tears are a waste of time. They don’t help our situation. They make me feel physically awful, and I feel no emotional release from them. Tears can’t change someone else’s heart. My tears don’t seem to motivate him to have compassion. She asked why I felt this way about tears and crying. Of course she wants me to unpack why I never cry…So here I go, let’s talk about tears and crying. Sorrow and loss. Grief and hurt. Pain and healing.

I had a lot of anger inflicted on me in my past. I learned to meet anger with anger. I am stubborn and headstrong. I have a strong yelling voice because growing up in a home where people yell I learned to match volume. Many times, I was able to shield my heart by running away from the anger (I ran to my room, to a friend’s house, to a school or church activity, to work). I didn’t start dealing with how that anger changed my core beliefs until I was an adult. I don’t remember crying much as a kid. I do remember being sad. A lot. As an adult I was able to forgive the people who emotionally hurt me, but forgiveness doesn’t take away memories and it doesn’t take away bad coping skills. I still run away from conflict and heated discussions. I can’t be around angry people. My heart races and I want to run when I am confronted with anger. Then God gave me my son.

My tears come from remembering. Remembering a past that held pain. Remembering the fear associated with anger. Remembering loss of relationships. Remembering the feeling of helplessness. As a young person, when I first thought of adoption as part of my family plan, I admittedly viewed it as a way to “rescue” a child from poverty and a life of not knowing a loving family. Every child should have a mother who rushes to their side when they are hurt, cheers for them to win and guides them in learning. I wanted to give a child everything I thought he or she was missing. Fast forward through 20 years of maturity and I am now aware that in the process of adoption there is loss as well as gain. We took away the only home he knew. We took away playmates, roommates and a loving nanny. We removed familiar routines. He no longer understands his native language.


“There is a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.” Loss and pain, grief and hurt shouldn’t be ignored. When sorrow is felt, healing can begin. No matter how painful it is to cry, tears do serve a purpose. Our son is finding it very hard to remember and mourn. His actions show that he does not believe it is okay to be vulnerable and cry. I have to admit I am due my time to mourn. When my son came home 3 years ago I felt loss. In adoption, I had to walk away from the life I knew as well. We don’t have peace in our home the way we used to feel peace. We don’t have calm. There is more yelling and anger and frustration in the last 3 years than the decade preceding. All these hot emotions for 3 long years have me frayed at both ends. My tears are finally falling. Some from utter exhaustion and some of them are from remembering the pain of my own past. Some are from the loss I have suffered in the last 3 years. I am finding they are from many places that have been buried. I am trying hard to embrace the tears. I pray that my example will make a difference to my son. I pray that he will see my vulnerability and weakness. I pray he finds space to mourn. But most of all, I pray for healing. Healing in his life and healing in mine.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

A bit of heartache

When the breakthrough is really only a breakdown and we're all just weary of fighting the same battle...

When banging his fists on the same people over and over hoping we will feel the pain he feels every day of his life but really he's just driving a wedge between himself and the people who want to love him...

When time without him is sweeter than any time with him and we feel guilt over feeling "normal" for a moment...

When the girls come to hug us and tell us they're sorry we have to deal with the rage and mean words and how we need to know that none of it is true...

"On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand. All other ground is sinking sand."

I feel like I'm sinking. I can still remember when I thought life was hard as a family of 5. I dream of that life, and I wake up guilt-ridden that I struggle to find joy the day after nights when all I do is cry after he screams the nastiest words he knows, and takes swings at my face and tells me he's going to cut me when I'm not looking.

We try to protect our friends (and even sometimes our close family) from this. Many don't know his other side. I have struggled with publicly sharing because I want everyone to see him the way he deserves to be seen. He can be sweet, adventurous, funny, respectful, a typical 7 year old who's into mischief and curious about all the right things. He is also struggling with so many demons that there are days I'm sure he will see the inside of a jail cell before he chooses to allow others to be in authority over him.

I grieve for him and the life he should have had. I grieve for the family my girls would have had. I know we were obedient to what God wanted for our family. I know that all my children see glimpses of God's love and forgiveness lived out in ways they never would have if the 6 of us weren't together on this journey. I am acknowledging God's goodness on a daily basis these days, knowing that I am under the tapestry that He is weaving. From this side, it looks ugly, disjointed, knotted and unorganized. I can't wait until I am on the other side and can see the beauty He sees.

When all the ugliness of this world is crashing in I can rest assured that I am firmly planted. The sinking feeling is only because I looked away from Him for a moment and doubted. I pray that I will keep my eyes forward, fixed on truth that I am already fully known, my husband and my children are already fully known by a loving, caring God who provides not only our physical needs but my daily dose of sanity. One day I will know, but today? I only know a bit of heartache...

1 Corinthians 13:12English Standard Version (ESV)

12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Just 2 more minutes



 When the girls were little I kept a schedule (I know, big surprise). Whenever we needed to keep on task I would give the girls a transition phrase. “Ok, girls, 2 more minutes. Time to clean up.” Whether at home or out, they knew then that it was time to prepare to leave. Two minutes usually didn’t mean a literal 2 minutes. I would get distracted by my own conversations or wouldn’t get my own task wrapped up so our transition time would stretch out. The girls would tug at my clothes and whine,  “Let’s goooo, mom! You said it was time to gooooo.”  

Then it happened.

It was time to go to preschool. I was ready. The baby was in her car seat. We needed to go. I had given the girls the transition phrase 2 minutes earlier. My words went unheard. The girls were still playing. I was upset that they weren’t obeying. My 3 year old looked up and said, “You said two more minutes!” When I replied I had given her 2 more minutes she replied. “Two more minutes means we have more time. We always have more time to play and you make us clean up early!”

I thought of this memory last week as we wait to hear news from Haiti. In the last 2 ½ years that Chris has been home we’ve been waiting. And waiting. And waiting to hear the news that it is time to go visit Baby Girl and “bond” with her on our bonding trip. It will be a 15- day trip where we will be observed and interviewed for 1 of those days by a Haitian Social Worker. They will then write up the meeting and place it with our dossiers so that we can move to the next step of having Baby Girl declared a Hires by the Haitian courts.


We feel like the toys are put away, our shoes are on and now we are tugging. “Come on! It’s time to gooooo!” Through the past few years, we have been told to hope. We’ve been thanked for our patience. We’ve been told it shouldn’t be much longer now. We are still waiting. Still hoping. Still being thanked for our patience. But we are still being told – “Ok, kids, 2 more minutes.”

Please pray for our hearts as we continue to wait on our Haiti invitation for travel (and on a job for Tracy). 

Psalm 27:14 (esv)
Wait for the LORD; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD!

Psalm 42:11 (esv)
Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you in turmoil within me?
Hope in God; for I shall again praise him, my salvation and my God.


Friday, February 26, 2016

And Breathe...

I'm always in control. Of my emotions, of my schedule, of my kids' schedule, of my me time, of my small business startup. Until I'm not.

The most overused misquote from the Bible is, "God will not give you anything you can't handle." I encourage you to read 1 Corinthians 10 with the understanding that this passage is about being tempted to sin and not about being handed some tough blows from a cruel world. You'll not find that quote anywhere in Corinthians or anywhere in the Bible for that matter. I believe God does give us situations we can't handle ON OUR OWN. When we receive news that feels crushing, it may be that the news IS crushing us; news that changes our current trajectory to an entirely different path than we were on just hours before.

Career. It's been a month since Tracy came home to tell me that his company was closing its doors. Chest tight. Can hardly breathe. I'm telling myself, "Hold it together and ask questions." My past trauma comes flooding back. This wasn't the first time I'd heard this news from him. We had been married for 4 months, pregnant for 2 and were till figuring out life together. Panic then was nothing compared to the panic I was having to stuff down in a new box of something else I needed to control. Before: No kids. Rent. Working a full-time job for income. Now: 4 kids with 1 more coming. Mortgage. Small business in the startup phase. When do we tell the kids? How long will we be able to pay the bills? Will we have to move? Are there jobs even available? Can I be emotionally strong for 6 people? Pretty sure I can't handle this one.

Adoption #1. You.Meet.Your.Baby. I say baby because really, when do your kids stop being your baby? When they start having their own? Whether it's a picture or in person you see that being meant to be in your family and you hope. A desire and then a tug on the heart and you're a goner. I hoped and dreamt and created a future where everything was going to be restored. But really adoption has stripped me bare of any idea that I have a sliver of control over another person's heart. It has taught me that no matter how much I want someone else to make the right choices, choose healing, seek forgiveness for their own heart, I can only influence. I can pray, I can demonstrate, I can set boundaries, I can continue to hope, but I can't be the answer. I still struggle to know what part of the story with my son is OUR story and which part is mine. I do so want to share what I have been through but I would never want to cause him shame or hurt over the grievances done to me. Pretty sure I can't handle this.

Adoption #2. Rules have changed. Anguish ensues. Every day passed is another day without my family complete. I met her when she was a newborn. She's now over 3 years old. Sucking the life out of me writing those words. I've written and shared a little about this journey. This saga is not new to most of you; it's just that sometimes I realize I have no control over my emotions and I'm a hot mess. No one needs to see that. It's ugly. Can't handle this.

Education. One heading to college (& she's really only going to be a freshman in high school, but her amazing planning has me visualizing her 4 years from now), one who wants to be homeschooled, one who needs more help with school than anyone seems to know how to handle right now. Yes, I have 4 kids and I'm thankful one is doing well today. Between researching curriculum, high school class options, college prep courses, private schools, comprehensive testing, counseling, psychologists...I just want to sit in my closet and cry. Nope. I know I can't handle this.

It's when I find rest under God's strong wings that I can find the strength to battle on. It's when I can have eternal perspective given to me by God that I see these trials as temporary. I am sure that "this too shall pass". I will become older and wiser and have a few more gray hairs on my head, but I will not give up. With God's strength I will handle it all. I will relinquish the control I think I have and breathe...

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The moment of truth

It’s that moment when I realized I had been denying truth for a very long time. I sat there weeping in front of some of my very close friends and some very real strangers knowing that there was no way out of the ugly cry. 
At the end of a women’s weekend conference, we were asked to respond to this question - What’s your next move? 
I couldn’t decide. Every word and answer in my head was vague. I figured that since nothing was jumping out at me it wasn’t my time to hear from God. Just wait, Christy. The day's almost over then you can mull it over when you get home. 
Then I heard it. I stood up, went to the front of the room and wrote my answer. 
TRUST THAT GOD IS GOOD. 
I didn’t like it. The moment I wrote it I got mad at myself. Of course I know God is good. Why did I write that? That's my next move? So I began again. I wrote
TRUST THAT GOD HAS GOOD FOR MY FAMILY. 
What?! That’s not what I meant either! Of course God has good for my family. I know His promises. I know His truth. I slunk back to my seat and plopped down. Then the song started…

Oh, I've heard a thousand stories of what they think you're like
But I've heard the tender whisper of love in the dead of night
And you tell me that you're pleased
And that I'm never alone
You’re a good, good Father. 
It’s who you are. It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you. 
It’s who I am. It’s who I am. 
Oh, and I've seen many searching for answers far and wide
But I know we're all searching
For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word
Cause you are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways
You are perfect in all of your ways to us
Oh, it's love so undeniable
I, I can hardly speak
Peace so unexplainable
I, I can hardly think
As you call me deeper still [x3]
Into love, love, love
You’re a good, good Father. 
It’s who you are. It’s who you are.
And I’m loved by you. 
It’s who I am. It’s who I am.

Cue ugly cry. Like head still hurting, eyes still puffy 6 hours later cry. If God is good, Then... I stood in front of these women snot-nosed and blotchy confessing that I doubted God's goodness. For a good long while, I had been stuffing my emotions and binge watching Netflix and filling my time so that I didn’t have to confront that truth that I was so mad I couldn't see God as good. I am mad at the injustice of my scarred son who deserved to be loved by his tummy mommy and didn’t deserve the abuse that he’ll never be able to recall; mad that my daughter is still caught in another country’s broken adoption system growing up without a loving mom who wants to kiss her and hold her when she’s scared and tickle her to make her laugh and watch her sleep and make happy childhood memories; mad that I don’t know when my family will be all together and definitely mad that even when we are all under one roof life will still be hard because healing from trauma is ugly. I’m mad that I can’t do anything about it even though moms are supposed to be able to protect their children and shelter them from this cruel world. I’m mad that I can’t hold my daughter, and I’m mad that most days my son makes me work so hard to prove my love to him. 

BUT

God is good. If we can’t accept that we are doomed. He is not cruel. He is not vindictive. He is not punishing my kids or me. He is perfect in all of His ways. When we lose sight of eternity (which I have done bunches over the last 28 months) then we lose sight of our purpose here on earth. We are not here on this earth to have the happiest, safest, most blessed life. We are here to bring glory to God. We are His image bearers. I confess I lost sight of what is truly important. I will never be able to fix my family in my own strength. I will not be able to make anyone whole. I can only fill my life cup and pour out. When I am filled with God's love I then have pure love to pour out.

The truth I have been denying is that God is Good and I am not; not without Him. I cannot take the wheel and assume control and do better for myself. I am nothing apart from God. I am a good mom because He first loved me. I am compassionate because God demonstrated His own love for me by sending His son to die for my sins. Sin separated me from God. When I confessed my sin and believed that Jesus died in my place I was brought into the family of God; promised a chance to spend eternity worshiping my Creator. I want to remember that this world is not my home. He did not promise me happiness and ease while living here. He promised everlasting life to those who repent from sin and believe that He is our Savior. I must rest that I am only a small part of His story. I must believe that God's goodness and my happiness are not the same. For now, my next move is I will meditate and continue to offer these words to God and abide in these truths - 

I TRUST THAT YOU ARE GOOD (In fact, perfect in all Your ways)
I TRUST THAT YOU HAVE GOOD FOR MY FAMILY.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Happy Gotcha Day!

It's been a year. A year of change.
This is the 1st picture we received in our referral package - July 2011
A quick snap at dinner eating Pho daddy made - September 2014

Changes in our physical location, attitudes of the heart, heights & weights, emotions, daily routine, church body and spiritual maturity to name a few. In this year, the Hires family has become stronger, sillier, sadder, happier, more joyful, more optimistic, more effected by ignorant words of those who don't understand, richer, more resolved, closer, more dependent on a Savior who is our Redeemer. He has given us more love than we've asked for and more grace than we deserve.

When asked what are some "highlights" and "lowlights" in her life for a class assignment, Kasia included her brother coming home as a high. I love that it comes naturally for my girls to think of our expanding family as a highlight. It hasn't been all roses. The first few months were wearing on us all as we adjusted to being a family of 6. There was uncontrollable rage that we managed only by the fact that our tornado weighed only 30lbs. at the time. There was such sadness that turned into anger we sought counseling to help understand how to heal his heart on a daily basis.

I sat across the table from our social worker this past weekend marveling at the words she wrote about where we were even 6 months ago. If ever someone would say, "This isn't the same little boy." I would reply, "Chris continues to discover the boy God has always wanted him to be."

In this last year Chris has learned how to sleep alone in his own big boy bed in his own room (even though he still gets scared some nights). He's learned to come get us when his dark room is scary or if he falls and gets hurt. He learned how to ride a 2 wheel bike within a day like he'd always known how to ride. He's shown us how has can jump higher, tumble further and run faster than most 5 & 6 year olds I know. He's learned how to cry when someone hurts his feelings or knocks him down instead of coming at them with a fist. He starts conversations with strangers, always asking me, "Are they my friend?" He loves his mom & dad, his teachers, his friends, his sisters (both here and his baby sister in Haiti that he tells everyone about). He loves Super Why and Disney movies. He can't wait to ride a plane again and constantly talks about wanting to be a bird so he can fly. He loved Disneyland and any hotel room we visited this summer. He learned how to swim and chose the pool over a movie most days this summer. His favorite foods are hamburgers (or hotdogs depending on the day) and broccoli with vanilla ice cream for dessert, of course.

We have learned to roll with the punches, both literally and figuratively, and have learned that no matter how long it takes we will always show our son we are stronger and are willing to take it all, demonstrating to him that God can handle anything he ever throws His way.

As we celebrate having Chris in our home for a year, I am convinced that God did an amazing job of picking my kids! They're all pretty great. I have never been less confident of my parenting skills and never more confident that I cannot be the best mom on my own. So on this day I pray:

God, grant me forgiveness when I sin and fall away from a right and true relationship with you, because without You I am not who you want me to be as a wife and mother. Show me where I can grow and mature, and I pray for the humility and discernment to change directions when I am making wrong choices. Provide grace upon grace, peace upon peace and wisdom that surpasses all understanding so that I may pour it out onto my family, teaching them to walk in your ways. Help me always hold highly to Your truths and loosely to my children's hands so that when it their time to move forward in life they will have the confidence and stability of the Holy Spirit in their hearts to do so. Thank you for giving me the privilege of being their mom! Amen