Remembering the Good


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So I haven’t written here in a while. And I’ve really wanted to but I just…haven’t. I think there are a couple reasons for this.

On a purely practical level I have been so much busier than I anticipated. When you have babies and toddlers and are immersed in it all you think is that when they all get to school you’ll be able to take a breath and things will get a little easier. I guess that’s true in a way but the taking a breath SO did not happen. And yes, to all of my older mom friends who told me this, I fully admit I am wrong and you are right. So there you have it.

On an emotional/mental level, this has been a fairly challenging season. I’m tired. These kids are exhausting. They’re exhausting because they are four children spanning two years in age. They are exhausting for all of the reasons everyone’s 5 and 6 and 7 year olds are exhausting.

But I’ve been learning that the added element of two of them being adopted and one of those two having attachment/security/abandonment issues takes an extra toll. I have never ever wanted to be that person who says “Here I am over here by myself! Adoptive parent! No one gets it!” But I think in an effort to NOT be that person I wasn’t acknowledging that there is anything different about it at all. And there is a world of difference. Sometimes I AM the same as all of my friends. And sometimes I AM in a completely isolated situation and, yes, no one gets it. And that’s ok.

Our first year after adopting? It was so strangely…normal. Maybe people would say we were in denial. I don’t really think so. I just think God was gracious in that. I also think that when you expect the nightmare around every corner and it just doesn’t come it’s a pleasant surprise. I mean, I just kept thinking things like, Huh. They’re learning English fairly quickly. They seem to receive love from us pretty easily. They aren’t having major separation anxiety. Our bio kids and our adopted kids seem to be bonding. There’s no violence. Josh and I are closer than ever.  And so on and so forth. It really did exceed our expectations.

For us, it’s been year two that’s proven more challenging. All of the above miracles are true for sure. But we’ve also begun to KNOW our new children. And in that knowing there is pain and struggle and sin and brokenness. That’s just what happens when you really truly know someone.

ANYWAY, in thinking through and dealing with all of that, I just haven’t really had it in me to write much about it. And I really do want to. I don’t only want to write about the fun and beauty of adoption. I want to write about the hard parts, too. They do exist, and I face them daily. With adoption that’s rooted in Jesus, though, the beauty is in the easy and the hard. It’s always beautiful. And I always want to express that. What does Ann Voskamp call it? Ugly-Beautiful? Exactly.

I’ll get to the hard, but today I do want to take a moment to record this day. A good day. A great day. A day that shone into the night of a lot of hard days.

This morning Eva had a very small surgery done on her right ear. She has had a perforation in that ear drum since we adopted her, and probably long before. It is one of the first things I remember about her, that wad of cotton plugging up the infected ear in that little orphan who climbed up in my lap. You can see it in this first picture taken of us, back before I knew she’d be ours.


Once we had it treated here in the States, and the infections ceased, the consensus was that we would wait and see if the tiny hole healed itself, and if not, it would need to be surgically fixed. Well, it didn’t, so here we are. The surgery itself is pretty minor, but of course no parent wants their kid going under anesthesia and having their inner ear operated on. For me, there was a certain amount of dread about this day. Which Eva would we get after this surgery? Strong, brave, resilient Eva, bouncing back and moving on? Or scared, insecure, needy Eva, not trusting us, spiraling into old patterns because this brought back the old fears? I dreaded the latter.

Yesterday I texted some friends and asked them to be praying and one told me she’d be praying that this be an opportunity for breakthrough with her. I was struck that I hadn’t even thought to pray this way. I hadn’t viewed this surgery as anything other than an inconvenience and possible setback. The thought that it would instead prove fruitful in our relationship had never occurred to me. Why oh why do I not expect good from a completely good God? So I really asked him to surprise me.

This is actually the second time Eva had to go under general anesthesia. The first time was to put 7 caps on her teeth that had rotted through and pull one that was beyond repair. She had a horrible time coming out of it. I mean, she was fine later that day, but the 2 hours after her surgery were rough. She cried and fought and refused to be consoled. So I asked God to give her a miraculous recovery from the anesthesia. And I asked that it would be strong Eva who came out of it, not scared Eva. And I asked that she’d trust us.

This is how our day went:

This morning all of the kids were up by the time we left. Josh’s mom came to our house suuuper early and took on the morning routine with the other three. Reagan gave Eva one of her favorite bunnies to lie in the bed with her during surgery. Eva was thrilled. (Thank you Lord for this sisterly bond. Thank you for sacrificial family members.)

Eva was a little nervous and giggly as we were prepped and led back for surgery, but she was ultimately just a bundle of joy, making everyone around her smile. She loved the blue socks. She loved the hospital bracelet. She loved the stickers. She loved the bed on wheels. As they wheeled her down the hall she was shouting “Wee!” (Thank you Lord for the unbelievable JOY in this child who was deprived of so much.)


The surgery went perfectly (Thank you Lord for modern medicine. What a GIFT.)

We were led to a room where Eva was sitting up in bed, licking an orange popsicle. Perfectly Lucid. No horrible effects of anesthesia. (Thank you Lord, for hearing my prayer.)(And thank you for the lovely nurses who wrapped the bunny’s arm in a bandage to match her own.)

I crawled into bed with her. She crawled into my lap. She put her head on my shoulder. She wanted me, she needed me. She trusted me. She let me comfort her. I couldn’t help but remember that moment in that first picture. The orphan who wanted to be held but was terrified to even ask for it. (Thank you Lord that a little girl in Africa needed a mommy and somehow I am that mommy. You alone have the power to graft in and unite in such a way.)



(She looks like she’s sleeping but if you look closely you can see that she’s playing games on my phone. We’ve thoroughly Americanized her. Also, the bunny. Come on.)

On the way home, Eva said “Mommy, you were right. They didn’t hurt me.” I can’t tell you how those words felt. Not “Mommy why did you let them do that.”  (Thank you Lord for every step forward in trust.)

We went home, she ate, and within 30 minutes I had to tell her to stop jumping around the room. (Thank you Lord, that she is back to normal SO FAST. Even if it is driving me a little crazy.)

And, maybe my favorite part of the day, Reagan bursting through the door after school, “Where’s my Evie Lou?!!” And Eva telling her sister all about it. And telling Reagan that the bunny was there the whole time. And Reagan feeling so proud.

The thing is, I think it’s easy to just feel relieved about these sorts of moments. Grateful that it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. But when we pause and slow down and look at the details and really think about it, we can see the little miracles all over the place. We can see a God who is saying, “See, here, here, here and here I met your little needs because to Me they are not small. They are precious.”

I really do want to acknowledge and talk about how sometimes it’s hard and I struggle to trust and I don’t see the good. But I also want to remember moments like these. When the hard days come, and they always do, I want to be like the Psalmist, who says,

Has God forgotten to be gracious?

Has he in anger shut up his compassion?


I will remember the deeds of the Lord;

yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

I will ponder all your work,

and meditate on your mighty deeds.


You are the God who works wonders;

you have made known your might among the peoples.

1 comment

  1. Debbie

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