to all of it… YES!
The first month home with Julianne was so very difficult. Here is my daughter. Who doesn’t yet fully feel like my daughter. But she IS! And here are my other children, who are also struggling with all of this change. And how do I manage this? How do I make this work? And here is my husband, who is a new daddy to this daughter who doesn’t even really like him much, and while he is learning about her and winning her over he is also doing as much as he can to support and help the family transition. Weird. Awkward. Difficult.
Confession: I didn’t transition well at the start. At least not very well. I survived each day, which I was told is good in and of itself. But I never felt like I was fulfilling the role of mother to this little one in the way the Lord had called me to. When I seriously thought that I might start going legitimately crazy, the Lord in his infinite kindness and gentleness reminded me of the word YES.
Biblically, YES is a pretty important word. It’s what Moses has to say when asked to do something out of his comfort zone. It’s what Abraham and Sarah have to believe when told their descendants will be numerous. It’s what Paul says in his heart when he is changed on the road to Damascus. It’s big. YES is life-changing when it’s YES to something God has for you.
We started this journey with a YES. An agreement with the Lord that he was calling our family to add another through adoption. Our actions while in-process spoke YES with every dollar spent, every email sent, and every document filled in. In China we said YES on a Tuesday morning when asked if we would care for her the way we care for our biological children.
All of the sudden we’re home, and the YES died in my mouth. Turned to ash.
“What have we done???” was the frequent thought in my mind.
My yes may have faltered, but the Lord is kind, and redeems even the most half-hearted. He reminded me of the past, and reassured me that the future was His, too. He also gently reminded me that there is no time for anything except YES in this situation. Julianne needs and deserves a YES every day.
Today is the 7-week-iversary of the day Julianne walked into an office and into our lives. Things are good. Many times they are great! There are also times when they aren’t so great. On the good days, my heart joyfully sings the YES. On the not-so-good-days, I struggle with it. Regardless of the way the circumstances are, EVERY day, I say “yes” again. I do it out-loud sometimes, especially on the hard days when she wakes up and goes into orphan-mode from the get-go. Those are HARD days. They are hard because I know she needs the extra I have, but I fight wanting to give it because she’s being so, well, unloveable. Feels a little silly, but I need that word to hang in the air between me and this little girl that is ours. I need her to hear it. I need to hear it! She needs to know I am saying yes again. I want her to know that she is worth the YES. She is worth the effort it takes to form the word in my mouth and have it travel out of my body making it more real than if I kept it inside.
Sometimes, my body physically fights the word. Fights the actions that make her mine. It’s more than just surface level thing. It’s transcends my body, and finds the soul level of me at odds. I want her to be as much mine as any of my belly babies, but the Enemy of my God doesn’t want that for her. He wants her to feel distanced from us; to feel like she’s not a part of. He promotes the distance because the Word says that caring for the orphan is pure, and he hates all things pure. We’ve taken this girl, this orphan, and made her ours. No longer an orphan. And he hates that.
When I say YES, my actions start to reflect that word. I don’t wallow in my misery, although there are still times when the misery tries to creep in. I pick her up. I hold her. I shower her with kisses and tickles. I make my body reflect the YES. I cannot back away from her, this one that has already been backed away from so many times before. I cannot hold her at a distance. I cannot run and hide. On those days when the YES is a struggle, I know it’s a cue to press in more to the Lord, to ask for more of the Spirit, to stay closer to her and push aside all distractions.
So, today, I say YES again because YES is habit-forming and I want to have a habit of agreeing with what the Lord has for me.
I say YES to her, to our new family unit, to the struggles I may have because they refine me a little bit more.
To the battles, I say YES, because I know that the victory already belongs to the Lord.
** All photos courtesy of my friend Amanda with Mint to Be Photography. Amanda, you are amazing & I am so thankful for the way you captured our princess on camera! More pictures from this session were a part of this post shared here. **