In the wake of our failed adoption of R & A, their grief has been immense. Of course, kids are resilient and they're getting through (far better than I am most days to be honest), but the pain still surfaces regularly...especially for our Ghanaians. Here's how the grief is playing out thus far with the youngest members of our family:
Ivy is sorrowful, and she has shed many tears. She had crafted gifts for her new sisters and was super excited about having a new "big girls bedroom" for just her & R. She has become even more reclusive and her sleep has been disturbed. She's burying herself in books more than ever - not even returning texts from her friends. However, when asked about it, she sees this as a new opportunity to help a different child - one who needs us more than R & A did. She has a special heart for the children who will "age out" of adoptability and has asked us to consider adopting a 13 year old girl from China before she loses all chance of ever having a family (her 14th birthday). We agreed to pray about it.
Mya has either handled this with the most peace or she's internalizing her pain. We're not sure which. She is our most compassionate child and she eagerly tends to hurting hearts within our home. I'm afraid she sees my pain and the pain of her siblings and, much like her father, hides her own to be "strong" for the rest of us. I pray she's just at peace with the whole situation...but she's so much like her daddy that I do wonder what's going on in her mind.
Liam is struggling. He doesn't understand why R & A won't come to our family. It is especially painful to guide him through this tenderly. We try to explain that his "Ghana Mom" wanted him to come to America to have love and food and school and medicine and all the best things life can offer, but all he hears is R's mom wanted her and his mom didn't. I won't even pretend to know that grief. It hurts him to the very core. His developmental level and language skills don't allow him to verbalize all he's experiencing, but he has reverted to many self-soothing behaviors (common to children from institutions who had no one to truly care for them & meet their individual needs) and he has also started pushing us harder. I'm sure part of it is fear that we'll abandon him at some point. He subconsciously needs to test our love and our faithfulness and commitment to him. We're trying to stand strong. To be consistent. To not allow this major family tragedy to affect our parenting...but to say we're succeeding in that would be a stretch. We try. We fail. We apologize. We're struggling too, and our patience while hurting is limited. Thankfully Liam sees a wonderful, Godly counselor who is trained specifically in how to help children who've experienced a traumatic past, including adoption, foster care, etc. She is a blessing to Liam and to our entire family and she will be working closely with him to help process this grief in a God-honoring way.
Cora is, well, Cora. She will be five years old next week. She is sad, but she forgets about it minutes later. Whenever something reminds her of R & A, she comes running to me and cries. She asks me to explain, again, why they won't be her sisters. She asks me if they're safe in Ghana and if anyone gives them hugs & kisses. She loves them and she's concerned...because she's lived it. Don't for one moment think this little girl who came to America just 3 weeks before her 4th birthday has forgotten her life there! She may not remember every detail, but she remembers hurting. She remembers being hungry and having no food to eat. She remembers watching her friends go to families before her while she stayed at the orphanage. She remembers and she agonizes (for a few moments at a time) for the sisters she'll never have. Sisters she's skyped with and sang with. Sisters who will live out there days on the other side of the world.
I can barely make sense if it myself. I don't know how this is going to affect any of the kids long term. I know that we made wise decisions. I know that God took us down this path for a reason. I just wish living out our faith didn't come at such a high cost.
But then again, God sacrificed his son's life for us...for me...so maybe I shouldn't complain. Maybe we're all just becoming privy to a small piece of the pain and a portion of the tears that Our Father has shed for us.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,
that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.
~ John 3:16 ~