A very long year

One year……365 very long days have passed since we hopped off that plane and became a family of 6. We are alive. And while some of us managed to keep many of our faculties/wits about us, let it be known that none of us made it through unscathed. We are all changed people here.
This is hard for me to write about for many reasons. It has been the longest damn year of my life. I remain raw, bruised, skittish. There are many days we still spend treading water; praying for bedtime. I am so tired. Parenting orphaned, wounded children is exhausting and rewarding and scary and hard. Just plain hard. It feels like raising extremely independent, crafty, street smart toddlers. They don’t need you for anything tangible and yet they know nothing. And they are fast. Very fast. Somewhere in between all of the comforting and providing structure and forgiving and restraining and declaring love and crying, their hollow eyes become mirrors of your own wounds. Except you didn’t know you had wounds like theirs, because you are an adult. An adult that has parents. A grown woman who has been loved and cared for always. An adult who has been moderately counseled and even medicated at times. You consider yourself, by all reasonable standards, “stable”. Certainly stable enough to give love even when you aren’t loved in return. Stable enough to not be angry at a 50 lb child just because he refuses at all cost to let you love him. Stable enough to watch your husband lose 2 jobs in 1 yr without thinking maybe you misunderstood what was asked of you in the first place; or that maybe God has just been screwing with you. Stable enough to survive a pregnancy scare. Even stable enough to hold your older boys as they cry and admit they feel terrible for just wanting it “to be easy like it used to be”. One might think she is stable, indeed. One might be wrong. Jesus. It’s been a long damn year.
I am so grateful for all of the HYSTERICAL moments scattered throughout this crazy year, which have saved our very lives/minds. The bird catching, the way they talk, the hair……. Lord help that hair! I have uttered/screamed/said the following mantras more than I thought was humanly possible. “Use your words.” “Look at me, son.” “You will not purposefully aggravate your brother.” “Sit down while you are eating at the table.” “Honor your brother.” “Stop interrupting while your brother is still talking.” “This is not acceptable behavior and you know it.” “Put the lid up before you pee.” “Did you wash your hands?” “Get that pee in that water for the love of all that is good!” “Slow obedience is no obedience.” “If you do it again, you lose your bedtime/screen time/playtime.” “You kids are driving me crazy.” “I am not going down like this.” “I am gonna lose it if you don’t stop!” “Stop rolling around in the floor!” “Stop talking.” “Please just stop.” Even more maddening, is when these redundant phrases are met with the standard “What dat mean?” I have called for the rapture on many occasions and clenched my jaw so hard I feared my teeth would break. It has been a year of laughter and joy and firsts. Walls have dropped and a settled feeling has begun. A year of bonding and healing and learning to trust and happy, happy times together. Of singing in the van and questions, questions and more questions. A year of family that has loved and accepted and cherished the uncherishable. A devastating year of fear and coups that left me haunted and wounded. A year of amazing people who love me enough to listen to me cry and tell the scary parts and still take my kids so I could breathe and drink and regroup. A lonely year without much peace. A year of rage and disappointment and doubt and frustration and more tears than I have ever cried altogether in my 40 yrs. A year of questioning God and being really, really angry at Him for a bit. A year of redemption. I have concluded what my girl Karla Bates has long suspected. As far as I can tell, Jesus IS on His throne and is indeed working things out in His sovereign, albeit maddening times/ways. He does love me. He did not leave me. Not even once. Not even when I thought I would die. He is love and love does win, after all.
Another reason this is difficult to write about is that I have friends whose children should be home ,too, but are still there. I got to go first. I have no clue why. One of my very best friends, Jill, should have brought her baby girl Natasha home last year when we did. We went through our adoptions together……. It MAY have been my idea to begin with. It is not fair. I am pained every time I celebrate our victories and when I complain and lament about the hard parts because Natasha is not home. Please pray for her immediate release as well as Frannie, Kadi and Lyli. Their families are desperate for them and they need God to show up and deliver on His promises.
With that, good people, we press on. Full speed ahead into year two! I am excited for all of the fun and a little scared of the pending madness. Here is a tiny look at the differences a year in a family can make. Even, apparently, when the mom is a bit of a basket case.