Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Pain of Parenting...

Last weekend, we took our first family trip out of town (other than to visit family) since Ellie has come home. It was her first time in a hotel since being home with us. She was excited at first about sleeping there. She thought it was "awesome" that we were all going to sleep in the same room. She had worn herself out during the day, so she went to sleep before we ever finished singing our goodnight song.

When Ellie woke up, Jeff had gone out for a run, and Bryan was still asleep. The room was still dark, thanks to the wonder of darkening shades! Ellie popped her head up by my bed, and said "Good morning!", just like she would any day at home. She climbed up in bed beside me, but instead of hugging me, she just started sobbing.

My first thought was that she was scared because we were not at home. She kept repeating that she was "so sad", but every time I asked her why, she only responded "I can't say it!". I held her and held her while she sobbed. I cried along with her, whispered to her that I loved her. When she was finally calm enough to talk, she said "Mommy, we don't have any food here. We can't eat".

That sweet baby girl thought that we were not going to eat all day because there was no food in our hotel room. I immediately explained to her that we were going to breakfast as soon as Jeff got back. I have never gotten ready so fast in my life! Ellie cried until the pancakes she ordered were placed in front of her and cut up, then proceeded to gorge herself by eating every bite on her plate (more than I ate even!)

It struck me as I watched her stuff herself that she wasn't sure that she would eat again that day. She was making sure that she had enough in her to last a good long time just in case there was no more. She has been with us for 8 months, and yet, she still does not expect from us that we will feed her AT LEAST three times a day, every day. It is instilled deep within her that she should not expect it.

My heart was broken, not only at the thought of what horrors had she lived through to come to that place, but also at the fact that there is so much of her life that I had no part of, that I could not protect. There is a part of her life that was hurtful, and I don't know what all is there yet. There are deep wounds in her life, and I could not stop them from happening. My "momma instincts" say that I should have protected her, fed her, kept her from all hurt.

But I couldn't. She had to endure the hurt of her birth mom making a plan for her adoption, a plan that for Ellie included some time in the care of other family members who hurt her, time in places where she had no food for who knows how long. It was a plan done out of a love that I cannot fathom, if truth be told. I have such great admiration and love for Ellie's birth mother. I believe with all of my heart that her birth mom loves her completely, and that her acts were the most unselfish thing I've ever witnessed. But they still hurt.

And then I read this: "From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. About the ninth hour, Jesus cried out in a loud voice, 'Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?', which means, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" (Matthew 27:45-46)

Jesus felt abandoned, alone, fearful even when he was about to die on that cross. I'm sure in his humanness, he had to wonder "why?". Maybe he was thinking "How is this going to work for good?". Yet, God, in His infinite wisdom, was working a plan. He willingly let Jesus go through that hurt, knowing that in the end, Jesus would sit at His right hand, with his Father. He would never hurt again. He would be HOME.

And as I read that, I realized that Ellie's journey is just beginning. She has walked a road of courage WAY beyond her years, Grace that is beyond my imagination, determination and strength that could only be of the Lord. She has survived, only by the Grace of God. And I believe in my heart that God wanted me to see that He understood my pain at not having been there to stop her hurt. Because He didn't stop Jesus' hurt either.

I believe that His ways are perfect. I believe that He has a purpose and a plan to prosper Ellie (Jeremiah 29:11), just as He does all of us. I believe that He wants me to celebrate each and every moment with her, even the ones where she is afraid, sad or confused.

Especially those moments. For now, I AM here to comfort her.

Oh God, thank you for speaking so clearly to me and for letting me know you understand my momma's heart. You are a parent too, God. Thank you for having a heart that breaks at your Son's pain and death on the cross, but also for your adopted sons and daughters who try to do life without you every day. Thank you for listening and teaching when things don't make sense to me. Thank you for reminding me that you love me deeply, that you love my children deeply, more than I could ever begin to understand. Thank you for protecting Ellie from whatever could have come her way. Thank you for instilling within her the spunk and grit to make it through. Thank you for allowing her to be a little girl now, to not have to fend for herself anymore. Help her to realize that she is safe here, that she will always be fed here. Remind her that she is at Home now. Thank you for blessing me with this amazing family that I could never deserve. You are awesome and mighty, and I praise you Lord. Amen