Monday, May 16, 2011

let go

Six months ago we were faced with some very difficult problems after struggling to bring Mercy home from Uganda.
  1. We tried for months to get a court date.
  2. We got a court date and were refused to be seen by the judge, and any other judge in the capital, where they have a family court division.
  3. We could not get a court date in the smaller town where Mercy was from, after trying for weeks.
  4. I needed to be home with my family after a total of nine weeks being gone. My mother in law who was staying with the kids needed to return home across the state to her husband and her job. She was not able to come stay with them again later.
  5. Mercy's caregiver who needed to be present in court and the visa appointment was going out of the country for a month and the holidays meant courts were closed.
  6. Families who had filed for full adoption where having a difficult time, and the legal guardianship process was now moving smoothly. We filed for full adoption based on her medical needs.
  7. We had no more money for traveling back and forth.
  8. We were noticing some BIG behavior/attachment issues. More than we first realized. Stuff that we were unsure we could handle.
So while I sat alone in my room in Uganda counting down the days for my return flight home, I felt like a veil had been lifted from my eyes. I realized, maybe God is saying NO.

I came home from Uganda, alone without the little girl we had hoped for. Our family was able to rest and pray and make a very hard decision. I had many debates going through my head, the biggest one was how do we know what was God's will or our will? Was it really God's will for us to adopt Mercy, or was it our own? I had reached out to other adoptive friends to ask for prayer and advice. A few had arguments that it could never be God's will for Mercy to remain in Uganda and not get the help she needed. They said we should fight harder, that we would always regret the decision should we chose to give up. We would be letting satan win.

Surprisingly though, many people were supportive of us if we decided to let go. Some were friends who were professionals in the adoption field, and others were parents who have struggled with children suffering from RAD and other problems. We asked our pastors, church friends and others to pray for wisdom for us. We spent nearly a month in prayer and finally had to let people know what we felt God was telling us to do.

The toughest part of breaking the news was telling Mercy's caregiver. I typed the email and sent it, knowing it would break many hearts. So much time and effort was put into getting paperwork ready. Sharing the news with friends was difficult too. So many people had walked along side us on the journey, praying, helping financially and at home while I was away. I felt like I was a quitter, giving in.

A good friend sent me a note saying "Guilt is not from God." It made me feel so much better. And the many months of healing began. The guilty feelings melted away and things began to feel right again. I felt as if a weight had been lifted that had been there for over 12 months. I can remember the day I first felt that weight: the day they said "yes, you can adopt Mercy". It was exciting and scary. I wasn't sure how we would afford the expenses and travel, or how we would be able to leave the kids for at least a month. After reading the email with the news, I went to take my morning shower and cried out to the Lord, in fear, apprehension and anxiousness. I asked Him if he was really sure this is what we were supposed to do. I don't recall ever getting a confirmation from Him. And I think this is where we failed.

We moved on, pushed forward and went ahead. Mercy needed help and we were here wanting to provide it. We were excited to add to our family and we blindly went through the process. I felt like J's quick agreement to move forward with another adoption was a sure sign this was meant to be, since he was usually slower to agree to big things like this. But through the long wait process and the lengthy time in Uganda, I don't recall ever feeling like God had promised Mercy to us. I was uneasy the entire time. I wasn't sure if it was the right time to add to our family. I was not sure about the needs Mercy would have. But I felt like since things lined up just right for us to travel, funds were raised and donated, and we were so emotionally invested, we were surely doing the right thing.

So, after the decision was made, the email was sent to Uganda to Mercy's caregiver at the orphanage and to our attorney, after we cried and talked and prayed, after we broke news to friends, family and church, after explaining many times to our children why Mercy would not be coming home, and after so much time has gone by I still dream of Mercy and Uganda. I had a wonderful time getting to know some wonderful kids. I experienced a beautiful country and met some awesome friends. My husband and I had several weeks to spend together. I had a lot of time to study the bible and pray. God had a purpose for me going there, He refined me.

Thankfully, I no longer feel guilty. I no longer feel heartbroken. I feel peace. I feel God's plan was different than ours, that His plan is better than ours. I am excited to see what He has for us.

But I still. miss. Mercy. I don't think I ever felt like she was ours. She is God's, and I feel like she is right where He wants her to be.

If you want to read about the process and trips, click on Africa in the labels section of the sidebar.

1 comment:

Bonnie VanFossen said...

Thanks for sharing your heart. I have been praying for Mercy, and your family for a long time. But I am confident that He has another child for you. Maybe through foster care, or adoption only He knows. I love you and continue to pray for you. Love Bon (AKA Bonnie VanFossen)