|DRC || January 28, 2013|
Today marks three years since we first met Ty & Levi. It has been three years of laughter, learning, healing, crying, fun, silliness, hurting, and somedays survival (these days are past us... but I still remember them like they were yesterday).
I have never blogged about our trip to Congo. Never shared our story. Or opened up about our trip. There are only a few people who know our experience that happened within those 8 days we were there. I am not sure it was intentional, but I was guarded. I felt some sort of shame because I did NOT love becoming an adoptive mama while I was there. Instead, I felt alone. Hurt. Scared.
HERE IS A PIECE OF OUR STORY.
It is going to have to be told in pieces because I learned so much.
Everyone has such a unique story about the day they met their children for the first time. When adopting older children, there is this unknown, especially if there is also a language barrier. Their past greatly influences their responses and actions. Their hurts and their trauma dictate their motivations and fears. Often we think that there is something magical that they are supposed to feel, some sort of gratitude that they are supposed to have, but really they are feeling afraid. There little lives have only known drastic change and change is difficult for a lot of people, especially children.
Our boys were afraid. In their short little lives, they had experienced so much tragedy and trauma that there was no other reaction that they could have had other then fear. We were simply unprepared to understand their reactions. It is the #1 thing I wished I understood in greater detail when we first met them... their past trumps our excitement. These two sweet little boys were thrust into our arms. We were crying tears of joy and excitement and they had just encountered another person that they were not sure was safe or worthy of trust. We knew we were safe; they truly thought that we were there to hurt them (their words).
How do we forget that they are afraid, that we need to show them we can be trusted, and that we are there to protect their hearts? How do we not realize that we have given them no reason to trust us? How do we forget or not understand that these moments, and many moments to come, are hard for them to comprehend? They just met us, they are not supposed to trust us yet. Their guard is supposed to be up. They are not too young to forget their past. They will carry their past with them for the rest of their lives. We cannot love their past experiences away, as much as we may try, we can only help them cope with the past experiences and allow healing to begin in the deepest, darkest parts of their souls. A journey that we will continue for years to come.
Being on this side of three years ago, we have come to know and understand their previous experiences. We also know and understand the brain and body reaction to trauma. It is not surprising that they were not treated well in the orphanages that they had lived in prior to coming home, nor that there was trauma in the village that they were born into, but the responses towards things was shocking and hard for me to completely understand. It is difficult to not take personally. As a result of the physical abuse that they were accustomed too, their little heads and hearts thought we were going to be the same. That we were just as unworthy of not trusting as those that had hurt them. We would work on this for months upon months until we proved to them that we could be trusted.
Our first meeting was priceless. We quickly scooped up our littles and loved on them with hugs and kisses. Continually in awe that we had actually finally come to the end of our journey of adoption. We gave them candy and simple toys that we had brought with us. Working at getting to know each of them. They grabbed the balls that we had brought along with us and we began our journey towards becoming our unique family. We played outside together, eating bumbas (suckers) and kicking the ball around. By the time dinnertime came around, I quickly realized that we had not yet been able to get to the grocery store that day. I had no food. Only snacks. Frantically trying to figure out what to do, I ran down to where another family was saying and asked for food. No joke, the first thing I ever fed my two little boys was Top Ramen. I remember Todd laughing and promising that I could cook.
As we tucked the boys into bed that night, I was feeling extremely blessed. We had a brilliant first day together. All four of us, snuggled into our little bed and fell asleep. It was the last day we would know peace instead of fear.
But this moment, this day that we experienced three years ago, it was the day that radically changed my life. It is a moment in time that is so engrained in my heart and mind that I will never forget it. I remember the smells, and sounds. The anticipation of the waiting for the car to roll through the gates. I remember the laughter of people who we traveled with, as each of us anxiously waited to meet our little ones for the first time. I remember the joy of those moments. It was the day that God set aside to show me that I needed to change. That I needed to be radically different in my faith. That I needed to have a shift in perspective about his power and his direction for my life. This day was the catalyst for healing within myself and an acknowledgement that God has a very specific direction he was going to take me on. As I sent my boys off to school this morning, I was so thankful for all the turmoil our family has gone through in the journey towards healing. I was truly thankful that these two little faces have shown me how much I need Jesus. I will continue to tell our story. I will continue to share what God did while in Congo... and what miracles have been done because when we share, we allow God to be given the glory for his healing and redemption.