congo lesson #1.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

congo brought some of the hardest times i have ever experienced... along with some of the most beautiful things i have ever experienced.  please know that i loved & cherish our time in congo.  for what i learned, i would not change one heartbreak because of what i gained.

congo lesson #1.
he (my Jesus) makes all things new.

after our first meeting with the boys, things got rather difficult.  in a way that none of us (our agency included) expected.  we all had thought that levi would have been hard for us, but it was titus who brought us crashing to our knees, tears streaming down our faces, begging for his pain to end.  i cannot give adequate understanding to the scene that happened & in all honesty, i have contemplated sharing this with you all, but i am hoping that one person might read this & realize that they are not alone in their pain and struggles.  (something we needed in those first few days). it was a moment in time that i hated & learned so much though.

our day began beautifully.  with little fear and trepidation... we ran head on into our new crazy life.  our boys are ACTIVE.  they love to run.  play football (aka soccer).  they were already testing boundaries.  in all honesty, i was scared and had no clue as to how to handle the situation.  i felt like i was continually putting out fires.  making sure little hands were not getting hurt or going where they were not supposed too.  trying my hardest to make the smooth transition into our newest members of our family.  in a moment of desperation and need for containment, we decided to take the boys swimming.  off to test the idea of water with them.

our adventure was met with big smiles.  lots of splashing.  tons of giggles.  after all was said and done, we felt that we had made some success in bonding with the two of these little guys.  BUT once we got back to the hotel, we saw a completely different side of titus.  please know that titus is such a sweet boy.  with a sweet smile.  and a sweet heart.  BUT his heart is bruised and broken.  and in the next few hours we started to see that broken heart. & it was in this time that we thought... what the heck have we done to our family.

something set him off, looking back at it i really think that it was the fact that he was having fun, or maybe it was because we told him "no" to something... but he cornered me into the bathroom.  started to push me.  hit me.  & scream.  all i could do was try to calm him down.  todd & i stood there with him while he pressed, pushed, & jumped clear over testing boundaries.  things like trying to get into the toilet, continuing to push me, grabbing things off the counter.  tears streamed uncontrollably down my cheeks.  he was hurting.  i couldn't help.  i couldn't fix him.

we made it out to the front room where we had a little bit more space.  he continued to push us away with one hand and pull us closer with the other hand.  i realized it is exactly what i do to God.  i pull him close all the while pushing him away.  this was the moment that adoption being the gospel became real.  it's the moment that adoption became war (as russell moore calls it).  it was the moment that i realized the battle over titus heart.

after our big meltdown i was afraid to go back to the pool.  terrified that it was the trigger.  it makes no sense i know, but it was the last thing we did before he melted down.  but the next day,  titus & i were running around the complex, exploring the grounds & we happened upon the pool.  i tried not to get worried.  tried to simply ride it out.  he was so interested in the water again.  we put our feet in. {okay Jesus help my heart settle down}.  then he wanted to get in on the steps. {please Jesus not another meltdown.  i am all by myself.  who will hear my cries for help}.  so off with the shirt.  and onto the steps. {oh yeah.  you hear my cries Jesus.  let this be healing for titus}.  he repeatedly threw water over him. {he's yours not mine anyway}.

my heart wanted deeply to allow that water to be healing.  to cleanse him of all that he has seen.  the harsh reality of living on the streets.  the fights he has had for his life.  for food.  for survival.  i wanted it to wash away his fear.  to cleanse his soul.  the splashing of the water seemed so symbolic.  it caused me to beg for healing.

i knew that the water alone could not do that, so as he continually splashed, i continually prayed that God would...

wash away hard memories.
wash away fears.
heal his broken heart.
bring comfort.
give trust.
give love.
simply heal.

i cried.
& captured the sweetness of the moment.
i kept telling him... don't worry buddy... JESUS WINS.
here are some of my most precious pictures from our trip.

titus gary clement roughton... JESUS WINS.  he will create new in you.  he will heal you.  he will bless you.  he will wipe way your fears.  he will love you.  we will love you.  forever.  welcome to our little family buddy.


  1. Sweet friend, thank you for sharing this. I will pray for Titus and for all of you. We have applied for adoption to Congo, but until recently, had no funds to get a home study or start paying fees to the agency. Now, the home study can be done. I have appreciated your story since first seeing your blog on Give One Save One. I so appreciate hearing your story and whatever you feel right to share.

  2. This "the moment that adoption being the gospel became real" just undid me. Thank you for the raw... xo

    1. it was a hard moment for me in congo. it was the moment that i saw how God is at war for my heart. it was hard to realize.

  3. Hi, I don't know if you remember me from University Fellowship in Eugene. We adopted a 7 year old boy, Ryland. I think I found your blog from something a friend put on FB about your fundraiser, and have appreciated reading about your adoption journey. Although our situation is different, I relate to many of the thoughts and feelings you have, and have kept you in my prayers as I read your blog (meant to post sooner!) Our Ryland struggled a lot with angry tantrums( hitting, biting, screaming, kicking, throwing things, mostly at me)-- he was so scared-- and it was really hard some days.. way better 2 years later, God is good, and we are ALL growing. I just saw your pic on the FB group Trust based parenting,it's a good group and the Karen Purvis book has been my favorite book about adoption. I pray God is giving you strength and peace and wisdom and look forward to hearing more as you write. Congratulations and God bless your family!

    1. of course i remember you & Ryland. Someone added me to that group... trust based parenting. i have so appreciated reading others remarks an journeys on that board (when i get a free moment). thanks for praying. we NEED it. and it is so nice to not be alone.

  4. reading this in tears!! beautiful post about the reality of brokenness and pain and healing...stopping to pray now for your sweet boys and your entire family.


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