I’m quite certain I’ve cried more over the past month than I have in the last ten years, combined.
(I’m predicting a real good year for Kleenex stockholders.)
I haven’t talked a lot on this blog about our impending adoption of an older girl from Uganda. I touched on it here and there, but all the detailed updates have been posted on our adoption blog. I’m not connecting the two blogs at this point, for safety and privacy reasons. But I’m finding that I have more to talk about than can be fitted onto one format. There are some things I’d rather say here than there, and vice-versa.
(Maybe I’m a schizophrenic blogger: one personality there, one personality here??? LOL)
In a nutshell, my husband and I flew to Uganda on January 17th and returned together a week later. It was the longest, shortest, most life-changing week of our lives. And yes, we finally met our daughter, after two long years of relationship building via email, phone and letters.
And she is even prettier and sweeter in person and we just so immensely enjoyed hugging her and loving on her and getting to know her better. We’re praying hard that she is back home with us by the end of March.
But back to the tears.
You should first know that I am not an “easy crier.” I’m just not. Never have been. I don’t find pride in that — it’s quite a shame, really, the extent I’ve gone in life sometimes to avoid tears. I remember telling a therapist once that I was afraid to start crying because if I did, I might never stop. She assured me that would not be the case, ever. And of course, she was right…you get it out and you move on. But I can honestly say that I have not had a single day in the past month that’s been tear-free. Not one.
They started well before I left because I thought I was going to be in Uganda for a month or two and I’d never left my kids that long. It was breaking my heart in ways I didn’t know it could be broken. I sobbed through every shower, before bed, whenever I had moments alone the tears would start welling up automatically. It was tough.
Then the tears came again when a certain someone close to me called a few hours before our flight and completely went off on me for going through with this adoption. It was devastating on so many levels, and I’m still reeling from it, and subsequent conversations, actually. And God is just going to have to heal that mess Himself because I’m pretty near the end of what I can do to make it better.
The waterworks bubbled up again on the drive from Entebbe to Kampala, when I came face-to-face with poverty I’d only ever seen in pictures.
They stung my eyes when I met my daughter, but I sucked them back because she was being brave and strong and I wanted to be, too. Later that night, they flowed again freely as I wondered what she thought of us and if we had we shown proper respect to her birth mother.
They were squeezed down my cheeks through the wee hours that night, as I hunched over the toilet bowl, throwing my guts up in the worst stomach malady I’ve ever experienced (that would linger with me all week).
They popped up at random times as we learned about and saw our daughter’s world. As we saw, smelled, touched the struggles she’s always known and they became real to us, too. As we met the most incredible people, giving up everything to make a difference for kids who have nothing.
And my husband and I were both in tears as he bought ice cream for street kids whose clothes were so dirty, you couldn’t tell what color they’d originally been, who stared at that icy-cold treat as if it were gold and kneeled down to say thanks.
Kneeling to us. Who are we to be knelt to???
We are nobody.
They’re welling up as I revisit that memory, and every day they flow to various degrees as I go back to Uganda a thousand times in my mind.
As a friend said, I’ve been wrecked — but in the most wonderful way. And she’s right. My heart’s been smashed into a million pieces but I’d gladly lay it out there again.
(Maybe I’m a schizophrenic masochist blogger?)
Nah. I’ve just finally discovered — and embraced — the beauty of brokenness.
And God is using this broken couple to give a family to a child who’s lived far too long without one and to begin a ministry to orphans that I hope will continue long after we’re dead and buried.
So it is a good thing, this daily crying, even if it feels only painful.
It’s an odd feeling to welcome pain. I guess in some ways, it’s like spiritual labor — you welcome the pain of childbirth because you know it’s going to be worth it in the end. I’ve been researching the area our daughter’s currently living in, mostly by reading blogs of missionaries who’ve lived there. And I truly have been mortified by some of the things I’ve read.
I’ve also been in awe of what she (and we, while we were there) has been spared from: encounters with cobras and mamba snakes, spider bites that leave dime-sized oozing holes in the skin, severe rat and ant infestations, jiggers. I read about a horrible incident just a few blocks from her current home, where a baby was killed in a car crash and the locals took it upon themselves to stone to death the driver of the taxi responsible — and succeeded. The military had to come set off tear gas to break up the crowd. That was just a few months ago. And then there is always the threat of malaria and other insect- or water-borne illnesses, and all the diseases she isn’t immunized against, like measles.
And not too long ago, all the kids in her orphanage were horrified to learn that a local boy was sold by his uncle to witchdoctors who used him for human sacrifice.
These witchdoctors prey on vulnerable kids, and pay people to lure children their way. And I think of all those sweet kids we met, their soft-spoken ways and I want to gather them all under my wings and protect them. But, I can’t, so I pray to a God who can.
And, of course, I weep.
So if you see me crying, feel free to ask about it. And if you’d rather not know, then just pass me a Kleenex and remember me in your prayers. Because I don’t see this river of tears stopping anytime soon.
But honestly, that’s OK by me.