Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Toughest Decision We Have Ever Made

As I start to write this post, I have tears in my eyes and Dena has tears in her eyes.  To just cut right to the heart of the matter, we have decided to walk away from our adoption of Charity/Harper and not bring her home as our daughter.  This has been an excruciating last few days and there are so many feelings that are inside of us both that are difficult to explain, but I will try in this post because we want to ensure that the people that have helped us along the way in prayer, financially or with kind words of support, fully understand what has happened and what is next for Charity.

Dena and I started this journey back in Dec, actually Dec 24th is when we looked at each other in the eyes and said, lets do this AGAIN.  From that day forward, we had trusted that God had a plan and was working this all out to accomplish his plan to his glory.  A simple vision of restoration of children that are tossed aside and thrown away.  We took it step by step with all the fundraising, paperwork and meetings that needed to happen to just get to the point where you can submit everything to the country to then get an appt to travel.  We trusted God all along the way to open the door or close the door.  The door stayed open all this time.  We arrived here in the country over 10 days ago and had a chance to spend 7 days in the city where Charity lives and had the blessing of meeting with her about 12 times in two hour blocks each time.  She was a beautiful little girl, deep brown eyes and dark brown hair.  She had a great smile and loved to drink juice and eat chocolate.  She put on her clothes herself and loved to play with her dolls, even if they were pretty scary looking.  She was walking, talking and very much understanding the nannies as they spoke to her in her native tongue.  She is an incredible little girl.

When we first arrived to meet her, on the first day, we were taken by surprise at all that made up this ball of energy and fire.  We were sitting in the directors office and out of no where, in comes this brown headed lovie like a tornado, totally unexpected by us.  From that point forward, something just didn't seem right.  Dena and I met with her that night and just kept meeting with her for a few days to feel it out and see what would happen.  What we knew is that we had a different feeling than what we felt for Lucy the last time around after we met her and after we spent time with her.  It was just different with Charity for some reason. We were very confused by this and sought out wisdom from a dedicated Christ following couple we know that has adopted 4 times and also has walked away from one adoption.  We wanted to know if what we felt with Lucy was typical and this feeling with Charity was atypical.  Or was the feeling with Lucy atypical and this process of feeling out and being unsure was more normal.  They said that we should give it a few more days and then decide from there.  We trusted their wisdom and discernment and did just that.

In that time, two things happened.  Dena started to feel real love with Charity and I did not.  It was not an issue of her engaging with me or being afraid of me or anything that she did or didn't do.  I know that some might think that would be the case.  I experienced this with Lucy when we first met her.  She did not want any part of me because I was a man and she had never been around men before.  But over a day or so, she warmed up to me and from there I began to deeply love her as my daughter.  With Charity, she was warm to me from the beginning, but the feelings of "this is my daughter" never came for me.  Dena was getting there, her momma love was building for Charity and it was fun to see.  But also agonizing for me to see because I was just not able to feel the same thing for her as Dena.  It was killing me inside to know that the connection was just not there.  I did everything I possibly could to try to make it happen.  I gave it time, I gave it lots of prayer, I gave it real energy and excitement, I gave it light and happiness and I let God have control to the best of my human ability.  Prior to coming to the country, I had spent the past 6+ months praying EVERY SINGLE DAY that God would prepare Charity's heart for us and that he would prepare my heart for Charity to love her as my daughter.  And then Wed morning came around this week and I just fell apart.  

Dena was not feeling well in the morning time for our normal visit, a bit of a tummy ache, so she suggested that I go and see Charity by myself and see if things would click for me with her alone.  She knew what I was struggling with as we were communicating daily about it.  So I went on the walk to the orphanage about 20 min away.  On my way, I talked to God, asking for his presence and comfort and for his super natural love and beauty to find us both in the orphanage that morning, the morning of our 12th visit with her.  I am sure that God was there and present, but the visit was not what I had been longing for.  It started out very bad, with her not wanting to come to me, after wanting to come to me every day previous, even without her seeing Dena.  And just kind of spiraled downwards from there.  It crushed my heart and my soul to the core and broke me.  I broke down crying in the play yard.  I gathered myself and brought her back to the nannies after about an hour of being with her and walked back towards the hotel.  On my way back, I took a detour to stop and talk to God down by the river that goes through town.  It was quiet there and I do my best talking and listening to God in nature.  I spent an hour there, crying, sometimes sobbing over why I could not feel the connection, why could I not find the deep love for her that I had for Lucy last year.  I got angry with God that he was not providing this connection.  That he had brought us all the way here and brought us to the edge and then walked away when I needed him most.  I pulled out my phone and read my bible for a bit, some passages out of Joshua to see if God would speak to me in that moment.  I sat silently to listen and sat and sat and listened and listened.  How I longed for God to move in me and speak in his still calm strong voice.  How I longed to call her my own....

As I walked back to the hotel from this place, the feeling that we needed to stop grew stronger and stronger.  I could no longer keep trying to force something that was not happening.  I had done every possible thing that I thought was in line with what God would want of me and it was just not there.  So as I arrived back in the hotel, Dena and I started to have a long talk about what happened and where I was at.  As I said, she was making great progress in her own love of Charity and it was amazing to watch.  She knew I was having some real issues though and so it came as no great shock to her when I laid out what was going on in my mind and where I was at.  She calmly looked at me with tears in her eyes and said, lets just go for a walk and go the market and get out of the hotel for a bit to clear our heads.  We did that.  And when we came back, actually on the way back from the market, we decided together as a team, that we needed to stop.  She said that she could not expect me to force something that was not there and I of course could not expect her to try to do this alone without me fully on board.  We got back to the room and started making calls and sending emails to different people to let them know what we were thinking and to ask them what we needed to do to start to unwind the process that we had begun.  It was surreal to be making those calls and it was a nightmare that we just wanted to wake up from.  I started to have significant feelings of sadness, guilt, shame, anger, frustration and was sick to my stomach.  Dena as well was feeling sick to her stomach about what we had decided.  The calls were made and the process was stopped.  We did not see Charity again after my visit with her.

The reason I wanted to give you all this level of detail is because, again, I think you deserve it.  You have supported us and Charity in any number of ways.  You deserve to know what happened and what we did to try to change it.  You deserve to know that we gave it all that we knew to give.  And most importantly, you deserve to know it from us/me so you know the truth.

The truth is that as I sit here and write this post, I am broken.  I feel sadness, shame, frustration and guilt to the core of my being as does Dena.  I feel like this is my doing and my fault and feel that I could not do what Charity needed me to.  I feel like I have let her down.  I feel like I have let Dena down, I feel like I have let my family down and I feel like I have let all of you down.  And part of me feels like I have let God down.  It will take some time for Dena and I to process this loss, as that is what this is, a loss.  Even though it is of our own doing, it is still a loss.  We have been preparing for this for 9 +months now.  For those that have adopted before, it is like a natural pregnancy in many ways.  You prepare and wait and then it happens.  Only this time, it just did not happen.  And it is ripping us apart inside.  I am asking God why......

So what is next.  Lets focus on Charity.  She will obviously stay in her orphanage until another family can get things lined up to try to bring her home.  We actually know of a family that has been following this story for all 9 months that may want to adopt Charity.  They have been considering adoption for a few years now off and on, but never felt the final nudge to take the journey.  But something happened the other day when we told them what was happening in our journey.  God moved in them.  They immediately said they wanted to adopt her and have already started the process with Reeces Rainbow to get going.  They have contacted agencies in the US to start the homestudy and are giddy with joy about the prospects of adding Charity to their family.  This was completely unexpected and a wrinkle in the story that makes me wonder what God is really up to.  In the depths of my soul I wanted Charity to be my daughter, as did Dena.  But maybe all along he has had a different plan.  Maybe he has been doing something bigger and better than we could have ever imagined or expected.  I don't know why, how what or when.... But God does.  And if we truely want to call ourselves followers of The Way, then we have to rest in that.  God knows.

As for the issue of money that some of you might have given for this journey, we understand that you gave out of your hearts to us and Charity to see her come home.  We want to honor the intent of that donation and the gift that you entrusted to us, for her.  We will be giving back to Charity and this new family all the money that we are able to give to help bring her home in record time.  We will also be working with this new family in every way possible to help them speed through the process.  We will be helping with paperwork if they need it, helping with the homestudy if they need it and also helping with more fundraising if they need it.  We just want Charity to come home to a family that loves her and she is meant to be with.  And we will do everything and anything we can to make that happen.    

This is still fresh and still very painful.   We would appreciate and covet your prayers for Charity and this new family at this time.  Please ask that God would bless their journey from day one and she would be home with them soon.  If you have questions or want to know more in anyway, please feel free to reach out to me over email.  If you want to express feelings of support or love for Charity,  Dena or I, please feel free to reach out via email or to Dena on Facebook.  If after all of this detail and transparency, you feel the need to be angry or frustrated with us or feel the need to rip into us for making this decision, please keep it to yourself.  We did not go into this adoption with even a remote feeling of regret or hesitation or doubt.  We did not expect this in any way, especially after already having been through the process with Lucy.  This has hit us like a Mack truck and to be frank with you, we really are not interested in hearing from people that are going to judge us and tear us down.  We believe that God has a plan.  And although we have no idea why this was a part of that plan, it will be revealed in time.  We believe that God loves us just as much today as he did one week ago and we will wait expectantly for him to move in our lives as this season comes to an end and the next begins.  We will adopt again, I am sure of it.  But all in God's time.

As a friend reminded me earlier this week, Genesis chapter one starts with these four words....


We will rest in that.....