The journey has been long and it has been a roller coaster ride for the last month or so, but in the end, God is working through it all for good. The best, most happy good is that Charity has a new family that is committed to her, is paper work ready and is hoping to have her home before the end of the year. We could not be more thrilled for this family and most importantly for Charity. We are just so overjoyed that she is going to be coming home. Here is the beautiful family that has given of themselves for Charity:
Over the last month or so, our home has been a pretty dark place. As I did in the last post, I am just going to bare all and be as transparent as possible so that everyone knows where things have been going and maybe someone else can learn from our journey and road. What we have learned over the last month or so is that others have traveled this road before us, as if often the case, but because of the shame and guilt that surrounds this road, people don't talk about it. We have come to believe that this attitude and mindset is wrong. If we ever are going to learn, we need to share with each other, even if it means exposing some deeply personal feelings and emotions. So that is what we will do.
When we arrived home, the first two weeks of being back in the US were dark and incredibly scary for our family. I sunk pretty deep into a hole that seemed impossible to climb out of. The feelings I described in my last post only intensified over those two weeks, specifically Shame and Guilt. Shame was the biggie and Guilt was not far behind in all that I was thinking and doing. Nothing else seemed to matter in life but how horrible of a person I was for letting Charity go. How shallow I was for not being able to love her. How sad I was for picking my feelings over hers, a child, who has nothing. This despair and sadness started as we left the country and only intensified as we landed in the UK for a layover for our flight. We had to stay over night there and the first feelings of deep shame and guilt were born there. We were back to our lives, back to food, a clean bed, a hot shower, etc... And Chartiy was sitting back in that orphanage, waiting for a family to love her. We even had a hard time eating the first few days, feeling intense feelings of guilt and shame when looking at "normal" food.
As we got back home into the US, we immediately flew to pick up our girls at my sisters house and the out pouring of love from them was incredible and sorely needed. Even though they loved us and spoke love and truths to us, I still was sinking deep into a depressive state. Then for the next number of weeks, I was a mess. Rarely talking to Dena, not playing with the girls, going threw the motions at work, not having the energy to workout, not having the desire to do my morning quiet time with prayer and talking to God. Nothing. I was numb. I was angry, resentful, sad, confused, shamed, guilt ridden and dark. The last thing I wanted to do was talk to God or any human as I thought myself to be lower than scum All I could think about everyday, all day, was why did this happen to us and why did I not love this little girl? Why did the feelings that I had for Lucy not come for Charity? What is wrong with me? What lesson could possibly be learned from this heartache and why is Charity having to pay the price for my human fallibility?
As the weeks went on, I started to grab a hold of reality day by day and start to find my way back, but back to what or where, I was not sure. All the while, Dena was a rock for me, for the girls and for our home in general. She held it all together, when I was falling a part. What an intensely beautiful human being she is and no words can describe the love I have for her for not judging, not telling me to pick it up, not shaming me, not finding fault in me... But instead, just loving me for the flawed man that I am.... Incredible.... She did not choose this path, but yet she stuck with me and loved me just the same, that is a woman of true character and love, the very definition of a woman who walks in the footsteps of Christ.
Then, one evening, after a long day of the same darkness, I just felt like it was time. I told myself on that Sunday night, that I needed to be done with all this darkness and tomorrow morning I was just going to start over, one day at a time, not trying to figure out the plan, but just live in it everyday and see what happens. So the next morning, Monday, I walked downstairs at 515am, sat in the dark living room and just gave myself back to God to work. I didn't have really anything to say, so I just cried a lot and asked why. I had nothing to give. But just came as I was, broken, beat up and shamed to the core. And God met me there. He met me in the darkness, in the shame, in the guilt and gave me peace. I picked up my bible and started in Matthew, randomly. I read till chapter 5 and that is when God hit me with this verse, " You're blessed when you are at the end of your rope. With less of you, there is more of God and his rule." That is what I needed to read. God knew it and after I read it, I knew it. I needed to let go of the shame, the guilt, the sadness and just let God work. Harder said than done, but I needed to try.
Later that morning as I prepared for meetings in the city, I walked up to Dena, read her the verse, told her it was a new day, kissed her and I felt a sense of relief from her, a weight lifting off her that she did not have to carry the load any more. Later that day God worked again, showing me that this is not about me, but how I can serve others everyday, even if others does not include brining home Charity. He gave me two chances to help others that day I went into the city and I clearly saw once again, how powerful serving can be for lifting us out of dark times. I was blessed to do God's work that day and was hit across the forehead with a simple realization that had somehow slipped away from me in all my shame and guilt and anger and fear: We are simply the vessel. Nothing more, nothing less. God wants to work through us to bring peace to others, to bring happiness to others, to bring love and hope to others. That is our mission. Not to have the plan, but to just walk in surrender everyday to whatever the plan turns out to be. And in that surrender is peace and contentment with who we are and the path that we are asked to walk.
After these experiences in the city that day, I knew that I was on the right path back, but God only confirmed that one more time after Dena and I went to meet with a Christian counselor to help us process the feelings we were having about stopping the adoption. This counselor opened up our eyes to some things that were very much profound and important. And through him, I believe God was speaking to me about working on some deep issues that have been with me for some time. Issues that need to be flushed out for me to grow, to be a better husband and a better father. Issues that I would likely never addressed if not for this adoption process and a little girl named Charity.....
After I started to come out of the haze and funk, it was time for Dena to process and experience her feelings of sadness, grief, pain, resentment, anger, frustration and questioning. She needed a few weeks as well to really sit with these feelings and start to see her way through them. Again, she was not the one that wanted to go in the direction we went. She stood by me in the decision, but was in no way in the same place as me. So for her, this was a very different experience and one that she needed to work through in her own way. She cried alot. She became more quiet and reserved. She didn't talk to friends very much or family. She just distanced herself from the world, while still giving her all to caring for our two little girls that we have at home. It was not easy to watch her go through it, but I tried to give her the same space and time that she gave me. The time to let go of this loss and look for God in it. Ultimately she did pull out of the darkness and just like me, is slowly making her way back to living a life fully committed to what God wants of her.
Over the past month, we have seen God's hand working all around us, having used this horribly sad story for incredible beauty. Again, first and foremost, a family has stepped up and committed to adopting Charity and is very far down the path already to brining her home. They have other kids with Down Syndrome already, have adopted already and seem to be a great fit for her, from what we know of both them and Charity. Second, it seems through this story and even through this blog, it is coming out more and more that others have struggled with this issue that I faced in this adoption and so we have been able to help other people talk about their struggles and give light to the situations they face. To allow people to talk to us and not feel ashamed for their feelings. Third, through this story, we have had a number of people talk to us about adoption and two or three new families are now committing to bringing children home. And we have even had a few conversations where families were healed in some way in relationships because of reading this story. Let be crystal clear on this.... None of these things happened because of us. All of these things happened because God worked through us in different ways than we had thought or planned for. When there was less of us, there was a bunch more room for him.
See that is what we are learning more and more through this pain. We are learning that as we listen to God more, especially in the very difficult times, he shows us the path little by little. Kind of like little bread crumbs while walking on the path. He reminds us that it is not about us. It is about what he is doing through us. This was not a story about how Rob and Dena Sader were adopting a little girl. This was story about how God was going to use Rob and Dena Sader as his messengers to bring about a much larger plan. This was a story about how God was going to bring more people to adoption. This was a story about how God was using this plan to heal relationships This is s story about how God was using this plan to help us see changes that needed to be made in me. And this is a story of a little girl going to exactly the home that God had planned for her all along.
One of the first questions that people ask us as we tell this story, is why do we think this all happened this way. What we continue to learn everyday is that is not a question of why, because we will never have that answer likely. So what is the right question to ask then? We believe now more than ever, the right question to ask is how. How is God going to use me TODAY. That is it. It does not matter why. We don't get the blueprint upon request, as so many of us would like to have. We get a promise. A promise that if we become the vessel, that we will have a deep, meaningful relationship that will rise above any question of why. And bring us to peace in just being exactly where we need to be for God to work through us that day.
That being said, we will not stopping fighting for Charity until she comes home for good. We are committed to helping raise money for the Watkins family to finish up the adoption process quickly and also have supported them in other ways during their commitment process. Charity has about $15k in her fund already from the money that we gave back, both from our own pocket and from the donations that we received. They need a few thousand more and we will not stop until they get there. We are going to be helping in every way possible to make sure that Charity makes it home to Wyoming to a family that will love her, support her, feed her, clothe her and giver her every opportunity to thrive in a real home that was meant specifically for her.
This is God's story and we are just the vessel's......