Last Saturday, I posted a little of what Anah has been up to in the last month. But I didn't share a lot of what was going with me, mainly because it was still a little too raw. But as I have committed to being as honest as possible in my writing and journey, I know that I cannot skip over or hide the difficulties. So if you will permit me, I hope to put thoughts into words, if not for your benefit, for my own. This past month has been probably the most difficult for me as I have had to face what I wasn't quite expected to face: grief. I don't know when it dawned on me, but I think it was when I was looking at the moms at our church with all their new little babies. As I looked at them, I realized that they would grow up and one day surpass Anah. They would be able to do things that she would never be able to do. They would grow up to have families and bear children and be mommies and daddies.
I think that was when I began my grieving journey. Whether or not you ascribe to the whole "stages of grief" idea, I know that I went through many of those stages. At first, I began by denying that things would be that bad. We already saw how smart Anah was and how quickly she picked things up. Surely she would be able to do something, right?
When it became evident that things were not going to progress as I expected, I began to feel anger. I felt angry at God for asking us to do this. I felt angry at my husband and children for even suggesting that we pursue this. I felt angry at Anah for messing up our "good life" with her toileting habits and her slowness. I felt angry at those who wrote her documents making her sound and look like she was far more advanced than she was. I felt angry at myself for not being able to spend the time I needed for my other children. Let's just say I was really mad.
The past few weeks I would have to say that I skipped the bargaining stage and went straight to being depressed. As I looked at my future all I could see was being chained to Anah. No weekends away with my husband because she will always need someone to watch out for her. Vacationing and traveling may even be out of the question for now with her unpredictable toilet habits. Endless doctor and therapy appointments to fill our already full schedule. Relax? Forget it. That is a thing of the past. Even ministries I enjoyed seem like it will tax me beyond what I can handle.
I think what depressed me most was the loneliness. I had already felt like I didn't fit in. We didn't live near our church family because we cannot afford living in that area. We chose not to play in our church's basketball program, leaving us out of the loop there. We championed ideas like rest and solitude, which we have been told is "a nice idea but we have other things to do." And then on top of that, we homeschooled! What weirdos.
So when all these feelings came up, I didn't know where to go with it. My husband was already bearing so much. I didn't want to burden him with more. Yes, I knew I could talk to God about them, but to be honest, I was rather mad at Him for getting us in this mess in the first place, so I wasn't really talking to Him. I didn't know who else would be able to bear the weight of these negative thoughts and feelings. And so they just festered in me, dragging me down in every way: spiritually, relationally, emotionally and physically. Especially hard was Sunday when I had to put on my smiley face when others praised me for doing something so good. I felt like a total hypocrite.
Finally, on Sunday, I couldn't hold it back anymore and finally let the tears come when everyone else was asleep. I didn't go into hysterics, but I did let them out. I didn't sleep much that night, but I knew that I had finally had a chance to acknowledge and admit my grief. Up till then, I had not realized that even in doing something I know is in God's will, I will also have to let many other things die. Things like my freedom. Friendships. Dreams. Goals. Wishes. My time. My space. A pretty little family. It seems like God is using this to not only benefit Anah but to scour off all that is temporal, vanity and pure selfishness in me. And that process hurts.
As with all journeys, this is only one stage of it. Even now, I still feel that hard edge of bitterness. I have been on this road with God long enough to know that this isn't the end. I will most likely go through this again and again and again. Even as I crawl back on my face to Him, I know that I can either fight Him or work with Him. I am so glad that He takes us back for second (and third and fourth...) chances, and that even in my ugliness He has not abandoned me.
Thanks for reading and for so many of your prayers for our family. Thanks for letting me be honest and truthful in our adoption story. I hope you'll keep reading and praying because we're going to need it. My ultimate prayer is that He be glorified in spite of us. God bless you.