Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Misery Lasts for a Moment, Or Two Years

The first of the three things I wish I had known from yesterday was, "The misery is temporary."  It won't feel like it at the time, but I promise, it is.

When I first brought Hannah home I truly had no idea what I was doing.  My expectation was lightyears away from my reality.  The two were so entirely different that I couldn't reconcile them.  My days were exhausting.  She was infuriating.  Life was miserable.

The worst part?  Having no hope that things would ever get better.  

Hopelessness was a powerful emotion, one I had never experienced before.  I was spending lots of time in prayer.  I was committed to raising this kid and I was stubborn enough to do it.  I had accepted the fact that she was awful and that this whole experience was going to be dreadful.  I told God that I would see this through.  I would give her the next nine years.  That's what I needed to get her through high school.  Nine years.  The end of my tunnel had a light.  It was a long way off, but at least it was there.

Imagine how this all must have felt.  Here I was with my third-grader looking forward to the day she graduated!  She was in third-grade!  That's some real emotion right there.  That's what months in the trenches with these kids will do to you.

I will tell you, seven years later I can't remember how raw those emotions were, I only remember that I felt them.  The intensity goes away, but I remember they were intense.  I've not felt those kinds of emotions since the beginning with Hannah.  The next two didn't have the same impact on me.  I had grown to love Hannah so deeply, that I no longer feared the next one would never change.  I had seen the change in Hannah and I knew that time would do the same for Ashley and Amy.

Two years.  You know how I preach the two year mark.  I think it's magical.  It's not a set day and it may come a little sooner or a little later for different kids, but there is something about two years.  I didn't come up with that number on my own.  When I was in the thick of the mess with Hannah, I had the opportunity to speak frequently with another adoptive mom.  She was a friend of my sister and she was a lifeline for me.  She had walked my valley and had seen the mountaintop waiting on the other side.  You know when she said I would be able to see it?  Two years.  And she was right.

A few words of wisdom regarding the trenches, it won't last forever.  It only feels like it at the time.

As I look around at the three daily surrounding me, I can't imagine a day without them.  God's faithfulness is evident in each of them.  I'm so thankful for that.  The mountaintop is a great place to be, but I'd have never been able to experience it without that valley.

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