Hoping to someday find M's brother adopted in the U.S. -
Myckola Oleksandrovych Markov - 8/26/2003

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Little Advice to the Me I was One Year Ago

One year ago today was our first full day as a family of 8.  I was a relieved puddle of mom jello.  Finally I had all of my kids on the same continent, forever.

If I could go back in time and give my one year younger self some advice though, I would say, "Trust your instincts; they are God given.  Don't worry about what people think; God didn't ask them to do this."

Somewhere along the way its been taught that if God means for something to happen then it will be easy and no one will get upset.  We start to question if we made a mistake as soon as things get hard.  I have tried, but could not find the verse that said life would be easy if we did what God asked.

Sometimes God asks us to do impossible, unpopular, uncomfortable things that requires getting angry at injustice, flipping tables and results in people hating you for ruining their comfortable status quo.  And you know what?  Not only is that ok, it can actually be what we were supposed to do.

When I woke up one year ago today, I had no idea the struggle I was about to take on.  The research, the tears, the late nights, the frustration, the pain.  The me of one year ago had absolutely no experience with ESL law, and very little knowledge about Special Education law.  Has it really only been one year?  I feel like I've lived another lifetime in some parallel universe educating myself on ways to help my children.

It has been my great honor to fight for my children.  It is a privilege to be the first person in their life that has taken the time to understand them enough to know what they need, and refused to back down until they got it.  I made a choice to be a mother to these precious little ones who have spent so much time without one.  I have spent a year in meeting rooms, sending emails, researching, and calling everyone I could think of to help me.  We have started therapies, requested evaluations, disagreed with evaluations, requested MORE evaluations, and finally here we are at day 366 looking at some real answers.

I will share more later, but we are looking at another year full of learning new things about how to help our children.  Some of my initial instincts about what was wrong were actually correct.  But I was told "No that's not what's wrong." and I believed it.  But here we are at one year home and I am wishing I had stood my ground and demanded my concerns be given the time and validation they deserved.

This past year has not won me any new friends.
On the contrary, I have lost friends.
Or maybe they weren't really friends to start with if when the reality of trying to get help for my children meant having to take on a broken system made them angry.

I have learned so much about people this past year.  Particularly the ones who warm chairs and pews on Sunday morning.  My deepest hurts have come from those within the church, those I counted on to care.  I can't say I regret what I have learned, but it has been first both shocking and hurtful then second infuriating.  How can anyone who claims to love as Christ loves be ok with what I have seen, with what I have had to fight against?  "The least of these" the ones with no voice should have long been spoken up for.  My reality has once again been shattered.  What I thought was is not.

If I could go back and give myself advice on this morning one year ago it would absolutely something like,

"Hey Erin, I know you are thinking that the struggle is finally over because your kids are home.  Sorry to disappoint you, but the real battle for their future was just beginning when you walked out of those orphanage gates.  I know you don't like to ruffle feathers; that confrontation on any level makes you physically ill, but this year will require you to do all.of.the.things that are outside of your comfort zone over and over and over again.  It will be hard.  It will cost you sleep and disrupt your peace.   So, when you know what is right, do not be afraid to point it out.  Just because someone has a degree in front of their name does not mean they are right; do not be intimidated; stand your ground.  People will lie, so record every meeting and trust no one to do what they say.  I know this sounds like a fresh level of hell, and it will be.  But there will be joy intertwined with the struggle.  These children could grow up to do great things.  Their talents and gifts are hidden.  Those who do not take the time to care will miss the brilliance hidden in your children because its smeared with trauma.

Find it.

You may feel as though you lost your church, again.  
It will hurt, again.  
But your worth is not found in a membership or the number of Sundays spent sitting in service.  The judgement you feel is not from God.  Those who do not take the time to come alongside you do not have the right to judge your heart.  Do not hesitate to act for fear of angering those who are committed to not wanting to understand.  "When the church is not for those who are hurting, the church is not for Christ."       

Take the time to love even when you are exhausted from fighting.  Remember who you are fighting for.  Do not take the stress out on the ones you are doing this for.  Focus your anger at the injustice and go after it.  Do not listen to those who tell you this is a fight you cannot win.  Do not listen.  They sit and offer words of discouragement, but what value do their words have?  You know what it is to stare in the face of the impossible and accomplish it.  No one knows what you have been called to do therefore they cannot understand it.  Your prayers for wisdom will be answered.  When you hear a whisper in your heart, listen to it even if it seems crazy because God hears you and when you seek to do what is right He will guide you.  God will send help, but it will never be in the form you expected.  Do not be afraid to trust your instincts and listen to the whispers of hope.  Always try one more time."  




SammE said...

You are a strong brave woman, and I've been reading your words and admiring your family for a year now. And although I'm far away, I hope to count as a supporter and friend of a sort. :) I do wish I lived nearby so I could be of help. But I'm here, cheering you on, saddened by the nonsense you've had to endure.

daniellem02 said...

Wow. I am sorry that you had to go through all of that. Please know that I am praying for you and your family.

Unknown said...

Awesome post Erin! It is so very hard when the people you thought supported you don't come along beside you. And the church, wow, now there is where we have really been let down. Thank you for being strong and courageous!


We witness a miracle every time a child enters into life; but those who make their journey home across time and miles, growing within the hearts of those who wait to love them,are carried on the wings of destiny; and placed among us by God's very own hands. --Kristi Larson