I would say, "2016, I expected so much more from you. Sure, 2015 was worse in theory--but my expectation was for 2015 to be bad. I expected good from you, 2016. You let me down."
And 2016, being the jerk that he is, would say something surprisingly awful. I would have an expectation of remorse and resolution, because that is what I hoped for 2016, but I would somehow still be surprised by how my expectations would go unmet.
It started out with such hope--like the eyes of young Kate Winslet suggest---and enthusiasm--like Will Smith's energetic smile suggests.
But here I am, wondering how everything could have gone so far left of my hopes and expectations.
I haven't really shared much about our adoption journey because it has just been too hard.
I have been focusing this year on learning who I am and who I know God to be. There was a point this summer where I spoke audibly to the Lord, "What do you want from me? How should I respond to all of this? If you want me to smile and nod and say, 'God is in control!' you have the wrong girl!"
Going back to 2015, when we originally left Honduras, I was devastated. At that point adopting Papa was not at all a possibility. We knew that the Lord was calling us home and we obeyed. The grief I felt in 2015 left me at many times paralyzed.
I don't know how I managed to get through the year.
However, early on, it became a possibility to hope. The government issued a statement that made it possible to petition to adopt Papa based on the attachment that had formed in the first year of his life to our family. We slowly inched our way into that possibility.
In September of 2015 we suffered another devastating blow in losing Anthony. I really sunk into despair during this time because I just could not find the meaning in this loss. Suffering is manageable, I think, if I can wrap my mind around why I am suffering. But the minute suffering is for sport, it just becomes unbearable. I had lost one child and I didn't want to lose another. Waiting for an adoption seemed impractical, unrealistic, and insufferable. I just wanted my arms around all my babies. I couldn't lose another child.
I remember in December of last year, I told Kyle that I just didn't think I could keep going like we were.
He asked me to be present emotionally for the kids during Christmas and afterward we would make a plan for 2016.
My heart was wrapped around going back to Honduras. I could have my family under one roof. I could hold them in my arms. I could keep them safe. All of my anxiety fed this need to return. The uncertainty paired with my powerlessness against all that made me uncertain, made me want to lock ourselves away in a bubble.
I felt abandoned. To be honest, I sometimes still do. I feel so vulnerable and powerless, knowing that I have no control over what I value most in this world--my family.
However, we didn't go back. Kyle and I committed to a month of prayer and fasting and after that month we both knew that we weren't supposed to go back. It was all I wanted. And I heard, "No."
In February I went back to Honduras to fulfill my responsibilities of returning every 6-8 weeks and to wrap my arms around my son.
As I pried my crying son's arms from my neck as I left for the security check point at the airport, I told God, "Your move. This is not okay."
I can never put into words what it feels like to leave.
It never becomes okay.
I've learned to push through--the feelings never catch me by surprise anymore--they are old. familiar ghosts that haunt me when someone asks to take a picture of our family and he is not there.
When I returned from that trip, Kyle and I decided that we were going to pursue Papa, not sure at all what that meant.
3 days later I received an unprompted phone call from our adoption agency, I'll never forget what they said, "Mrs. Murray, we have decided to take 10 families for our pilot program for Honduras and your case is one of those 10. We believe that your case has the potential to be successful."
She went on to tell me how much it would cost and I laughed to myself. The adoption and the cost were both likened to hunting unicorns to me. However, if God opened doors I would walk through them.
This is the part of the year where hope sparkled and enthusiasm busted.
I believed 2016 would bring our family together.
Kyle and I made the tough, but strategic, decision, for the kids and I to stay in Honduras for the entire summer while Kyle stayed home.
The three months I lived in Honduras without Kyle were three of the hardest months of my life.
I was hopeful that I would be able to bring Papa home at the end of the summer. It was unrealistic; but God was opening doors faster than what seemed realistic so hope poured out of me like a child.
However, not only did he not come home with us, but we had to acknowledge that this adoption may never be a reality.
At that point, all those moments where God had told me no or taken what I valued from me came flooding my memory.
People would say, "You know God is in this. You just have to trust Him"
I still huff when I write those words.lie
Yes, I know God is in this.
I trust God is in this.
I also know that God doesn't always give me what I want and that sometimes His bigger plan for redemption means that I hurt.
And all the while, watch my kids suffer. They love their baby brother.
I was forced with deciding whether or not I was going to choose to praise Him in all circumstances, still trusting that what is happening is His will, or feel abandoned by Him.
I just wanted my baby.
I gave him his first bottle. I gave him his first bath. I cleaned placenta from his body and cared for his infected belly button. I sang to him and prayed over him--every day of his life, minus one. No part of me wanted to accept that God may have a plan of redemption that is outside of him being mine.
But here we were. God asking me if I trust Him, if I am willing to say He is all I need, if I am willing to give up control.
It still makes me cry, because I face my lack of control in this issue and a million others everyday.
I'll never forget the moment I surrendered.
I was outside at Kacey's apartment hanging laundry.
My kids were playing in our apartment next door and I was alone with God and soggy clothes.
As I hung a pair of tiny shorts on the line, I said an audible, "Okay."
It wasn't big or boisterous. My arms weren't wide open. I just surrendered.
I accepted that God was with me. Earlier in the summer, a friend of mine, Kathy, shared a vision the Lord had given her.
She saw me on the edge of an ocean with all of my kids around me. And as we looked out at the ocean we saw a wave heading towards us. It was obvious, somehow in only the way God can make things obvious, that it was a tidal wave of grief. I bent down to protect myself and my children from the impending crash but as I bent down, the Lord told me to stand up and watch what he was going to do. Just as the wave was set to crash, it split. And we were standing on dry ground.
I knew the Lord had promised dry ground. But he hadn't promised Papa. I wanted Papa. I wasn't sure I wanted to accept dry ground without Papa. But in that moment, I surrendered.
If dry ground meant no Papa, then I would trust Him.
It wasn't long after that moment that I was pulling out suitcases. Papa would sit on the suitcases and shake his head no. He knows.
After exactly 90 days in Honduras, we left...again.
Except for this time I left without any ounce of hope that Papa would be mine. September, October, November, and December were full of moments where God would open doors and then another screeching halt. However, we now have assurance that Papa is meant to be with us.
And now, as 2016 comes to a close, I am exhausted.
I spent exactly 6 months of this year in Honduras.
I have spent the entire year torn in two. Nothing makes that more literal than the time split.
I read somewhere that JOY = LOVE - FEAR. I have no clue what 2017 holds, but I know that I have to let go of fear if I truly want to have the Joy of the Lord to be my strength and I anticipate needing strength.
Thank you to everyone that has poured into me and my family during the past couple of years. I have felt needier than I have ever felt in my entire life. I feel like I have failed at so many things in the wake of trying to survive. I'm sorry for not being myself. Thank you for carrying me and pushing me to continue.
The best gift I am still, somehow taking with me from this year is Hope.
I am praying that 2017 is a year of hopes fulfilled for so many of us.
|This is my Hope Fulfilled...|