Sunday, September 21, 2014
He was there all the time: Seeing God in desperate times.
I promised myself I wouldn't be one of those adoptive moms that completely disappear from the blogging scene after my 2 kids came home from their foreign land. I was so wrong. It could be that when they came home it was to 7 other siblings, all in school, and our lives were already busy. Add that to my father passing away six weeks after he met the boys, which meant my mother also moved into our house. Between the care these two disabled (but loved so much!) boys required, a mentally failing and physically ill mom who was totally uprooted from her married life now that dad was gone, and finishing major building projects at home, there may have been some stress. Like, all the time. We managed constant medical trips, with mom in tow, and several hospital stays out of town at the children's hospital, a few surgeries the boys needed to recover from, and feeling totally. Overwhelmed. Constantly. Yeah, it was a rough first 6 months. Then mom died after a massive heart attack and stroke that incapacitated her and left her hanging to life for over a week. Then she was gone. Seven short months after losing dad. It just didn't seem fair in January that year to have to grieve so deeply once again, when I hadn't really been free to grieve my dads passing due to everything else I was managing. We buried her just shortly before my own medical issues created more stress, leading to a surgery for me to recover from. Then my son and his family left their home overseas, moved to the states where he had a job but housing situations were not working out, so his wife and kids moved in. They had just completed their own African adoption, bringing home a very sick young boy, who required life saving surgery that his daddy barely made it to, coming half way across the country to be there for his wife and son. Yea, it was stressful for all of us. New kids, teens, two moms and 13 total kids under one roof. Crazy.? Yep. Necessary? Definately. Hard? Very. After a few months, their family was back together (still trying to find housing in their town), and I think I actually went through a nervous breakdown. I felt shaken, scared, a failure and depressed. We moved to the next city over, trying to regroup and remake our family to be the peaceful family we so desired. The move was hard. Extremely hard on all of us. We had cherished the years we had called home that my grandfather and father built with their own hands. But we were struggling with job situations, financial obligations and fear. We stepped into a calculated risk, feeling as if God had given us hope for a new start. Then winter hit. The worst winter since the winter of '78 when I was 17. And the boiler went out in our new house (circa 1904). And we ran out of wood for the fireplace. And our pipes kept bursting so we had no water flowing. And we wished it were all just a dream. We had arranged our mortgages by refinancing so we could technically handle payments for two houses, and once we settled into our new house, we could start repairing the old house and put it on the market just after the first of the new year. Then the nightmare began. The temps outside had dropped to all time lows, so we kept the utilities on at the old house to keep pipes from freezing. We had trouble getting the new house warm (remember 1904) so Mike checked on the old house throughout the weeks during the bad weather. He called me in total shock the week after Christmas. He had trouble opening the front door at the house, so entered by a side door. He could hear the water pouring before he saw the damage. A remote pipe on the second level had frozen, burst, and was pouring water out of the ceiling at an alarming rate. Fan blades were dropping, flooring had buckled and the scene looked like a war zone. It had clearly been flowing for many days. We were devastated at the loss. $35k, not covered by our insurance because it was considered "vacant". However, we lost so much throughout the house that had not been moved. Water stood in the basement, Sheetrock had fallen off the walls and ceilings. Lighting hung dangerously loose and the furnace wasn't working. Mold had begun to grow on windows. The house reeked of old, rotting wood and our hopes of selling the house disappeared. It seemed as if there was no remedy in sight. We began the cleanup, sadly throwing away many things that hurt us physically to sort through and discard. There were dark days of despair wondering how this could be a part of Gods plan for our future. Mike worked through many nights and every weekend through the winter months, trying to restore what was left. It was dismal and depressing. It was our life. We felt consumed and confused. Spring brought longer days, warmer nights and more time to face the repairs. We sought legal counsel. We hung on. Finally, my niece asked us to consider selling the home to her family. Really? It was still far from ready to sell. But she and her husband were okay with the challenge of helping us restore the home, making it beneficial for us all. They moved in by July of this summer. Finally it all started coming together. We won our settlement that would help cover our damages and we are almost complete with the repairs. We are facing winter again, expecting frigid and below normal temps. We couldn't see where this story would end, and yet God carried us through it all, promising to never leave nor forsake us. So, I say all of this to show you a picture of life the past year and 1/2. There have been many highs and lows in this journey but we made it. Kids are all in school full time now, mostly healthy, and all doing well. I started working part time in town as the new children's librarian, and I am excited about the challenges ahead. We have embarked on a final adoption journey, lead by a powerful All Mighty God who delights in our joys, and comforts us in our sorrows. It would be wonderful to say we have patiently awaited this new journey, but in truth, we are chomping at the bit! We pray for Godspeed until we can bring our daughter home, and I plan to be much better at this blogging thing this time. Or not. Thanks for staying tuned in. It's my circus. My monkeys. And I am glad you are along for the ride.