Friday, October 26, 2012

Breaking Chains

I haven’t written much about our day-to-day struggles as mother and daughter. I haven’t written them down for personal reference and I haven’t written them down for anyone else to read publically. I have written about the bigger victories and our good days (what we all want to hear about, right?) but I have neglected the hard things. Part of me regrets that I haven’t shared and then the other part of me wants to forget some of the horrible days and nights we have had since Phoebe Kate has become apart of my forever family.

At the same time I have this lingering thought that people should hear the truth regarding what goes on in the day to day lives of the adopted child once they join their forever family. While we do have some GREAT days, we also have days that send me into total oblivion. Some days make me question if I made a horrible mistake… and some days I know this so right.

Tonight brought back a flood of emotions and memories for me. – Bedtime routine.

This used to be a dreaded and awful task. I’m not sure when it stopped being so bad, but tonight I smiled at how peaceful and normal we have become :)

I can remember nights of fights through sitting on the potty, getting spit at while brushing teeth, bath time full of screams and hitting… and it didn’t stop there. She would tease me with putting on jammies… making me think the battle was over for the night. Lying down was where it really got ugly. Phoebe Kate just did not want to lie down. She fought me to the bitter end just to get her head to lie on a pillow or in my lap. She did not want to fall asleep. Sometimes tantrums would last 2-3 hours before she would give in to total exhaustion. When she finally did pass out from exhaustion she was tormented while she slept. Many others and myself spent countless hours praying over Phoebe Kate as she fought demons and darkness in her sleep. One of the phrases I can remember hearing repeated and saying myself over and over again was “Lord we need you to break the chains in this sweet child’s life. We believe that you will in Jesus’ name.” It was a horrifying experience for everyone involved. I just could not fathom as a child having to walk what she was walking through… so much change, transition. She went from having to be ridiculously independent at 2 years old, forming bonds and always breaking them and fighting for her own survival to a totally different way of life. 

Phoebe Kate in March 2012 (photo credit Max Zoghbi)
I believe the enemy preys on children who do not have parents fighting for them. And the enemy had a hold of my little girl. He had her believing at 2 years old that she was alone in this world and that she could never trust anyone. --- 8 months of daily love, prayer, discipline, singing God’s promises over her life, and just having a Momma has transformed my daughter. I see Jesus breaking chains in her life everyday… I see a growing, thriving, and amazing little girl who I believe whole-heartedly will be a mighty warrior for God’s kingdom. I love who she was, who she is and who she is becoming.

Tonight bedtime was not scary for Phoebe Kate. We bathed, brushed our teeth, put our jammies on, read The Very Hungry Caterpillar and she lay on my chest as we said our nighttime prayers. It wasn’t long before her eyes were closed and she is still resting peacefully beside me.

Now I know that tomorrow she will probably get up and give me a run for my money :) Because that’s how children are… but we have come so far! There are still hard nights but for the most part Phoebe Kate knows she is loved and feels safe and secure. She is no longer tormented in her sleep.

Phoebe Kate’s favorite song is Break Every Chain by Jesus Culture. “There is power in the name of Jesus”, she proclaims with her lips. “to break every chain”, she sings with her whole heart.

Tonight I am going to rest because I know the Lord is at work in our little family. I am thanking Him with my whole heart as I remember how far we have come. It would be naïve and stupid to assume it was of our own efforts, but we know that it is only by His grace and His strength.

Phoebe Kate in October of 2012

Sunday, October 21, 2012


My visits to the states are becoming more and more regular… due to many things. It is something that is necessary for the season of life that Phoebe Kate and I are right now. A very difficult season. A beautiful season. A joyful season.

This time my visit to the states brought on a new range of emotions for Phoebe Kate. I would say this was the first time she really actually expressed that she did not want me to leave and was very sad when the time came to say goodbye for 2 weeks. We are attached. Bonded. Mission accomplished :)

As happy as I am about how well we are bonded… seeing my child cry and ask me not to leave her is absolutely gut wrenching. There is an ache and heaviness in my chest that comes with getting on a plane and flying off of this island without her. It is the hardest thing I have ever done.  Even knowing that I am heading towards my favorite people. The ache doesn’t go away.

I am absolutely relieved to be greeted by my parents, Christin and Kate. I walk into my little house on Garden Drive and feel so at home. It’s amazing how they allow me to walk into their world like I have never left. Like clockwork I fall back into a routine and I love it.

The day after my arrival I made a trip to Baton Rouge to visit with my sweet friend, Bonnie Kate.  I wondered so much how I would feel when I saw her again… I wondered if I would weep, laugh, smile, jump for joy. When I walked into her room all I could do was smile and run to embrace her.  I felt so relieved to wrap my arms around her… so much had happened since the last time I actually was able to touch her… I felt like I had to convince myself that she was really sitting in front of me :)

So incredibly THANKFUL for this girl. 

Again, I felt relieved. We spent hours catching up and just enjoying being with each other. She is an incredible friend enduring a really difficult season of recovery right now. Bonnie Kate has accepted this season with acceptance and joy… her smile, her flowers, and her love for people encourage me to keep going. I feel so blessed to know this precious girl. How lucky am I to have her as a friend??

It was such a joy to spend 2 days with her and to FINALLY meet her precious family! I felt so at home with the Pourciau’s… their hospitality and love was overwhelming and filled my soul in an incredible way. Thank you to Mr. Trace, Mrs Kathleen, Madline, Davis, Noah, Emma Mae, Ian, and Aiden Rose for loving me before you even knew me!

When the time came to say good-bye to Bonnie Kate it was another emotional and gut wrenching experience. The ache. Ugh… I hate this ache.

 I worked 64 hours while I was in the US. I really enjoyed it! So therapeutic for me to nurse and take care of the sick. Seeing my work family is always really fun :)

Over the course of the rest of my time in the US… I spent days with family and friends.

We celebrated my mom’s birthday, went out to eat ( A LOT :) ), shopped for Phoebe Kate, watched the season premiere of Grey’s Anatomy, loved on my puppies, enjoyed the cooler weather, and loved on each other. It was GOOD and so refreshing. 

My sweet Mary Kate 

My dear Christin

Sweet Zoe & Amelia 

2 weeks came and went. And I was already preparing to fly back to Haiti. As much as my heart ached for my sweet Phoebe Kate and I longed to be with her, I felt so at home. I felt so at home with the people who love me for me. I didn’t want to leave them either. The ache intensified. And I sincerely wondered if this season of coming and going will ever get easier…

Whenever the wheels of the airplane take off from the runway the ache becomes so much more real. It is the act of actually leaving the same soil as my loved ones that rips my heart out. But some how… some way… the grace of God gives me peace mid air and reminds me of what I am traveling towards. I am traveling towards loved ones as well. My heart begins to beat faster… and the embrace of loved ones on the other side is almost worth the ache.

Being here in Haiti with this little girl is worth every single ache and sacrifice. --- the pursuit of God’s call on our lives is never an easy journey. It almost always costs us something. But He promises us joy and peace for that journey. And friends, that joy and peace is worth ANYTHING that He may ask us to give up so that the world may know Him.

So I have decided I am going to be thankful for the ache. I’m sure I’ll forget some days… but I believe and am learning day by day to live in the light that “true sacrifice isn’t the losing of anything – it is the finding of joy” – Ann Voskamp.