Not my favorite story..

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last 24 hours if I’m going to blog about what is on my heart right now. But if I don’t, then it doesn’t seem like I am being complete in truth when it comes to adoption.

I hesitate because I love adoption stories. They are beautiful. I have been a mother by giving birth, and it is amazing to see what the mix of two humans’ DNA can bring about. But adoption is as beautiful, with an added mix of mystery that makes it breathtaking. On August 4th in 2006, a woman, unknown to me, endured each labor pain to bring forth a life into this world, a child that would one day be my daughter. Where was I that day, at that moment Iris came into the world? Simply doing the dishes? Putting Will down for a nap? Losing my patience? Talking on the phone? One single moment, lost to me at the time, that will forever change my world, and the world of Iris’ birthmother. Amazing.

But that is not my story today. I’m just getting wrapped up in the beauty of it all one more time. I need you to know how much I truly believe in adoption before you read the rest of this blog.

We are in Guangzhou with 5 other families and one of them is struggling. Really struggling.

Their adopted son is 10 (I will call him Alex) and he is not what they expected.

Before I continue, I want you to know that although these parents do not have any children, they have fostered a number of kids, two with severe anger issues. So they are not new to parenting a hurt child.

But this boy is violent. Alex is angry. He says he does not want to come to America. He breaks things. Throws chairs. Is trying to hurt the parents. Has physically threatened another kid in our group.

And these parents don’t know what to do. They have been skyping with counselors from the states every day for over a week and they are considering dissolving the adoption and not bringing him home.

I refuse to have an opinion on this situation, because I am not in their shoes. I have not walked a day with them. All I know is it breaks my heart all the way around. Do these people never get to be parents? Can they live with this guilt? And this boy? Does he really want to stay? Or will he be broken from this? Is this trauma or serious mental issues? Could he come to the states and be medicated and all this would change?

There are no answers to these questions, which is really the dilemma for the parents. They seem so broken after only a week with this boy. My heart hurts for them.

This I do know. An orphanage is NO PLACE for a child to grow up. That is the biggest issue here.

Alex has a story. He lived with his parents for 16 months until they found out he had kidney cancer. They left a painful note of love attached to his shirt the day they left him in the hospital because they couldn’t afford his medical treatment. They hoped for him to get care and pleaded for someone to help him.

He was sent to an orphanage and they took care of his medical needs. Alex spent years in and out of hospitals in Shanghai – and I will tell you these places are not St. Jude’s. The hospitals are frightening. They are filthy. They are not filled with compassion. One woman with us now needed to go for her adopted son last week, and her biological son that came along threw up after he left it was so traumatizing. Only people with great wealth can go to the private hospital in China, the rest go in mass to a huge and filthy place. Especially orphans.

No one stayed the night with Alex in the hospital. No one brought him stuffed animals. No one told him it would be ok. No one held his little hand while he fell asleep at night. No one sang songs to calm his nerves. He. Was. Alone.

I do not know if Alex understands what it means to attach to another human. To bond. To trust. To love.

So Alex may be left behind. Once again. On his own. With no one.

Again, I don’t blame the parents. I am not experiencing what they are. I can only see and feel from the outside. And if it hurts so badly from out here, I can only imagine what it must feel like on the inside.

Adoption is more than beautiful. It is necessary. Every child needs a hand to hold. Before it is too late.

I have so much trouble seeing God in these situations. His mystery is lost on me. But then if my capacity for love came from the One that actually IS LOVE, then how much more sorrow does His heart feel?

Prayers for 3 needed in Guangzhou…..


For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

5 responses to “Not my favorite story..

  1. Funny how God works. This message is being forwarded around to some adoptive families, myself included. Please let this family know there are people around the world they have never met praying for them. Congratulations on your beautiful daughter!

  2. Wow. Praying now. Papa…please wrap your arms of love around this child and open his heart to love. Wrap your love around these parents and guide them step by step. I pray that you will heal their hearts and souls from the pain and trauma that this journey may bring. Be their truth, their wisdom, and their lord. I pray your Holy Spirit will fill them with peace. Just help, papa. We are so in need of you daily. Just help them all. So be it

  3. I cried. That’s is no solace for those left behind in china or any other orphanage around the world. I am not running to adopt at this very moment, but I truly do think about it often. I know in some part that is because of those we know (zabrocki’s for one). I will continue to ask God for his direction in this part of my life. For the moment I will stick to mentoring junior high young men at church. I think God is pretty clear on that for me right now.
    Again Jenny , thanks for writing!

  4. I know I didn’t get all the details on “Alex’s” story but quite honestly a lot of that seems pretty typical for those first weeks together. My first weeks in China with my six year old son were tough. He hit, kicked, head butted, screamed and ran away from me. Security was called on us because of his prolonged tantrum. He threw things and was rough with his brother. He too was very clear he didn’t want to come home with me. He wanted to go back to his foster family. He was lied to before I got him. He thought his foster family was his bio family. The shock and trauma of helping him see the truth has been very difficult for him. He was beaten in his foster home by his foster grandpa and was allowed to do anything he wanted by his foster grandma. He basically was on his own until he ticked foster grandpa off enough to get hit. The truth is many older kids have these same behaviors. The families who I know who brought older kids home around dealt with the same behaviors. Not all, of course, but the majority do. This is grief. This is trauma. This is what taking a child away from everything they know looks like. There is nothing easy about it but it does get better. My son is home seven months now and the progress he has made has been amazing. He looks nothing like that boy I had in China. I hope these parents hold on because more than likely this is not who this child really is. I am not trying to minimize their experience at all. I have adopted twice and both were really, really hard. But what they are going through now is not necessarily indicative of how this child will always be. Please tell them to reach out to others who have walked this road. is a good place to start. Most of all, please tell them it will get better!

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