Wednesday, May 18, 2011

crisis of faith

Dearest Lily,

This is going to be one of those letters that I will probably look back on some day and wonder what I was thinking when I wrote it. You know that old saying, "honest to a fault"? That would be me. I know I've written lots of letters to you that talk about the joy and the amazement that you've brought us, and especially in the last 6 months there has been so much goodness to write about...but lately I have been struggling a little bit... a lot...and journaling is my way to process here I am.


Most of what I'm going through feels so selfish to even write about...and it really is just about me. It doesn't have anything to do with you having Down syndrome, and it really isn't that life is so hard for me.


I guess I'm stalling, so I'll just get right to the point. And if at the end of this letter I am too embarrassed to hit publish...then I will file this letter away and it really will remain just between you and me.


I'm really struggling with my emotions, Lily...ever since your daddy and I decided to do everything we could to help find a family to adopt Olga back in December, my heart has been so burdened for babies and children in other countries who share your diagnosis. Sometimes it consumes me, and I have to just stop what I'm doing and pray.... and pray again...for all the little faces who are always on my mind.


I knew when I started blogging about these children that we weren't able to adopt. It's not that we don't have the heart to enter into that, but there are just a lot of factors involved, not the least of which is finances. I feel like I'm sitting on the sidelines watching everyone else...and honestly I'm struggling with jealousy. I hate even typing those words out, because I wish that I were such a saintly or noble person that I could just do everything we've been doing without a trace of selfishness. But it's there. I get my heart so wrapped up in the kids I'm advocating for, and even though I know I'm not going to be their mommy, I still feel so attached to them. I pray for them, think about what their lives are like, lay awake at night wondering if they're warm or cared for or loved...


And wouldn't you think that I would only be completely rejoicing when I see one of these beautiful children find their forever families? Wouldn't you think that I would be so happy, knowing that they're being rescued, that there isn't any room in my heart for envy?


And yet it's there. I know so many people share my heart for the children I blog about or fundraise for. I know so many are willing to sacrifice financially for them, and pray for them, and spread the word about them needing to be rescued. I know it's not all about me.


Your brothers and sisters think it's so funny how I can't read out loud about the miracles that happen to bring these kids home without my voice breaking. I'm not really so emotional about everything like that...but honestly, I can't even start to read a post about a family meeting their son or daughter for the first time without stopping...swallowing...and starting again with a broken voice and happy tears in my eyes.


I've been reading...endlessly...books on overseas adoption. I've read so many books and blogs and articles, they're all starting to run into each other in my mind, and yet I can't get enough of them to quench my thirst for more. I don't just read others' stories- I'm living vicariously through their words... I'm crying when Kirill's parents were denied the right to adopt him in court, I'm cheering now that Kareen's mommy and daddy just landed in K, I'm fasting and praying for Olga's family to raise enough money for their dossier, I'm relieved when Alexander's family is able to proceed with his adoption, I'm on pins and needles for Peter's family, knowing how hard it is to wait to bring him home.


Your brothers and sisters and Daddy know these children by name, and not a night goes by without solemn and heartfelt prayers being lifted for their safety and health. Your sister Abigail constantly studies the faces on Reece's Rainbow as if she were memorizing each one for a test. "Mama, have you seen Theodore? I LOVE Theodore!" she tells me, with her little hands over her heart and a pleading look in her eye. "If Daddy gets a new job, can we adopt this year? Next year? How soon?"


I don't want to break her heart, but honestly, Lily? I don't know if that day will come. I don't know if this is God's will for us as a family, or if He just wants us to keep helping other families who are able to adopt.

And that's the struggle I'm facing. I so want to rescue a child, and it seems like such a dream. And I don't know if that burden is just that- a dream- or if it really is God's will for our lives. I do know that ever since I married your daddy, I have always had a desire to rescue a child. When we were newlyweds I had a relative who was losing four children...I wanted to adopt them all.


I've always loved children, and since having you I have such a strong desire to rescue a child with Down syndrome. It breaks my heart to know that if you had been born in an Eastern European country, you would be facing life in an institution. I pour over the pictures of children on Reece's Rainbow and want so much to bring one home. I just want to make a difference in their lives, and I don't care if we never have all the material things others have, I just want to know that I did everything I could to help change the fates of these precious, innocent babies.


And honestly, I'm really struggling with whether I'm even making a difference. The need is so great, and although I'm blogging and praying and giving all I can, it feels sometimes like I'm hardly making a dent in it.

I start to feel like nothing I'm doing or saying really matters, and that because we're not personally able to rescue a child, I'm really just a spectator on the sidelines.

I had a meltdown yesterday...a little pity party between me and God. I was crying, asking God why people with money don't do more with what they have, and asking Him why He put such a tremendous burden on my heart for orphans with Down syndrome when He knows our income. I complained about how there are people out there who don't seem to use their platforms to raise awareness for anybody but themselves, and how it feels like those of us who are trying to do something are just preaching to the choir.

Yes, was a no-good-horrible-very-bad-day.


I told you sometimes I'm honest to a fault.

But just about the time I got done venting to the Lord, I noticed an email in my inbox that I had somehow missed....


I was so pleased this morning to see that I had won the Happy Hooks gift certificate. I cannot wait to tell my little girl, Julianna. She loves sweet Albina and gave her money towards our donation. She didn’t know there was a giveaway and now I get to surprise her with a fun “gift” from God. Thank you for everything you do to advocate for orphans. Our family is bringing home two little boys from Eastern Europe that we found on RR. Reading your blog and Pudge and Zippy were huge in helping God turn our eyes toward these special boys. My Uncle Roy has DS and when he was born over 50 years ago, the doctors told my Grandma to institutionalize him because he would be dead before he was two. This adoption feels like our family coming full circle. Once again proclaiming the goodness of God in that every child is fearfully and wonderfully made. I know you didn’t need me to write a book, but there it is. You’ve impacted our lives by sharing Lily and advocating for the orphans. So, thank you!

Hidden in Christ,
Mandy Rhodes

Hmmm. Sounds like God heard my venting session. And isn't that just like the heart of the Father, Lily? I really didn't deserve that kindness showered on me, when there's been so much junk in my heart lately. I'm so glad He doesn't give me what I deserve, and that His mercies truly are everlasting.

Maybe God did put that burden on my heart to be a voice. Maybe He wants me to feel such a strong desire to adopt that I never stop praying for and giving to these orphans, as if they were my babies.


Maybe He has wrapped my heart up in each child that I advocate for so intensely so that I don't stop crying out to Him to protect them....and for others to rescue them.

Maybe just like being a mommy, being an advocate for a child means letting go in a sense...doing all that I know to do to love these children, and then trusting them into the hands of God. And even if it hurts, it's still the best job on the planet, loving children and pouring my heart into them.


So I did it, Lily. I blogged my way right through that crisis of faith.

Loving you all the way to God and back,

Mama oxox


Leah said...

Patti, I have been feeling some of what you are feeling. Even though I am young & not married yet, I have been trying to do what I can for these kids & my efforts have come up short so far. I am so pleased that my 1st warrior child, Quinton will be meeting his new parents soon but thus somedays I wish I was already old enough & married to adopt one of these kids. Jealousy can be pretty harsh in that way, but I know that if its Gods plan for me to adopt a special needs child someday that I will have the love & support to do so.

Leah said...

Just wanted to say reading your blog & all what you have done for these kids keeps inspiring me in my efforts for these kids. If God chooses you to adopt than he will make that path clear but in the meantime keep advocating for these kids & I will do the same! I hope that someday I can meet some more of the bloggers I have followed like you. As blogland has opened me up to a whole different world.

Ginger said...

What a precious post. I know exactly how you feel, even though we have adopted. The feeling doesn't go away though, even after adoption. You still want to be a part of these precious children being redeemed. Now that we are expecting #9, our income is suddenly insufficient for an adoption and it breaks my heart!
God is glorified through your tears and efforts for His precious orphans. He is!
The heartbreak can either cause us to keep championing for the cause He gave us, or it can break us. I'm praying that God will give you the grace and strength to keep doing the hard thing. For His glory.

Julia said...

It must have been mini-meltdown Wednesday yesterday because I had one too.... I sometimes feel like one tiny voice in a huge universe. Passionate about our Lost Boys and not sure if anyone out there is listening!!

Laura said...

I could have written this post. A couple months ago, I was struggling with the exact same feelings. I was literally heartsick for what we could not do - at least right now.
After praying about it for some time, God gave me a peace that I can not explain. I don't know if we will be able to adopt in the future or if we will only be able to share with others about these precious children and their need. And believe me, I DO that every chance I'm given! Either way, I am confident that God didn't bring me into the "know" for no reason and I am excited to see what He does through the burden He placed on my heart. He has obviously already used your burden to be a catalyst for others who COULD go. He will continue to guide you and as your heart remains open to Him and the "least" of these orphans, He can only have intended this all for good! :)

Love your blog!! Would love to meet you in person some day.

Becky said...

I read your post. I had to come back and comment. You humble me. Here you are crying out to the Lord, being a voice for the voiceless, carrying the cross of the desire to adopt and save these children. Here I am crying out to Lord because I have daily struggles dealing with Down syndrome in my own home. People want to adopt a child with Down syndrome into their home as a choice...their heart is open to this. We all have different crosses to bear but in your letter to Lily on this one, you opened my eyes...humbled me in my own thoughts. God uses everything for good...I will pray for these children as well. What bears heaviest on my heart and why I struggle with my daughter having Down syndrome at times is the lack of acceptance right here in the United States too. You still have to fight for her rights...a spot in a classroom...a place in society we all take for granted. We, as families, have true acceptance but I see the abortion rate. I sense sometimes people think my daughter's life is a burden on society, a life not worth living. Many crosses to bear...many things to pray for. You do a lot for these children that do not even have the hope ours do and a chance to live life to its fullest. Thank you for that. Thanks for hitting the button that allowed us to read your crisis of faith and help us pray for it too.

Heidi Ehle said...

Patti, I love your heart! And I understand...My heart breaks to look at those tiny faces on RR, and KNOW that I have no money to help them and no room in our home to take them in. I have plenty of room in my heart though. :) And I know that even if I have nothing else to give, my prayers are enough. Much love to you and your family. I am so glad that God answered your cries!

Mari Bryant- Marks said...

It sounds like we are in the very same boat. :( I love how you said that maybe by not being able to adopt it causes you to pray more and advocate more. Oh! I needed those words today. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

alicia said...

I often felt crying and praying to God, I also felt the same you felt, and to add my husband was totally against of it, that was 3 years ago, but after too much praying and crying God told me to hold on, to wait, my husband will come around one day. that day came aprox 1 year ago, but he told me : not overseas, and not a kid with DS, and then almost 6 months ago we got a call someone thought we may want to adopt a 3 yr old girl with DS in our city. my husband knew, it was God's call. it was God's calling us to step forward.

In our city (Monterrey, Mexico) one of the requirements to be able to adopt is to be infertile, we were not, so anyway we went and they gave us permission to start the process. next week will be out last appointment, and in one month we will get an answer, if we are able to adopt or not. I feel sometimes very positive God called us right? but then I know God's call doesn't mean always is really going to happen, is just the way of teaching us something. so im excited, nervous, happy, hopeful, etc. waiting for the answer, the final answer.

i often thought why everyone adopted but not us, then I thought on Andrea, how much work she has done, and she dont adopt. God uses her for being the way, for being the connection of hundreds of kids, we must do the same, being the connection, be their voices, thats what God wants us to do, thats why there is so much pain in our hearts.

my family said...

you just inspired a post Iv'e been wanting to write, thanks my friend:)

Love Miss L's tooth

Danielle said...

"Maybe God did put that burden on my heart to be a voice. Maybe He wants me to feel such a strong desire to adopt that I never stop praying for and giving to these orphans, as if they were my babies."

Sounds like you hit the nail on the head my dear sweet friend. Your heart has helped more than you'll ever know... it's just like the fruit we won't see till heaven when we witness and preach... the same goes w/ these precious babies!

Becca said...

I SO wish we could adopt, too. There are several factors why I'm pretty sure we wouldn't be able to. Even though you're unable to do so, you have made SUCH a difference in these children's lives. The world needs so many more people like you, Patti, with such good hearts.

Rochelle said...

I love that you are honest to a fault (my hubs calls me that all the time). Your heart for orphans and raising awareness is huge. Maybe God never calls you to adopt or maybe he does (God knows I never planned on it and look at us...)
But, friend I am thankful and love you for using every ounce of love you have in you to advocate for those who can't speak for themselves.

Join Us For Breakfast said...

Hi Patti, I'm Patti too and Mom of Jam, at least that's her blog name, age 8 and her 2 siblings. I came to your blog through my cousin's wife's blog. I've been here twice now and had lots of tears both times. So often I forget what a gift Jam is and see the stubborness and appointments and get overwhelmed. I love her to bits and am also thankful God let us have her in our family. Thanks for the reminders of what a wonderful thing DS is in my little girl. I love to see how she charms everyone and draws such love out of them. I'll be back to your blog again!

Mandy said...

I'm so glad my email was an encouragement to your heart, Patti. I knew nothing about RR or the orphans in Eastern Europe until I read your post advocating for Olga. Look how quickly God used your voice to move our family to rescue Samuel and Joseph. We will forever be greatful that you shared. I will pray that God continues to reveal his plan and timing for your family's care of the orphan. What you do, now, is amazing and desperately needed. Thank you!

Liz said...

i feel the same as you.i want so very badly to adopt, so i advocate. my husband is not on board for a RR adoption, so i am praying and advocating. and although i rejoice when a loved child finds his/her mommy, i am also a bit jealous. i get it

Anonymous said...

Dearest Patti,
I just feel like you and the first comment. I would love to do more than that, but I can´t. I just feel so weak. Thank you from my heart for your post. I didn´t concentrate for a long time more on your post than on Lily (too cute your girl). And her first teeth makes her even cuter! Anyway thank you so much for advocating for this children. God worked so much through you. Trust me you are one of my inspirations.
Jessica (from Germany)

PS: I really have to write you an E-mail! I will write it soon.

patsy said...

patti i have been having such similar thoughts...i just looked at the pics of kareen and i, like you, can't help but have envy. i just pray everyday that HE will lead us to do what HE wants for our family. butyou have played a HUGE part in me wanting this for our family. i dream of one day bringing home a sister for miss maggie...and i have to remind myself to have patience and trust in HIM.....

Carla Dobs said...

Your blog and Adeye's were the catalysts for our adoption of little Henry...and I still get a bit "jealous" of people who get to bring home TWO...

bless you for your efforts - the tears of a mother are never wasted!

and I sometimes get cranky with people who just don't "get it"...
as I wrote on my blog today...


nicole said...

Your honest writing from the heart is why we visit this blog and for inspiration.

What you call "envy" might just be a very deep compassion and love for God's little ones. At least, that's what I see in you ~ and it's contagious!

Roo's Mom said...

Patti, you already have and I'm sure you'll continue to do so much for many of the children awaiting adoption. I too have thought that we should do it. We only have 2 kids. But, I'm an "older" mom and we aren't wealthy, so I feel we need to save most of what we are able to put together to ensure Roo's support when we are no longer able to care for her. I do as much as I can financially to support the various adoption fundraisers, but then I have to be at peace with the rest. Even though it might not always feel that way, you are making a difference!

Pam said...

Oh how I feel you and know what you are talking about. I read, and cry, and talk to my husband, my mother or my best friend about the children on RR, and they tell me to go up and kiss my sweet baby because that's who God has given me, but someone how I want more and don't know how to tame my heartfelt need. I have to be at peace with loving them and praying for them from a distance, as this is all I can do right now.

Thank you for being such an inspiration!

Kellan's momma said...

It's amazing how much I relate to you. I often feel anger towards people who have lots of money who spend it selfishly, on $1,000 purses and jeans and shoes. It really sometimes makes me sick to my stomach, thinking of all that much money would do for those sweet babies on RR. I hope God's plan for my family to adopt one day...but only He knows.

Unknown said...

oh patti i fell in love with constance and felt exactly like you do, but your voice is so huge, it inspires, directs and makes people like me who did not even know, have our eyes opened! you are amazing and you make me want to do so much more. patti we love youxxxx

Julie said...

Dear Patti,

My name is Peter. You raised over $15,000 for me in 10 days. Because of your fundraiser I went from an almost 4 year old orphan that not ONE single family had inquired about, heading my way to an institution with a heart that needed to be fixed to having several Prayer Warriors. My Forever Family was found before those 10 days of your fundraiser was even finished. I have a family. I will be going home. I will have a new heart and a wonderful life...all because you cared.
So dont for a minute, EVER think you arent making a difference. When I get home to Texas and get all better, my mommy says I will meet you...I will hug you with my new heart, the one you made possible.

PS My mommy wrote this for me because Im only 4 :)

Bethany said...

You need to understand that you are making a difference, all while feeling like you aren't even making a dent. It is hard and I struggle with this every day. Being an adoptive parent, I can't help but be conflicted with feeling like I need to support each and every adoption that comes through, but at this point it just is not feasible. So I have to pick and choose, and sometimes there is NO rhyme or reason to the adoptions I give to, unless I know them on more of a personal level OR they happen to reach out to me for help. And even then, I can't always help.

It is hard. And feelings get hurt. But one person can only do so much. And I think your feelings about wanting to adopt are common. It has sort of become a movement in the DS community. And we adopted before that really happened, and I still struggled to make sure I was adopting for the right reasons. Because it is hard to not let it pull at your heart strings and still stand back to make sure this is the right thing for your family. And I will be honest and say I think some people miss that, and they get caught up in the excitement, jump right in and then they get their child home and wonder what in the heck they have just done. Sad, but true reality.

I am rambling a bit at this point and hoping I'm making sense. :)

Ellie said...

I want you to know that you are making a difference, at least in this woman's life. I was reading your blog before we made the decision to adopt, and when those doubts creep in at night when I should be sleeping, I think of your Lily and of you. I worry about money, because there are so many what ifs. What if we can get the approval but can't raise the funds? For surely we can take care of her when she is here, but do not have the 30grand+ ransom to get her here. What if I am following my own will, and not God's? For surely my will messes things up. My husband works a lot of hours to support us, what if I can't handle another child with him being away at work to so much? All of these doubts come late at night when everyone else is sleeping. And sometimes I still do wonder if we are doing the right thing. I take comfort in the fact that I know these doubts are normal, and even mothers who are in country meeting their child for the first time still have these doubts attack them. I hope you can find peace, and that God will make it clear what it is He wants you to do.
Thank you for your inspiring words!

mrmeadowlark said...

Patti, Here is my take on things. The lord made sure you had the baby that you had. I am sure of this. And I believe he did it so that his light could shine through you by way of all you are doing for the Orphans in the former Soviet empire. And in my humble opinion his light shines brightly through your efforts to help these innocent ones who cannot help themselves.

Jo's Corner said...

I love your honest heart, Patti! You are such an inspiration to so many, myself included. I feel the same feelings about adoption. I WANT a child to call me Mama! But, the circumstances in my life are not having me in that place, for now. HE knows my hearts desires. And, I will accept what He has planned for me.

As far as donations go, I feel like I could have funded MY OWN adoption by now. I give when/where He leads me. And, if we're being "honest" here, it often gets to be too much. My heart responds before my bank account can blink! But, I love doing whatever I can to help bring an angel "Home". (Now I'd just like to win one of those Giveaways!) ; )

Oh, and I must tell you that so MANY times when I've come to read your blog, I think, "When is she going to announce her own adoption?" SO many times! I guess we'll see what He has in store for You, Sweet Sister!

You are a True Treasure! Love You ~ Jo

one_plustwins said...

Patti, I am such a slacker when it comes to reading my beloved blogs lately.

Can I just tell you something? I am honored & humbled that my son is mentioned here.

Can I tell you something else? You are making a difference; YOU are rescuing children. It is because of you that Peter's family knows him and are bringing him home. It is because of YOU that I had a hand in that and, in turn, I found my son--I never knew he was missing. How can a mother NOT know her child is missing?

Can I tell you another thing? You are changing lives through your faith and love, pure and true.

If God leads you down the road to ransom a child, so be it, that child will be so well loved. And if God never leads you to ransom a child but to LOVE them purely when NO ONE else in the world will--then what a burdensome blessing to have given to you.

Patti, I am so grateful for you faith. Your love. Your letters. Your heart. Your passion. Your grievances. You are molding a precious generation of children within your reach and showing those of across the internet lines what love, faith, passion and suffering for Christ is all about. You, my dear, are well blessed and deeply loved.

Thank you,

Christie (Alexander's mommy)

Deanna said...

Oh are so gifted with your words. To be able to be vulnerable to your readers and to God...amazing. Thank you for your honesty and heart. You are a gift to all children, especially the angels in Eastern Europe...and to my Melanie. Keep on doing the beautiful things that you do...God will show you His path for you...