Gotcha Day

21 Dec

Yesterday was the 3rd anniversary of when our boys officially became ours. I remember often how clear God’s instructions to us were. We had not gone to Ethiopia with the plan to adopt. We, in fact, argued with God about the idea. But out of a deep desire to follow His will for our lives (as opposed to our own will), we chose to walk in obedience and proceed with adoption plans. We started out obeying rather reluctantly, but we got more and more excited about the idea as we went along.

Although we had ideas in our minds about the ages of children we were looking for, we committed as a family to welcome whomever God had chosen for us. And so, when we were introduced to a shy, malnourished, eight-year-old boy, we quickly realized that he was God’s choice for us.

We knew it would be hard. We read about the monumental difficulties involved in adopting an older child. We heard lots of expert and anecdotal advice about adopting out of birth order. We understood that those would be much larger factors than the basic adopted-vs-biological-children conflicts and bi-racial family drama that many other families face in their adoption journeys. But we chose to obey the Father who had all of those details in His hand.

I’m glad we didn’t know then what we know now. It would have been much harder to obey. I don’t know if I could have gone through with it. These three years have been awful. And there’s no end in sight. But I’m not giving up. I believe with everything that I am that God Almighty has a good plan for our family. I don’t believe that He made a mistake in giving this boy to us. I don’t believe that we misheard His voice. I know that we have made a lot of mistakes in these past three years, and have therefore probably missed out on a lot of joy that could’ve been ours. But I still hold firmly to God’s promise ~ what He put in writing and signed His name to ~ that He will work this together for good.

I am not hard-wired to be the mother of an older adoptee. I know there are a lot of adoptive mothers out there who deal with traumatized, disabled, or dysfunctional children and they’re filled every day with affection and joy and hope as they lovingly guide these children through life. I’m not one of those moms. It is a stink of a lot of work to feel any warmth, affection or joy because it is not naturally in me. But praise the Lord, He is bigger and stronger and more loving and more able than I am, and it is His desire to love my son through me. I do not need to have those natural inclinations. I just need God.

I’m not saying this to complain or to turn you against my son. I’m saying it because I can’t possibly be the only adoptive mom who feels like this. And if you feel like this too, and you are doing it without the constant support and guidance and in-flowing of grace and love from God the Father, then I don’t know how you do it. I cannot keep this boy in my home without hourly help from Almighty God.  I cannot stare at the abyss of years ahead of us without putting all of my hope and trust in the Lord’s perfect plan for me, for my son, and for our family as a whole.

For many of you – probably most of you – reading this, my story is not your reality. Maybe this just sounds so harsh and depressing to you. If you are a praying person, would you just take a few moments to pray for our family, and for other families who face this reality every day. Pray for God’s peace and joy to fill our homes. Pray for patience and supernatural affection.  Pray that God would work this together for good.

And for those of you who really get what I’m talking about, know that you are not alone. I’m not referring to me or other mothers that you can commiserate with. As helpful as that is sometimes, we can’t physically be there with you and make any difference in your family life. You are not alone; the One who created you and loves you more intimately than we can ever comprehend IS there with you. He designed families. He designed adoptive families. He hand-picked each member of your family to be together. And He can make it good. Trust Him.


Posted by on December 21, 2010 in Adoption, Family, God, parenting


10 responses to “Gotcha Day

  1. Miriam Rehfeldt

    December 21, 2010 at 4:25 PM

    Anita… I am going to be praying a lot more educatedly ( if this is a word) for you from now on… He can fill your heart every second and it is amazing that you are relying on Him for this already… You are an amazing woman of God , your obedience and sincerity in trying to follow Him is inspiring!!! God bless you and your family… Love u

  2. Linda Mack

    December 21, 2010 at 4:46 PM

    Hey Anita – Thanks for sharing from your heart. If you don’t, others are not aware of your struggles and we all need to uphold others in prayer. I have so relied on my church to pray for me over these four months of heart attack woes, so I will be praying for you guys to get through this, especially since you obeyed God. You know the old saying that God won’t give you more than you can handle, but unfortunately what we think we can handle and what He thinks we can handle are two different things, so that line doesn’t offer much comfort. Do you remember Gumby – being stretched is no fun at all. Hang in their baby and I’ll be praying that God will send you the help you need. He works fast when you call out in desparation. I know this from very recent experience. Love and Prayers, Linda

  3. Clara

    December 21, 2010 at 6:08 PM

    Such a powerful, human, honest piece Anita. Ron and I have had experiences that without God I absolutely don’t know if we would have gotten through it and I don’t understand how anyone gets through those life experiences without Him. love you guys for the Christians you are

  4. Aaron

    December 21, 2010 at 7:43 PM

    To anthropomorphize God maybe a bit too much, I’m sure there have been many many days when He’s had similar thoughts about me….

  5. Angela

    December 21, 2010 at 7:48 PM

    Thanks for your blog today, Anita. I thought of you today as I struggled with Christopher; the hormones of a pre-teen boy have caught me by surprise, and more than once in these last few weeks I’ve been ready to kick him curbside. BUT then I think of you and how you are going through soooo much more than just the hormones of a teenage boy and you still hang in there. You are my human inspiration, and when it is coupled with God’s strength, I know I can get through this next decade of child-rearing. I say that when we’ve managed to get these kids out on their own, we ought to go South… Cuba, Dominican, wherever… and celebrate! 🙂

  6. Paulette

    December 22, 2010 at 12:14 AM


    I so enjoyed your post today! What an encouragement you are to so many out there who struggle as you are! Thanks so much for your honesty and openness! What a wonderful testimony to God’s faithfulness and I await to hear about how God is going to use this journey in your life! (besides you having a good prayer life! LOL!) Know that I will be praying dear sister for all of you! God bless

  7. Melanie Rossdeutscher

    December 22, 2010 at 9:45 AM


    Thank you for being so real about the struggle. That is so good. I know I cannot understand what you are going through, but you did a good job of explaining it. I am reminded of the verse, “Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.” (James 4:10) That is so true. And you are doing that. He is the only One who can do this – take you through it. These sorts of trials are the breaking and making of us. Great beauty arises out of the ashes of what we considered ‘our’ lives to be. I join in praying. I picture us all together, standing with our backs against the gates of hell, braced and pushing to prevent the doors from busting open. And we are winning!

  8. Erica S.

    August 23, 2012 at 9:06 PM

    My friends have a group of adoptive moms that act as a support group…they call themselves “The Trauma Mamas” for this very reason. They are my heros. I watch them struggle and triumph every day. Christine Moers (google her) has some interesting theories about parenting techniques for traumatized children that have helped my friends immensely…here’s a link to one of her youtube videos. Blessings to you on your journey…

    • Anita Neuman

      August 23, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      That is just the best name for a support group EVER! I love it! And I’ll be checking out that link shortly. Thanks!


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