Well, I really don’t know how to get this post started. So I guess the band-aid rip-off technique is as good as any. I haven’t been here in Blogosphere for quite a while. And coming back to it – well there’s no natural-feeling way to jump into it.
You know how you have those friends who – when you don’t see them in ages, you get together one day and it’s like you’ve been talking every day all along? Yeah, getting back to blogging? Not at all like that.
It’s more like when you’re in the mall and you run into someone who used to be in your Sunday School class and you really *should* know their name, especially because you were the facilitator, and you can’t-for-the-life-of-you remember their name because you have a condition which causes your brain to freeze up and put a lock on all name-files you’re attempting to access, so you just smile and use phrases like “hey….. you… how are you, …. girl?” Lame.
Coming back to blogging after so long feels a bit more like that.
I’ve kinda yo-yo’d a bit… stuck my toes back in the water here and there, eeking out a post from time to time. But I haven’t been consistent at all in the last several years. What used to be a joy to me (blogging) quickly became a non-essential when life hit us like a train about six years ago.
Let me level with you honestly with one sentence: adoption has been a harder journey than we could have imagined. I’d love to share more about that, as it’s something I feel pretty passionately about and believe the Lord has really done a work in us – our family and our children specifically – and showed us many things through and about adoption – but that’s a post for another time. Maybe. If I can blog consistently again. Lord-willig and the creek don’t rise, and all that.
Six years ago, our little family was… little. And cute; I’m just gonna be honest. We kinda had our ducks almost in a row, and we felt so full and blessed – enough that we felt we had a surplus to pour over and bless others. We lived in a cute little 3-br house with chickens and a privacy fence and a garden and a swingset. I blogged pretty regularly and really enjoyed it. I enjoyed making homemade items for our kids and sharing about it on the blog (which at that time was called “Our Blessed Life”). I shared sewing creations and playdoh recipes and snippets of our life.
Some of you began following us in the next chapter, when we were led to adopt Christopher and Lena (who, through the adoption journey were called “Kirk” and “Lori”) and you prayed for us, supported us, cheered us on, and watched from all over the world while we journeyed to Ukraine, met our son and daughter, and brought them home.
Then the train hit us pretty hard.
Post-adoption trauma. And unexpected pregnancy – I was pregnant and neck deep in morning (all day) sickness on the 2nd trip to Ukraine to bring the kids home. Once we got everyone home, I had two traumatized kids on one side of the breakfast table speaking only Russian – and only to each other – and another set of traumatized children on the other side of the breakfast table speaking only English and trying desperately to get their new siblings to interact with them. And a toddler who never slept. And all I wanted to do was sleep.
By the time we were all together as a new family I was experiencing a delayed culture shock (if there is such a thing) heightened by the pregnancy-nausea making everything unbearable to me, resulting in me not being able to stand the sight or smell of my luggage that I’d just dragged back from Ukraine. It literally sat in a pile in the corner of the dining room for a month because I couldn’t bring myself to touch it.
A little box of half-eaten raisins stuffed into a zipper pocket on my carry-on, in case I needed them on the flight for Carson (who was then 18 months old) sat forgotten and rotting in my untouched, still-packed luggage while our attitudes sat rotting on display at the dinner table daily.
We were all going through our own trauma.
I changed the name of the blog to Our Blessed Broken Life. Because already the Lord was showing me that this life isn’t about having the best, cutest one we can have – but about pouring ourselves out…
The Lord brought us through that and we found our rhythm, our new normal, but it was always more stressful, more strained, more tiring and more emotional than life had been before adoption. Our baby girl Olivia was born and we were all in love. Christopher and Lena watched in rapt interest as I nursed her – likely something they had never seen done at the orphanage.
We had outgrown our cute house and bought a house in a different part of town, and gave up our chickens, our privacy fence – and our swingset. In return we got a hot water heater that didn’t work for a month, a bee-infestation in the wall of our house (still there, by the way), and plumbing needing to be replaced in every single sink and bathtub in the house (still one more to fix.)
We limped along.
In 2014, the Lord brought us through the journey of carrying our little Rebecca, whom we found out at the 20-week ultrasound had Trisomy 13. So many people all over the world were praying for #babyrebecca. Then we met her too quickly when I went through an emergency C-section to save my life around 30 weeks pregnant, the day before my 40th birthday. We held Rebecca until she took her last breath about 45 minutes after she was born. She weighed one pound. There was such sorrow and such joy.
Again, we were all going through our own trauma, and in the midst of it, still neck deep in making many mistakes in our adoption parenting journey, and dealing with attachment issues in our son and daughter.
Grief came in waves like the ocean, ebbing and flowing, and life went limping on.
Then six months later, to the shock of the entire world – okay maybe just us and some of our family and friends – I was expecting another baby. I struggled with faith that I would actually bring home a little pink bundle and not a pink bouquet of sympathy flowers. Almost one year to the day after Rebecca’s birth, I again went through an emergency c-section to save my life, and my daughter’s (in a different, more urgent scene). It was surreal and very traumatic in ways I wouldn’t even deal with emotionally until a long time afterwards. Even writing about these things now makes my palms sweat.
Jessa – our gift from the Lord – was born 8 weeks early, and was perfect. She stayed 21 days in the NICU while our friends and family helped with our kids, with meals, with getting me back and forth to the NICU every morning and evening for feedings and skin-to-skin time with my own personal little tiny baby doll. (I wasn’t supposed to be driving for 2 weeks after my surgery). The family of God – the body of Christ – is an amazing gift. I don’t know what we would have done without our family and church family.
And during that time, we continued to make so many mistakes in our parenting, and one of our children went through the worst period (to date) of attachment issues, acting out in ways they never had before. Twice, we even sent this child with trusted family for respite while we got our feet under us because we had nothing left with which to help our child.
The trauma subsided, and with us all under one roof again, we resumed limping, thanking the Lord for the gift of a baby girl we never expected to enjoy.
The storm waters have been still for almost two years now, and in that quiet period, the Lord has been perfecting some of his refining work in us. Quietly opening His Word to us, and showing us grace in a way that maybe we had been blind to before. I feel that I am just now – almost 6 years after adopting – coming out of a mental and spiritual fog. I feel like I am waking up from a coma of sorts. I just recently looked back at the early years of my blog and even posts about the beginning of our adoption journey and found myself thinking who is that girl?
So as I step back into the Blogosphere and trust that maybe the Lord has something to do through my writing here (if maybe only for my own sake), …. let me re-introduce myself.
I’m Shannon. Mom of 7, and 1 more who’s already gone on before us. Wife to an amazingly patient (and funny, and good-looking) man. I don’t have my ducks in a row. I know a lot less than I thought I did a decade ago. I make a lot of mistakes, and thank God for his patience and kindness. I’m living a life I never thought I’d be good at, and actually I’m not, so that’s good, because it’s HIS strength I have to lean on daily. I’m a survivor of the adoption journey and an advocate for those who are broken and in need of a family and the Gospel. Passionate about the nations. And I’m a writer. ….. nice to meet you. <3