None of us knows and that makes it a mystery
If life is a comedy, then why all the tragedy
Three-and-a-half pounds of brain try to figure out
What this world is all about . . .
God if You’re there I wish You’d show me
And God if You care then I need You to know me
I hope You don’t mind me askin’ the questions
But I figure You’re big enough
I figure You’re big enough
. . . Cause I’m not big enough
~ Chris Rice, “Big Enough”
This tornado of emotions is swirling, swirling, swirling. My head, heart, my very soul want the spinning to stop just long enough for me to at least identify what I feel.
I catch a glimpse of sadness. What a weak, pitiful word that is. It doesn’t even come close.
Ahh, yes . . . there’s anger. So much anger. At whom or what? I’m not sure.
Helplessness. An abundance of helpless frustration over not being able to do anything. Nothing at all.
Hopelessness. Where can we possibly go from here?
And questions. What will happen to her now?
The email came just a couple of hours ago. There will be no sleep for me tonight.
We would’ve named her Jasmin.
In 2003, her beautiful eyes penetrated deep places in my heart, and those marks will always be there.
After a long, painful, agonizing three-year struggle to bring her home from her Eastern European birth country — to give her our name, the new labels of “daughter”, “sister”; and a family, really and truly, of her own — we were finally forced to accept the fact that she would never leave her country.
She would be forever labeled “orphan” in a country where that’s a dirty word. She would be shunned and mistreated all her life.
Request for adoption denied. Her dossier was returned to us. I remember that day so well. The end of all hope. All adoptions in her country stopped. So many children were left behind when those doors slammed closed.
That was in 2006.
Through the years, we were able to glean little bits of news here and there. We prayed for her. We tried to find ways to get help to her. We held onto hope that someday . . . maybe . . .
And we thanked God that she was at least in a foster home where she was deeply loved. She felt wanted. These heroic foster parents were not in a position to adopt her and give her their name, but they made great sacrifices to do what they could to provide care for her spina bifida and clubbed feet. The treatment options there were nothing like what we have here, but they did what they could.
They tried to protect her from the cruel, hateful attitudes toward orphans and persons with special needs that, to this day, pervade her still-Communist-minded birth country.
This was a comfort to us. It made such a difference for her.
Then tonight . . . .
The email said, “ . . . she had to be placed in a different home . . . they moved her! . . . It was so hard for her . . . She was with them for almost 13 years!!!!”
This child — this daughter in our hearts — is now over thirteen years old. She has no memory of living with anyone but this foster family. And now, for no reason that can be justified in any way, she’s been snatched away and placed in a home full of strangers as part of a foster system often comprised of families who really don’t care at all — who are in it for the regular checks the government provides.
They even moved her to a different city where everything is completely unfamiliar to her.
WHY???? WHY???? How can this possibly be good, God??? Are You there? Do You hear the cries of Your people?
How does a young teen girl cope with this?
And why can’t I cry? The tears are there. I feel them. They are dammed and trying so desperately to get out that I feel actual physical choking in my throat and chest. Why won’t they flow? Where is the release I so long for?
I know tears used to come more easily.
And now this dreadful, heartbreaking news draws my mind, irresistibly, to the mental list of other lost Rosenows.
Cristian. Soft, gentle Cristian with his precious almond-eyed Down’s face. Also trapped in the same country, but hidden away for years now in a mental institution — if he’s still alive. I know a bit about mental institutions in developing countries. I’ve prayed that God would take him. He would be safe then. There would be no terrifying sounds of screams in the night; no risk of being tied in chairs; no days of wasting away covered in feces and urine; no dangers of molestation and abuse. Maybe God has answered that prayer. I don’t know.
Evan. Lost forever in his Central American country. Did he succumb to the inevitable consequences of his untreated spina bifida? I don’t think we’ll ever know. I want him. The last time I saw him he was eighteen-months-old, and he was beginning to really connect with us. He never even knew how loved and wanted he was.
Aidan. We tried so hard, not once, but twice, to bring that incredibly beautiful little boy home from his Asian country. For his own privacy, I won’t share pictures of him because, thankfully, he did come home to another family. After we were given no reason for the denial of our request to make him our son, we were, thankfully, granted permission to try and find someone else to adopt him. And we did. We disassembled the crib that was waiting for him, packed away his clothes that were hanging in his closet, placed his teddy bear lovingly in a box. Our kids wrote letters to a brother they would never know, their grief flowing freely as they professed their love and expressed their feelings about losing this baby brother whose picture had hung on our wall for over a year.
Lauren. Oh, we fought so hard for Lauren. It was such a race with the clock. And we lost. Her very sick little heart finally gave out. We were with her when she died in the same country where we lost Evan. We watched as her tiny casket was placed into a crypt in what is known as the “Wall of Babies.” We cried until there were no tears left when they placed a stone on her crypt that said,
Con amor de tus padres
Katherin y Scott Rosenow
It didn’t matter that they misspelled her first name. They gave her our name! This stone proclaimed to the world that this broken little baby was wanted. Loved. No longer an orphan. Our daughter.
Even Raiza. It all started with Raiza in 1997. Our journey into the world of adoption began because of her presence in our home. She was never available for adoption. We knew that when we agreed to foster her multiple times through the years. I never told her just how my heart bled with the desire to adopt her. I didn’t want to cause more pain and conflict for her as she drifted back and forth between our home and her birth family. But I did long for this. I prayed for a miracle that would make it possible. It would’ve been a good thing for her. But it never happened. Even today . . . . even though she is now twenty-five years old . . . she is one of my daughters in my heart. But I can’t get to her. I can’t be with her. I can’t really even help her.
I’m so tired. Oh, God, I’m so very tired. I want to accept this calling with grace and beauty and child-like faith. I want to believe Your words when You say things like:
“ . . . in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.” ~ Romans 8:28
I want to hold onto the promise for my lost children when You say:
“‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ says the Lord. ‘They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.’” ~ Jeremiah 29:11
I long to feel the truth of:
“He gives strength to the weary
and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary,
and young men stumble and fall;
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.” ~ Isaiah 40:29-31
I know these things in my head. You have proven them to me over and over through the years, even as we crawled through the trenches to bring home the seventeen jewels that You did give to us.
But my heart is in pieces tonight. It can’t feel the reality of Your promises. My prayer tonight is this:
God, will You bring the tears? Please. That sweet release would allow me to begin to grasp these truths — to genuinely see and feel Your true character and love instead of this twisted view of You that my hurting soul is holding onto. And then, Father Who loves my children and me more than any human mind can comprehend, would You give me the ability to trust You — to believe You when You say that You will work all things for good, including the situations that seem to be all things opposite of good?
Would You hold my lost babies tonight? I believe with all my heart that You brought them to us. You crossed our paths and called us to love them as only parents can love. The cost of accepting that call has been great — far greater than I ever expected when I obeyed You. But You promised that it would never be more than we could bear with You at our sides. Please make that truth real to me. Drive it deep, deep into my heart where it will drown out all of the screaming pain and the lies about who You are.
Hold our lost ones, God. Breathe on them. Bring people into their lives to love them, help them, show them the way. And please, please, if this isn’t Your plan for them, then take them Home to be with You.
I don’t understand. But I can say these things to You. I can ask for Your help. I figure You’re big enough . . .
And now I hear one of my little ones crying in her sleep. I will go to her. But who will go to my lost little ones if they cry tonight?