Saturday, April 5, 2014

My Little Girl and I and our Silly Orphan Spirits

When I would hear adoptive parents say how adopting their kid was just as much for them as for their kid and how they are the ones benefiting from this great adventure, the cynicism in me was like, Whatever.

And then I got the high honor of bringing Eva into our home through adoption. The light flipped on and I'm going Ooh, this is what they meant.

As I stop and shake my head at my daughter who is learning to be a daughter, 
I'm shaking my head at me.

An Orphan Spirit

The concept of an Orphan Spirit has become very up-close and in my face this past year. 

It is the sense that we are on our own, without a fair and loving parent to provide for us. It is the feeling of being isolated or abandoned. It is way of survival, not of truly living.

It happens in the physical. 
Orphans feel their loss to their core. They are alone and they know it. They have to fight and scratch for everything they can get, because no one is there to meet their needs. They see their world through suspicious eyes, always on guard, trusting no one. 

It happens in the Spiritual. 
Spiritual orphans act similarly. But of course, it's easier to hide our spiritual issues then our physical.

This Orphan Spirit pretty much invades all of our lives. It doesn't just pop up at meal times or when someone crushes our spirit. It is everywhere and it affects much more then we would expect it to.

I've been journaling a lot in the past 12 months and I'm so glad that I did. Not just for free therapy, but for the hindsight. I'm going to let you in on some of my life lessons. 


Today Eva was upset about sleeping again. She fell asleep in the van on the way home from a friends' house and yes, it was nap time so I knew she really was tired and should finish her nap in her bed. Of course when I laid her down, she half woke up and was very upset that she was in her bed for a nap.

She fights going to sleep so badly. If she would just trust me that I know what is best for her, I know she will do so much better after she rests. So what if the other kids aren't napping this afternoon, they are older, at a different place. I know what they need and I know what she needs. It would be so much easier if she would look at me and say "I trust you Mom. If you think I need a nap, I will cooperate with you."

My bio kids have had their fair share of nap fighting too. If you are an adoptive parent, you probably understand that with her it feels like it's coming from a different place. And that makes perfect sense if she isn't completely sure that she can trust me yet. 

That trust issues comes up over and over with Eva. It often happens at night. In Uganda, brand new in our family, Eva would fall asleep everywhere except her bed. We pushed our twin-sized bed (Yes, Jon and I shared that bed. No we are not miniature people.) up against Eva's bed and she would lay there and lay there with her eyes open. Sometimes for an hour or so. Often we would slip under her mosquito net and hold her until she fell asleep. And that was her secure place to sleep, on top of us. 

It is such a relief to see some trust building. We don't have to be holding her for her to fall asleep now. We don't even have to be in the same room. Or the house. (Date night!) Our daughter is learning that Mom and Dad won't leave her. Her ways of an orphan are slowly falling off and becoming a thing of the past.

As are mine. Trusting that my Daddy God won't leave me hasn't been a problem for me, but sometimes I have not believed that he is always good. But he has been winning my trust by proving to me over and over and over again, HE IS GOOD! 


No doesn't mean "I don't like you" or "I disapprove of you." No just means, it's not safe for you or it's not best for all of us. Like the permanent marker. There are dozens of washable markers at the special kiddie art table. They are for your use and your enjoyment! Have at it. Just because I say no to one thing doesn't mean that I'm a jerk. Can't you see all the good things I have for you to enjoy right there!

The same goes for poking things into the electrical outlets and starting the microwave. Please don't burst into tears and run away when I'm merely trying to save your life. Melodramatically.

Maybe this boils down to trust too.

I know I do this with God. Actually, I had a big incident a while ago where God told me NO and it took me weeks to get over it. I thought God had told me it would be a short 3 weeks stay in Uganda. That would be a miracle! We were told to expect to be there 4-6 weeks, but it could be longer. It felt like God was setting me up with books and Scripture verses. And he even confirmed it with dream. So I thought. The day I realized it was just not happening in three weeks was a hot and miserable day. Yep, I pouted. And I'm pretty sure I overate. 

That hurt and offense I carried around for a few weeks was a problem. But God won my heart over like he always does and nicely reminded me that he really is FOR me, not AGAINST me. But not before I got a peek at some left-over Orphan Spirit inside of me.

Contentment Vs. Comparison
(Or maybe just more Trust issues)

Eva is constantly wanting what everyone else has. If I am eating a fire-crout on booger bread and she has Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt (third heaven!), she will eye my crout will envious eyes. And sometimes it's warranted because I do sneak a few amazing mom-only treats. But most of the time, we are eating the same thing! What is on my plate just looks better.

Eating her first Sundae

How often do I forget about the deliciousness in my own hand and peek around at what everyone else is eating. Hey, they have blah blah blah. Why can't I have what they have? Daddy must love them more. What did they do to deserve such a great treat? And I become jealous and suspicious.

Or I see how Eva is envious about what her older siblings get to do. I especially see this at bedtime when the two oldest get to stay up an extra 30 minutes. You would think I threw them a birthday party and threw her to the rats. How could you not give me what you give them? If she could talk she would say, "But I thought you loved me! You love them but you don't love me. You should give me the same things you give them. Always!" And I'm pretty sure that is what she would say because that is what my fully-English-speaking kids DO say.

But we know that is far from the truth. Not all of our kids are at the same place are they? They can't all handle the same responsibilities can they? And they shouldn't. I don't ask Eva to scrub the toilet or Mia to mow the lawn. That would be crazy. And dangerous.

I've seen this going on for years with my first five kids. They all want the perks of being older but not the responsibilities. Hmm. I think I do this with my Dad's kids. So many times I look at what he gives to other woman {Whoa, that is some serious writing talent! or Look at the great ministry God gave HER! or She is GORGEOUS, TALENTED, BRILLIANT...} And I get jealous and whine the whole way to my bed. Most of the time, I fail to see the responsibilities that go along with those perks. The long lonely hours they struggled with xyz while God got their heart ready to use their gifts like they are today. The sacrifices, extra stress, soul cleanses or whatever.

And then God reminds me that he loves me at the very spot that he has me. He isn't tapping his foot waiting for me to grow up. He embraces me right here, right now, right in this place. It's not like he's rooting for me to stay here, but just like I enjoy my 3 year old as she is 3 and my 12 year old in all his wanna-be-teen-ness, SO GOD ENJOYS US!

Eva might wish that she could have what Ben and Madi have, but really, she doesn't. What is best for her, what is happiest for her, is just to enjoy being her little self. She is eager to learn and she will eventually be big and get to stay up until 8:30 on a school night. But for now, if she would just relax, she would be happier with her life.

There is no comparison in God's family. I felt Daddy God say to me one day, "I don't compare my kids." And I know it's true. He doesn't compare me to my siblings. There is no ahead of them or falling behind, THERE IS NO COMPARISON. There is no curve that God is grading us on. He gives us no score based on what everyone else is doing. So we need to stop looking around and comparing. 

An Orphan says to themselves,
   I can't trust anyone else and so I will fight and scratch and make sure my needs are met. I have no Mom and I have no Dad, it's up to me. Life is cold and unfair and lonely.

A Daughter and a Son say to themselves,
   I can trust my Daddy and my Mom. Even if I don't understand, I believe that they love me and that they will take care of me. It's not up to me. Now I can relax and enjoy my relationships. Life is good.

The Spirit we received... makes us children of God.
With that spirit we cry out, "Father!"
And the Spirit himself joins with our spirits to say we are God's children.
Romans 8:15,16

How about you? Do you feel some Orphan Spirit cluttering up your identity? 

Let Daddy God show you who you really are. 
I don't think there are many perks to being an orphan but the perks to being a Daughter and a Son are really really great!

1 comment:

  1. Cari, I was just looking back at the comment you put on my blog back in August of last year, just a hello and glad you stumbled on my blog type post.... I am so blessed by the sovereignty of our God, that you found me months before I found out we were with the same agency and children's home and that you knew our kids. I mean, how amazing. I have been following REALLY only your blog and occasionally reading other people's since that time. Anyway, it built my faith that God truly hand picks the children he has for each family now matter how they enter it. And that grows my adopted spirit and shrinks my orphan one;) thank you!