Guest Post by the Flowerpatch Farmgirl

I thought I’d start our adoption category with a guest post written by one of my most favorite friends in the whole wide world. Her name is Shannan, although she responds to many of the nicknames I’ve given her over the past several months, too. Some of which include- “Ess”, “Ester”, and “Estevez”. I’m also hoping to work in “Escargot” and “Escalator”.

Don’t worry, Ess has dubbed me “El”, “El Camino”, and “Auntie El”, so I’m sure she’ll be down with the new nicknames once she hears them.

(Auntie El, as “Auntie Em”)

She and her husband, Cory, have three little kiddos (Calvin from South Korea, Ruby from the U.S., and Silas from South Korea). She writes a blog called Flowerpatch Farmgirl, and her Big Adoption Series conjures up inspired tears on a regular basis. Her guest post today is about her most recent adoption, and I must warn you, it’s a tried and true tear-jerker, too. But it’s something that Kevin and I appreciate her sharing with us as we begin the journey to our special little guy or gal this year.

Without further ado, I give you, Ess….

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Two nights back, my littlest guy, a 2-year old, crawled across the floor to me and I teared up. He’s a walker, of course. A mad-dasher, really. He races around our house like his britches are ablaze. He never, ever stops. Not ever. Not once.

I was folding laundry in my usual spot during that nail-biting hour before Daddy, everyone’s Hero, arrives home from work. By 4 o’clock, we’re all a little tired of each other, especially when it’s ten below outside. We need a change of scenery, a new face. We’re hungry. Some of us might even be a little crabby, though I’m not naming names. He was lured over to the small towel mountain beside me, so soft and jump-able. Before long, his sillies were ramped up to high gear and he raced around the room, flinging towels and giggling. He dropped to his knees and scrambled over to my lap. It hit me then: I had never seen my baby crawl.

And that’s not even the half of it.

We picked him up 10 months ago in South Korea.

The first time I ever saw him, live and in the flesh, he was 18 months old, racing around a tiny apartment with no furniture but a plethora of houseplants and a flat-screen TV.
There’s a gaping hole there, an absence of things I’ll never know for sure, things this Mommy missed, and I’m sad for it. But what I’m finding to be even sadder is that what I missed out on is an anthill at the feet of what he has missed, what he has lost. This isn’t really about me, you know.

This is his story, and the book never does close.

My heart has been scraped raw in trying to piece together why his story had to begin with loss so large, followed by loss so piercingly sharp, so jagged and traumatic. I imagine what it must be like for a toddler, to be taken by strangers from the only home, the only family, you’ve ever known. I remember that day when I least expect it and when I would really rather not. The wound opens up again, just at the corner. It was one of the best days of my life, wrapped up in one of the worst. We took him from the arms of the people he trusted most in the world and we carried him away and he cried the saddest tears. They just kept falling, until he passed out in my arms, totally spent.

The good news is, my husband and I had known to expect this.
The bad news is, we did not expect that the whole routine would repeat itself starting at the very moment he woke the next morning, and continue on through the day, through a trip across the ocean, and the day that followed. And the day after that.

He spent his first days as a part of our family enraged and desperate, heartsick and lost. He brought his little shoes to me, crying, ready for me to lace them up and send him home. He rattled every doorknob in the house, searching for the family he lost.

For that first string of nights Silas and I both cried ourselves to sleep.

What caught me by surprise even then was the fact that I did already love my sad little boy. We had miles to go with bonding, but living in the same room with him and his Grief pushed me further along than I thought I would be. My heart cracked open for him, and then it cracked smaller and smaller until one night, it shattered.

In that moment, I was so broken for him that I wished we could hop on a plane and take him home. I wanted to stop the bleeding for him and it seemed, at that moment, like that was the only bandage that would cover his wound. Of course I was wrong, and I think I knew it even then. The truth is, he had no family back in Korea. He had no home.

He couldn’t understand it then, but I have faith that he will.

The very next morning light swept in and rescued every last one of us. That’s what He means when He says He will not give us more than we can handle. I’m here to tell you – you can trust those words. The days that followed right up to today have been a long haul, riddled with bumps and painted new with the colors of sunrise. To be honest, I imagined that we would be further along than we are in some regards, 10 months in. I have two reference points, two previous adoptions that were both so different and every bit as lovely. But his progress, our progress as a family, is worthy of a gold star, I believe. Our trust was hard-won.

Today at church, we dropped him off at the nursery. When we picked him up, he was still wearing his winter coat, snapped to the chin, and his sock hat, just as he has done for the past four Sundays. He’s happy as long as he remains suited up. We walked through the Dutch door and he ran to us, arms stretched as wide as his smile. He rested his sweaty head on my shoulder. He had been waiting for us. He knew we were coming for him and he wanted to be ready. He wanted everyone to know that he could play for a while, but that he was not staying. We hopped into our van and he yanked that hat right off. He was heading home.

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Thank you so much, Layla, for giving me the opportunity to share some of the harder parts of this beautiful gift – adoption. I am so excited for you and Kevin as you begin to walk a similar road and I love your heart that longs to walk with your eyes wide open. I cannot wait to see your child, hand-picked by God just for
you, at home in your arms.

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Comments

  1. says

    I can not put into words how excited I am that you and Kevin are adopting. I’ve been following your blog for sometime now, and although I love home decor and all things related… Our (my husband and mine) heart is for children, and adoption. We have one little girl, 10months old, who we had the “old fashioned way,” but are currently working through the mountains of paper work to adopt our next child. I believe that adoption is one of the most precious things in existence and is one of the things closest to the heart of God… demonstrated by our adoption into His family through Jesus. I will pray for you as you embark on this wonderful journey!

  2. says

    Shannan…this has me in tears. Each time you share a layer of the process your family has gone through I am immeasurably thankful. Your transparency is so invaluable. As we wait…and wait some more…I know that however our story unfolds, your openness about every aspect of adoption has played a huge role in the preparation of my heart. Thank you. Again.

    Layla – thanks so much for extending this invitation. And for opening up your hearts to all of blog land as you begin this incredible journey! Can’t wait to see the road God has paved for your little family, and meet your precious little person/people! Blessings & prayers!

  3. says

    Oh my, I read Shannon all the time, and I love her posts. They make me smile, cry and laugh. There’s so much to be learned from the people all over the world – thank goodness for blogs and the internet!! Ps. Just saw your website today, and I think it’s absolutely delightful.

  4. says

    What a beautiful story!

    Layla, I don’t know you, but excited for you on your adoption journey! My husband and I adopted our gorgeous son in Dec. 2009. It was the most amazing, yet emotional time of my life. We are truly blessed!!! YOUR child will find you just at the most perfect time and he or she will be the child meant for you!

  5. says

    This made me tear right up, as most adoption stories do. My husband and I are currently waiting to be matched up with our first two children who are in Ethiopia. Good luck to you, Layla, as you begin the journey!

  6. says

    I loved reading your story – I have two little treasures of my own and your beautiful writing brings home once again all that our hearts have had to contain. I’m looking for more of your writing . . .

    blessings!

    xo ellie

  7. says

    Shannon: wondrous, as always. *sniff sniff* I had to snatch a big hug from my two year old when I was done.

    Layla, that same two year old turned to look at your website with me. He saw the picture of you and your husband and categorized you, as he does with most pictures. Pointing at Kevin, he said “Daddy.” Pointing at you, he said “Momma.” Since you and your husband look nothing like me and my husband, I guess he just knows you’re destined to be parents.

    I’ll be prayerfully anticipating seeing your darling child/children.

  8. Tracey @7294cottageway.blogspot says

    Hi Layla-Thanks for posting. Both of our children are adopted. We have a son adopted domestically and a daughter adopted from South Korea. Miracles! I would love to share our stories with you if you would like-just e-mail me! I found each story of the people who had gone before us- helped us through the process. I will TOTALLY be praying along with so many others for you and Kevin.

  9. says

    After several years of struggling with infertility, my husband and I are starting to look into the adoption process. I’m looking forward to following along with you and Kevin on your journey…thank you for sharing it with us!

    Your blog inspires me every day. In fact, my mantle right now is looking very Lettered Cottage :-)

    I would love to know what adoption blogs and resources you have found helpful!

  10. says

    layla, so excited for you to begin the adoption process!
    we are nearing the end of ours…and it’s been one heck of a ride :)

    can’t wait to have our little girl home…

  11. Corinne says

    What a beautiful post- from both of you! I look forward to following your adoption story Layla…..we hope to start our own soon. My heart says there is some one for me in Africa as well! Adoption will be an adventure for sure even down to the last tear drop….lots of grief but also miracles.

  12. Cori Heffernan says

    My oldest daughter was born in China. We became A family when she was 14 months old in April 1999. When we were there she took to my husband but didn’t want anything to do with me. I held her when she was sleeping and cried. I had read that this may happen but i didn’t want to make things any harder for her. My husband pushed the stroller and I pushed the luggage. We bonded one morning at 4am over oatmeal and Barney. She is now weeks away from 13 already taller then me. Such a treasure in my life. I can’t believe how fast the time has gone.Our small family is now up to six. All the best on your journey .

  13. Sara says

    Thank You Shannan and Layla for sharing so much of yourselves. My boys are adopted, both born in S. Korea. One was 5 months and one was 7 months when they came home to us. It’s hard at any age, but I can only imagine how much harder the grieving process is for an older child. My second son, had a harder adjustment to coming home than did my first. It was heartbreaking. He had been with his birth mother for one month, then a foster mother for 6, then home to us. Once he bonded with us, you could feel his concern about being away from his new mommy. Beginning preschool and then kindergarten this year was tough for him, never wanting to let go of my neck. And this was 4 years after coming home – sometimes it feels like there is a never ending well of sadness that might spring up from time to time. But he is LOVED (to the stars and back as I tell him) and knows it and feels it and I am so thankful that I am the one that gets to do the loving. Being their mommy is the best, most blessed thing I could have ever wanted for my life.
    Good luck Kevin and Layla!

  14. says

    TWO of my most favorite blog girls on the planet… here on the same day? It’s like a blogging miracle!!!! I love you both to pieces, and I love your hearts… and the fact that you gals are buddies? Well OF COURSE you are!!! Such a fantastic article.

    Mwah!
    Sasha

  15. says

    My heart goes out to you and your little man…I can’t even begin to imagine how he felt and you as well. The pain must be unbearable to remember for both of you. I have been unable to have a second child for over 9 years and have been contemplating adoption for a long time, but my husband sadly is not ready. I on the other hand am…I would wrap my arms around my little child or let him/her slowly get to know me, know that all I want to do is share my love. The other day my son heard me say ‘I’ve haven’t done that in 10 years,’ and right away he asked if I was pregnant and I was so sad to tell him no and he said that if I were he would be really excited. I am not sure if he hears me talk about it, but he often talks about getting children from parents who don’t want them and every time this makes me sad as well. Live is funny, sad and wonderful at the same time. I truly thank God that I have my little guy…he lights up my life!
    Thanks for sharing your lovely story, it has obviously affected me quite strongly! Take care and best wishes on your wonderful journey!

  16. says

    oh shannan. just this morning i was praying for our m, and asking God to help me, help him, fortify us all for the days that lie ahead. when i get to really thinking about it i’m sometimes scared it will break us past fixing.

    thanks for this, and for sharing the promise beyond the grief. and thank you, layla, for opening your blog to this post. (we’re adopting from ethiopia too, and i am not good for much, but i’m on my way to being certified in The Fine Art of Waiting. email me if you need tips. 😉

  17. Lou Ann says

    I’m reduced to a puddle of tears. I have a heart invested in the adoption of two children – they are now 19 & 22 years old. We are still on the journey and experiencing grief due to the fact that our daughter (19) chose to leave us to go to her birthmom ( not a good situation) and we haven’t seen her or spoken to her in 7 months. Prayers appreciated – for us and for her to know the Truth of who she is and for her broken heart to be healed. Thanks for the post, Farmgirl, and blessings on you, Kevin & Layla as you give yourself to your new child.

  18. says

    Oh how hard those first few days must have been for him and you. What a story of love,compassion and family!
    He is where he was always meant to be!Home!
    xoxo
    Natalie

  19. says

    I think adoption is such an amazing option. I have an aunt who has many adopted children. I know most of their stories. However, I never thought of the child losing the only life they have ever known. Good or bad.
    Pass the kleenex!
    Best of luck on the process! God is awesome!!

  20. Laurie says

    Beautifully written! Sounds so much like my son we adopted at 12mos old from south Korea. I could not leave the room without him following me or crying in my absence. I am thrilled to say he is now 13, and we still have a very close bond. The age a child was adopted plays so much into their adjustment. Our oldest was adopted at 4 mos and his was smooth sailing and our youngest was adopted at 7 from China and other than the language difference his adjustment has gone wonderfully!

  21. says

    Hey Layla & Kevin,

    You mentioned that you have been reading other blogs about adoption. Where you are drawing inspiration from others who are sharing their stories. I wanted to mention a blog that I found a while ago. I am not sure how I came across it, but I bookmarked it anyway. You will definitely be drawn in by Stefanie’s adorable family. The name of her website is Ni Hao Y’all. I don’t know if your website allows links to be included with comments, so if you just type all of that in, with no spaces, or punctuation, you should be able to get there. They are about to adopt their seventh special needs child from China. They also have three biological children. So, once the are able to bring their newest little one home from China, they will have ten children!!!! All I can say to that, is WOW! LOL!
    Anyway, I thought you might enjoy her website. She has definitely shared her experiences on adopting each and every one of the children. Have fun reading!

  22. says

    OOPS! I told you wrong in my last comment. Stefanie has four biological children, and is getting ready to adopt her 6th from China. Sorry about that. =)

  23. says

    I’m adopted. I just wanted to say that this was one of the most beautiful things I’ve read about adoption. Thank you for sharing. :)

  24. Sharon Wood says

    When I read your story, I was crying and had chills at the same time… what all three of you must have gone through, I know words cannot describe. I am so grateful that I have two of my own children. What you and your husband have gone through is nothing short of childbirth. I will tell you something that is some advice from a friend,”Hold them as much as you can!” I did so with both of mine and to this day,{my daughter is 32 years old and my son is 25} I do not regret a day of holding them….people told me I was spoiling them, neither are spoiled!

    By the way,my friend that gave me the advice had 6 children and will celebrate her 91st birthday this month, I have been friends with her for 42 years.

    Love to you and Kevin,

    Sharon

  25. says

    So excited for your adoption Layla! I have never commented here, but the topic of adoption always lures me out of lurkdom!!! Our oldest son was adopted from Ukraine 5 years ago at the age of 3 (with a heart defect). I could relate to so much of your guest poster’s words. Adoption is beautiful, but it’s not easy. We still battle the effects of our son’s first 3 years spent in an institution in Eastern Europe. Anyway, I have his story on my blog and would love for you to read it if you want. I was like you when we were in process and wanted to read every adoption story I could lay my hands one. Here’s the link….www.miraclemama.blogspot.com. Can’t wait to see how God leads you and provides a child for your family!! Oh, and I’m just up the road a bit from you in Tuscaloosa:)!

    • says

      As an adoptive mother myself, i really appreciate ur story. Our sweet Nate was born here in the US, so we didnt travel abroad………I truely believe that God knows just the right children for just the right parents. Good luck and best wishes for the future…………Bonnie

  26. Analisa in Goliad says

    My husband just turned 62. He is the eldest of 5 siblings who were adopted by an amazing family when he was only 9 years old and the youngest was 18 months old. He remembers how it felt to be left and as he states it, how it felt to be rescued! He later met up with his biological family and had no regrets in doing so, but he will tell everyone that his Mom and Dad are Mr. Mrs. Bill Kennedy of Woodsboro, Texas. So for those of you who are looking to adopt, remember the older children too as they can grow up to be as special as my husband of 36 years, a college graduate, Vietnam Veteran, and now a judge. Good Luck with all adoptions as it is truly a gift for both sides.

  27. LeeH says

    I understand completely the anguish experienced by both you and your lovely boy. I used to work for an international adoption agency, and I had the opportunity to go to Seoul to escort home a 2-year old girl. Her foster parents were crying, but she had no idea what was coming until I climbed into the van and that sad, broken hearted woman handed the little sweet girl to me. I sat by the window and they came around to my side of the van and put their hands on the window and I will never forget the howl that came from that child. I tried my best to comfort her and she was not having it. It was a rough day for both of us and she was pretty numb when I handed her to her new family. There was a Korean woman from the agency there at the airport to softly speak Korean to her and I have heard she has adjusted just fine. But it really is a double-edged sword. I could not be a foster parent.

  28. says

    I’ve never experienced adoption, but did fostering for several years in the 90’s. This is a beautiful post about love, faith and the knowledge that God knows us personally and will NEVER try us beyond our strengths… either He will strengthen us OR change to situation to meet our strengths/weaknesses.

    Hugs and best wishes on your new happy journey with your sweet son!

  29. Allison says

    I was stumbling through home decor blogs when I saw the sweet little face of this little boy in a black and orange striped hoodie. I attend Muncie First Church and was working in the childrens Sunday School room a while back when this same sweet little face came in, striped hoodie and all. He was not so thrilled to be there and made sure I knew he wanted to stay bundled in his sweatshirt, hood up and all, it was so sweet. He let me hold and cuddle him until I had to leave. What a precious child! It took me by surprise to see that picture so I wanted to leave a post!

  30. says

    Hello There, Im new to your blog.. but was immediately intrigued by both the designing/diy aspect and the adoption page… It has always been a dream of mine to someday adopt a child, so thank you for sharing your journey. I hope all your adoption wishes come true!!!!

  31. Stephanie says

    That I was one of the most beautiful things I have ever read. I felt your sons heart breaking inside my own chest and yours as well.
    What strong beautiful words you have shared.
    I thank you.
    Stephanie

  32. Alecia Shannon says

    Yay!!! I can’t wait to see what the Lord has in store for you all in this beautiful journey. You are living out James 1:27 – Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. – Thanks for your sweet example of this and for opening your hearts and home to a child that needs and deserves it! :-) Blessings to you all as you walk out this new journey. I pray the Lord will give you strength and wisdom for what’s a head. I pray a quick bond will happen between you and your little one.

  33. Phyllis Sideris says

    My husband and I have been foster parents for over 20 years. We have mostly taken long term children who were considered “unadoptable” for one reason or another. A few of them have stayed with us all through their teen years and are still our “family” even though they were never made available for adoption. They have been such a blessing to our family and now a couple of our girls are parents and we are grandparents to some beautiful children. We were actually able to adopt one of the “unadoptable” girls when she was 14. She is now almost 24 now and is a mother to an adorable 18 month old boy. She has been such a blessing to us as are the other “children” in our lives. Particularly 2 women and 2 men.. What a joy it is to be able to add to your family this way. You will be blessed beyond belief and so are we!