Tuesday, May 7, 2019

When the Tears Come

They are the ones who come in alone. Quiet. They slip into their seats trying not to be noticed. 

They wait. Unsure. 

It's a session for the weary. The searching. The overwhelmed. 

They are all of that and more. 

The tears start as soon as I start speaking. 

Adoption in the trenches. 

The place of loneliness.


The place of guilt and conflict.


The place where they are faceplanted before the Lord asking Him daily for strength, wisdom, LOVE and patience.




They nod as tears course down their faces.

Adoption is lonely.

Homeschooling their kids is lonely.

These moms know that simple truth in the deepest part of their beings. 

They are deep down in the trenches.

Way too alone most days.

Struggling to survive. Struggling to love. Struggling to teach. Struggling to meet needs. Struggling to hold their families together. 

Struggling on a day to day, hour to hour basis.

They prayed.

They watched God move a mountain.

They brought the child/ren home.

And their lives have tumbled around them.

I see them.

These moms.

I know them.

I understand.

They come to me after I speak.

Sometimes waiting at the door in the back.

Most of the time coming later to my booth. Hoping I'm alone.

Rarely wanting to talk about homeschooling.

Always wanting to share their grief. Their struggle. Their battles.

I don't have much to offer except that I understand. None of my education prepared me. Degrees are meaningless. My notes from all the counseling and psychology classes I've taken over the years are just words on paper.

I can only speak from our experience. 

I can only share what we have tried.

I can only tell where we have failed. What has worked. The lessons we have learned.

I've been blessed to speak.

Three times in three different cities this year.

Whether to only a few or to a packed room.

Every single time watching the tears trickling down.

Every single time seeing heads nodding.

Every single time having moms and dads reaching out afterwards. 

Grateful that someone tried in a simple one-hour session to reach out and give them some encouragement. 

The opportunity has been precious and priceless.

Don't be fooled by what you see.

Don't be fooled if they appear at the park and everyone tumbles out of their van looking peaceful and happy.

Don't be fooled if they make it to church with fresh cleaned  children sitting quietly in their seats.

Don't be fooled when they smile and say all is well.

Listen. Listen carefully.

Take the time.

Too many are struggling and alone.

Too many feel guilty.

Too many are afraid to share that their lives are hard.

They feel they have failed at their calling.

They are worried that if they do share they will not be heard.

How can they explain to you that their child is wrecking havoc on their lives when what you see is a sweet smiling child.

Their marriages are coming apart.

They have quietly stopped going to church.

Love has become a daily, teeth gritting choice instead of a feeling.

Don't be fooled.

They need you.

They need you to come alongside and listen and encourage. They need you to believe them.  Oh how much they need you to believe them. 

They don't need you to try to fix their children. They don't need you to think that you would do a better job. They don't need you to give advice. They don't need you to tell them that their child is just like your child. They don't need you to say that kids will be kids.

They will run at those words. They will shut down.

Adoption is lonely.

The little person they have brought into their home has been hurt. Damaged. They have lost much. They have come from trauma and too often they bring that trauma with them. Into the house. And trauma breeds trauma. And healing takes time. And it's messy. And too often that hurting, damaged little person rejects terribly the person who is doing everything in their power to help them.

And the trenches are deep and confusing and hard to navigate and words are too often just Band-Aids on a broken heart.

Take the time, church.

Take the time to stop and listen.

Adoptive families are everywhere. Find one. Or two. 

Be a friend. Go sit at their table. Call them up. Not just once. Again. And Again. And Again. Love them as they love their little person. Invest in them as they are investing.

Don't expect that your call or visit will fix the chaos in their lives.

Be patient. Be willing sit with them for days and months and years.

Be willing to listen as they tell you today that it is hard. And they tell you months from now that it is still hard. And they tell you years from now that it is still just as hard.

They need arms of love. Words of encouragement. Friends who are willing to stay the course.

They need someone willing to sit beside them in a session for the weary.

So that when the tears start to course down their cheeks, they are not alone.

Please don't let them do it alone.


  1. God bless you for putting into words what is in so many hearts.

  2. Well, I'm crying! I do wish there was some form of organized support for foster/adoptive parents in our church. I have cried out loud so many nights that there just is "no help Lord" and "I am alone." I know we're not really alone, I know Jesus is here but what I've needed on the hardest days, weeks, and months - is tangible, "Hey, let me fold your socks and wash your dishes" help!!! TANGIBLE HELP! Not just "I'll pray for you."

  3. It's like you watched our lives last summer and then wrote this. Thank you! ❤️

  4. I'm listening to a book on tape on my way to/from work that really got me thinking today that I need to be reaching out and helping others in a more tangible way. I wish I knew an adoptive family (other than yours via the blog Julia!). I would love to fold the Hobson's socks and bring my teens and elementary school kids along to help and learn! Goodness how I wish I knew a family locally who needs help. Any ideas on how to find one?


  5. thank you so very much for this.

  6. Well written!

  7. Dear Julia,

    thank you so much for this post! I subscribe to all that you say!

    As an adoptive parent, one thing that helped me to feel less lonely was to join the facebook group
    Parenting with Connection

    The group is not only for adoptive parents but many of the topics discussed there (in a very personal way) are very relevant for our children and us. I wish I had found it much earlier.

    It is a closed group but you can ask for access easily.
    This is what they say about themselves on their FB page:

    We support parents in implementing connection based tools. For more information on the models that we support please reference The Connected Child by Karyn Purvis, Beyond Consequences Logic and Control by Heather Forbes and No Drama Discipline by Dan Siegel and Tina Payne Bryson.

    There is also a group for parents of older children,
    "Parenting teens and tweens with connection"
    Group members are very supportive of each other. I could ask lots of questions and got lots of hard-earned advice from other parents in the trenches on what worked and what did not for them.

    Maybe you would want to share more about your own experiences as well - either here or on FB?

    Thanks for all that you are giving a voice!

  8. We are in our first adoption process. Reading this, my stomach started shaking.

    1. Dear Anonymous - I am a huge adoption advocate but also feel that the training given through home studies is woefully inadequate. I want families to go into adoption with their eyes wide open. That stomach shaking is a good and holy thing!!


Loving words from kind people make our hearts glad!