{Honestly} guest post: The red dirt of Uganda and longing for home

A guest post by Chasity Cole

Rose-colored Glasses

Life is not always easy; in fact life is rarely easy. When you mix in a journey in the waters of adoption, life becomes such an emotionally tangled mess that it can be a challenge to tell up from down, right from wrong, need from desires. I think we all begin the journey of adoption with the best intentions and a humongous pair of rose-colored glasses firmly in place, and even when those wretched glasses are flung from our face, oftentimes the temptation is there to portray the pictures and process as rosey rather than to choose the harder path of letting others see the true colors of adoption life. In the spirit of honesty, I am flinging my glasses and pretense of perfection aside to share with you one heartbreaking reality of my experiences in adoption.

The moment I stepped off the plane onto the tarmac in Uganda, the reality of the process began to firmly take hold. I mean, obviously what we were doing was real to us before then, but when finally, finally, finally I had made it to this beautiful land that had birthed our littles, it felt as though the real journey was about to get underway. Finally, I would meet them, hold them, read to them, feed their tummies as well as their souls.

I had read plenty of gotcha day stories, I’d read about the red dirt of Uganda, and the kindness of her people, but what I hadn’t read so clearly, whether because it wasn’t shared frankly, or because my heart just didn’t want to deal with it ahead of time, is that quite simply adjusting to life in a foreign land without the ones you leave behind is HARD. Beyond hard. Worth it? Yes. Easy? Not a chance! At least, not for me.

I landed in Entebbe about 4 weeks before our days in court were scheduled to take place. The Lord had laid it on our hearts for me to go ahead of time to spend time with the boys prior to court, and with a momma’s heart longing to know her babes, I went. Extremely idealistic {aka glasses firmly affixed}, I flew with no illusions that court would come early, with the idea that I’d probably be home in a couple of months at most, I went. We all knew it would be the longest separation, by far, that we had ever been through, but we all agreed it was how the Lord was leading us to complete this journey. As Momma, I had been the pep-talk giver prior to leaving. Little did I know in a few short days I would be the one needing mega doses of encouragement to make it through.


The Blows Begin

I wasn’t prepared for the blow that the separation from my children back home was about to deal. The plan was to Skype when I got to the guesthouse that first night, but upon arrival the promised wifi was out because the promised electricity was out. So instead of hearing the voices of my babies back home, I lay in total darkness, utterly exhausted and jetlagged beyond belief, wondering why I could hear music blare from some place next door. I lay there thinking, “What in the world have I done? This is crazy. This is foolish. ” That very first night, doubts began to gather in the corners of my mind, by the next night they would be front and center.

The meeting and bringing to be with me of the littles the next day was fabulous. The experience was beyond anything I had imagined that it would be. It wasn’t enough to appease my longing for the ones I’d left behind though. I felt awful that it wasn’t. I felt like a totally worthless, horrible person for not being able to set my selfishness aside and totally enjoy the bliss of having these two little bodies curled up next to me. I had longed for this day for months, yet in the very moment when I thought I’d be crying tears of joy, I was instead crying out to God with a broken heart. I crept out of our mosquito-net covered bed and sat with my friend crying and feeling like a helpless, hopeless, selfish sinner for hurting so deeply for my babies back home. The questions flew at me from the Enemy. Questions like, “How could you leave them not knowing when you’ll see them again? How can you take care of them from here?” Accusations flung with perfect precision, “They need you too! God gave you Raegan & Alex to care for as well. You know they need their mother!” Poisonous darts hitting the bull’s-eye again and again. I bared my soul to my friend that night more than I have ever been bare to anyone apart from my husband and God. I couldn’t hold up any semblance of roseyness. I was desperate; I had no choice but to be real.

I’d love to tell you I had one weak night and then magically all was well. I would tell you that, except it would be a total lie! This tug of war went on for most of that whole first week in Uganda. Just as I would think I had found the handle on my emotions, my fingers would slip and I’d be grasping again. I’m not proud of the moments spent pining for a way out. To be clear, I never once didn’t want the boys that are now our sons; the emotional chaos was never about them. I longed to have it all, the ones at home and the ones that were with me, but for that moment in time there was no way for that to be. I wanted so desperately to be with my babies in America that I lay awake trying to figure a way where there simply was no way. I remember one night where the darkness was so heavy, and the brokenness of my heart was so painful that I when I was finally able to talk with Jonathan and the kids back home all I could say is, “I want to come home. I don’t know how, but I just want to come home.” It was then that my daughter flipped the pep-talk around on me and where just days before I had encouraged her through her tears, she was suddenly the one encouraging me. Pushing me to be strong, spilling out the very words I had poured into her, and though it was definitely a night of messy emotion to have my 13 year old challenging me with her faith, it did begin to quiet some of my fears.


Finding Him Faithful

Nights spent awake from jet-lag and emotion were coupled with days filled with errands and exhaustion, yet each morning when I opened the Word ,God was so very faithful to give me the exact words I needed for that moment. Beautiful words like Psalm 63:6~ On my bed I remember you; I think of you through the watches of the night… and Psalm 63:8~ My soul clings to you, your right hand upholds me. Words of tangible Truth were food for my soul that first week more so than they had ever been before. I could feel His mighty hand through those nights and days, and HE made a way where I could see no way. When it all felt so very heavy to bear, as though I couldn’t take it a minute more, HE carried the excess for me. He reminded me again and again to focus on this moment, and leave the next one to Him. In those first days, to try and look from that day and see clear to the unknown end was a sure way to invite the Enemy to drag his darts of doubt back out. I had to focus solely on the day, the hour, the minute at hand and trust God with the rest.

As my confidant left for home, I found myself in a place of needing to be brutally honest with a handful of others in order to survive. I compiled a list of trusted souls I could email with the ugly truth, and from that list of precious people came beautiful words. One wise man told me “Stay strong! Uganda is only a breath away from your family, a prayer breath to our God. He is bigger than anything Satan throws at you.” God so used these words to minister to my soul. How many nights I lay awaiting the lull of sleep and thinking those very words to myself. How wonderful to be carried along by uplifting emails and prayers from people both inside and outside of the adoption community.


Turning the Corner

Ten days after arriving in Kampala, I wrote these words, “The days and nights are better. The jet-lag is gone. Prayer warriors are in full force. The littles and I are developing bonds that are so very sweet and routines that help life to be manageable. I am in a place now that offers the possibility for more consistent contact with home. Each day has it’s moments where ‘here’ seems so extremely far from ‘there,’ and it is then that I let the beautiful words above run through my mind…they are but a breath away, a prayer breath to our God… He is bigger I know. He is able I know. He is stronger I know. He makes each day better, and He blessed me in the midst of the harder days also.

“There are relationships I would not have without those harder days, those initial nearly unbearable days. Yes, they were definitely filled with attacks from the father of lies, the deceiver and many of his companions, yet they were filled with blessings I can’t imagine having received by any other means.”

Ten days is a long time to feel as though you are treading water. In those ten tumultuous days, though, I learned more about myself and my God than perhaps any other stretch of ten days in my life. Honestly, adoption is hard — at times almost unbearably so. Honestly, it’s also worth every drop of blood, every ounce of sweat and every single tear.

Today’s {Honestly} series guest post is by Chasity Cole, who knows the dusty roads of Uganda like I do. Chasity describes herself as a daughter of the King, wife to a mostly wonderful husband, and mother of four precious, but not perfect, children. She blogs about life, faith, adoption and more at www.allthingshis.com.

  • http://everybitterthingissweet.com Sara

    Wild to think we were just a room away during those days, experiencing our own wilderness, and God was so ministering to us BOTH. Under the same roof! It’s beautiful to read about His hand during your dark days — a story that needs to be told!

    • http://www.allthingshis.com Chasity

      Sara ~ You and your precious family were beacons of His faithfulness in those moments of utter darkness. Cannot imagine my journey on that foreign soil without you.

  • http://www.brownpaperandstrings.com Jamie

    Chasity,

    I’m so glad to have bumped into you in the blogosphere. I look forward to reading more from you! I’ve never adopted or been on foreign soil, but certainly understand what you describe!

    • http://www.allthingshis.com Chasity

      Thanks Jamie! It has been wonderful “knowing” you as well! We all have some longing within us now don’t we? Blessings!

  • http://www.aseedinspired.com T @aseedinspired

    aren’t you glad it was never about your love and trust for Him deciding the love He had for you?
    Praise God!
    As we deal with adoption in our homes… we see this time and time again… our love and safety not always understood.
    Thanks for your good words on my blog.
    T

  • http://www.hopefor1.org Sherry

    Love this post so much…I just found your blog via twitter…thank you so much for sharing…we are just starting our journey, to Uganda.