Facing a closed door

Land of a Thousand Hills

This is the post I wrote a week ago and couldn’t publish until I knew that I knew it was over. Hope just wouldn’t stop until the very end. Now we know for sure, and I can gently place this dream at the feet of Jesus and say goodbye.

In the last two weeks, we’ve learned that our other adoption, the beautiful African dream that started it all, the one we’ve been doing nothing but waiting for the last two years — won’t come to be. It’s a long story, but practically, emotionally, just all the way, it’s over for us.

I’ve told myself (and others) that it’s been a long time coming, that it’s bittersweet because it’s shifted so much and we’ve lost our footing anyway and we didn’t know what to do and it’s almost a relief because at least we have a clear way forward. I’ve said all of these things. But then a simple miscommunication with my husband this weekend, a benign thing that I otherwise would have let roll off, leaves me undone. I’m sitting in the minivan in my garage, all three kids buckled in the back, crying over the next couple hours’ plans.

The reality is that I’m paralyzed because I don’t know where to go from here.

When I didn’t want to confide in my closest friends, when I wanted to crawl under my comforter that afternoon and stay there, I recognized it.


It’s not the same, ever, of course. Grieving for my dad was like drowning. I didn’t know that I would ever come up for air, and it did take a long time.

Grieving for a baby that will never be mine, that was never meant to be, maybe (whatever that means), letting go of a country I’d fallen in love with though I’ve never stepped foot on her soil, is different. I’m capitulating first, feeling later. But when I give myself a moment to pause, it’s all oddly familiar: The utter exhaustion. The impulse to withdraw. The anger.

That’s where I am today: Angry and tired. Even though we have another great option right in front of us, one that we’ve been warming to slowly for the last year or so, though there will be an adoption and it will just look different than I’d imagined, I’m not there yet. It just feels overwhelming. I thought I had already climbed this mountain, but I blink and look up and suddenly we’re back where we started 30 months ago. I know it will be right later, but today I need to grieve for Rwanda. I miss my baby girl from Rwanda. Can I just miss her for a little bit?

When we’re facing the unexpected, blind trust and unfeeling motion forward, away from the disaster, isn’t the answer. A paradigm shift deserves respect. The truth is that we’ve been thrown. Having hints of it coming perhaps makes it less of a blow, but when it comes we are wise to leave room for it, to let it be what it will be, to feel what we feel and say goodbye in our own time.

Goodbye, Rwanda. I loved you.

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15 comments on “Facing a closed door

  1. Oh friend. I feel just a hint of the pain in your heart in this post. I’m with you in this. And yes, please, grieve.

    “A paradigm shift deserves respect.”

    My heart lurched when I read this line.

    Yes, it does.

    (and I’m going to hug the crap out of you when I meet you at MH :).

    Until then, prayers, love, support, space.

    • Can’t wait! Thanks for your words, Gillian. Strange how I’m in a different place today than I was a week ago. Might blog about that tomorrow.

  2. Oh Kim. So sorry to hear this. I’m praying for you as you grieve Rwanda.

  3. Mandy says:

    I have lurked on your blog for awhile and have really appreciated your Honesty series as I endure the long wait to bring my daughter home. I want to thank you for your writing, but mostly today I want to tell you that I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Thanks Mandy. I’m glad you’re here, and I appreciate your words. We can all help one another endure, can’t we? Blessings to you in the Long Wait.

  4. Sally says:

    I read your blog via Gillian. You have a beautiful family, really lovely, but I am so sorry for your loss. It’s been over five years since our adoption did not happen, and I still weep for my own South African boy who I never met but always loved. Buried in the heart of Europe in a foreign language for so long, I never imagined until today that others could possibly have experienced what we went through. Thank you so much for sharing – it has brought comfort to me in a strange way to know that there are similar souls with similar burdens. Tears and prayers.

    • Yes, yes yes — we all carry one another, especially if we share a similar burden. I have to write about what it’s been like to go through this with dozens of other families, also grieving in their own way. It looks different on everyone, but we’re all shouldering it together. Thanks for stopping by.

  5. Anna says:

    I will not try to say that I understand your pain. Each one of us is different. But I will tell you that we helped a family given guardianship of a little one with CP. She was in our home more often than not and the guardians insisted that they could not/ would not adopt her. We had a room decorated and clothes/ toys. Because she was ours and lived here. I sat in the hospital and rocked her, with my own bio children at home or in the hospital room doing their home school work. This went on for 8ish months. One day at the hospital the social worker looked at me like I had lost my mind because I said something about us adopting her and it all came crashing down around me. The guardians had changed their minds- but hadnt wanted to tell us. I felt bad about walking away from the situation months later, But I knew they were doing well and maybe God only used us to help them adjust and fall in love with her. Once I had grieved and healed we started our adoption in Ecuador and were caught up in Hague law changes etc. It ended up taking almost 2 years instead of the 3 months we were told. Grief is real and the first step is naming it and letting yourself work through it. again. and again. I have found we dont process it all at once…… layer by layer. hugs. lifting you up.

  6. Heidi says:

    I can’t imagine how your heart is aching today. Though your little one in Rwanda is not in your arms, I feel like you’re my Rwanda/Uganda friend. My friend who left a piece of her heart in Rwanda and a piece in Uganda. I’m praying for you today, friend. Praying that He will surround you with His perfect peace and that, in time, He will use this for your good and His glory.

  7. Kara says:

    So God did not plan for you to be a Rwanda mama, but I am so, so grateful that He crossed our paths briefly. I am sharing a slice of your sadness today, dear friend. Praying that you feel His presence more than ever before in your adoption journey.

  8. (((Hugs))) Kim.

    Our own adoption story is just beginning. I am actually thinking about writing my first post on my blog about it. Just an intro to give people a glimpse into what God is moving in our hearts.

    We are still in search of an agency and I feel such peace about laying Holt Int’l down at this point. There are other options still for us. In the mean time, we continue to pray for direction and God’s wisdom and I believe He’s giving that every time we are lead to pass up an agency.

    Your adoption story or Benjamin is what made me decide to log our adoption journey on my blog (because I wasn’t going to, really). But as someone who was seeking out stories so I could get a taste of what to expect, finding yours was such a breath of fresh air. I hope to be that for someone else on the look, or maybe, just maybe God will use our story to touch someone else’s heart to adopt. It would be so worth it.

  9. Annie says:

    Been thinking about you, friend. Beautifully written post, even with the pain you’re feeling. Sending love your way.

  10. So sorry to hear this. I think you are doing an amazing job of giving yourself time and space to grieve. I loved that line too: “A paradigm shift deserves respect.” How often we expect ourselves to just get over things, move on. This is an important post for all of us who have dreams that have been and will be taken.

  11. Sarah says:

    Oh Kim. Your words ring true for me — and for anyone who has ever loved and felt and yearned and then lost the dream. There’s a real, genuine grief there for sure. So sorry to hear this, friend. Blessed, however, to read how you’re walking through it.

  12. Anne says:

    Oh Kim. I am so sorry to hear your news. I wish we could understand the paths that we walk down, but we don’t. And it is times like that we want to understand the most. I’m sorry for your lost. Love and prayers.