Wednesday, January 25, 2012


We're doing a lot of processing here in the Reickard household. And I mean a lot. China in and of itself was an experience to process. It has gripped us in ways we don't have words to express. Elliana has talked about China frequently since we have left. She desires to go back. She told me just the other day it's not a matter of if she goes, because she IS going back. She says she wants to be a missionary there, like our friend Laurie. Whatever Elliana decides to do, I love her heart and how God used China to soften it in so many ways over the people, over the orphans.

Of course, I must mention the reason why we went to China. We are excited for the opportunity to build our family through international adoption. But even more, we went there to save Aria. "Save" is not too strong a word. She was perishing there. Yes, she was fed. But not much, as her recovering malnourished body can attest to. Yes, she had caretakers. And they definitely seemed to love her. We are grateful for that. But that love, we think by the evidence we see now and what we witnessed in China, came in forms that were not healthy for Aria. Aria had her heart surgery in China, praise God. But her body is still very weak, in a condition that has nothing (according to our cardiologist) to do with her heart. And according to her tests, no medical reason can be found for her weakness. Aria's physical muscles are so weak I fight anger towards what must have been done to her in the orphanage to cause this. She falls down multiple times a day just because she does not have the strength to hold her body up all the time. Sometimes those falls aren't much of anything and she gets back up. Sometimes, like yesterday, she falls in such a way she gets hurt with a bad bruise or bleeding. I confess at times I fear for Aria in the state she is in now. She is so fragile, falling down seemingly with any resistance to her muscles. Aria was perishing in China. We see affirmation of that more and more every day. And that's just her physical state. With most everyone we met in China claiming to be "non-religious", we know her spiritual state was most definitely perishing.

Behaviorally, oh where do I begin? In some ways it's easier to not begin. Yet I blog. I blog because it's one way for me to process what is happening in our home, in our family, how God is working and teaching us. I also blog because of our passion for adoption. Once you adopt (similar to once you are a parent of a child that has died), you "involuntarily" sign up to be an educator to others. I came to peace with that during my heavy time of grieving after our son Kael died, and now we see being able to speak as one that has gone through it as such an opportunity of ministry. The role of educator is one we take seriously because we know with all our hearts our lives are not our own anyway. Keeping our lives completely to ourselves is a form of disobedience. We can share our lives in a variety of different ways. One of those ways we have chosen is to blog.

But back to behaviors... friends, it is not easy for me to share what we are dealing with in Aria's behaviors. Part of that is because we are still processing it. We see behaviors in her that I never in my wildest dreams could've imagined we would be facing. Some days the battle with her behaviors has me so spent that I can only process them in tears before God and my husband. Other days I think, wow, this isn't so tough. Those, of course, are days when the battles are few, progress is being made, and the bond grows exponentially. There are times I choose to share what we are facing with others, whether by asking for prayer over our situation or by answering the question "How are things going?" I try to answer that question honestly but also wisely. You see, not everyone "gets" the whole post-adoption thing. It's a unique time, it's a challenging time, it's a time that I could not even draw a parallel to if I tried. At times I have said too much to an individual, and what I know were meant to be words of love and encouragement were in fact salt on open wounds. There is no one size fits all for any of our kids, and the broken place adoptive children come from adds unique challenges to our parenting. We don't claim we know what we are doing. I can't even claim that with my biological daughter! We're making mistakes - many - along the way. But know this is a time of joy but also hurting in our home. My skin can be thick, but my heart is in pain. I hurt for Aria's broken past, I hurt for her present as we deal with the ramifications of her past, and quite honestly I am hopeful for her future but also unsure as to what it will look like. In my weaker moments I wonder if things will get much better. In my stronger moments I see God so clearly all over this child's life. This is a unique time in our home. And we are processing it.

So sometimes it's easier for me not to post. Because quite honestly I sometimes cannot even put into words what we're experiencing right now. Other times it's easier because I confess I am afraid to put myself out there too much, to invite salt to open wounds. Mainly, though, I haven't posted as much because my life just got busier plus one. And that one is our newest love, our newest joy, and our newest heartache. Processing as we go, our lives certainly have changed. Our eyes have yet again been opened to new truths God is revealing to us. Our hearts are broken all over again over what these orphans come from, their need to be saved, their need to be loved. Images from China haunt me, and what God is showing us about the people and orphans of Haiti shakes me to my core. Amidst all that life seems to go on as always, the world spinning, work happening, errands to be accomplished, chores to be done, school to be taught, meals to be made, buildings to be built, cars to be purchased, calls to be made. The world... keeps... spinning... And I'm still processing.


  1. Friend...I am there! Today I had a REAL moment with Beth and I will share in detail later. I was cuddling a baby and I found her crying in her closet...I asked what was wrong. she said she just didn't understand why she was not loved or cuddled as a baby. What happened later was a God thing...more to come via phone! ;-)

    1. That is so heartbreaking. It's not fair, is it? Thank you Lord that these children are no longer in those situations are now are in a forever family to be cuddled and loved again and again...

  2. I love your honesty, Kristin. God is using it to prepare our hearts.