Friday, March 28, 2014

The Heartbreak and the Healing

It has been seven months y'all...

seven months since Maggie and Lucy came home...

and while we are celebrating the fact that Lucy can now walk for more than 2 steps before falling and cutting her head open or the fact that Maggie can now walk without knee pads as she gains more control over her precious body...

there are things at this seven month mark that we are not celebrating...

things that we are grieving over and things that have brought us to our knees.

You see, the girls are feeling safer, they are feeling more secure with us and while we do definitely celebrate that awesome fact...

with that security comes revelations and with these revelations come heart break...

heartbreak for what our daughters have begun to tell us of their pasts, their realities, their day in and day out, and their experiences, some of which were immensely and sadly traumatic...

and it – is – hard.

Doing the work that I do and being so involved in the adoption community, you would think that I would have been ready, ready for this knowledge, ready for this sadness, ready to hear their pain...

but my heart was so not ready.

These are my kids, my girls and they suffered y'all, really suffered.

These are all things that I knew could happen to every single waiting child out there but when you are hearing it come out of the mouths of your children...

it suddenly becomes so very real and so very close and so very, hard to process.

My girls have stories, real live stories and those stories are ripping this Momma's heart in two.

We saw where Lucy came from and if you followed our journey, I think you could tell how disturbed we were to experience where our daughter had lived for 4 years of her young life.

Our trip there affected us in a way that I was not prepared for but because of that visit, we did feel somewhat prepared for Lucy's challenges and ready for what she would later tell us of her “Ch*na reality” but when Maggie's story began to be told...


we – were – brought – to – our – knees.

Her story is one of extreme trauma and pain and loss and fear and far too much for anyone, especially a precious little girl, to carry around...

and yet she does and still manages to love and to laugh and to live.

Is she burying the hurt?


Is she masking the tears with laughter?


Is she going to be ok...


You see, in the midst of all this “hard”, there is peace, the kind of supernatural peace that can only come from the Lord.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.
John 14:27

We know He is equipping us, we can feel it everyday and while it might be the hardest thing we have ever done...

there is His constant, reassuring peace, “peace that passes all understanding.”

The day we met Maggie, she noticed my cross. She told us that day in those first few precious moments of knowing her that she had Jesus in her heart – this beautiful, wounded child had already begun to feel His healing, experience His love and through her loving, compassionate, trusting heart, she has shown us just how powerful this is!

We see how He lifts her up and in the process, we are all lifted!

I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.
John 16:33

Maggie will be an “overcomer”!

It will take time and patience and hard work and love but she will overcome and I suspect that her victory will inspire and enlighten and sometimes convict us but always, always glorify Him and all that He has done within her heart and her spirit.

Last week Maggie wanted to make a card for Jesus

She wanted Him to know how much she loved Him and that He was in her heart!

She asked if she could put it in the collection plate at church...

so we did...

and she was so excited.

It is hard to be around Maggie and not be excited.

He is removing the pain and suffering from her heart and filling it with JOY!

How can we not feel completely and totally blessed to be allowed to witness this transformation first hand!

Do we still have struggles?

Do we still have challenges?

Are some days harder than others?


Their needs are great and some days I don't feel great enough to meet those needs but I know things are easier now than they were 7 months ago.

I also know that they will continue to get easier and perhaps more “normal”, although I have long ago given up on the image of “normal” for our family and that's OK...

cause I don't really think I want our family to be what our society considers “normal” anymore.

Thanks to the path the Lord has placed us on...

we are different...

we stand out...

we create a ruckus where ever we go and I am totally cool with that cause I think this world needs a bit more “Holy Ruckus”...

because these kids need us and...

we need them!

My sweet girls have come a long way...

but the learning and the growing and the bonding and the healing continues...

and it is hard...

their stories are hard...

but trusting the Lord to heal their hearts is easy!

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28

The hurt is real

The loss runs deep

and the pain is always just below the surface...

for all three of our precious daughters from Ch*na.

However, God is real-er and deeper and so much more than “just below the surface”!

So as we trudge through our sweet Maggie's needs, both emotional and physical, and walk this path of healing with her, I am often “brought to my knees” but many times, not just in anguish...

but in awe.

Childlike faith y'all!

Maggie, who is full of frightening, horrendous memories, has it and she knows...

despite it all, she knows that Jesus loves her and boy does she love Him!

 For whatever is born of God overcomes the world. And this is the victory that has overcome the world—our faith.
1 John 5:4

My Maggie is loved and cherished and safe but so many more are not...

so many more are suffering and scared and alone.

Please pray for these precious ones and maybe even consider that the Lord may be calling you to help a waiting child to be loved and cherished and safe, whether that is through adoption or by financially helping others bring their children home or simply by supporting those who are home.

Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.
James 1:27

“unspotted from the world”

My girls are not “unspotted from the world” just as I am not and so many others are not...

however, my girls' “spottings” were thrust upon them and mine, like so many others have “spottings” that were chosen.

I don't expect everyone to understand as I did not for so very long...

until I went to China and brought our Lizzie home.

I saw where she had spent the first two years of life and then dealt with the effects of this existence and it started to become more real, this “spotting”.

Little by little I was giving in to the broken-ness that the Lord had begun laying on my heart as a child...

and after bringing Maggie and Lucy home...

seeing where Lucy came from...

and the beginning truth of Maggie's heartbreak...

it is now deeply and painfully clear, the orphans reality and our “spotting”...

and we are learning that to be “unspotted” requires letting go of the expectations of this world.

We have 3 beautiful wonderful daughters who have deep hurts and real pain and it is not how I envisioned my life as I was growing up but I am certain, it is how the Lord envisioned my life and I am certain He will continue to equip us for this life He planned for us and I am certain that His healing will continue to bless us and I am certain that our 3 beautiful wonderful daughters will be restored.

  For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11

My girls now have a hope and a future.

Please consider opening your hearts and looking beyond the expectations of this world.

There are children counting on you.


  1. Our Lord Jesus is Healer and Redeemer. Thank you, friend, for being faithful to point to Him. How He loves these precious ones.

  2. Love you, Annie. I get it. Her pain, her memories, they have now become yours. I will pray specifically for your 3 Loves, but I will be lifting Maggie to Him, for Restoration of her tiny body and the sad, little broken parts. I get it. Hugs to You as you Love your Girls through the valleys. Jo

  3. Completely understanding and feeling with you for all the kids… We are often in tears as we try to understand what they have been through and how they survived… Thank You Father, that You gave them 3 of Your precious children, that Your healing will go through them and heal them in every area!!! Love and blessings, and in tears, and feeling for all these precious ones. We pray that they all may find a loving forever family who know Jesus… He saw everything that happened to them and He is able to restore them, and He brought them out of their circumstances and brought them to you to love and take care of them and to hold them, because you are His hands caring for them!!! Lots of love and blessings, I really felt sharing this with you!!!

    1. Oh goodness, thank you so very much for sharing that!

  4. Wow. My daughter, too, shared once she became comfortable months after coming home. Her stories were sad and heartbreaking, but I wouldn't say traumatic. She also knows the love of her Savior and will be an overcomer. Your family is so beautiful, Annie; on the inside and outside. Thanks for sharing that hard story.

  5. You are His hands and feet to the lost - your three girls are no longer lost. Praise Him
    Those you help find families are no longer lost. You are so very important to the Lord and to the children. I am blessed to call you friend. May He continue to equip you to help heal your children's brokeness and Praise Him for loving them until you could get there. He smiles as we live our lives for Him and He desires that all of us look after the orphan. May He continue to do His good works through all those that see this orphan crisis and know the pain it brings to our heavenly Father.

    1. Thank you sweet Kelly! I can say the same sweet things about you too!

  6. What a sad but beautiful "story". I know it breaks your heart that there are so many other orphans out there, going through God knows what...I am so glad that you have your 3 girls and that they have the wonderful Hamlin family to call their own. The Lord will bring them through this with your loving guidance, and the Lord will bring you and Chris through this with his loving guidance. God Bless you all Annie, prayers for your family.

  7. I love this! I have spent many days and nights so saddened by the life that our son Peter had. It's heartbreaking, absolutely heartbreaking to hear what their life used to be. Hearing these things changes you. When things are tough for them, God reminds me why it's tough for them. And I suddenly do not feel so selfish anymore. Because it's all about Him. Bringing Him glory and helping these sweet ones know that God loves and adores them. Thank you for your words.

  8. GREAT post Annie,

    Through my big dinosaur tears.....I love you.


  9. God bless each of you Annie. Aching along with you for those who still wait and suffer. And rejoicing along with you for those that are orphaned no more. Love to you my friend and your precious babies. Oh gosh I just love the "Holy Ruckus"!!!

  10. These posts bring tears to my eyes, I'm touched by God's love in your life.
    May God bless your family abundantly.

  11. God heals. He can heal ALL. Hugs to you and your girls.

    1. Hey TM! Was just thinking about you the other day! Hope all is well and thank you:)