Honeybee's Song

My heart is broken

My mommy and daddy died

I have a hard life

I have to get used to a new family

I just don’t know it

But God has given me a good family now

I thank God that He has given me a good family

I love my Mom and Dad

My heart aches a bit each time I read this and I have to pause for a moment.

Honeybee sang this to me last night at bedtime and I asked her if I could share it with you as a window into the heart of a child adopted at an older age.  Honeybee has been home two years, but some days her grief is still fresh.  I’ve shared this before, but Honeybee did not know that her parents had died until we told her.  All of the years that she lived in the orphanage, she maintained hope that her mommy would come back for her.  It makes me angry that it fell to us to break her heart, but maybe she needed the hope of her mother’s return to just keep living.

In the rush of my life, it is easy – horribly easy – to forget her sorrow.  I rush through the bedtime routine: showers, pajamas, teeth, meds, stories, prayers.  Then I hear a quiet sniff from the bottom bunk.  I lean down to see tears shining on her cheeks.  I hold her for a moment, pray for her, kiss her several times, then give her a firm hug.  She nestles under her blankets and closes her eyes.

Later I check on the children and find Sunshine curled next to her – the comfort of a sister, a companion in the loneliness, and their heads touch in the darkness.

~Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

0 Comments

  1. Karen
    September 20, 2010

    Oh, Lisa. I have no real words of wisdom for you or for Honeybee on this one. I will say, however, that my oldest daughter, now almost 11 years old (3 more weeks!), was adopted at 4 months of age, carries grief similar to this. It is not as dramatic, I'm sure, since she did not know her birthfamily prior to her adoption BUT we do have an open adoption with them now. We've met them face to face 3 times now at my daughter's request. This has been such a great thing for her to have the contact but it also makes her see them as "real people," not just names on a page, and so it makes her miss them a bit more.

    Reply
  2. Julie
    September 20, 2010

    Tears for your baby…prayers for you.

    Reply
  3. Leslie
    September 20, 2010

    My heart aches for her too. Thanks to her and you for sharing how real those losses are and how God can be with us and our children in coming to terms with them. I also had to tell my younger daughter that her mother had died, which she had not been told while she was still in the orphanage. It is so sad and difficult. We need those reminders that the loss is still there, especially when things are so busy and "normal." Praying for you all.

    Reply
  4. Kate in NY
    September 20, 2010

    This will sound strange, but I am jealous. We adopted our son from Ethiopia 5 years ago, when he was nearly 7. In all these years, he has never shed a tear of grief for him family there (and he seems to have had a fairly good early childhood with them – his few memories are mostly positive). He does keep a photo of his Ethiopian family on his bedside table – but he refuses to talk much about them. What I wouldn't give to seem some appropriately directed, genuine grief from him. By that I mean – I see his grief manifested every day, but its more like this impenetrable wall around him – he never gets to the really painful stuff. I'm sure it is incredibly heartbreaking for you to read your daughter's poem – – – but I think it is so healthy, so healing. Please thank her for sharing it with us.

    Reply
  5. JLB
    September 20, 2010

    I'm so sorry….I also don't have anything constructive to say, other than, I'm glad she has you as loving parents to her.

    Reply
  6. Kayla
    September 20, 2010

    This is one of the unexpected parts of adoption for me: grieving for my children and all they have lost. My son has been home 18 months from Haiti and my daughter, 7 months. I think as we settled into parenthood (my son is our first child) my grief for them gradually came out. Now that we're past the "oh my gosh! they're home what do we do?" part…now my heart has had time to really get to the nitty gritty of their hurts. Even though we've ahd fairly easy adjustments, I just find myself overwhelmed with sadness at the hurts their little hearts have had. Your words have left me with tears.

    Reply
  7. Paula
    September 20, 2010

    This is so sad, and also so timely for me. Our daughters have been having a hard time since starting school, and one in particular is showing a lot of anger and grief once again. Our girls, too, had no idea why they were in the orphanage. I find myself feeling so sad for them, and also frustrated and angry. I feel some anger toward the birth family for leaving them and not even being open with them. But I am also glad that we found the birth family and can talk about them with our girls, who obviously still miss them and love them so much. International adoption can be so messy; certainly not the "gosh they are lucky to have you" story that we hear all the time from well-meaning acquaintances.

    Reply
  8. sandee
    September 20, 2010

    I need this reminder…as we all bleed from the wounds inflicted by the wounded…and then wound in return. How to stop the wounding cycle….

    Reply
  9. Katie Ashcraft
    September 20, 2010

    Thank you for this reminder. The reminder that this will take time and may always hurt deep. My four year old has been home nine months. I just put him down for a nap and as I was hugging and kissing him he asked me, "Why did God let my Ethiopia mommy die?" I wish I could find the words to heal that hurt. After we talked a little he said, "I am afraid I will forget her, because I don't have a picture." She passed away as he was turning two. So much hurt for little hearts. I keep reminding him that we don't know why, but God does and God has a plan for his life.

    Thank you for always sharing the hard things. You encourage my heart daily.

    Reply
  10. Emily
    September 20, 2010

    This is so beautifully written. Sisters touch each other in the darkness; yes, they do. And the Lord gives us glimpses into the souls of our children when we slow to listen. And our mama hearts want to make it all better when we can't. Only He can. Sometimes healing can only come with walking side by side through the sadness and pain, knowing that you can come out together on the other side of the valley. What a blessing to be part of a family that knows all these truths, and seeks to live them out.

    Reply
  11. kristen ~Pajama Mama
    September 21, 2010

    thank you for the glimpse. it is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time.

    Reply
  12. Angela
    September 22, 2010

    I think it is completely incredible that @ her age she is able to get her grief out & to verbalize her feelings of grief!! I think it proves her trust in her family because it isn't easy to bare your soul… my 7 yr old bio. daughter wrote a song about her sister (my daughter) who passed away @ the age of 4 yr. old after fighting cancer for 2 yrs. In her song that she sang to us (her family) she told how she still loves her and that her sister is still alive in her heart!! Encouraging children to talk about their grief, sing about it, is a healthy thing!! WE are in the process of adopting from ET as well (siblings) and I tell my family that we will be able to understand the children we get a little better than some because of our experience in grief. I love your blog!!

    Reply
    1. One Thankful Mom
      September 22, 2010

      Angela, thank you for your wise words. I'm so sorry for your loss. I have to agree that the suffering your family experienced at the loss of your daughter/sister will definitely help you to be sensitive the the many losses your new children will have faced. I hope your adoption process goes well! Thank you for leaving a comment.

      Reply
  13. charity
    September 22, 2010

    the comment above reminded me of something i truly know …walking side by side through the pain is sometimes how healing comes…when i delivered my 3rd daughter at home after the first two were in a hospital, my midwife taught us an important life principle, that what people really need to cope with pain that can't be changed is for someone who is able to sit with them IN their pain…she was referring to a skill husbands needed to learn to be a support to their wives:) but oh, how many times that has applied to my children…think of the strength in the relationship of a mother and her child when she is the one who cares for them into the night through the pain, walks them, sings to them, even when she can't take the pain from them. There is power there, and trust is built.

    Reply
  14. charity
    September 22, 2010

    My husband has been a police officer our whole marriage, and almost always worked through the night, so the little ones only had me to nurse their suffering during illnesses. it is interesting how hard it was for them to then go to him during the day when they were hurt. We all need someone to just be with us during our struggles, as adults, we turn to God for the reminder we are never alone…as mothers, our children turn to us, and He will fill the holes, they truly just need someone who they can trust to sit with them when it gets really hard. love that sweet daughter of yours, thanks for sharing them with us all

    Reply
  15. Bethaney
    September 23, 2010

    2 Corinthians 1: 3-7 is such a blessing. We have been comforted by God so that we can comfort others in ANY trouble with that same comfort which we have recieved from Him. He knows sorrow and is aquainted with grief. He will also equip you each moment to minister to your daughter. He doesn't call us and then leave us to do this ourselves. What ministry of comfort she will have to others one day, if not even now.

    Reply
  16. Alicia
    September 23, 2010

    thank you for sharing your heart and recognizing that we don't have to have all the answers, but that healing is happening even in the midst of deep pain. thank you.

    Reply
  17. Tanya
    October 5, 2010

    Hi Lisa,
    If you have time, I would like to ask you a question. We are on the brink of making a decision to adopt (again) from ET. This time, it may be a girl age 8 or 9ish. We have been told, however, that this age range and gender is the MOST difficult and challenging, and often can end in disruption. This scares me to death! This is the last thing I want, but I feel God is calling us to adopt an older girl. The issues of RAD, ODD and abuse are possibilities and I feel so inadequate to handle them if they do arise. I fear we could potentially put our younger children in harms way and it would ruin our family forever. But then I also have hopes that we could handle it (with God's help and support of others like you) IF these things were to happen. I don't hear God's voice speaking one way or the other, unfortunately. So I am asking if you could discuss this matter with me (publicly or privately) since you have daughters adopted from this age range AND country. I know all cases and families are different, but I am looking for guidance and direction as we sort through all the pros & cons. Unfortunately we don't have much information on this little girl, so that makes our decision harder and I feel we would be going into it blindly…..but that's how most all adoptions are anyway….an unknown risk. Praying for God's direction as we make a decision in the next week or so. Thank you for your time! My email address is theprucruatqdotcom

    Reply

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