Dear Younger Me, Don’t Look Back

July 27, 2016 July 2016 Feature - Dear Younger Me, Whitney 2 Comments

Recently, one of my little ones was walking backwards while also conducting a conversation with a sibling. After nearly tripping and tumbling, I warned him, “Turn around… you need to face the direction you are headed.” And, as so often happens, the gentle voice of the Lord whispered the same thing to me…

“Keep walking forward. Don’t look back. I’ve got this. I know what I’ve called you to, and there are good places ahead.“


Adoption is hard. I don’t think many of us mince words when it comes to that. But it’s not easy to share the hard stuff, especially in a public forum. The words that dare to veer from the ideal of Adoption Perfection are deemed unworthy of sharing and are given a cursory shove aside and locked out of view because to share is to be vulnerable.

Here’s the thing…

There will be really hard times ahead of you if you are in the paperwork chase. Documents will get lost. Waits will be long. Mess-ups will happen.
Maybe new medical information comes to light. Maybe your spouse takes a pay cut. Maybe your family has to move across state lines.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God who called you to this knows where every piece of your paperwork is. He knows your timeline. He knows where you will be when your child comes home. He knows every single last detail of this process. He’s got this. Trust Him.

There will be really hard times ahead of you if you are about to get on an airplane to go get your baby from halfway around the world. One way or the other, your world will be rocked. Your child may be everything you expected. Your child may be the total opposite of what you expected. She might scream and cry because she loved her nanny. He might retreat into a shell and refuse to change his clothes because they are the only things familiar to him. She might eat ravenously like she can’t get enough. He might shut down and refuse all nourishment. There might be behaviors you only read about and to see them being acted out in front of you might make your heart race with fear.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God who chose your family and this child to be family together will never leave your side. He will do greater battle on behalf of your heart during these days, even if it seems like your world is falling apart. He sees these first days; a family coming together in a way only He could have ordained. He sees. He is there.

There will be really hard times ahead of you if you are newly home and your child struggles and you struggle and everyone else in your family struggles. You might question your sanity. You might have the sweetest of honeymoon times and then be slammed with behaviors that seem to come out of nowhere weeks down the road.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God who sees all sees your struggles. He hears your cries whether they are out-loud or silent. He is the Light in the darkest of moments. You will know him as Father more than ever before as he holds you through these days.

There will be really hard times when you wonder if there is another soul who could possibly understand what you are going through. You may cling to social media and the normalcy that comes from finding others who know exactly what your days are like and how totally possible it is to eat your weight in dark chocolate. You may lose some friends, and that’s never easy.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God who created you knows you inside and out. He understands you better than anyone ever could, and he is available 24/7 for heart-to-heart conversations, which always end in a lavishing of truth.

There will be really hard moments when you’ve been home what you think is a “good” amount of time and wonder what happened to trigger the loud and public meltdown your child just had.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God who called you to the first step in the process knows every step along the way. He knows how the tantrums seem to come in waves and he knows how many days, hours, and minutes there are until the next meltdown happens. He builds us up for these moments, and gives grace we are sometimes unable to give to ourselves when the moments overwhelm us and our tempers are short.

There will be days when you are so terrified of what the future looks like with your new child, what school will look like, what doctors visits and surgeries and therapies will look like. You might wonder how on earth you are going to manage it all.
Keep walking forward. Don’t look back.
The Lord God sees the entire tapestry of your family, not just today or a decade from now, but generations. He knows exactly how to weave your new child into the fabric of family, and his handiwork is breathtaking.

There will come a day when your child might reveal in a casual tone a piece of their past that rips your heart in half. And you will realize… this is what you were walking toward. This moment. This grace of healing you are allowed to participate in. This gentle response that comes from a place you didn’t know existed inside of you. This moment when you realize you are broken and your child is broken but together you are being made into something beautiful.
You will know that existence isn’t about comfort, that nurture may always have to battle nature, and that love is a choice – a daily “yes”. You will know that who you are now would not be possible without the trial by fire. You will know the depth and sheer force of the Father’s love for you, and the depth of his love for the fatherless.

Keep walking forward, friends. Don’t look back. There are good things ahead.

2 responses to “Dear Younger Me, Don’t Look Back”

  1. Gina Batie says:

    Thank you for the amazing article. It was uplifting at just the right time! Your words are so very true too. Keep writing, I enjoy reading and learning from you godly wisdom. We are 3 years in on an older child adoption out of foster care. Lots of rough times. Blessings on you and your family.

  2. Marissa says:

    I desperately needed to read this right now! We are one week home from China with our son and life is hard. My youngest bio is having a hard time adjusting and honestly, I’m having a hard time adjusting. I feel alone and have wondered how I’m going to do this and if life will ever feel even somewhat “normal” again. Thanks for the reminder that the Lord knows and that He’ll never leave us alone in this!

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