Jeremy Statton

Living Better Stories

The Hard Days: An update on Sean

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Many have asked for an update on Sean. I could say that everything is going well because it is. I could say that we are happy, because we are.

But I can also say that these days are hard.

I Know More than I Did

I know more about Sean than I did. I know more than the simple file that was emailed to us before we said yes. I know more about him than I did the day we met.

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Sean is a good kid. He is helpful. He enjoys cleaning up after dinner. He plays well with the little ones. Unlike our others boys, he even makes his bed.

Sean is flexible. He is doing better with the changes than I think most would. He seems to be okay with most of the differences in his new life.

Sean is grateful. He tells us constantly that he loves us. I do not know exactly what love means to him, but I can tell by the look on his face and in his eyes that it is good.

I know more than I did, but there is still so much I do not know.

Adoption is Hard

Adoption is good. But it is not easy. Believe it or not, the hardest part of adoption is not the paperwork or the long wait.

Adoption is not convenient. It does not make life simpler.

It is not cheap. It will destroy your financial plans. And that is just to pay to make the adoption happen not to mention the cost of food and doctor visits and clothing.

It is exhausting. We were busy before Sean. Much too busy. Bonding with a 14 year old is not something we had time for. There is nothing else to cut out of our days.

I have even blamed the stress of everything for my kidney stone.

My Biggest Struggle

The issue is not with Sean as much as it is with me.

My biggest struggle is to love no matter what.

I can love as long as things are the way I want them to be. I can love as long as people fall in line with my expectations of them. I can love as long as my love asks very little of me.

But most days I feel like love is asking more of me than I can give.

The Road

When our stories prove to be hard, we often forget why we need to push through the struggles.

Henri Nouwen was a catholic priest and writer who experienced a very difficult and dark period in his life. In his journal which was published as The Inner Voice of Love (affiliate link), he had this to say about his own difficult experience.

The years that lie behind you, with all their struggles and pains, will in time be remembered only as the way that led to your new life.

Identifying the struggle matters because it tells me the road I am on. It shows me the new life that I am headed towards. It shows me what the pain and struggle is pointing me towards.

And one day I will no longer remember these hard days.

About Jeremy Statton

Jeremy is a writer and an orthopedic surgeon. When not ridding the world of pain, he helps you live a better story. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook or Google +.

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13 Replies

  1. Donna

    I hear you. It seems like love should be the easy part, but it isn’t. Not always. I am not sure you will ever not remember these hard days. I am not sure that’s even something to wish for. They WILL change you, and remembering where we have come from is a piece of what makes us thankful, both for the destination and for the road. It also makes us humble, kind and forgiving. But it takes time.

    1. I am certain there are things my mind will block out. And there will be me many things I’ll never forget. I think you are right that the best things take time.

  2. DDF

    Jeremy, Thank you for the update on Sean. I can only imagine how challenging it is for you — wow! Not my might; nor by power, but by my Spirit says the Lord. I don’t hear you giving up. So here’s a loving nudge for you to stay at your post, brother. Of course, I know you are! … Adopting is hard and expensive and challenging and exhausting and a thousand other things. And yep, those 3 kidos you adopted are 3 of God’s favorites. They joined 4 other favorites of God. God is for you and I am lifting you up right now. :)

    1. I do forget sometimes that God is for us. Not so much that I refuse to believe, I am just so busy, I lose sight of it. Thanks for the reminder.

  3. Nancy

    Let’s hope for better things – that you never forget these days. These hard days are what true love is all about – they are the threads that are binding your family together. They are the memories that will, ultimately, give your life meaning. And they aren’t hard days, from my experience! Very hard months, followed by hard months, making up a hard year, and a slightly-less hard year that follows. Oh, I’m sure you’ve been told, but do make sure he gets to the dentist soon. They often need thousands of dollars of dental work. Our son’s out-of-pocket costs were about $2,000. It was a wonderful way to go broke, lol, knowing we had saved our son’s teeth.

    1. We’ve been to everyone already. Dentist and Orthodontist and plastic surgeon. There is a lot of work that needs to be done and I’m glad we can help him out with it.

  4. DanKnight

    Grace is….releasing others from the expectations we have of them”. Like adoption grace is hard! As I read your post I was reminded that, thru Christ, we are adopted into God’s family. I know we are “hard work” for the Holy Spirit. To be convicting and transforming us daily into the image of Christ.

    I know the analogy is not lost on you: If it were easy anyone could do it; But God chose you and your wife because the two of you have what it takes to support and uphold each other as you persevere in transforming and loving, not just Sean, but all your kids. The two of you have what it takes to pour out your “financial security” as investments in lives here on earth and store it up as treasure in heaven.

    Yes, it’s hard. It was hard for my wife and I to raise a special needs son for 17 years; It was harder still to endure his passage into heaven 6 years ago (we still wrestle with days of grief); It’s hard now as empty nesters to enjoy the release of the “hard work” without feeling occasional pangs of guilt for that enjoyment.

    It’s hard, but if it were easy anyone could do it; anyone would have been chosen. It’s hard, but it is our spiritual service: It is our calling; It is our prize! The two of you have what it takes to see the task thru: to earn the divine prize of “Good and Faithful Servants”.

    The two of you are living a better story; and your sharing it with us, enhances our stories; helps us to learn from you and live better stories ourselves. Thank-you and WELL DONE!

    1. Thanks, Dan. Send me an email and tell me more about your son.

  5. It’s amazing what God places on our hearts. The action that he is asking us to take. Are we ever fully prepared or equipped to enter into what is laid before us? I’m not sure.
    I do know that he does equip us for every good work.

    As an adoptive parent of one, and a father of two kids (and hopeful adoptive parent of at least 1 more) I cannot imagine the time crunch you have with all of your children.

    We believe that God qualifies the called, and I am grateful that you and your family are willing to accept all of the risks inherent in what you are doing, and your willingness to share love.

    Thank you for choosing to be light, and foregoing “normal”.

    1. Thanks, DS. I don’t know if we are ever fully prepared to enter into what is laid before us. But that is the reason to enter.

  6. Cathie Allan-Mason

    Jeremy, thank you SO much for sharing with such transparency. Your blog is an inspiration to many, I’m sure. I am now a grandmother, and I am often reminded that we are all on such individual journey’s in life. We all have different “hard things” to deal with, and many hard things are intermingled with blessings. God uses all these things to mold us and the process is not easy. When I was going through one particularly hard time in my life I had typed out a number of verses that had the word “sustain” in them, and I kept rehearsing them, as some days I felt like I could not keep dealing with what I needed to continue on with. Psalm 54:4 says, “Surely God is my help, the Lord is the one who sustains me.” May God sustain you and your wife as you do the hard things that God has trusted you with on this journey.

    1. Thank you, Cathie. Your words are encouraging.

  7. Samantha Anderson

    Thanks so much for your vulnerability. I really appreciate your authenticity as a fellow blogger and as an adoptive-mom-to-be. Everything you write hits my heart in a deep place. Thank you for your ministry to us through your writing.

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