Homes of the broken

Dark auditorium, crowded with people rocking out to a Christian rock concert.  I’m next to my husband and we’re surrounded by most of our children. Leeland begins singing ‘Follow You’.  I love the song.  It speaks of gratitude and dedication, and it always reminds me of how much I want to serve, to be used by God in a big way to meet needs around me.

But tonight a familiar phrase in the song twists and jabs my heart in a new way.  “Follow you into the homes of the broken” says the song.  A cold shard of truth pierces me through.

Broken.   I don’t have to go anywhere to find people who have experienced brokenness.  They’re here in my own home.

A certain amount of brokenness comes with any adoption.  New adoptive parents sometimes deny that truth. We picture ourselves as problem-solvers, bringing kids out of brokenness into a place of healing and stability. That is partially true. But the things that cause kids to need new families are scarring, wounding, heart-breaking things.  Even kids adopted as infants will eventually have hard questions, pain that lingers despite our most loving affirmation.

When adopting older kids, the questions are harder, the pain fresher.    My words are puny, powerless to diminish the loss my precious children faced before they came to me.  In fact my very presence reminds them of the ‘real’ mother they can no longer have.  The one they really want. The hurt isn’t their fault or mine.  But there are days when the ache of it feels insurmountable. Where shards of brokenness rattle no matter where I step in my home.  I can’t fix it for them, no matter how hard I try.  I have no idea if my mothering will be tagged as success or failure 10 or 20 years from now.

But as I write this post, I realized that adoption doesn’t define all of the brokenness in my home.  Brokenness resides in every heart– in every home –to varying degrees. We are all imperfect people, and not one of us gets through life without scars.  The people ministering to the wounded are sometimes almost as scarred as the ones being ministered to.

And yet God says our fragility is somehow all a part of His plan, and that He will sustain us, even in our brokenness. And here’s the really wonderful thing about having my eyes opened, about clearly seeing the brokenness around me, and of realizing that I can’t fix it on my own.

It gets me right where I should have been in the first place.  Leaning on an all-powerful God who has the power to fix what I can’t, in myself and in my loved ones.  The God in whom resides eternal hope, limitless power, and perfect healing.

2 Corinthians 4 “But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”

Hope.  Yes.  It is there.  In HIM.  And so we carry on.

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  1. Thank you for sharing! As an adoptive family to 2 and we are in the process of getting approved to foster to adopt hopefully a sibling group it seems like I have people coming at me with remarks like “do you know what you are getting into, etc., etc.?”. Uh, yes, I do and I’m so glad God put it in our hearts to do so. And yes, I know it’s a bumpy road.

  2. Thank you for this post. You’ve aptly described the condition of humanity. And as believers, we are to remember we ourselves are broken as we seek to minister to other broken people. Have you read Paul Tripp’s book Instruments in the Redeemer’s Hands? Your words echo his. The book really changed the way I think about counseling others (which takes place in every interaction with another person).
    Our two boys were adopted as infants, they are now 2 1/2 and 7 weeks. I don’t look forward to the season of life when they will experience the loss and pain you’ve described. But my prayer is that God will be their hope and their healer.

  3. Oh Mary…
    We have been a foster adopt family for 6 years. We have adopted 3 wonderful girls and fostered 19. Your post totally made me cry. Not because of any failure on our parts as mothers, but simply because I have tried to fill the hole for these babies too many times. In the end, only Christ can do that… for them and me.

  4. The broken places seem the most likely to allow in the light. I wasn’t able to have children, through poor life choices never in a situation to adopt, yet in the deep scars I have found others who need a word, a cake (food fixes everything doesn’t it?) or prayers. Beautifully written Mary – we don’t fix the broken places – He will –

  5. Loved this so much. Thank you for sharing!

  6. Melissa says:

    Wow- you make it real for those of us considering fostering and adopting. I’d like to think that I can make their lives better and heal some hurts. But I guess it doesn’t work like that? They still hurt but at least we can show them Jesus.

  7. LOVE Leeland! Love that song! And I think we are all kinder to others when we remember that they are hurting, too.

  8. Thanks for this Mary.

  9. Another song about broken people is by Bon Jovi on the _Lost Highway_ album Everybody’s Broken the first time I heard it, this same reaction slammed my heart, but I don’t write about it so eloquently as you have done here

  10. Had the exact same thought (that God was calling me to minister to the broken in my own family) the first time I really listened to the words of this song. His body was broken to heal our brokenness.

  11. I can’t tell you how much I need to read this right now! Thank you.

  12. It is a privilege…..to be an adoptive parent! I’m not one….but it BLESSES my heart so much to see families completed by this gracious act of sharing (from God).

    Leeland’s song is amazing too!
    Just this morning….my two teen girls and I were getting ready for school and we were singing it together.
    Finally my youngest grabbed her ipod and played it on youtube for us to enjoy one more time before we left.
    I love it!

  13. Thanks Mary, your post reminded me of what I did already know… but at times we can get kicked in the gut because we so want to “heal” our broken children. Even if they are no longer children but 27… and in this we the broken parent need to go to Him too. Bless you…

    Dawn
    In Or.

  14. Ohhhh, you hit another one close to my heart. Yes, there is brokenness with adoption, and yes, some adoptive parents do not see it. My adoptive parents did not see it and yes, the pain lingers. But despite the rejections God allowed me to go through with both my birth & adoptive family, I’m learning and accepting more and more of God’s true adoption and that WOW’s me! Thank you for being sensitive to this! ~ Loni

  15. Love this post. Thank you. This especially resonates with me:

    “It gets me right where I should have been in the first place. Leaning on an all-powerful God who has the power to fix what I can’t, in myself and in my loved ones. The God in whom resides eternal hope, limitless power, and perfect healing.”