May 19, 2010

Life As A House

Anyone seen that movie? It was released in 2001 and the premise of the movie was about rebuilding.

Not just a house but about family, faith, relationships, etc.

I often reflect back on that movie.

Because our son Luke’s story is also a story of rebuilding.

But the rebuild was not all about him. Yes, he needed a rebuild. He needed a family, love, medical care, proper nutrition. All those things are a given.

However it was ME that got the biggest upgrade in the process.

Luke came home at the age of 19 months old. His listed special need was cleft lip and palate. We received updates from the orphanage during our wait which described a little boy who was mostly on target….one that was walking, riding a tricycle… doing all the things that a toddler should be doing.

We arrived in China in May 2007 to meet him and bring him home. And our spirits were crushed when we received him at the Civil Affairs office. This little boy was nothing like what we were told. In fact, he was the absolute opposite. He was a 19 month old who was the size and weight of an infant. He was a child who could not hold up his head, sit up, roll over or walk. He was clearly a child that had MANY MORE special needs then what was listed in his documentation. I mean MANY MANY MORE.

And I wanted to run.

I wanted to bolt out of there because I knew it would be difficult. But even though my HEAD wanted to run, my HEART and God’s leading gave me the courage to stay. But it wasn’t pretty for me. And I have been struggling with Luke’s reality ever since. In September 2009 he was diagnosed with an Intellectual Disability. My stomach turned over and over and I wanted to throw up.

Well… I DID throw up. But not in the office space.

That would have been disgusting.

Life with Luke…well… God is using Luke to be my teacher. My lessons are: realistic expectations, patience, faith, hope, understanding, perspective, diligence, etc.

In other words….for me it’s been a total rebuild.

Not that I didn’t have those things before. I did.

But it wasn’t at the level they needed to be.

It wasn’t at the level God wanted them to be.

So began a complete renovation. And folks, it hasn’t been gentle… at all. It’s been tough. Lots of tools and nails and lumber.

And in a way I guess I was scared with each adoption that I would be changed. I mean… I knew I would be changed in some ways but… it was the big ways I was scared of. I think no matter how much we prepare to adopt a special needs child- or ANY child for that matter- all adoptive parents are all scared of the changes we will experience: to our schedules, our home life, our relationships, our time and energy, our other kids.

But oh how I have come to learn to embrace how these children have changed me. Especially Luke. And I think that you will find it the same way if you commit to one of these beautiful children. Change is inevitable. How beautiful it is to have the change occur because you have loved and embraced a child with special needs.

-Nicole from


  1. So beautifully said, Nicole.

    Thank you.

  2. So well said, Nicole. We are the ones who are immeasurably blessed by the process of bringing home these children. For me, it has been like a magnifying glass on all the areas that He wants to grow me... now always nice to look at, but to truly change, our eyes must first be opened.
    Hugs to you and your beautiful family!!

  3. i never, never grow weary of THIS story. it is deeply inspiring to me.

    thanks for letting us glimpse your reality.... which is showered with blessings.

  4. This reminds me of a horribly stressful time in my life several years ago when a doctor suggested that my son might have a form of autism. I was devastated. I had a happy dream that my mother-in-law offered to take him and raise him for us. And then, of course, I felt terrible guilt that I'd even had the thought.

    Long story short....he's 16 now, the initial diagnosis was wrong, and yes, there are still struggles, but I wouldn't trade these years for anything.

  5. Thank you for the incredible vulnerability in this post. I too have felt spotlights on the areas in which God is calling me to surrender, submit, mold, change. It's so challenging.

    But the pay-off for me has been, in the immediate, a more trusting, heart-attached relationship with my daughter. And the long term benefit is eternal.

    . . . I think the Lord knew I'd need an immediate benefit to be able to hang in there for the eternal :)

  6. Thank you Nicole!

    Exactly what Stefanie said! Yes, BTDT! Still doing it actually.

    Your post reminds me of these verses:

    "I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[a] so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you." John 15:1-3