As I stepped off the plane, all I could do was cry. I’m sure it was because I knew I was finally going to see my kids again but it also could have been because everyone around me was speaking English! We were finally back on US soil with our new daughter after what was undoubtedly the hardest 6 ½ weeks of my life. I’m a bit surprised that I had any tears left at that point. We came home from Ukraine physically and emotionally depleted in ways I had never known possible. The child we brought home with us was deeply emotionally scarred….a reality that slapped me in the face when I thought the hardest thing we would have to deal with was her physical disability. Don’t get me wrong. I’d read all of the books and looked at all of the web sites. I’d heard all of the stories, but hearing it and living it are two very different things. To say that she was challenging would be a gross understatement. With little reserves left after the ordeal of bringing her home, I wondered how in the world I was going to parent this child.
A couple of days after arriving home, I found myself sobbing in my closet, begging God not to make me do this…it was a little too late at that point though, and I knew it, which made it even harder to deal with. I had made a fairy tale out of our adoption and it came crashing down. I learned very fast how incredibly weak I was, how ill equipped I was to parent her, and how little I knew about what love really was. Love comes easy when someone is easy to love. This kind of love was different, it was a choice, an action despite your feelings, and it was hard.
During the early weeks and months, we were learning who our daughter was and helping her to heal from her past and the fears that the present brought. In that time, The Lord used the song “Beautiful, Beautiful’ by Francesca Battistelli to minister to me.
Every time I listened to this song, I heard truth among a million lies that went through my head each day. God saw something in me that I couldn’t see in myself. He chose me as Oksana’s parent and would help me be who I needed to be for her. He was all I needed. I knew that through the pain of my circumstances He would create something beautiful and I would experience joy through His work in my life.
A year and a half later it is sometimes still really hard, but beauty abounds! Beauty is holding her in my arms when she looks up at me and says “I love you so much,” and the feeling is mutual. Beauty is hearing her belly laugh. Beauty is seeing her delight in kissing her brothers good night. Beauty is watching her love life and live it to the fullest rather than fear life. Beauty is in signs of healing, physically and emotionally. Beauty is what the Lord has done in all of us. We are different, we are changed, we are joyful. It is truly beautiful!
Erin Loraine is married to Larry, her high school sweetheart, and they have been blessed with 3 kiddos. Clayton is 12, Evan is 9, and Oksana, who was adopted from Ukraine in 2010 is 6. Oksana has Cerebral Palsy and microcephaly keeping her family on their toes! They are in the process of bringing home a Bulgarian Beauty with Down Syndrome. Erin blogs about her joys and struggles at
Beautiful, Beautiful (Lyrics)
Don’t know how it is You looked at me
And saw the person that I could be
Awakening my heart
Breaking through the dark
Suddenly Your grace
Like sunlight burning at midnight
Making my life something so
Mercy reaching to save me
All that I need
You are so
Now there’s a joy inside I can’t contain
But even perfect days can end in rain
And though it’s pouring down
I see You through the clouds
Shining on my face
I have come undone
But I have just begun
Changing by Your grace