Thursday, June 28, 2012

Life ain't always beautiful...

"Life ain't always beautiful
Sometimes it's just plain hard
Life can knock you down, it can break your heart

Life ain't always beautiful
You think you're on your way
And it's just a dead end road at the end of the day

But the struggles make you stronger
And the changes make you wise
And happiness has its own way of takin' its sweet time

No, life ain't always beautiful
Tears will fall sometimes
Life ain't always beautiful
But it's a beautiful ride"

This is one of my favorite songs by Gary Allan. There is so much truth in these words. This past week has been hard, with the situation with Sam and the Stokes family. If you aren't aware, the Stokes family committed to Sam after we had to back away, and they left last week to get him. All of Sam's moms, aunts, and everyone who loves him were so excited to know that his family was finally coming for him. (He can't imagine the people who showed such love for him and all came together to help him.) He would get the family he had been wanting, and his new life would begin. But the unthinkable happened, something none of us would have dreamed. He said no. The link above will take you to the Stokes' blog, where you can read exactly what all happened, but basically, he had been fed false information by others for their own selfish purpose. Needless to say, my heart is broken, for Kim and Shane and their family, and especially for Sam. He has no idea what he's given up. A wonderful Christian family, a brother and sisters, a chance for college and endless possibilities in life. 

Of course we're all wondering why. Why he gave up this chance, why so many of us felt led to him, to help him and try to bring him home, only to seemingly have it be all for nothing. Why?? Once we had to back away, I questioned God as to why He brought this to our doorstep, and then take Sam away again. Of course I did. What did this accomplish? And now the Stokes family are having to wonder the same thing. Why did God allow them to go over there, to see Sam face to face, and then make them come home without him? I honestly don't think I could have handled doing that. It was hard enough, going through what we did. Please keep Kim and Shane in your prayers to help them heal from this. 

For anyone who hasn't gone through anything similar, you probably don't understand just how hard this is. Once you commit to a child to adopt them, they are yours. You picture them in everything you do, everywhere you go, in your mind they are right there with you. You make plans and preparations for them. You've already added them to your family. Then when that's taken away, your world comes crashing down. You've lost a family member. You grieve. I grieved for Sam and Duncan, and I'm sure the Stokes are grieving the loss of their son. 

So, you might ask, why put yourself through that? Don't I wish it had never happened? NOT.FOR.A.MINUTE. I wouldn't change what I did, not one bit. These last four months have been the most stressful of my life. I've cried more than I have in the last several years put together. We've spent money we couldn't afford to spend. But I would do it again in a heartbeat. It's been a beautiful ride, and I can say that my life has been changed because of it.

Why do I say that? Because, by doing this, I stepped out in faith, not having a clue what we were doing, I just trusted God. He said, go, and I did. Because that's what we have to do. The Stokes did the same thing. Whatever the outcome, we did what we had to do. When God calls, we need to answer. Yes, it was incredibly hard for everyone involved. I pray this doesn't happen to the other kids from 39. Please keep all the families and children in your prayers, that the kids will know this is the right thing to do, that they don't let lies interfere with their chance for a family. And please keep Sam in your prayers, that things will go well for him and that somehow, this will turn out ok for him.


  1. Traci,

    Do you know if anything is left open so that he could change his mind and the Stokes could proceed? I'm wondering if other families traveling soon for the other children in 39 might change his opinion or if he'll be impacted when Renee goes back with Emma. I certainly hope this line of thinking doesn't spread to the other children there, particularly the other older boys. At what age are they allowed to say no?


  2. I'm not sure what his options would be now. Hopefully someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I THINK the age for a child to consent or refuse is around eight or nine. It would be a difficult decision to put on a child's shoulder, at whatever the age.

  3. This has left me heartbroken, too, Traci. However, you are right. It's not ours to question God, but simply to go where He leads and do whatever He asks of us. He has a plan for Sam and we'll all continue to pray that God's purposes would be made complete in Sam's life. I love your heart and am thankful you're my friend. You're my friend, thanks to Sam :)

  4. Sam is an adult -16 is the age of majority in Ukraine. It's his choice, period. You may think its a bad choice, it may well be a bad choice but it is 100% his choice.

    It is beyond patronizing to want to influence his decision -- the implication being that he's too stupid or too scared or too naive to understand what he's giving up. He gets to keep his language country friends etc. however grim his odds may be he's gotta be better off than these kids:

    The Louds adopted 4 Ukrainian teens and disrupted 3 in under a year. One after 35 (!!!!!!) days!! Since when is "forever" all of 5 weeks? Do these kids are family-less again in the USA -- where they do not speak the language very well, have zero social connections and have ex-parents in the USA who have convinced themselves they did the right thing!! I can totally see Jesus giving up after 5 wks and dumping the kids they promised to love/care for.

  5. Traci, this is awesome. Yes, it was hard on everyone involved, but to hear what you said-after the fact-is the greatest thing to come from this. Your faith is intact, and that's the greatest thing that a mother can ask for. I am so proud of you. Love you thissssssssssssssssss much!

  6. I'm not sure where you received the info about the age of majority, but whoever told you that was incorrect. In Ukraine, the legal age of majority is 18. The age of sexual consent is 16, and maybe they confused the two. Yes, it was his decision to make, but to say its patronizing to want a decent life for him is just wrong. I'm not sure what disruptions have to do with this post though. Of course they do happen from time to time, and I'm sure no family does that without trying every other means of resolution possible. For those not familiar with the term disruption as it is used here, that refers to the circumstance when a family is unable to continue to care for an adopted child, and gives the child up to be readopted. Some people, such as this anonymous commenter, obviously love to tout this as a reason NOT to adopt. Yes, it happens occasionally, but does that mean we should turn our backs on children neglected in orphanages around the world? 99.9% of sane people say no!

  7. Adoption is not for the faint hearted. I stood up and applauded you for choosing Sam and Duncan. I wept when you had to back out. I rejoiced when the Stokes raised their hands and I am grieving deeply that Sam said no. I do not agree with anonymous that it is patronizing to want to help him change his mind. I have a 16 year old who deeply needs us to help him make right decisions. Sam needs a family. To be on his own at that age is terribly sad. I grieve the aloneness he faces - I grieve that he won't have a father to show him what it means to be a man. I grieve that he won't have a mother who will love him unconditionally. The Loud family who adopted the four kids have my undying support and love!! They did a beautiful thing by crossing the ocean and bringing home four children. Though things did not go as planned for them... those four children have hope and a future because they crossed that ocean!! Adoption is not for the faint hearted but it IS for the faithful and the Godly!!

  8. Sam has been on my mind so much the last few days. I will not forget him and I will still pray. I know God is still watching over him! How hard for Sam to have to make a life-changing choice at sixteen.

    I know the whole journey has been heart-wrenching for you, more than I can imagine. Bless you. Our Lord will not let it be wasted--for you, or for Sam.

  9. Traci,
    I know how much you love Sam and Duncan and the kids at 39. I followed their stories through Renee's blog but she just went private in the last 2 days with no warning so I've lost my source of information. I really with famiies wouldn't do that --- it's happened a lot lately. If you hear anything about those sweet kids, please share as much as you can!



  10. Blogs go private or offline for a number of reasons, she may just be updating it. I hope to see lots of homecomings from 39 coming up soon!!