Monday, October 19, 2009

Love Wins

Love Talk...there is a lot of it on this blog, isn't there? I wonder how many times the word "Love" is used in all 504 blog posts since this blog was first created? At times it may get a bit sappy here at the LaJoy virtual home, but I'd much rather be "sappy" than "snappy" with one another!

This weekend though became a conflict of love versus hate. It may have been largely internal, but the battle was won through the external actions of others. I should have known...because always...always...

Love Wins.

Late in the week I was hit with an anonymous nasty comment, one that hurt deeply and whose sting still subtly remains. It is not that I want to draw attention to it that I mention it here, but because it was such a profound learning experience for me and I want to share that with you all.

The timing of the comment couldn't have been worse, heading into the weekend when our very special "Family Celebration" was planned at church. It was a shower of sorts for Big Girls, and more importantly for us it was an opportunity to share our joy (after all these years of waiting!) with those closest to our hearts. But here I was, aching inside from accusations made that were so very hurtful and untrue, and I had to somehow get my head in the right place so that the event that had been so lovingly planned was not tainted.

It was hard. No matter how much we deny it or try to blow past it, when others say things that touch our most sensitive soul-places, it is a real challenge to not question the validity of those claims. If you are even slightly self-aware and decent, you tend to dwell on unkind words. It requires a strength, insight and maturity that I have not yet developed to ignore it and move on, but perhaps this weekend I came one step closer to gaining that maturity.

I am blessed with tremendous friendships, filled with honesty and forthrightness, love and warmth. It wasn't 30 minutes after the anonymous comment before a rebuttal had been posted and another person phoned me late in the evening to comfort me. God was present, and it helped. As the next couple of days wore on I had several emails of concern and reassurance, and a couple of in person heart-to-heart talks which helped as well. But still I was unable to truly let go of the hurt, I replayed things in my mind, I had long conversations with myself which were uncomfortable, at best.

Saturday morning I had to attend a ministry class prior to our Celebration, and had an hour long drive there and back to ruminate further. Leaving class in the early afternoon, I realized my heart just wasn't in this, that a wonderful gathering was going to be ruined for me but I would do my best to muddle through it somehow. I prayed asking God to be present for me when I couldn't manage it myself.

Moments later walking to my car, I gazed at my own rear window and saw a sticker that had been given to me a couple of weeks prior that I had placed there. It says two small words:

"Love Wins"

Suddenly, it was as if the scales fell from my eyes, my heart began to open and a totally new dialogue occurred on the long drive home. If I let this kind of anonymous, angry venom remain in my heart, I was allowing hate to win. If I carried this into our Celebration with me, I was inviting hate into the room with me, tarnishing all the love that was assembled there. I had searched my own heart, and felt that in all honesty here was no validity to the claims made. Those who actually know our family intimately had reassured me that anyone who knew us would never think such an awful thing. So why was I handing over a victory to hate? If I didn't invite God's love which was so evident to wash that vitriol away, then I was perpetuating the hate...I might as well be hateful myself.

Slowly, gradually, as I pondered this as the miles rolled on, I could literally feel the hate and pain brought on by it just melt away. There were people who we loved dearly ourselves waiting to celebrate with us! There were people who couldn't be present who I KNOW love us! There was love overflowing surrounding us, but even more importantly for this moment, our love for everyone present was so strong and I didn't want hate to touch them! So I had a decision to make...was hate going to win or was love going to win?

Love Wins.

What an incredible Celebration it was!! Such care and thought had been put into the decor and we were blessed to have so many friends, young and old, in attendance. It was just beautiful in every possible way.

Matthew's Kazakhstan Study displayed for everyone to learn a little more, below it a banner in Russian and English which everyone signed which will be put up when the girls come home!! I love that "our family" is not limited to biology, but to connected hearts.

Kenny serving drinks, looking quite Central Asian! Joshie in his second generation Kazakh shirt!

One of the only pics you'll see on the blog of me for the next several years...I am not fond of having my photo taken but figured this was appropriate!

Gotta at least let the kids know I existed and wasn't always behind the camera, right?

One of the most creative gifts we received was for our entire family...and was utterly perfect. Check it out!!!:

Isn't this totally cool? For those who don't read Russian it says "Team LaJoy" in both Russian and English! (Thanks Las Vegas for helping on this one!!) and there were shirts for everyone on Team LaJoy, including the girls! What fun it will be to wear these shirt when there are finally 7 of us :-)

And I could tell someone was getting in the girlie mood, embracing his inner "Daughter Daddy". I think he is one stop closer to finally understanding what bringing pinks and purples into his life would really mean:
Lots of love, lots of joy...and most importantly it was what God is all As I said after the slide show was presented, it would be impossible for us to have hung in there without you, both our virtual and "real life" friends and family. Our gratitude simply can not be expressed fully, it would be impossible to find the words.

And while others can find the words to spread hatred and anger, while they can spend precious time working hard to bring pain into the lives of others, thankfully they are outnumbered.

I was asked why I elected to leave the comment posted rather than removing it as I have every right to do. Sure, it would have spared me embarrassment...but it wouldn't have made it disappear in my heart. Sadly, words...once spoken...are like hand grenades, you can't really easily put the pin back in nor can you "unspeak" the words once they leave your lips, or as in this case once they leave your keyboard.

It was out of some misplaced sense of fairness that I left it up. There are times when I struggle with the ethics of what I do here, is it journalism? Is it family diary? Is it more for the public or more for private use as was originally intended? Is it ongoing dialogue with other adopting families? Unlike others who blog these days, 3 years ago when I started it I was clueless of how this all worked and was quite surprised when others found the blog and started following it faithfully. It was unexpected and had I known it I would have been far more likely to keep our personal information confidential. By the time it became apparent that this wasn't just for us to print out or for grandmas to follow while traveled to adopt Kenny, it was too late.

So keeping that in mind, is it fair to pull a comment simply because it doesn't place us in the kindest light? Is it honest to omit such things from view? My intent and my effort here has always been to be totally up front with the struggles of our lives, and to remain open so that others might learn from us...both from our successes and our mistakes. But does that mean that I have to allow us to be a target? I have also made it a personal policy to limit any comments which use foul language, which thankfully I have never had to deal with. But just because a comment doesn't contain 4 letter words, is it any less foul when it is voiced with such anger and contains no truth?

After a discussion with someone whose opinion means a lot to me, who is steeped in common sense and grace, I have decided that from this point forward, anyone who comments anonymously and is negative will have their post removed. If you don't have the courage to identify yourself and stand behind your statements, then I see no reason to feel a sense of responsibility to allow you a forum for your hatred. If that makes me "unfair" then fine, call me unfair. But hiding behind anonymity is cowardly and allows people to feel unfettered in their nastiness.

In the long run, the lessons I learned this weekend were invaluable, and contrary to what anonymous might think I take great pleasure in seeing that it served only to allow me to feel more closely connected to the Spirit of Love that surpasses all understanding. Because, the fact remains:


Maureen said...

Good for you!!!!! I missed the anonymous comment, but I understand what you mean when you said that you let it get under your skin and fester there. I'm glad God helped heal your wound!

Also, it was nice to see a picture of you at your wonderful celebration. You are too hard on yourself. You are beautiful!

Anonymous said...


Love wins, indeed.

Peggy in Virginia

Tammy said...

The comment this anonymous person left was really more about her than you. It's easy for us to say don't take it personally but the venom with which this person attacked you clearly says that she/he is dealing with their own issues.

I have considered making my own comments about this anonymous person but will let it alone. This is not about you or me or anyone else who has adopted - it is about this anonymous person and that is it. Don't feel as though you need to justify yourself or your family's decisions. It is your business and your business only.

I'm glad you were able to enjoy the shower - as you should have!! Keep thinking pink! God has not taken you guys this far only to abandon you!

Kara said...

Growing up, my mom always taught me that people full of anger and spite always had a reason. Usually, we couldn't see that reason--it was buried too deeply--but there was always a reason. She taught us that our job was to demonstrate the other path in life and to show negative people how wrong they were. Those of us who follow you and admire you may not understand why anyone would want to say things so hateful. But, once again you have risen above and taken the high road. In the end, anyone who would criticize you confounds me, but I hope God meets them where they are and shows them there is a better way to spend each precious day of life then hurting others. Your boys are gorgeous--what an amazing day you all had! Thanks for sharing with all of us.

Joyce said...

Cindy - I must admit I looked back at the comment, just to see what was said.. and my heart broke for you a little. Being a reader of your blog over the last 6-9 months, I have felt so encouraged, motivated and educated on so many aspects of adoption. See how i see it, you have a ministry to your childre, all 5 of them. But its not limited to them, you have extended it to strangers like me who you have welcomed into your 'home' and then thru your writing have ministered to me. So a huge and grateful hug from all the way over here in Australia now and even though my son has no idea of what he has benefited by having you in his mummys life, he will one day be grateful as well.
I am so looking forward to hearing when you book your ticket and get to travel with your 3 precious boys to pick up their blessed sisters - blessed for having parents like you and Dominick but also for having brothers in your boys.

May GOd carry you and continue to fill your heart with love

Carol said...

Cindy, I just got caught up on what has transpired with the comment by "Anonymous", and feel compelled to say something. Can't help it... I need to get something off my chest.

Here's what I want you (and "Anonymous") to know...

You have patiently and unselfishly given your time and provided me with invaluable wisdom and advice throughout my adoption journey. You have more than "been there" for me, and you have done so without expecting anything in return. You were even willing to help when you were in the midst of your own struggles. Your advice has been worth more than gold to me. I can honestly say that we would not have headed down this very path to our daughter if it weren't for you. When I look at her today, home for only 3 days, I am so very thankful to you.

Can't tell you how thrilled and excited I am that your girls will be home soon. It has been a long, long journey, and you deserve to sit back, enjoy, and be happy.

Oh, and by the way... loved seeing your photo... you really should include more of them on your blog!

Heather said...

Glad you are not letting someone's dumb comment cloud your thinking. It's obvious that you are a genuine person and very sincere. Also obvious that the anon. commenter had issues considering he/she didn't refer to her "daughter" but as "girl". Wow, if that doesn't say it all. Does it bug anyone else that she didn't even know WHERE you where adopting from? Russia? Oh well, there someone on every blog I guess. As always, I'm so happy for you and love your blog AND always appreciate your advice! BTW, I thought you looked lovely in the pic!

qmiller said...

Awesome post, Cindy! I'm glad to hear (and see) how much you enjoyed your family celebration last weekend. Bravo!

Kath said...

Anonymous from the last post is probably just jealous of you Cindy! He/she probably wishes she had a support network like yours, but is too afraid to ask, and so resorts to being nasty to people who do. If you read this Anonymous, I'm praying for you!

And, I'm so glad you had a lovely shower, you, your husband and the boys deserve it! I so hope you get a date for flying soon, and I apologise, because I've been rushed off my feet and haven't had a chance to mail the postcard for your shower yet :(

Kelly and Sne said...

Well, I think you deserve a medal rather than criticism for having so much love in your heart and opening it to so many children in need.

Monica said...

We have really difficult next door neighbors so I can relate to this a LOT. I struggle with my thoughts about them. Best I can do on a good day is ignore them but that doesn't feel good enough to me. Thankfully their house is FOR SALE.

LOVE your girly pics!
Can't wait to see your REAL girls.
Best wishes!!!

Bob; Carrie DeLille said...

Got Team LaJoy!! You're the best. What blessed boys, what blessed girls. What a blessed family.

Phil said...

Someone we know mutually turned me on to your blog because of some of the things we have in common, primarily adoption - we have 3 adopted children, 2 of whom were not adopted from birth. She thought I could gain insight into issues of attachment and bonding that you've gone through.

Certainly that was the case. It's been nice to read that other families are having similar issues and discover how they are trying to make life better for the kids and their whole family.

The anonymous poster was of course, way out of line. You know best what is feasible for your family in terms of adding more children and what that means emotionally and financially. It's a personal decision that some may disagree with, but they definitely need to express it in a nicer way.

But here's the thing with this post. It's called 'Love wins' and it deals with overcoming nasty comments someone made about you. It was good, until the end when I saw the 'love' poster. I'm gay and really have no illusions about how your family feels about that issue. I'm guessing you're a 'hate the sin, love the sinner' type of family. I read your blog because it's been cool to see how you've dealt with some things that we deal with or will in the future. But a graphic that throws 'homosexual' in with 'killer'... 'whore'... and 'liar', amongst others? I didn't think that was you. The person who recommended I check out your blog said you didn't go there, and it was sad to see you did, especially given the focus of this post.

What's worse is that I wanted to share your blog with my kids so they could see another family that has children of other races raised by 2 caucasian parents since that is a big similarity we share. Obviously that's not going to happen. If you need to know why, look at the graphic again. Take out the word 'homosexual' and put in the word 'christian'. Would you want your kids to see that? Would you want to see that?

It would be easy to assume that you'd never imagine a gay parent reading your blog. Just look at the comments - no identified commenter really ever disagrees with you on here or challenges you in any way. (Constructively, not like 'anonymous') It's comfortable to be around like-minded people, you just may have never realized your website would attract people who identified with you in other ways. But overall, it was sad to see you choose that graphic and even sadder that my children will miss out on what is otherwise a good blog. Good luck with the girls - I hope you can get them soon. Take care.