While Filipe and I are on sabbatical I’m revisiting the archives (and adding a little present day commentary along the way). This week we are spending some time enjoying our own city together- ya know the things you don’t do when life is going, going, going.

I wrote this post in 2015, five months after we brought our two boys home from Brazil. I’m so glad I didn’t know then how hard this road would be. I don’t think my heart could have handled it. As much as we want to know what’s ahead for us, I think it’s a blessing we don’t.

This one still helps me, especially on those days when your son is yelling at you, “You will never understand me because you weren’t born in Brazil”. Ugh, the adoption road is not for the faint of heart.

I’ll be honest, life is hard. For the last 4-6 weeks (I’m losing count) we’ve been in a tough season with our family transition. It’s nothing we didn’t expect, just our current reality.

Adoption is beautiful, but adoption is messy. On both sides.

For an adopted child, getting a new family doesn’t erase the pain and loss they experienced. It doesn’t erase the years of neglect and abandonment they felt. Even when they don’t understand their own feelings yet.

We can’t undo what’s been done, but we can help them heal. We can’t fix their past, but we can help them thrive in their future, their scars a part of their new story.

My goal as a mom is to do two things: love my kids the best I can and point them to Jesus (and maybe teach them to take showers regularly).

In the meantime, how do I get through the day? Here’s a few practical things I’m currently doing to make it and thrive throughout this tough season.

1. Small, measurable goals.
I signed up to run a half marathon last summer before we went to Brazil knowing I needed something to look ahead to. The half marathon is at Disneyland on Mothers Day and will mark 6 months having the boys in our family. When days are tough I tell myself, “It hasn’t even been six months!”.

2. Early Bedtime
My kids go to bed early. Like when the sun is still out early. And I don’t feel bad in the least. Knowing that I can mentally check-out around 7:30 makes the days easier to manage and gives Filipe and I time together. They get a full nights sleep, I get some down time, and no matter what happened that day, tomorrow we can start fresh.

3. Laugh
I used to watch a lot more serious TV- cop shows, the investigative type, etc. Now, I can’t handle those as much. I need to laugh, so I find things to laugh about. Jimmy Fallon is a regular on our TV. In fact, I’m watching him now as I type. Thank you notes is on, my favorite.

*I have resumed watching more realistic television again (watched West Wing last summer), but The Tonight Show is still a regular. 

4. Red Wine
Just a little Merlot or Pinot Noir. Oh yeah, and I hear it’s like working out.

* If I were to re-write this one today, I’d probably just say, “Give yourself permission to enjoy the simple things in life”. When we’re going through a hard day/season, the simple pleasures of life have a way of putting a smile on our face, and if you’ve been through a really hard season, you’ll take a smile anyway you can. For us, a little red wine is something we enjoy occasionally. Your drink of choice might be lavender chamomile tea or a La Croix. 

5. Give Grace
The most important person for me to show grace to right now is myself. I could do a lot of things better- I could type out a full page list. But I’m doing my best and that’s enough right now.

I spend most of my day praying for wisdom and asking God for strength. So much about what I’m doing doesn’t come natural, I’m completely out of my comfort zone. But as uncomfortable it is, it’s so good and it will be worth it.

No matter what you’re facing, God gives us grace and strength for hard days. I don’t know what you’re facing today. Maybe you don’t have kids, but maybe you’re surrounded by difficult people. Hopefully, you can look to God for the wisdom to get through your hard days. 

Mandy Sig


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