Seven years ago our family was running around Belgrade, Serbia, gathering all of the necessary documents to bring home our new daughter. In the midst of our running around we searched out every public bathroom in the city as our daughter repeatedly grabbed her stomach crying, “Bol stomach!” translation ~ “Pain stomach!”
The day after we met her, we arrived at the foster home expecting to spend the day getting to know her better and hoping that she would grow more comfortable with the strangers who’d shown up the day before speaking a foreign language and referring to ourselves as her “Mama and Tata”. The three hours we spent at the foster home that day were not spent winning her over. Nope. We spent the day, along with our three older children, following her (and her entourage), from the bathroom to the yard as she tried to poop. She cried “Bol stomach!” constantly. Her caretakers and social worker explained to us (through a translator) that she had always had terrible constipation and that she would sometimes go a MONTH without going #2. At the end of our visit I watched in horror as the entourage of people overseeing the adoption clapped and screamed, “Bravo!” after she squatted and cried for what seemed like an hour and then successfully took a dump in the yard.
So… two and a half weeks later, after she was legally ours and we were in the shuffle of gathering documents all over the city, when the familiar “Bol stomach!” started coming from my new baby’s mouth, we gave her every opportunity to poop. My poor baby’s stomach ache didn’t end until we were home several days later. By the time she did the doo, it had been three whole weeks. And… when it did finally happen, what came out of her was not human. It was bigger than my husband’s arm and covered in blood. For real.
For seven years, our lives and Sof’s behaviors, have revolved around crap. We learned a few years ago that the reason her poop is so big is because she has a “mega colon”. It’s a common disorder resulting from prolonged, chronic constipation. It’s also a common disorder amongst orphans. I communicate with other adoptive parents all the time about our kids’ poop. I know many whose children have needed to have their colons surgically repaired. We’ve discussed all the options with several doctors and ultimately we’ve decided to avoid surgical intervention because we believe her behaviors would significantly interfere with healing and recovery.
So… we’ve been left with a couple of options.
- Lots of stool softeners, fiber, and water.
We opted for both. Option 1 helped somewhat with frequency. For many years we had her on a 1-2 BMs per week schedule. They were still giant and painful and the entire day before and the day of were a wash because she had such high anxiety and subsequent behaviors about what was to come.
I’ll be honest. Until she was discharged from Kennedy Krieger last October, I didn’t invest much in Option 2. When people witnessed the trauma and drama of crap in our house, I would ask them to pray for her. That was pretty much the extent of my trusting God to do anything about my girl’s bum.
But then, we brought her home last fall and moved into this fabulous house in Florida, and every single time she pooped, we spent hours trying to unclog the toilets. We were calling her “our bowl choker”. We invested in super-duper plungers for every bathroom and had an abundant supply of disposable plastic knives (to cut through the poo before trying to flush-my hubby is the best poo cutter in the world!). I tracked her poop days on my calendar so I could know when to expect her to randomly pull my hair or bite herself. This has been our craptastic life, y’all.
Around December I got serious about giving this crap to God. I started asking everyone who asked how we were doing to pray for Sof’s poop. I started talking to God about it daily. I figured eventually he’d get sick of me talking shit and do something about it.
And then, I realized one day that her poop looked normal. We’re talking banana and not full-grown man arm. And then the next day she pooped again. And again it was normal. No bleeding, no screaming, no drama. And then a week later I looked at my calendar and she had pooped for TEN STRAIGHT DAYS. Every evening, just after dinner, perfectly normal poop. And then, two weeks into our craptastic miracle, we ran out of stool softeners. Guess what? She STILL POOPED.
As of today, it’s been two whole months of almost daily defecation. The longest she’s gone is 48 hours. It’s been two months without the use of plungers or plastic knives. Two months without shit-related hair-pulling or self-injury (Those things have been VERY INFREQUENT also).
Why am I sharing this? Because no matter what it is you are trusting God for, He is listening. If you feel like you’re talking shit to Him, it’s okay. I’m constantly telling people, “He’s got big shoulders. He can take it.” And guess what, He cares about shit. For real. As a matter of fact, it’s mentioned MANY times in the Bible.
Ezekiel 4:12, Ezekial 4:15, Isaiah 36:12, Psalm 83:10, Zephaniah 1:17, Judges 3:21-22, 2 Kings 18:27 Gross!, 2 Kings 9:37, 2 Kings 6:25, Jeremiah, 9:22, Deuteronomy 23:12-13…
One other thing, I questioned God’s timing over and over again on the crap issue. Only He knows why my baby girl had to be traumatized by every single bowel movement for almost twelve years of her life and you can bet your sweet heinie we’re going to discuss it face to face. What I know is that from the first time I screamed, “Oh, God!” when I watched my girl pooping in a yard in Velika Plana, Serbia to the time that I cried, “Oh, God!” over the realization that her colon is healed was SEVEN YEARS. And in case you didn’t know, God loves the number seven as much as I love the number eighteen. There are seven continents and seven oceans on Earth. There are seven colors in the rainbow and seven notes on a musical scale. There are seven stars in the Big Dipper and seven levels in the periodic table of elements. He’s clearly a fan of seven.
And honestly, I’d rather God heal her in His perfect number of years than mine.