an apology to hope

Hope has not been my favorite friend over the years. I am apt to wonder if Hope is a liar. There are two mugs in my cupboard that bear the name Hope. The mugs were gifts that spanned years, and the friends who gave them came from two very different circles. However, they both shared that they associated me and Hope. How is it that we are hitched together when I often do not like Hope?

Hope is waiting for something good to happen. Hope is trusting something better will bloom. Hope is believing in the yet-to-come, for hope that is seen is no hope at all. 

One of the reasons my relationship with Hope is strained is because it can be exhausting. I became weary of loving people when it seemed pointless. It also feels embarrassing to keep believing the best when ugly behaviors permeate life.  I sipped from a Hope mug a few times a week.

It kept me from becoming overly cynical.

Andy and I affectionately describe our parenting experience as a black-diamond run. A black-diamond run is a ski term and signifies the steepest runs that have many hazards. We’ve navigated narrow runs and ridiculous perils and have faced many battles that have been accentuated from adopting older children. 

It’s been heart-wrenching. 

In order to ski a black-diamond run, one must be confident and throw caution to the wind. The same has been true for our parenting journey. We’ve had to let go and believe that love would be enough. We’ve had to keep showing up with love and hope that one day they would be whole. 


A few weeks ago our oldest daughter became a marine. We were there for family day and graduation. After not seeing her for months, we were excited to be there for this milestone. We weren’t sure what to expect. She was angry when she left. She was pushing away when she left. She slung some stinging words when she left. 

I said to Andy, “Even if she’s still angry, even if she ignores us, even if she spews unkindness, I’m still glad that we are showing up.”

“Let’s hope for the best,” he said. 

On family day, she was standing with her platoon and needed to wait until we went to her. Because of my broken ankle, I wasn’t able to go to her. I waited at our seats. 

She hugged Andy and asked, “Where’s Mom?” Andy watched her move through the throngs of people and when she saw me she ran. She grabbed me in a tight hug and leaned wholly into me.

My dad snapped a picture of her hugging me. It may be one of my favorite pictures of all time.

She held on tight and said, “I’m glad you’re here. I missed you. I’m sorry. I love you, Mom.”

In that moment, Hope reigned. Every hardship, every angry word, every senseless rebellion was wiped clean. The words of the Old Testament prophet, Ezekiel, whispered in my heart:

I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit will I put within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you. [Ezekiel 36:26-27]

Hannah’s heart of stone was gone. 

After years of the tug-of-war that comes with attachment disorder, it can be hard to believe that healing has happened, that a child has become a wholehearted adult. Sometimes it feels like a dream. I keep sipping from my Hope mugs because they still keep me from becoming cynical.

I owe Hope an apology. 

The healing that I wanted to happen in a blink of an eye took years. The healing that I prayed to happen in childhood took a little longer. The healing that I longed to happen so she could be whole turned full circle and allowed for her to be in a healthy relationship as a forever family.

Not only did Hope allow for healing to happen, but she opened the doors for more. I look at this photo, and I know Hannah is confident and whole. She is able to love back. And she’s glad I kept showing up.

I am so grateful Hope never wavered. 

And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love. (1 Corinthians 13:13)


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  1. This picture brings tears but my heart is smiling. I am so happy for Hannah and for Hannah’s Momma!

  2. Thank you for sharing this story. It’s one I needed to hear. Its timing is perfect. I don’t have a hope mug but a little sign that I need to find and put on my kitchen window. For my high school yearbook, I picked the quote from Alexander Pope. “Hope springs eternal in the human breast”. Some experiences challenge us to strive for hope, especially when it gets tested by time. Glad your daughter found her way home!

  3. I wish there were a love button.

    Wow, just wow, Ruth. Thank you for always showing up. Thank you for sharing the times you held on, unsure of hope, and thank you for sharing this, in such a beautiful way – when hope exceeded hope.

    And, I just thought, in a way, your inability to walk to your daughter was an incredible gift — because then she and you could experience her run. 😁

    Praise God, and continued blessings to you and yours, Ruth!

  4. Beautiful. I have been wondering how things were going. I was filled of hope for you and for your daughter. I have to have HOPE! Where would we be without it? I would be a puddle on the floor. I can’t imagine all that you have been through over the years. Thank you for sharing your stories. You inspire me! ALWAYS!

  5. Just love this Ruth. I want to drink a whole mugful full of Hope!! You are so brave to always share your stories and I am so very glad to read them. Your “black diamond run ” parenting analogy is a perfect example of the risks you’ve taken, the confidence you’ve portrayed and the fortitude to “ride the slopes” the ups and downs. Thank you. Congratulations to the graduating marine!! Proud mama gumption.

  6. Made me cry. Made me sob. I actually cling, white-knuckled to hope. YAY HANNAH! YAY RUTH AND ANDY. Such a beautiful post – so true – so real – so Ruth.

  7. Tears, as I read about this moment. Hope has it’s own journey – at times it doesn’t appear to be here with us and other times it might be all we can cling too. Yet, when hope surfaces as a moment of joy, a moment of hard swimming away – hope brings peace. This writing is filled with peace. Embrace and savor it

  8. I still wish I had connected you and my oldest sis. She would have been a true friend through the trials and troubles and tears. She parented three older siblings when she already had three children in the house. She knew your pain, Ruth. But so does our Savior. And I know he’s made it possible for you to walk the hard paths and experience the moments of joy.
    “She grabbed me in a tight hug and leaned wholly into me.” Those are the best words in this post.
    And this is the best paragraph: “Hope is waiting for something good to happen. Hope is trusting something better will bloom. Hope is believing in the yet-to-come, for hope that is seen is no hope at all.”

  9. Thanking God for parents like you and Andy that take the risk.Hope lights you up Ruth. So glad for you and Andy and that precious picture of your embrace. X0

  10. I’m sending this entry to my niece in California. She married and adopted 2 girls from Russia in the early years of 2000. Problems arose and now her oldest is going through a lot with the help of therapy. Part of which includes the adoption. Hope never hurt anyone, but having it isn’t easy either. Thank you for your thoughts.

  11. I’m weeping happy tears for you and for Hannah. God blesses you both. Staying strong in hope can be so hard, but the fight is worth it. Thanks for sharing your journey.

  12. I’m mom to adopted kiddos. I wish your story didn’t ring so try. But it does. I’ve never enjoyed skiing but I know the diamond run. You have to take those hope moments when you can.