Saturday, May 30, 2009

My Daughter - Broken, But so Beautiful and Inspiring

A few weeks ago Maraya was having a hard time - pushing her boundries - normal for any kid - but especially so for an adopted child. This was a good sign. She needed to realize that her Dad and I have set boundries for her - and they were solid - there was nothing about that or us that would change - this gives children such a sense of stability. Likewise though - she didn't really appreciate the dicipline factor when boundries were crossed (some things are universal).

Well, after being sent to her room a few times, to the corner a few time, etc - it was now evening and we were on our way to night church - where the kids do choir and then Royal Rangers/ Missionettes. All the kids love those activities - especially Maraya. But on the way to church she started talking about how she missed Ethiopia and her Ethiopia Mom. Now I believe that to be VERY true - I also know that when one is having a bad day - the grass is especially greener. I never take offense to these comments - infact, I encourage her to talk more about it. So I asked her - to tell me more. She said, "In Ethiopia, no go to room, no corner, etc". I asked her what did she do in Ethiopia. "In Hosanna (where she lived with her other Mom), we walk and feet are hurt, no socks, no shoes, Carter is piggyback on my Mom and everyone says No Thank You" I asked about her Dad - "He no nice - he hit my Mom and push us out of house". Now was this her real Dad - I don't know. From what I can gather from other conversations, her other Mom was either looking for food, shelter, work or a combination of the above and was consistently told no thank you. She continued to tell me that the floor was dirt and her other Mom had no pretty dress, just one broken dress (I assume that it was ripped).

All of this she told me in the car ride to church. Once we got to church - it was obvious that she was very sad. I asked her if she wanted to spend some time with me and go to class in a little while - she said yes. We took the others to class and found and empty room for her and I to sit in.

This is a very important time, as her and I had been butting heads for about the last four weeks prior to this. We both sat down - I asked her if she wanted me to hold her - she said yes (I held back tears). I asked her a series of questions - some of them were - Did she like it in America Yes very much, but I miss Ethiopia.
So normal - I can't imagine how it feels to be so happy on one hand be sad and grieving on the other hand. I asked her if she was happy - she said yes, she "I so love you". Holding back more tears - I asked her if she understood why she was in America. She said - very sad and trying not to cry "I don't know why". Oh - my heart dropped - how could she not know why - she is certainly old enough to know something I thought. I proceeded to ask her about the last time she remembered seeing her Ethiopia Mom - all she could say is that she give them food and takes care of us, then they couldn't find her. What exactly does all of that mean. I don't know. I know what I was told, and I know other options in the back of my mind that could also be true. Because I was told that both parents had passed, I chose to tell her that if her other Mommy could take care of them she really would, that she loved them very much. I explained that she got really sick and could not take care of them anymore. God knew that and of all the children in Ethiopia he chose her and her brother to come to our family and that I was so lucky and blessed that he did. I also told her that I am so glad that she loves her Ethiopia Mom so much and that it is good to love both her and I - that she is so blessed to have two Mommys that love her. I told her it was ok to cry and she sobbed in my arms - something I am sure she needed to do for a long time. I expect things like this to happen every so often.

That was a long story to get to this point. My daughter is broken, her heart hurts, it will heal - but will always have a scar - however, she is so beautiful inside and out - so inspiring. She has faith - like no one I know. As a child she KNOWS God, she LOVES God, talks and sings of him always - she has walked with bare feet in the rocks, with no food, she has seen devistation that most in America will never see, yet she is joyful. She has faith - not the kind of faith that we have when we have faith for only an area of our life, or a certain issue we are dealing with - she has faith for everything in her life - because she "gets it". She is always telling me that it is ok when something goes wrong and always reminds me that we can try again later or something equally fitting for the situation.

Why don't we have that kind of faith - think about it. She is inspiring - I hope to one day be more like her. I am happy to say that we are no longer butting heads and have bonded amazingly since this night.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hendersonville - God's Plan all along?

If you haven't heard, we are moving to TN this summer - Hendersonville to be exact. My Husband went out to visit different areas in March of this year - seeing as neither of us had ever been - it seemed prudent to at least check out the area - not that we have a lack of faith - we just wanted to know what we were signing up for. Now the areas that I gave him to check out were Franklin, Brentwood, Hendersonville, Mt Juliet and Lebannon - with my hopes for Franklin. Well - he really did like Franklin and began to look for a home there for us. After a few days though - he decided to check out some other areas. His first day in Hendersonville - he came across a house - and by the next day - he leased it. From what I can tell, it is a really nice house, in a quiet, newer neighborhood, just four blocks from the lake.

Now - what I just discovered this morning. God really has a sense of humor. Our youngest son, Carter was wearing a Bible camp shirt that came with him from Ethiopia. He got toothpaste all over it, so I asked him to go change. When he turned around, I noticed the writing on the back. I asked him to come closer - would you believe that it said First Baptist Church - Hendersonville!!

I just spoke with a very kind pastor from this church last week. It sounded like it might be too big for us, and one or two other things that would not be a good match for us, but now I feel like we have to at least check it out.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Milestones - Tears of Joy for a Mother

Adopting older children is so special and challenging in an entirely different way from adopting a baby.

Carter and Maraya did not have anyone to really turn to when they got hurt. So when they would get hurt here at home - they would not react as my other children do - running to me for comfort.

When we first came home - if I heard them crying I immediately ran to them to comfort and help them fix whatever the problem was. As time went on - I had to stop running to them. You see, at some point they need to choose to come to me for comfort. It was hard. I remember watching Maraya crying - usually not over something terribly big - a small scrape, or hurt feelings by a sibling - but she would just sit there and sob. When she was finished she would stand up, look around and then go about her business.

One day - at a park with friends she got hurt - again - nothing very big - but she came running to me crying and wanting a hug! This was so huge for me, as she chose to come to me for comfort - a big step in the bonding process. She hasn't stopped coming to me since.

Likewise, Carter would do his very best not to cry if he got hurt or was disciplined. You know that constant, can't catch your breath thing kids do when they are trying with all their might not to cry - Ya - that is what he would do. It was like he didn't feel safe letting it all go. This would be a big problem as he gets older and deals with his emotions if he can't even get it out now.

Well, one day he did a big thing that he admittedly knew was wrong. He was sent to his room and disciplined - and you guessed it - he tried not to cry. I left the room for a few minutes, really to see if he would cry by himself. He still would not. I entered the room, asked if he wanted to be held - he said yes. I held him tight and just told him over and over "It is ok to cry". He finally did and let it ALL OUT. He held on to me so tight - like a dam had been broken - he let everything out. He still holds back a little - but we just tell him it is ok to cry and hold him and he is fine. He is feeling safe with us - what a blessing.

I don't think they really understood what it meant to be comforted - They were likely too young to remember being really comforted by any family members - and with so many kids in the orphanage and transition house - it seems like they just figured out a way to deal with things on their own.

Don't we also do that sometimes with our Father - our God. Try to handle things on our own instead of running to him - but when we do run to him and let it all out it is always so much better.