Annie helping Mei get her prosthetic on:
She paints her (and anyone who is willing) hand every day.....
Yes, that's a popsicle stick.......but at least they were sharing!!
I just have to start out this post by saying GOD IS SO GOOD!!! I have seen His handprint all over this adoption and He has been with us every step of the way. I know He is still with us and His Spirit is guiding us and we are so blessed by that truth. Adoption is such an amazing blessing. But, I'd be lying if I didn't say that it is hard at times. There have been "hard" moments in the past few weeks but that's just part of adoption. So much growth comes from the struggles and they can be huge blessings. Adoption is hard because you bring home a child who has gone through so much change in such a short time. Already at 2 1/2, Annie has gone from her biological parents to the orphanage, from the orphanage to New Day and then to us. That's a lot of change for anyone and more importantly, a lot of loss. So, when you say "yes" to adoption, you already know that "hard" is just going to be part of it.
So, here's why it was a hard day for me:
It was a hard day for Annie.
Today I was reminded of two of the hardest parts of bringing home your new child. #1-Change and #2-Not knowing your toddler who had a lot of days of life before they met you. All kids do better with consistent schedules where they gain security from knowing what's coming next. Since we have been home, we have kept a very rigid, predictable schedule purposefully. Although we have been home "doing nothing", there has been nothing "unpurposeful" about our days. Our family bonding, connecting, and building trust with Annie was our #1 priority and all else was off our list. It is a small sacrifice but a necessary one. That schedule keeping has been great until today. 4 of the kids started school this morning so I jumped up early to try to get a start on the day. Jeff was flying out so he, too, was up and moving. Of course, Annie chose today to sleep in (why is that usually the case????). So, when she awakened, no one was with her. She wasn't too happy with us from that moment on. We came down and she didn't want to eat. Ethan and Mary Claire were finishing breakfast and getting ready. They haven't been up this early over break so mornings were usually just me, Jeff, and Annie. Next, there was shouting that E and MC's ride was here and after a hug and kiss, they were out the door. WHAT???? Annie wants to know where they are???? "School" I tell her, "they'll be back".
Baba gives us all a hug and kiss goodbye but he's got a suitcase. What's this talk about airplanes?? Mei Mei is up and eating and is ready to get dressed. Hmmmm....we had lots of jammie days over break. I get the girls dressed, they brush their teeth(Annie loves this part), Annie is forgiving me and is becoming playful. She says, "Haddie" with a smile as she points to her room. I tell her that she's at school--uh oh- she left before Annie woke up. Then, we go down to get Mei's snow stuff out to pack for school. Annie is excited--she thinks it's time to go out and play in the snow. I break the news to her that it's time to take Mei to school. We get to preschool and people are so sweetly welcoming Annie and Annie is giving them "the stare". We come home. Cole is up and a friend is with him (who's this guy?? Annie wonders) and they are heading out to play hockey. The house is quiet. She doesn't want me to put her down. Not even for a second. She eats a little while I quickly clean the kitchen from the morning mayhem. I bring out some games, dust off some fun puzzles from days gone by-- not even interested. Hey, let's play with the baby and that stroller that your sister didn't touch for the last 3 years but wants to play with all the time since you love it. The one where I set the timer so you all can take turns. She's not here--it's all yours. Nope, wants nothing to do with it. What's wrong? Is she feeling ok? Did she get enough sleep? What can I get her to eat? Could she be getting sick? She must miss the kids so much. and on, and on, and on. then I remember. #1-Change. #2-I don't really know my girl yet. And yes, it's hard to think about because my heart breaks for her. So, I reassure her as best I can and spend the whole morning doing nothing but being her Mama and I feel so privileged to do that. I thank God for calling me to do this because nothing could be more important or more enjoyable right now.
And, as I lie down every night, I am exhausted. Being a mom to 6 is not just physically exhausting but mentally. Just wondering if everyone is getting what they need......that's where prayer comes in. So much easier to give it all to God because He knows I can't do it without Him. And being a wife, I won't even write about that.......
I missed all the kids today. They all laugh at me now because I am so quick to cry since China, for some reason. I have just been really soaking in the moments and sometimes it's just too overwhelming to believe that God could bless my life so much. And with Cole starting the 2nd half of his senior year, I know the moments are fleeting so they are so cherished.
And, I had to say goodbye to my 3 travel companions who I've been with nonstop for a month. I wish every family could have that kind of time with their kids away from normal life. Yes, they missed a lot of school and yes, I am worried about how it will effect them academically. Even with their teachers being amazing and their friends who gathered and scanned and emailed homework being amazing, that's still a lot of class time missed. But big picture....what an unforgettable adventure and journey to their sister and what an incredible 3 weeks together.
SO many emails, phone calls, and texts to return and not enough time to do it. Adoption can be so hard on friendships.
Yep today was kind of harder than most for my girl and therefore, me. Then I chuckle and think about what "hard" really means as so many people struggle with big issues and problems and I know that I am so blessed. I am reminded that it wasn't really hard at all. I am happy to do hard with my girl--honored really. That's adoption--the good and the bad. You sign up for it and do tons of paperwork even.
So, if I don't get to the phone or get to visit and have coffee, please know that it's not because I don't want to. I am just trying to minimize #1-change and maximize #2- trying to really know my girl.