Our little one continues to adjust to life with her family and we know her adjustment will continue to take lots and lots of time and we will continue to meet her at each point with lots of love and patience.
I had an image of her around her birthday (mid October she turned 6!). I could see this huge granite mountain and started to chip away at parts of it because I knew there was so much beauty underneath waiting to come out. Each time I finally got a small piece to come off, this little arm could come out and place an even bigger piece on top of where I had chipped, smack it down hard (one can do that with imaginary granite) and then shoo me away with the motion of the hand and disappear.
As is the case for most children that experience years of neglect and pain, our little one is a very hurt child and sees the world through very different eyes that we do and actually has a brain that has been wired to do so... so, the adjustment to life outside the hurt, the path to get there, the means that it takes to get there, is all something we work at each day. It can be very tiring, trying and disheartening, but she is precious and worth every effort. And in it all we have learned to be even more thankful for so much...
We are SO THANKFUL we have met so many wonderful professionals over the past few months (and some before) that have insight into older child international adoption adjustments and guide us in the ways that will one day bring healing to this little girl.
We are SO THANKFUL that instead of taking 9 steps forward only to take 10 steps back, we are now taking 10 steps forward and 9 steps back... it all takes so much time, but in little ways we can see progress... and then in many other ways new hard things arise... it is a long process but we are grateful for the small steps towards healing - even if they are a 'tiptoe' forward in a month of effort.
We are SO THANKFUL that we have learned ways that really do help her feel safe and loved (ways many from the outside can not even see or understand) - this is such a comfort for a parent's heart because so there is so little we can actually 'do' to help her in the things she needs to overcome.
We are SO THANKFUL we have learned to have boundaries for her and our family which aid in her healing, even though we have lost others in the process who don't understand these boundaries. It is so great to feel so confident in caring for one's family well and knowing these boundaries are helping this sweet girl overcome such pain.
We are SO THANKFUL for having some amazing family and friends (friends who are family to us!) who constantly support us, even when they don't understand all the details of her hurt and road to healing, and who encourage us so well.
We are SO THANKFUL for the grace so many have extended (again beyond themselves because they don't really understand it all) to us to pursue us through cards, phone message, emails and even packages (really?!) that say things like, 'We love you and are thinking of and praying for you and miss you! No need to get back to us, just wanted to let you know that.' You are amazing people!
We are SO THANKFUL for insight other adoptive families of older children have shared with us - their pain, their hurt, their triumphs, their prayers... it is so great to know on a hard (er) day that we are not alone on this journey of helping a hurt child to heal and that we can all support one another. Thank you for taking time from your very busy lives to be a support.
We are SO THANKFUL that our little one's younger sister is ever gracious and loving in pursuing her older sister constantly even when she is rarely responded to with kindness and that she continues to grow in love and seems to always be thinking of others over herself despite how she is treated by her sibling. She is a great example to us.
We are SO THANKFUL for all we are learning in this process, especially that loving someone who is hurt looks completely different at times from what we have always assumed 'love' to look like. We know she is not the only one who is hurting in this world and feel we are learning skills to love other hurting people as well in a way that they can understand, which can be so different from how we - who have known so much love - do.
We are SO THANKFUL for our little family... having been dear friends for years before we got married we have always been close in our marriage and it has been a really easy and fun relationship for us, but through this time we have grown even closer and our relationship is even sweeter and flows with such an even greater ease than it even did before. We love our little girls so deeply and they make our lives and love even fuller. It is such a gift.
We are SO THANKFUL that the newest little one, who should be making her appearance into the world very soon now, has grown well even during this intense and strenuous time and that this pregnancy has been so much easier on her mama than the last one was.
We are SO THANKFUL for our little 6 year old. We love her immensely and stand hoping that someday she will be able to heal completely... and until then we just keep trying, each day, sometimes by the minute, to create spaces where she feels safe, feels love in the way she is able, and feels the ability to start to make choices on her own. Little by little, we believe she will overcome.
And we are ever SO THANKFUL for the gracious reminder that this entire process has been to us that God first loved us and pursued us even when we far from him... what a loving and gracious Heavenly Father we have!
"Your love will surely come find us
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name"
Like blazing wild fires singing Your name"
Need to Breathe, Multiplied