Now, there is usually a moment in my day where I will sneak off to the kitchen, open the freezer, pull out the nearest container of ice cream (there are several in there…) and indulge in a huge spoonful. Or two.
I hope I am not alone. I hope I have joined some ‘rank of motherhood’ and that all mom’s sneak off at moments to the kitchen for something just for them.
Perhaps it has nothing to do with ice cream (or you know me well and know it has EVERYTHING to do with ice cream), but moreso with the moment, the literal moment of aloneness, of doing something just for me, for the moment. Or perhaps I need a greater outlet and the idea of ‘sneaking off’ is filled in that moment. Then again, deep down inside I know if I do not sneak I will be caught and the ice cream will no longer be just mine, but now will be divided between 3 instead of the usual 2 it used to be.
That folks is all my own moment of my day. The rest has been devoured by the post-adoption life.
These weeks of adoption cocooning – where we are with our newest daughter in a much more intense situation than we will be in future years – have been intense. We were prepared for them, as much as anyone can prepare for a new member joining their family and overall they are much smoother than we were expecting. Yet still they are intense. And how could they not be – we have not just added a family member. We have added a 5.5 year old little girl that was just taken from everything familiar to her, after spending her first several formative years without much human interaction, and plopped her in the middle of everything imaginably new, complete with parents, a siblings and lots of the thing I mentioned above – ice cream. Intense just about sums it up.
With all our hopes for Meira – all the things one could dream for their children – to thrive in life, to find deep joy, to grow and love – the greatest by far is that she would know she is loved. We will work all our lives with this as our greatest hope for her, for any of our children, that they will know they are loved.
Over the past few weeks of being with her so intensely we have come to see so much of her and still that is just the tip, the very tip of who she is.
She is strong. Brave. Compassionate. Loving. Loud. Gentle. Intense. Full of smiles. Curious. Cuddly. Scared. And perhaps the greatest eater we have ever witnessed in our lives. No one I have ever known eats as much as this child.
She is also the perfect candidate for being a poster child of institutionalization and the devastating impact it has on a child. In every movement of most every moment of the day we can see it – institutionalized behavior. It is heartbreaking, exhausting, intense, scary, draining, sad and emotional… and that is just what it is for us as her parents. For her, it is all that and many more things we can not imagine or name.
To know this about her and to know she all the things listed above it is absolutely amazing.
She is absolutely amazing. In fact, she is miraculous.
She will grow. She will overcome. She will defy all that has been cruel to her.
That is my hope for her. That is what we as a family work for daily, moment by moment.
It is what we wake up to with the cry of ‘Papa, mama’ from her bed as she waits for us to get her… until we put her to bed at night and leave her for a few moments to chat with herself before she falls asleep. Then we fall asleep, directly after. Literally.
We were not looking to adopt. We felt the pull of the gospel message, ‘to care for the widows and orphans’ and were looking for ways to respond simply because suddenly that part of the message broke us. We lived nearby an orphanage in Asia and thought the answer was to work there. We knew foster families and began looking into becoming one oversees.
Then we saw a picture of Meira on an advocacy site. We knew she was our daughter.
There was nothing more to it. This does not mean that we had our answer to our brokenness, but our search for us had led us to her. So we worked, for 1.5 years to bring her home to us. And we are still seeking to be a part of that beautiful message…
Meira is home. She is our daughter, just as she was the moment we saw her.
I can tell you with the millions (and I literally means millions) of things we do not yet know about our beautiful newest daughter there are two things I do know.
One. The depth of love we have for her is without bounds. It is a love so beyond us, a love that makes me know only One loves this way... and it is that One alone that allows me a piece of love to love her with.
And most importantly two. She knows she is loved. Maybe she doesn’t believe it all the time, or even know the depth of all it means. Maybe she couldn’t put it to words, but I have seen it in her eyes, dare I say in her soul. Somewhere, among all that was ugly she saw a glimpse and she is seeing even more of it now.
Yep, she is loved.