3 months ago today we were anxiously getting ready and boarding a bus to go and meet our daughter.... having no clue what was about to happen.... how our lives would change and how very scared she would be.... 3 short months. I can finally say that it feels like she has always been a part of our family.... it feels as though we have a new "normal" albeit a chaotic and crazy one. I also realize that 3 months is only roughly 1/6th of her life. On days when I can get frustrated or we take a step back, I have to remind myself of this... remind myself that from her point of view, this is all still very new.
Looking back over the past month, we have continued to see so much growth in her personality, abilities and zest for life. I'm going to e-mail photos back to her orphanage director & nannies soon and I wonder what they will think. When I picture her lying in her crib all day.... almost like a shell of a little life.... did the nannies have a clue as to how much life, energy, goofiness & personality was inside of that tiny little girl? I wonder if they will even recognize her now? To me, her whole look has changed.
After 3 months she is finally picking up more language. She can say uh oh, more (she says this for anything she likes and wants to do again.... like eating more of a certain food, or wanting to be tickled again), thank you (said every time we hand her anything. It sounds more like dang goo. So adorable and now henry has begun to say that as well), Hello (when pretending to answer the phone), Hi when she waves hello or goodbye. She says a really loud and long "meow" every time she sees the cat. Her version of "meow" sounds identical to the noise our cats make.... almost bizarre how perfectly she can mimic it. We realized that she actually learned to say it by copying the cat rather than us saying to her "what does a cat say? meow." She is also blowing kisses. Although that is all she can communicate herself, she understands EVERYTHING we say and is very quick to obey when we ask her to do something or to stop doing something. It really is amazing how quickly these little girls adapt.... I think it impresses me more because I know how lost I still was after living in china for 3 months.
The one thing MS does that makes me crazy at times is an ear piercing "AY" sound... said as she slaps the stew out of an unsuspecting person.... brother, sister or complete stranger. Kind of funny because it is very asian sounding and reminds me of a noise one might make while karate chopping something or someone. I've said "no hit" so many times that now she knows I don't approve of the karate chop. So when she decides she wants to hit someone, she will look at me, make that noise while swatting her hand and then look back at me and shake her head "no".... reprimanding herself! She seriously does this at least 25 times a day. In chinese, to say "no hit" is bu da. We said that for a while and Henry picked up on it, changed it a bit and now he will get the most stern look on his face and say to her "doo dah mei mei." Really funny.... although it usually makes her mad, leads to more slapping and more 'doo dahs" from henry and so on....
Mei Sims has also begun to walk holding just one of my hands and walking behind a push toy on her own. It is a very awkward walk which makes it obvious that her hip is popped out and that one leg is a hair longer than the other. If I were to really work with her on it, I feel like she could be walking in just a few days.... but because I know what is coming and that she will have to relearn it all anyway, I haven't been pushing it with her.
Emotionally speaking, MS continues to be a little roller coaster in our lives. She can be fine one minute, my clinging spider monkey the next.... screaming crying to crying laughing in the blink of an eye.... I know this is normal and these are the moments that I remind myself that in the scheme of her life, 3 months is a short amount of time. I can't expect her to feel safe, secure, loved all the time even when we are doing all we can to reassure her that she is all of these things. I'd be lying if I didn't say it can be maddening during some of those moments where she is overtaken with insecurities.... utterly maddening. I feel like she has this little script that she plays out that reads something like "I love you Mommy. I hate you mommy. Pick me up. Put me down. Why the heck did you put me down?" So back and forth and never making sense. I've started repeating to her during those moments "mommy is here. You are ok. Mommy isn't leaving. You are ok. I love you. You are ok." You get the idea. Parenting an adoptive child has thrown me into a deeper dependency on the Lord and His ability to fill me up each moment of each day.... to equip me for the task He has called me to... all the while He whispers to me "It is ok. I'm here. You are ok. I'm not leaving you. You are ok. I love you....."
So BC day is coming soon.... Body Cast day that is... June 12th. I know it is going to be challenging and hard but dare I say it?? I'm kind of excited about the journey. God has been impressing on my heart all the good that will come from this small time in MS' life..... which has strengthened me for what is to come. Believe me, I know that she will be heavy, mad and stinky in the weeks to come so I'm not just skipping around singing "I love body casts." So why the semi excitement? As I've said in the past, MS has already endured much trauma in her life.... from her birth mom leaving her to being suddenly thrust into the arms of two white people she didn't know..... this will be her first "trauma" to go through with us by her side.... 2 people she now loves and trusts. I just know that this will somehow cement even further her attachment to us.... make her love us more fiercely and trust us more deeply. When she wakes up in recovery, we will be there and we will continue to be there as we tend to her every need over the next few months. On a smaller scale, I saw this play out at the beach this week. This was her first trip and when she saw the new house, new bed, new everything, she really had a freak out time. The first night here, she woke up 6 times in the night.... scared and confused. But now that it is day 3 here and we are still here with her, you can see the change in her demeanor. In my opinion, she is exuding even more personality than she was before we came to the beach.... almost like she has breathed another sigh of relief and realizes on another level that we are here to stay and she has let loose even more. So, i hope and pray the surgery will do the same on a greater level. I also know I will also see with greater clarity my need for Jesus.... to get me through the day.... and to deal with my selfish heart which I'm sure will be throwing a pity party for myself (or 2 or 3 or 4) over the next weeks as I take care of MS.
We'd love your prayers for the next several weeks as we adjust to life in the cast. She is not a laid back and relaxed child so she will be mad as fire when she realizes she can't move. For the surgery, they will attempt to manipulate her ball back into the socket first.... they feel certain at this age it has firmed up in place but it was be awesome if they did not have to cut through muscle and bone so we pray that it might work. She will also have the CT of her skull so we pray that the results will be normal and not require any further medical procedure. I'll post surgery day updates on the blog so check back next week for those.
BTW, I forgot my camera cord at the beach to dump photos but when I get back I'll post some.
But to sum up this past month, I must say that I fall more in love with this little peanut each day and I am still in awe that she is real and is really mine.... such a gift to our family. It has been hard work for 3 months but the reward has been so sweet as she smothers us with kisses, hugs and smiles each day. It is just an awesome thing to see her ability to give and receive love & affection because it just wasn't there a few months ago.... I think back to the day we got her and how she didn't even know how to be held much less give you a hug. The way she lights up at home with our family is nothing short of a miracle.....
3 months was what it took for me as well..... I feel like my heart has finally caught up to my mind.... where I knew she was my daughter.... God had clearly confirmed it.... and now my heart feels it. Thank you Jesus! What a joy to see Him pull this all together inside of me. He is faithful to complete the work He starts is us. Thankful tonight for God's faithfulness to MS, to me and to my family.
Hudson and Lilly Grace are headed home!
1 day ago