In a year she has grown several inches, put some meat on her bones, learned a new language, learned to walk just to mention a few things... but I'm most amazed when I look in her eyes because they tell the whole story.... there is a quote by Ghandi that says "where there is love, there is life" and that is what I see in her eyes. The vacant looks are long gone and life has been breathed into this sweet little child... she has experienced the love of a family..... the love of Christ.... and her eyes sparkle these days.
I to share a little snippet of MS in action.... especially for those of you who have never met her in real life.... just to hear her sweet voice and get a glimpse of the treasure we have. A year ago, she came to us with one sound other than screaming.... "da"... her only "word".... check her out now :)
Thinking back over the past year..... the list of what I have learned on this journey continues to grow. But if there was one bit of "wisdom" i'd wish to impart to someone about to start this crazy ride it would be simply to dwell in a state of grace.....
God pours out his grace on me.... and in the early days, I wish I had relished in it more..... extending that same grace to myself that He has already given to me... does that make sense? I wish I had allowed myself to think thoughts and feel feelings without heaping guilt on top of it all... to give myself some grace on days where I couldn't quite handle life, couldn't cook a warm meal for my family (they WILL survive if they eat fast food 3 nights in one week!), couldn't do a quiet time and so on.... on days when instead I needed to cry, needed to nap and needed help.... So, if you are in the early stages of adoption..... be encouraged that you don't have to have it all together..... He will hold you together! And suddenly you will feel as if you have blinked, you will have found a new normal and you will be a year down the road.
And thinking back to the beginning for sweet Mei Sims..... Oh how I wish I had been more gracious to my baby. She was TERRIFIED!! I know that I said that to people a lot and I blogged about it but now that I have seen her true personality come out, I understand just how traumatized she was. For the first 6 months, I would have described her defining character trait as being strong-willed. I now see that description could not be further from the truth.... Her apparent strong will was in reality her fighting to cope with the stress of her new life. The longer she has been with us and feels secure, that trait is no longer evident in her.... her true (and I might add totally adorable) personality has flourished. Rather than being strong-willed, she has a sweet, goofy, sensitive and compliant spirit... in fact she is our most compliant child who thrives on helping me out and is quick to comfort her siblings when they are sad. Now that I know her better & understand that about her, I cringe to think how angry I was at her early on for not letting me do simple things like teetee without her sitting in my lap or love on one of the other children..... those days when I couldn't put her down at all.... that is when I look back and wish... deeply wish.... that grace had exuded from every ounce of me.... I wish I had responded by hugging her a little tighter and kissing her a little more... again, showering her with the same grace that God has poured over me.
Bottom line for any of you about to walk this path.....give yourself some grace at the beginning... give your child even more.
It is easy to look back and have a long list of "i wish, i wish, i wish"... Life is always more clear in hindsight but I know that God had a journey that He needed to take me on in all of this..... I don't regret that I had to struggle or that I messed up some days and I also don't wish it had been a walk in the park. I'm thankful for the exact path that God took me down personally.... adoption was just as much for me as it was for Mei Sims.... and I'm grateful Jesus wrote it into the story of my life and my family.
There will always be issues to work through emotionally and physically but oh my, it is so much easier to deal with life when you are bonded with your child.... much easier when your child is no longer screaming at you but now screaming to you "I WUV OO MOMMY!" throughout the day. It truly seems as if she has always been with us.... I used to call BS on adoptive moms who say that but now I understand. One year later..... life is sweet... still chaotic but so sweet. Life is good. God is good. He would still be good if life was still a struggle for her but oh how thankful I am that He is allowing her to taste such depths of joy and love in this life.
In honor of her gotcha day, I thought it would be fun to hear thoughts on the past year through the eyes of others... after all, her life has touched more than my own.... adoption is not simply for child and parent... it can have a ripple effect. So there are 5 more posts to come over the next several days.... 5 different perspectives... 5 different ripples.
I have a visual image of her story being like a little rock dropped into water and the ripples spread out from there... it starts with her life.... it impacts our family then impacts our friends and so on until you are no longer certain where all the waves have reached. There is movement in the water that changes it forever. I pray that she will see the beauty in her story... beauty that I hope will one day seem greater than the pain. And in capturing some of these "ripples" I hope to be capturing some of that beauty for her to one day see...
Happy Gotcha Day baby girl!