I am in awe when I think of what an amazing child she really is.
When I allow myself to think, even for a few minutes, of what her daily life was really like when she was still in the orphanage.
When I see her next to other kids in the neighborhood, kids who have been loved and nurtured by their parents since birth, who have lived, really, like royalty. Her own siblings included.
And when I realize that to her, even after eighteen months, this is all so new.
I am not going to say that the adjustment has been a piece of cake. It has probably been the hardest thing that any of us has ever done. And it's still a work in progress.
But when I think that, and I pause to watch her, I really am amazed. Completely amazed at how smoothly she transitioned. She is truly, and has been from day one, such a sweet, sweet child. We have never, not once, had an issue with temper, or anger, any of the many things I feared so much in adopting an older child.
We struggled with food for quite a bit, and in hindsight that was probably her way of assuming some type of control over her topsy-turvy life. Then came the giant struggles over schoolwork. . And again, we have made incredible progress in this area. Easy it has not been, that's for sure. But considering she spent almost 9 years with no one having a single expectation from her academically, other than keeping her quiet and busy, it really comes as no surprise that she would be resistant to learning. At this point, she's almost caught up to grade level, and is now reading chapter books completely on her own (Way to go, Abby)
Like my friend Sonia, who's no stranger to adoption, is fond of saying, "Adoption is not for wimps". She is absolutely right. And I believe that we were very blessed with Abby, and feel like a spoiled brat for even considering any of our minor struggles a struggle at all.
That being said, even in the best case scenario, bringing home a child who has experienced tremendous loss in their very short life will rock your world.
But all good things, I think, require effort, sweat, and tears. And I cannot in a million years imagine missing out on the beauty that I am seeing unfolding before my eyes. I would not give up learning the things I have learned about myself, about my husband and children, and most importantly, about our Heavenly Father, through the experience of opening up our home and hearts to Abby. I do not care how hard the hardest days have been, I would not give this up:
The sound of her voice calling me "Mommy"
Watching my TWO daughters give each other pedicures.
Hearing her read a book - in English - to her little brother.
Feeling her lay a kiss on my cheek - a completely new concept to her at the age of NINE.
Listening to her sing praise songs - or belt them out in the shower!
Watching her fall in love with a God whose name she had not heard less than two years ago.
Seeing the understanding in her eyes, the fact that she is really getting it, when I put her on my lap and tell her that she is OURS, she is SAFE, she is LOVED UNCONDITIONALLY.
People ask about adoption all the time: "Isn't it hard?" YES - it's VERY hard (so was labor, by the way. And parenting period). But, boy, look at the rewards!!!
I can hardly contain my excitement at the little surprises I have planned for this week. Obviously, because it's 1 am my time and I'm sitting here typing about it. I have:
1 - Signed Abby AND Lanie up for soccer camp next month, which Abby doesn't know about yet. She has NEVER EVER done anything like this - and I can't wait to see her face when I tell her!!
2 - I am scheduling the girls in for a photo shoot at the photography studio. All five kids recently had some "antique" portraits done, but I've really been noticing that we really need more professional pictures of Abby. Not having her here for a chunk of her life, we really do need to "catch her up". I thought it'd be fun for the girls to do that together. I might even be talked into posing once or twice (most likely not).
3 - This isn't a surprise, but I'm excited about it anyways. Next week, the girls are doing a Golf Clinic. Again, this type of thing is completely new to Abby. She loved mini-golfing on our vacation recently, so I thought she would get a kick out of that.
So, I know this was all over the place, but I just kind of had all these thoughts floating around and wanted to get them down. I know I've probably said the same things a thousand times before. I'm just feeling very blessed these days to have these FIVE incredible lil' people that call ME "Mom"!!!!