So here I am about to expose the not so pretty side of adoption, especially an 'older' child.
It has been HARD!
And that is the understatement of the year!
It has been a struggle for Batri, and me, and the rest of our family. Can you imagine taking an older toddler and putting her in a completely new environment, with people she's never met, a language she doesn't understand, animals that live in the house, and food she doesn't recognize. It has been terrifying for her. Bedtime is especially frightening. I have bruises from her biting and hitting me trying to fight sleep, not because she is angry, but because she is scared.
When I sit and talk with God, and reflect on everything she must be feeling and experiencing my heart breaks for her. But I don't have very much alone time with God right now. I am constantly with her, showing her I won't leave her, and that she can trust me. She prefers everyone to me. She loves her siblings and her daddy, but I am the one who gives her boundaries all day, and makes her sleep when she is exhausted, but doesn't want to. It is exhausting.
I was prepared for all of these things. Bart and I went to a 3 day course on parenting an older adopted child, I've been to multiple conferences, I've read just about every book out there. I knew all of this was coming. And even with all of that preparation, I struggle. I sometimes take it personally. It is not easy being rejected by a child you have been loving, and longing for, and praying for, and fighting to bring home for over a year!
So the reason I share all of this is NOT to scare anyone away from adoption, especially adopting an 'older' child. I share because I want to be real. I have talked with our agencies Social Worker just to make sure I am doing everything I can to love and support her in the ways she needs me to right now. It was encouraging to get a few more tips, and know that I am on the right track. I have an amazing network of fellow adoptive moms that I can Facebook with or call if I just need to talk. I want to say to you other adoptive moms, this is normal, it's okay, hang in there, and email me if you need a little encouragement! I am here to encourage you, as others have encouraged me!
The beauty is each day I see more of her true self coming through. She becomes more relaxed, and less stressed. She is thriving with the routine we have. She talks to us in Amharic, and we respond as if we know what she is saying, and sometimes we actually do. She loves to dance and to sing, and to laugh! Her laugh is deep, it is full of joy, and it is beautiful! Her eyes are soulful, and they are coming alive more and more each day. She sees her daddy go to work, and she is beginning to understand that he will come home to her. She is loved by her family, and she is beginning to believe it!
I would not wish away any part of this journey. I have learned in my life that these are the times that God is making me into something beautiful. When I can mourn with my daughter. When I can see through the anger and feel her pain. When I can beg God to use me to heal her hurting soul. These are the times that He is forming me into His likeness. And that is reason enough for me to continue to endure, and know that something better is ahead. I am not alone in this journey, and neither are you!