Saturday, September 20, 2008

Learning To Be A Child

I had one of those moments of understanding today…the kind where the light bulb goes off and I finally get it!

We’re about to hit 2 months tomorrow since Gotcha Day…2 months since this bundle of blessing slipped almost seamlessly into our lives.

But I admit, there have been some hard times mixed in with all the good, but then maybe it’s the hard times that make all the others that much sweeter. The biggest challenge for me has been the longing to just be her mother…to cuddle her…to rock her…to read to her. But the biggest challenge for her has been to receive that love. So I’ve waited…

Something changed this week though…it happened at the dentist! Maybe she saw me crying with her…maybe it’s just that I held one hand, while daddy held the other, I don’t know, but it just proves once again, God can use ANYTHING…even tartar and plaque build-up for His glory!

After she threw herself into her daddy’s arms, she reached for me. She wanted to get to the sink that was next to me, but afterwards she let me take her in my lap and really hug her. That night, she invited me into bath time, and this time she asked me to wash her back. Afterwards, she came downstairs and crawled up in my lap, for no other reason, than just to be there! And then, after getting a good giggle out of finding my 5’1’’ 10 year old in my lap in the rocking chair, she wanted to be rocked too! After a few minutes, she looked at me and said, “Enough mommy.”

As I put her to bed that night, I wondered what the next day would hold…would this be an aberration in our relationship or was it a sign that things were changing? Whatever it was, it was new…so if we went backwards again, at least our starting point for backwards was different this time, so maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to get back to this sweet place again.

The next morning, as she sat in her usual place waiting for her cereal, she told me her tummy hurt. I thought maybe she was hungry, so I went ahead and poured her cereal and finished making their lunches. But then I looked up and saw those big gator tears rolling down her face. I immediately put my arm around her, but then decided to try and hold her. At first I asked her permission as I always have, trying to be respectful of her timing, but this time I thought…”Phooey…I am her mother, I’m going to pick her up.”

She let me pick her up, but she was like a stone statue, but as I continued to rub her back and her head, she finally allowed herself to melt into my hug! A little heaven on earth! After a few minutes, she was fine and ready to continue the morning. As she got out of the car to get on the bus, she looked back twice and said, “I love you mommy!” She initiated it…this time it wasn’t a response to my words.

When she came home from school, I decided to try on the words of wisdom that my friend, and very experienced adoptive mother gave me…I explained to her what mommy’s do…ok, what this mommy does! I told her that after school, I needed a hug because I was home all day by myself and my “hug tank” was running low! She smiled and threw herself into my arms!

My friend who I am so thankful speaks the truth in love to me, suggested that I stop waiting for her to invite me in…funny, I think Abby may have been waiting for me to invite her in!

At bed time, I sat in the rocking chair and waited…she told me no. She hugged me, crawled into bed and gave daddy a hug good night…and still I sat in the rocking chair! And then she jumped out of bed and into my lap, she curled up and let me rock her…such sweet moments!

The walls are crashing down!

Ruthi has helped me understand that she has no real reference point for having a mommy. Yes, her foster mother was wonderful…she loved her well. But it is my understanding now, that she was never all that affectionate with her foster mother. So Abby is having to learn what it means to have a forever mommy. Her first mommy left her somewhere… I don’t know her reasons, I like to think it was because she loved her and had no other choice… I’m sure the nanny’s in the orphanage cared for her well, but that’s not a forever mommy…and I know her foster mother loved her well…but again, there’s no permanency there…she’s not a forever mommy either.

Forever mommy’s are just different…you can count on them to never leave you…to put bandaids on your boo-boos, even the ones they can’t see…you can trust them with your tears and even with your tantrums…you can be poutty and mean and you know that they will still love you…they’ll ride their bikes with you, up and down the same street, over and over and color with you for 2 hours…a forever mommy will wait forever for you to love her back, she knows it’s worth the wait…forever mommy’s are a special breed.

But if you’ve never had one, then you have to learn to be the child of a forever mommy…it doesn’t come naturally…at least not when you’re 6. Can you really trust them? Do they really love you unconditionally? How can you be sure that they will never leave you? What exactly are they supposed to do anyway? It is a process to learn to be a child with a forever mommy…

But that’s what hit me today…it’s a process to learn to be a child of the King. I didn’t know how to be a child of God when He first adopted me either. I didn’t know how to receive His unconditional love…or His abundant grace and mercy…I didn’t know how to behave…And besides, what does a Heavenly Father do anyway? It has been a journey to know Him…to trust Him…to love Him….it took time, it didn’t happen over night…I’m still learning!

I’m a thrilled beyond measure that we are continuing to make steps in our relationship, but I understand better now, what this process is like from her eyes because I understand my journey to becoming a daughter, in the truest sense of the word, to my Abba Father. Learning to trust is not easy…surrendering is even harder…she is a brave and wonderful little girl!

Tomorrow for our 2 month Gotcha Day post…I will tell you all the things I love about her! After that, I’m going to tell you the things I love about my other children too…I think I’ll do one a week on Thursdays…some of my blogging buddies do ‘Thankful Thursdays,’ I love that idea and being thankful for my children seems like a good way to begin!

For today, I’ll leave you with 2 more firsts…Mackenzie got her ears pierced…Abby got her first haircut in a salon (well, Great Clips, but that’s a salon to her!) They both did great!


April Isaacs said...

Hi Sharla!! I love your new blog!!! I just finally got caught up. I couldn't get to it in China- I couldn't access it. And, since we have been home we've had no power. We stayed with the inlaws. We finally got home at 8 pm last night! My house is a wreck!

Anyway, I think your friend gave you great advise about not waiting on Abby anymore. It's just going to keep getting better and better.

sierrasmom said...

Sharla, You teach us so much when you write your blog. You have an incredible way with words. I love reading and learning from you. Your children are beautiful!! Kathie