Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Small Moments That Take Your Breath Away...

I’ve discovered that the adoption journey is full of small moments that take your breath away… Usually they’re not major milestones, just moments in time that take you completely by surprise with the intensity of the emotions they produce, like…

Abby’s first smile on Gotcha Day when I was convinced that her heart was breaking in two…

The first time she called me “mommy”…

The first time she reached for me to comfort her instead of one of her siblings…

The look on her face when she realized I was adding her picture to the family photo table…

When she invited me to push her on the swing for the first time…or to shampoo her hair for her…

When the experience of new discovery lights up her eyes…

Or when she turns and catches you watching her in her ‘first ever’ movie and rewards you with a BIG grin and you know you’ve hit the jackpot of new experiences…

As a biological mom, too many firsts are taken for granted. Life is measured more by major milestones – the first smile, the first tooth, the first word, the first step… But I think we miss too many ‘small’ moments in the busyness of life.

Tonight blessed me with series of the small moments that took my breath away…

The first came after a friend of mine sent Abby a ‘Welcome Bag’ of goodies…fun coloring activities, snuggly warm pj’s and a princess puzzle! Abby was so excited!

She couldn’t wait to work the new puzzle, but she quickly became frustrated because it was harder than any she had done so far. So I offered to help her… But her sweet big sister jumped in and offered to help instead. For the first time ever, Abby was not satisfied…she wanted mommy’s help!

We had fun and it was such a sweet time with the three of us doing the puzzle together. Afterwards, Mackenzie and I crawled back into the big chair to watch the beginning of a Disney movie. Even though there’s room in the chair for all 3 of us, Abby usually sits on the floor. To get all three of us in the chair, you have to snuggle together.

Abby will sit with me in this chair sometime, but it’s more like two strangers in a movie theater…she’s very careful not to bump my arm or sit too close.

But tonight was different, she wanted in the chair with me and Mackenzie and she was willing to snuggle in next to me. For the longest time, I didn’t want to breathe…I was so afraid she was going to realize that she was snuggled up next to me and pull away…but she didn’t. Instead, she just sat and chattered with me the entire time… For the first time ever, she told me about something in ChongQing…a puppy who had a ponytail!

I so hated for the moment to end, but I had to go get Zack from soccer practice. I turned and gave Mackenzie a hug and when I turned towards Abby, she was already waiting with her arms up for a hug! Even now, the memory still takes my breath away!

Adoption is not an easy journey. It requires a selflessness and a love that I just don’t have on my own… In fact, I didn’t have it when Abby came into our lives, but God is working it out in my heart more and more each day. But it’s the moments that take your breath away that make it all worthwhile… Some how God stretches out their impact and uses them to carry you to the next breathless moment! Taking you from one day to the next, from one baby step to another…and before you know it, you and your child are falling in love with each other…not just the idea of each other…but with the real person!

What a sweet, sweet blessing this is! A couple of my blogging buddies have reminded me that it is National Adoption Month so I want to encourage you, if the idea of adoption has ever passed on the outer circles of your heart’s radar…pay attention…God just might be calling you to adopt one of His precious, precious treasures! If He is…take the leap of faith and go for it…you won’t be sorry…you’ll just be blessed!

10 comments:

trina said...

Awww...Sharla!! I could so visualize the three of you in this big chair (even though I have not seen your chair..LOL)....and a big smile on Abby's face...talking about the puppy. Thank you so much for sharing those 'babysteps' with us. I'm so loving them.
Have you read my blog today? We just can't help ourselves...encouraging others to take a leap of faith. :)

Patientlywaiting said...

Sharla,

Your post brought tears to my eyes. We too have enjoyed many firsts again with Claire. We had forgotten what it was like to live life through the eyes of a child. What you experienced tonight was a true gift and may it be the first of many.

Hugs,
Robin

Anonymous said...

The first I had with Abby was at her great-grandmother's birthday. I took Abby to the bathroom and they had an automatic paper towel dispenser. This is something we don't think about much but to Abby it was a new experience. She tore off a piece and it automatically came out again. She tore that piece off and the look on her face was priceless as a third piece came down. We laughed all the way back to the table. She is such as asset to our family and fits right in with the other grandchildren. What a blessing! Grandma Cathy

Anonymous said...

Sharla,

Thank you for your beautiful post. I have learned so much through following your blog. What a teacher you are! I'm in leadership at CBS group near yours, and my TD kept asking me if I knew you. All of a sudden it dawned on me that I had been following your blog and did indeed "know" you!

We have been home a week with our 2nd daughter adopted from China~ 5th child.

www.andthentherewereseven.blogspot.com
www.katecomeshome.com

Thank you again for sharing so eloquently what the Lord has been teaching you through your precious daughter Abby.

Love,
Pam

Katy said...

Sharla-What a great reminder! I just posted today about how I took having kids by birth for granted and I know I missed so many moments. 4th time's the charm for living life in the moment :-) hopefully for me at least!!

Katy said...

PS- I meant to ask about your pictures. Very nice!! I just bought a used fancy camera and want my pictures to look better.

momto4girls said...

Thanks for all that you share! You have put so much of what I have been feeling with our own experience into words and I thank you for it!
Diane

Denise said...

What a wonderful entry. I love those moments too...lately, Maggie takes my face in her hands and looks me in the eyes and says, "Maggie's Momma." I lose it every time...so precious~

Deb - said...

Sharla, your post put my exact thoughts of the past few days into words..I also took my first two (bio) children's firsts for granted, they were precious but they were "supposed to happen". Each day with our youngest daughter is a lesson from God and a joy. I see the world so differently now through her eyes and I cherish each step we take at becomeing a forever family.

Truly Blessed! said...

Adoption is, indeed a wonderful blessing -- to the children and to the parents. All of your illustrations are lovely and mean so much, even to those of us who haven't adopted yet or whose children came to us at younger ages and won't ever remember a different life than they have.

But my recently adopted 2 year old (home since 19 1/2 months) has begun actually hugging us tightly around our necks (which is different than accepting hugs from us!) and there isn't a feeling in the world like that.

God is amazing. Adoption is too.