Verse of the Day

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Update for Months 20-21

It's been forever since I've written a thing. Life just has a way of floating by--- sometimes at speeds that your mind and body can barely grasp. A lot has changed for our family; some of it I simply haven't had the energy to put into words.

First, my three Ethiopian children.

The only description at this point is JOY. I'll begin with our boys. My young men are completely bonded, loving and affectionate. They have left behind their anxieties and acting out behaviors; hyperactivity is reserved for exciting events. Both are progressing in school, although mommy has certainly adjusted her expectations of what makes the day a "good school day." I love and adore these boys. I honestly feel that finally... at last... they seem like they've just about always been here.

And oh how I love my newest little girl! Her dazzling smile and contagious laughter brightens any room. When she's happy, it's as if the whole world sings. My dear daughter, however, still has some behavioral and bonding issues. Mainly, I see poor self-image as the culprit. I do think part of it is the age; I remember 8 and 9 being somewhat difficult years with my biological daughter. Something between being caught between childhood and the teen years... it's a challenge for all involved. My daughter is physically affectionate, learning in school, and getting along better with her siblings. But for her, the loss of her birth mom and little brother, along with other painful experiences simply makes her transition more difficult. She has difficulty making friends and being friendly.

I am a great fan of Karyn Purvis' work. In fact, I have been working through her video series on attachment and bonding. After watching and listening to her advice, I try and put some of it immediately into action. As a result, my daughter has been very forthcoming with her history, and the stories just keep pouring out. I think this is helped her to process and accept her past trauma.

One of the conversations I just had with my ET daughter involved how she thought her birth parents viewed her. She told me that her mom loved her, but that her mom had a hard time taking care of her. She moved back and forth between her mom's home and her uncle's home. She remembers often getting in trouble for hurting her little brother; she doesn't relay any stories of cuddling with her mom or having any fun with her mom. Her mom never told her that she was being given up for adoption; one morning after a family party (her farewell party) she just said good-bye---her mom told her she was going to America. As for her birth father, my daughter recalls this (whether it is reality or imagined... it his HER reality): "My father looked at me and made a mean, growling-like face. He hated me. He wanted me to be a boy. I have had dreams that he is in hell, surrounded by fire. I went to try and rescue him, but I couldn't." This is the reality of my little girl.

As her mom, I desperately want her to feel loved, safe, adored, accepted, confident, and brave. She comes from a place of sadness, rejection, and fear. Her healing will be a process, but I am very encouraged by the progress and strides she has made. What is helping this process also is that she is just starting to internalize the Word of God. The Scripture of "overcoming evil with good" is just starting to make some sense. She is learning to be more gentle with her siblings and more kind with her words. Healing is a beautiful, although slow process. I am beginning to see the loveliness of the real girl--- she's beginning to blossom into a new creation.

My other lovely ladies are growing up and changing, too. Although the "cat fights" are still too frequent to my liking, they have certainly diminished in terms of frequency and intensity. All three of my girls are hormonal, which does not help! Additionally, my oldest daughter still struggles with adjusting thyroid levels, something that makes being 15 just that much more challenging. All in all, however, the girls are interacting on a much more peaceful basis. They are beginning to enjoy each other's company, and in fact, seeking one another out just to hang out.

My "original" boys are growing like weeds! D-Man is now taller than I am, and T-Man looks like a man now. I have always dearly loved my boys, but as I see the sweetness and kindness of their hearts towards all of their younger sibs, I feel profound joy. They have learned to put their own desires aside to minister to the needs of their big family. They too, are showing the fruits of reading and applying the Word. There truly is no bigger joy than to see your children following the Lord!

But not all has been rosy. Even those who follow the Lord see dark and dreadful days. We've had some of those lately, too.

One of my dearest friends recently passed on to Eternity. She was one of the very few people who had known me for so long--- my struggles, my fears, my anxieties, my joys--- that losing her just left a gaping hole in my heart. We always had an interesting relationship. We didn't didn't see each other very often, but when we'd talk, it was just like we had never missed a moment. We joked that we had a "Holy Spirit kinda connection." I would have dreams about her, which in hindsight always came true. This was both sweet and painful, as I knew 7 years ago she would die from her cancer. (No, I chose not to share that dream.) Other times, the dreams served to provide her some much needed encouragement during her 13-year cancer battle. I also knew the weekend she died; I literally became overcome by grief and cried inconsolably for two days prior to her passing... only to dry my face and praise the Lord when she did finally died. She lived her life well, and she showed me what holy courage looks like in the face of evil.

My biggest regret was that I did not get to say good-bye to her--- to see her beaming smile one last time. But within three weeks God also granted me that wish: I had another dream, that although it terrified me at the time. I saw her one last time--- sweet Angela, smiling from ear to ear. Her smile let me know that she was more than better--- she was alive and joy-filled! Praise God! He cares about our every need, thought, and desire. His life gives us hope and prompts us to live well.

And that is my prayer: That the Lord would continue to develop in me the strength, wisdom, and character that I need to finish my race well. I want to make My Father proud.

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