Tuesday, March 29, 2011
Is Your Mama a Llama?
Lily has settled into our home and family and life like she has always been here. She has no sense of caution or meekness or uncertainty about the way she lives with us. It's as if she has been here for years in her eyes. Which is very odd because I really thought she would be timid and meek and unsure about things. I imagined me lovingly pushing her along to try things and not be scared. She's not really afraid of much...other than stepping on grass without shoes and medical appointments.
Speaking of medical appointments, Lily had four cavities filled this morning and she gets four more filled next month. I wonder if they ever brushed her teeth. I would guess no or maybe seldom. The good news is all of her teeth are salvageable and with braces they should look really nice. I love her smile right now. I think she has a great smile. The braces will correct her bite, but I think she is really blessed with nice shaped teeth and I'm glad she didn't lose any of them due to poor hygiene. The dentist said what helped was the fact that she never ate sugar. So she didn't have any cavities between the teeth. He said American kids get between the teeth cavities because of all the sugar and that if we went 9 years without brushing all our teeth would probably not be in as good of shape.
Anyway, I've really been trying/hoping/praying to get Lily to bond with me more. I think if she hadn't bonded SO well with Husband, I'd be fine. But to see how she can love and be loved so easily and freely with him makes me realize there is a wall between us. The other day we were looking at our China trip photos and I showed her a photo of her with the Assistant Director and a nanny from the orphanage. I said, "Lily, who's that." She said mama. I pointed to the other lady, "Who's that?' "Mama." Then I pointed to myself, and she said, "Mama." So here's the problem, or at least one of them. For the last nine years she has been told to call every older female in her life Mama. Mama is the Chinese word for mother, believe it or not. So when they gave Lily to me that Gotcha Night, they introduced me as MAMA! I was so thrilled and yes I said the words over and over, "Yes, Lily I am your mama now!" so proud to get the glorious title so many women strive to be called by this precious little orphan!!! But now I realize, the "mamas" in her life are nothing like me. And that has not helped at all. I proceeded to tell her that now she only has one mama now.
Most of us grew up with a mother. If not our biological, then our adopted, or an aunt or grandmother, or possible a father acted in that role to show us what a mother does and who she is. If you had a bad mother, perhaps you saw what a loving mother looked like on a TV show, at your friend's home when you visited. We grew up knowing that mothers sacrifice, give, and love. Once I gave birth to Phoebe I became a mother to her and it changed me forever. I no longer put myself first. I thought about her night and day and would do anything to care for her completely. It wasn't so much as what I did for her, but also because I was there. I was her mother. She knew it. She knew I would come when she called.
Lily has never had that. I am not sure how much attention she has been given in her life, but as I said earlier, her records say she did not walk until she was almost 5. I am guessing she laid or sat in a crib for 5 years. I am just guessing. And from the way she responds to me and almost every other female, I don't think she received much attention and love and affection in her life. So that is the wall I'm up against.
I try not to let it bother me but it does. I have felt rejection and hurt and offense. I am not asking for sympathy. I.t's not about me. I'm just stating the way I feel. I know others have felt this way. God lovingly tells me to get over it, let go of offense, and see her through His eyes. It becomes difficult when I don't receive anything back. So love is something I do. And I won't stop. I don't have to feel it coming back to me. I just love. And I don't stop.
Lily is 9 but not really. I'm sure she would "test" around a 3 or 4 year old level in some areas. In survival skills the girls would outshine us all. She has learned how to survive. She doesn't need anyone, except maybe to carry her everywhere which she prefers! So she is probably alive with a sane mind today because she learned how to get over pain on her own and place her focus on other things. She has done a great job because she made it out of the orphanage and is a really well adjusted child in most areas. She is happy and plays good. She cares for her babies with such nurture and love. She can exhibit great mothering skills to Hope and her babies, which is odd considering. She sleeps well, eats well, and seems to enjoy life. And she relates great to Daniel, even teasing him and playing fun games.
I'm trying to read new things everyday to give me pointers and guidance on creating a bond with Lily. How do you convince someone they need a mother when they've never had one in 9 years, and the only people they knew as mama were paid caretakers that did not meet your needs. I am grateful for friends who've adopted older children that have reached out to me and let me know that this is normal and understand how I feel. I try to just chill and know that it will happen naturally but how do I do that when I am her mother. A mother isn't satisfied until they know their children know how much they care.
I have not been confessing the Word enough over her. I am going to rub her back every night and pray the Word over her more. I will continue to ask God to make me what He wants me to be. I know that He is creating character in me that did not exist before now. I welcome the change as I know it will make me a better person. I think about how many times I've rejected God. Ugh. It makes me sick. I want to be a better daughter to Him because of not only what He did and does for me but because of WHO HE IS.
I think about how if I could've gotten to her sooner this would've been easier. She would let me in easier. I think about how so many people don't prefer to adopt older children because of things like this. But it's all worth it. Every child is worth it. Children are so precious. The love or lack of they receive as a baby and toddler make such a difference in who they are. It shapes them. It makes me want to be a better mother to Phoebe, Rob and Johnny. The school called and said Johnny was at the office today with a tummy ache and wheezing and I ran right to get him. MY CHILD NEEDS ME. Isn't that what mothers love to feel (yes, I know that sometimes WE need a break too). But it was funny because I was just so thrilled that Johnny wanted me! LOL. Hope he doesn't catch on to my vulnerability right now or he may make frequent trips to the office.
I want to give Lily what she's never had. I want her to experience life with a loving, selfless mother or will meet every need and sacrifice for her. I want her to have that security so that she will be able to love others in this same way. I long for Lily to NEED me. Although I know it may take a while and I must be patient and TRUST in things I don't see and the ONE who I look to for my Help. I'm outta my league. But in a prime position to see God move in me.