Remember this song from Jennifer Hudson:
And I am telling you
I'm not going
There's no way I can ever go
No, no, there's no way
No, no, no, no way I'm living without you
I'm not living without you
I don't wanna be free
And you, and you
You're gonna love me, oh ooh mm mm
You're gonna love me
This song's lyrics burst into my head the other day when I was thinking about Lily. Because Lily has a way of getting your attention. Like when she wants to sit next to Husband but kids are on both sides so she just comes and sits right on top of him or smashes in between, only to have the other kids holler at her and she turn around and look at them like, "What did I do?"
Lily has a way about making her way into your lap, into your life, into your heart. She is a survivor. She's gonna get her needs met now! She has been deprived of love and affection too long. She's in auto pilot mode. The other day I was asking her about the orphanage again. Some of the girls that she lived with (ALL HER LIFE) sent her a small gift. I asked her if she missed them. She said no. I asked her if she would miss us if she wasn't with us. She shook her head yes quite franticly. So why don't you miss them??? She said "Because they never kissed me."
My heart sunk. You know, I have struggled with relating to Lily these past 11 months. I've not kept that secret on this blog. And my love for Lily has deepened. I have always loved her. I have always be willing to do anything for her. Anything for her safety and well being. But now I feel like I am loving her in the way a mother does her children. It's becoming more personal.
SO MANY TIMES I have gotten offended over the past year. And I am honest about it. I hash it out with Daniel and he and I are truthful to each other. We know what we SHOULD do but it's hard sometimes. But little Lily has a way about her that MAKES you love her. And as the months go by, I can see more clearly. Hindsight is...well, you know...perfect. I can see how the kid is doing the best she can. And I just had too many expectations. Even when my expectations were LOW going into our first days with her....they were still wrong. And how quickly I can adjust them (throw them out) and learn to look at the situation anew will determine our next year.
That photo of Lily.....when she was little....
I just look it every single night! I just see in her eyes all the pain and sadness and I just wish I could've gotten her then.... but I realize it's partly because of my selfish reasons. Because I think it would be easier if she were younger. But I do look at that photo and it kinda "resets" my mind each night so that I can give her the love and affection she needs from me.
I have come to realize that SO much of the little offenses are translation issues. Someone can say a word in a million ways and some of the ways be happy and loving and others mean and hateful. I realize that she is just scrambling for words most of the time.....how on earth can tone come across. And also, because she had never been given anything of possession or any attention of affection, she is greedy of those things now. Lily never got anything. So instead of her being grateful for a little, she yearns for and asks for A LOT. Lily never got any love and affection. So instead of being a well adjusted child who knows she is loved and secure, she asks every adult male who shows her a bit of attention to pick her up and he becomes her new best friend for the moment. Lily never got to choose anything to eat. So instead of being grateful for a variety of healthy food she wants to pick and choose and not eat that and be upset if she gets this. This isn't her fault. It is her condition. It is the Lily that survived.
She must've not gotten equal portions of anything because she is always measuring what she is given with what others have. And then she makes sure you know that SHE GOT CHEATED. And in our family we don't measure out equal portions. Sometimes a kid may get "more" but that doesn't threaten anyone except her. In the beginning we imagined that we would never discipline her. We thought she was meek, shy, quiet, and possibly unsocial without the ability to be social. So to our shock, when Lily started long-jumping over boundaries our original kids have always had, we realized we had to treat her "equal." which isn't always fair....but equal. So since Lily became "one of us" SO quickly....so quickly came the discipline and SO quickly came the expectations that she could and would live by the same standards of our originals. Does that make sense? It wouldn't do any good to give her "extra" love, attention, affection, prizes, food, snacks, etc. because then she would just rub it in the other kid's faces and never understand family. That has been the kink in the plan. That has been the hardest part. Knowing she needs EXTRA everything but not wanting to turn her into a totally spoiled American brat overnight. Which we could see happening VERY QUICKLY in CHINA.
Husband and I have changed game plans quiet often. We are just trying to find the peace, the discipline, the flow, what's best. Like how we told her we share everything, because she wanted to hoard things and not share with the kids (she wants to know if she can write her name on everything...she needs ownership). But then she could cuttingly reply that Phoebe doesn't share her piano! Or Rob doesn't share his helicopter. Which are all TRUE. But how can we explain why some things are exempt....that wouldn't be FAIR. How do we explain she might damage certain things if allowed to play with them? With a three year old you would just say NO and the child would have to learn. But Lily can ask so many questions and hold it against you and bring it up next week when it works to her advantage and.... So there is that understanding that is missing in her... inability to grasp emotion, subjection, etc. THAT IS HARD TO PARENT. It's not always black and white, and her mind just cannot see grey yet.
Her inability to understand emotion makes me realize she has never been shown emotion and love until us. I could be bawling in a full fledged hyperventilating emotional breakdown and she would just look at me and say, "Mommy, you crying? Why you crying? Ma, can I have this blanket?" and then take my blanket to her room to play dolly! I am laughing right now because these times are quite comical when I reflect on them, yet saddening when they happened! So my goal is to really help her understand FEELINGS and EMOTION this next year. But how in the world do I go about that?
Lily is resilient.
(of a substance or object) Able to recoil or spring back into shape after bending, stretching, or being compressed.
(of a person or animal) Able to withstand or recover quickly from difficult conditions.
Just put her photo in the dictionary next to this! The girl is tough. And you know what...I LOVE that about her. That is how I raise Phoebe. To be a tough independent girl. But since Lily is already that....where do I fit in. She has great self confidence because she is unaware of the fear of man. She thinks she can do anything and she thinks she can do it perfectly. Which is great! Unless you are her momma. Then what's your role? The cook and the maid? I've never had to grab her face and look deep in her eyes and convince her that with my love and support she will succeed....because she has never doubted that. I'm laughing! Ah, the conflict. Make her need me so I feel needed! ridiculous!
The truth is Lily only needs me for things she is currently unaware of. She is a self made girl. She wakes up to each day ready to GO SOMEWHERE NEW! "Daddy, where you going?!!!" Lily says with excitement.....Daddy replies, "the bathroom"....Lily replies sadly, "Oh." Ha, that girl wants to see new places and meet new people! She can cut up with the best of them. She si super competitive and will figure out how to do something so fast just so she can join in and not be left out! She has SO MANY qualities that kids lack and sometimes never attain. She rarely feels sorry for herself (except when it works to her advantage) and she rarely whines. Her eyes are bright with WILD ADVENTURE. She is tough and strong and resilient and joyful and fun and wild and free and comical and beautiful and energetic and curious and eager! She is just loving life! And that's all she needs to do right now. My needs and desires are not the issue. Lily is having her childhood finally! And childhood around age 3-4 looks just like Lily's life right now. She missed all that and she needs it. She needs time to be a baby. The only thing that messes that up is that sometimes she is so much smarter than a baby that you have to change the parenting course so you don't get used and abused by the baby!
I love Lily dearly. When I see her hopping away to her classroom each morning my heart swells with pride now. I look at her like you all have been looking at her since day one! What a cute little girl! Even since I wrote the post in December about her I realize how much I've changed. God is helping me.
I don't want to mess up. I want to be the kind of mom she needs. I don't want to spoil her...Americanize her! I want her to retain all of her Lily-ness she needs to realizing she may not ever be 100percent Hook. I want her to be HER...the way God made her. I don't want to stand in her way or control her. But I do want to train her up as God wants me to. I just want to be surrendered to Him. Although I have always been truthful to God, and He has set me straight MANY times over the past year, now I feel like I am finally in a place where I can actually DO what He asks me too and do it with heart and truth and sincerity.
I am looking forward to this next year with Lily. Bigger and better. Onward and upward. Deeper waters. To the heart. I love it!