Saturday, March 31, 2012

Lily likes me.

It's been a wild year since adding Lily and Hope to our family. Hope has required all the usual baby care with additional care due to surgeries. It's been time consuming but easy and fulfilling. She's grown in mind and body and shows no signs of institutionalism that we can see.

Lily has grown so much as well. Though her stature hasn't changed much, her mind has grown immensely. She has done so well in school (is on the k4 level and doing well), is learning to read (thanks to an incredible teacher), and knows the ropes of living in a family in America.

Lily likes me now. I can tell. When I think about last February (2011) and how much she didn't like me, I remember how far she's come. She couldn't stand for me to brush her teeth, wash her hair, and she never smiled at me. She would glare at me meanly while attached to Husband's hip. She would barely eat what I fed her and she certainly wouldn't admit to liking it. I remember one day I made lasagna. She scarfed it up and I could tell she wanted more. Finally she reluctantly asked for more. When I asked her if she liked it she looked at the floor and shook her head no.

Now Lily skips through the kitchen chanting things like, "Mmmm! Mommy cooking!" "Mommy I like-a your food!" "Ma I loooove you cookin!"

Lily doesn't remember when she was mean to me. Her memory seems to be weak. I think her mind has trained itself to forget bad stuff! The mean, carnal side of me wants to say, "oh Lily remember when you were so mean to me?! You should feel really bad about that!!!" And don't think that I don't have to work extremely hard to suppress that side which does show it face sometimes! But I realize that's wrong and it wouldn't do any good because she doesn't remember things in her past well.

I am still not sure Lily loves me or anyone for that matter. How does one learn how to love? Everyday I see Hope treating me like my three biological children did at that age. They know I'm their momma. Thy prefer me because I feed them and rock them and nurture them. I never had to say LOVE ME. They grew in love for me.

I believe Lily is growing in her ability to love. I think abstract things are hard for her. Husband agrees. I have struggled immensely this past year. I have fought to keep my mind sane and pure. I have struggled with laundry and cooking and cleaning. I have forgotten appointments and neglected involvement in my kids' schoolwork. I have felt like a bad friend to my friends. All because my mind is consumed with loving and mothering Lily the way I should. It doesn't come easy like I'm sure I might for other mothers. I have analyzed and read and prayed about it. It's hard to bring a 9 year old child into your family and expect it to be easy. While I feel God's grace on me and while the transition as a whole (and for our kids) has been almost effortless, it's been me who has been hit the hardest and had to work the most. Lily has always liked Husband and Husband has better qualities than me. He is gentle and sensitive and loving. He has been my example and rock through this year.

So this past year has been hard, BUT it's only been ONE year. And I can say that in JUST ONE YEAR look at far Lily and I have come! I don't want to be half a mom or just a nanny to her. I want she and I to connect and love each other deeply and richly. It's what I do in my relationships. Surface doesn't cut it. And I can see that when she looks at me now she likes me. And I like her. A lot. I love her. But I loved her from the start. But now I'm loving her as MY OWN CHILD. That takes time and time is ticking and every tick goes in our favor.

Adoption of an older child isn't easy. But it affects your deepest parts of you! And if you let God rule it (the way I'm trying) then He can make you more like HIM in the process (the way I'm asking and feeling). More of Him, less of me. More supernatural, less natural.

Lily is a precious perfect little girl whose life was miserable and sad and meaningless (in some eyes) before we came along to love her and introduce her to God. Isn't that my story as well? Isn't that all our stories in Christ? Loving Lily is a way I can return my love and gratefulness to God for what's He's done for me. And to see her come around and begin to let me into her heart as it becomes alive is something I
know comes straight from God. I bet God has been smiling down upon me the whole year, even when I was reacting wrongly and crying to Him. Because He knows what's ahead. He knows the ending. And (hopefully) He knows that I'm gonna get it together and be the Amy Renee He created me to be. I want nothing less. For my family, for me, for God.

By the way, I realize my posts on Lily can be not all butterflies and roses, but I have to express my feelings. I don't want to portray an inaccurate story of our adoption, even if it's hard. And I feel like its kind of like when you have a baby... When people see you they can tell that life is good. That your baby is precious and that you love them. But while that is true, you usually don't talk about the fact that you are battling post-pardum depression, haven't slept in months, have wrong feelings towards your dear husband just because he goes to work everyday, and cry because you feel fat. Right girls? So while what everyone sees at school and church is TRUE, adoption has it unspoken challenges. So if you have a friend who's going through adoption remember to be extra forgiving and loving to them!

March Hope

Gotcha memories

We celebrated GOTCHA day anniversary last month but I'm behind...

One year later

Gotcha Day one year anniversary

The whole family with Adri (who was with us in China for the whole trip!) celebrating one year since we got the girls. I had actually cooked spaghetti and we were about to eat and Adri calls and says she coming o celebrate with us and asked what we were doing? Spaghetti seemed so boring so I tossed it in the fridge and we sped off to PF Changs! Much more fun! What was I thinking??!!

Lily's first snow (that she can remember!)

From January