Eight years ago today I saw this little face for the first time!
We had been waiting on our referral for almost 2 years that day…
her big eyes and little pursed lips stole my heart….
my Madeline Nian
I am a “prepare for the worst hope for the best” kind of person
I read every book I could about adoption and attachment
prepared for a child that would not look me in the eyes,be unable to sit on her own, unable to eat food, push me away, not take bottle, malnourished….
dwelt obsessed about these things constantly while we waited to go get her 2 months later.
I prayed very specifically for her for each of these things.
We met her on November 5th
and she was none of the things I imagined
she would look us straight in the eyes
we called it the “stare down”
she was chubby
would let us hold and cradle her
took a bottle while being cuddled
did not arch her back
could sit on her own and crawl
cackled the best laugh ever
We were amazed at how on target she was for her age.
But I was naive….
We worked hard at doing what the books told us
and followed all the adoption rules in attachment
what I did not understand then was…
just because all outward appearances show a child on target
and attaching well to her new family,
she may not be doing so well…
she may be unable to process all the changes
and losses in her short life….
I believed that adopting a child as a “baby”
would help her have less attachment issues,
…probably true in some instances…
It breaks my heart now how naive I was….
in believing that the lack of worrisome attachment criteria
meant she was good
was attached and could just be raised like any other child.
Looking back I now know
she is a thinker
she was checking us all out
could not figure out her place in our family
all the while her new Mommy was naive
I thought I could raise her just as I had my 4 previous babies….
we learned the hard way that a child from loss
must be parented in a different way…
We have come a long long way with this precious thinker.
takes a while to warm up to a newcomer
likes to stand on the outskirts and observe
needs to have new situations explained to her
…if not it will cost you…
gets anxious before any change in schedule
does not like to look you in the eye until she trusts you….
she is an introvert through and through
I am no longer naive about my girl
I know now that her heart is broken by loss
a piece of the puzzle is missing for her
it does not make sense to her
why her China mama had to leave her
it does not make sense to me either for that matter
it makes perfect sense to God
He cries for her loss as well
He knows the future only He can give her
My prayer for this special child of mine
is that she will grab hold of our God and not let go
that she will learn to trust Him before any other
that He will make straight her paths and will lead her.
One of my favorite Bible verses is
Trust in the Lord you God with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him
and He will make straight your path.
Madeline Nian your family loves you with a love something fierce,
you are cherished, adored and valued….
I know you question that value
and don’t understand…
So on this anniversary of sorts I am so very thankful that Madeline was chosen for our family
just as I began dreaming for her on that day 8 years ago
on this day I dream of her future
a future of hope and trust…