Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Lucky One

I can't speak for other adoptive moms but I can speak for myself and I'm gonna be honest and tell you that it makes me cringe a little bit when people say "Mihretu is so lucky to have you" or even things like "you're doing such a great job with him". I don't get upset and I totally appreciate the place where those words are coming from so it's ok when people say them. But the thing is - there are LOTS of moments (most moments) where I don't feel like I'm doing a great job at all - where I'm just figuring it out as we go and messing up along the way. There are even more moments than that where I don't think Mihretu is the lucky one in this family at all. I am.

How did I get chosen in all the world to be his mom? This little boy is absolutely precious, amazing, brilliant, funny, resilient, strong-willed, snuggly and truly a gift from God. A gift that I get the honor to watch grow and do my best to try and parent. I'm the lucky one.

I've been thinking a lot lately about adoption for obvious reasons. Adoption is beautiful. But it also comes from loss. I get to be mom to this precious child only because someone else wasn't able to. So while yes Mihretu now has a mommy - he had to lose one first. And that is a huge loss. Adoption is God's heart. He adopted us. I see Him in the intentionality of the adoption process. He gave up everything to rescue us. He sent His own son to pay the ransom to do so.

Anyone who has adopted a child knows that it doesn't just happen. You choose to do it. You spend months and sometimes years doing every little piece of paperwork and shameless fundraising event and hoop jumping you have to - to bring a child home forever. All along knowing all the horror stories of so and so who lost their referral or X country that shut down adoptions or paperwork that got messed up and never completed or whatever crazy reason why this family or that family wasn't able to adopt the child they thought they were going to adopt. And all the pain and loss that comes with that. Families that often pick back up and fight again for another child and hope beyond hope that this time it really happens and they get to bring a little one into their family. Adoption is a choice that involves a daily decision to continue to pursue that choice. And oh the celebration when we finally hear the judge say "he's yours" or "she's yours".

And then, even then, it's just the beginning of the intentionality involved in all of this. Because now your child is home and now the real work begins. The road to restoration. The pain, the loss, the confusion. This child whom everyone says is lucky - this child doesn't feel lucky. All they know is that these people are strangers, this setting unfamiliar and sometimes even the language is not the same. Everything they knew, no matter how unhealthy or broken, is gone. How would we feel in their place? How would we respond? Probably not half as well as most of these strong, resilient little survivors do. After all, our kids have learned to survive in hard conditions. But don't let that fool you into thinking they are ok with it all or even happy or feeling lucky about it. Most likely they won't. Not right away anyway. But hopefully you'll hang in there dear family and keep loving and nurturing and doing all you can to encourage attachment and build trust and then over time - you will hopefully get to see your child coming alive in a new way. You'll get to see them thrive instead of just survive. Your family will begin to thrive too. And hopefully it doesn't take a long time to begin to see it. But sometimes it does. And we just don't know going into it what our story will look like.

We just know we're called and we believe that it's worth it all.

And it is.

Mihretu has been home just 6 months and he's blossoming. I'm sure his heart is not completely healed and this journey to restore what was lost will be a long one that really only God can truly complete. But I get to be a part of the story. I get to be a part of the road to healing. I get to watch this sweet boy grow and learn and laugh. I'm amazed every day at how amazing he is. He's super funny and silly. He makes me laugh. And sometimes I make him laugh - it's this adorable little belly laugh that just makes your whole body well up with overflowing joy. He learns a new word or phrase almost every day and his capacity to use all of these new words in a new language in the correct context just truly blows my mind. He's speaking in small sentences now. He's learned to say "me" when referring to himself instead of "you" or "my" like he used to. He's learning to count and knows a handful of colors and shapes. His motor skills have improved so much that you'd think 2 years had gone by since he came home. It's crazy amazing. He's almost done with his swim classes and it's been so worth all the running around to get him there cause he just does so well and loves it so much. He's a great little swimmer and loves to be underwater! He's learning manners like saying please and thank you and excuse me. He now says I'm sorry if he accidentally hurts someone. He thinks of things on his own that show his nurturing kind-hearted nature. Like the day that he accidentally scratched me and I said "buddy, be careful - you scratched mommy" and he said "sorry" and then about 10 minutes later he decided on his own that he should get a bandaid and put it on my scratch. Or when I had the flu and was coughing up a lung and he walked into the other room and came back with my water. Or when his friend from small group's shoe fell off and he rushed over to put it back on her. He's just thoughtful. It's really neat to get to have a front row seat to watch him learn and grow and see who God made him to be. He's an amazing kid. The more time goes by, the more I'm just in awe of it all. And the more thankful I am. I'm learning daily how to be a mom. And as a family we are thriving instead of just surviving these days. We're figuring each other out and yes, we both get frustrated with one another but we also have so much fun together. We dance and sing and make faces at each other. Everyday is an adventure. I just love being his mom.

Yes, I'm the lucky one.

LOVE our Ethiopian family

We just returned from Ethiopia and oh boy - my heart is completely wrecked. Mihretu and I traveled on our own last March (2018) over his ...