Tuesday, November 15, 2016

ADOPTION & CUDDLES ON THE COUCH

On this World Adoption Day, I'm reflecting a bit on our adoption journey and where we are now.

March of 2012 kicked off our adoption journey, and I can look back and wholeheartedly laugh at some of my own naiveté.  I didn't know what I didn't know, and I went in - not totally blindly - but with several assumptions and a lot of hoping for the best.  Which, honestly, is the about the best I  could do.  I knew a lot of people that had adopted, and I tried to research and listen as we were on that path.  We read the books and did the online classes.  However, nothing could truly give us a picture for the depth of the tragedy or the beauty of the redemption other than just living it.

I'm still amazed by our God story.  It got flipped on its head several times, and we felt like crazy people on more than one occasion.  My eyes fill with tears even now as I think about all that God did to place William and Violet with us.  We are so thankful and humbled and astonished.

Parenting, in general, is challenging, and it always feels like the rug is getting pulled out from under us.  Just as we get something sorted, everything changes again, and we have to start at square one with prayer and strategizing and hoping and praying some more.  When we added adoption to the mix, we knew our parenting would have to adapt, but we weren't quite sure what that would look like.

Slowly but surely, we are getting a better understanding of that.  The twins have the same basic needs as the girls, but they come from different places.  And, even though we've had W & V since day two of their lives, there is underlying trauma that affects them.  I both dread and look forward to the time when they understand their story.  I dread the grief it will bring, but I am hopeful about the joy and good gifts that have come out of that pain.

So, when Violet had a hard time sleeping, because her eczema was flaring, we actually saw that as a time of connection.  Two weeks ago John spent at least two nights on the couch, cuddling Violet and helping her to feel comfortable and loved.  When William also woke up - because there are always two of them! - he also ended up on the couch, and Violet came to bed with me.  William was so delighted to find himself with John and kept rubbing his face and hugging him.

We both had extra time with them, and though it came at the cost of a good's night rest (a steep price indeed), it was worth it.  We are doing the work of building our attachment and connection, even though we have had them their entire lives.  We are looking for ways to seize the good moments and sit in them.  We are looking into eyes and scratching backs more intentionally than we ever would have before for all of our children, because we all need to be seen and valued and cherished.  We are also getting it wrong in a million big and little ways and trusting that the grace of God will cover all of those.

Adoption is transforming our family for the better every day.  It brings empathy.  It brings pain that gives us a chance to persevere.  It shows us new ways of thinking and heightens our sense of what family is and should be.  It brings extra cuddles on the couch in the middle of the night to the good of us all, and I'm so incredibly grateful to have been given this life.  God knew what we needed.

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(And oh.my.goodness. this picture cracks me up.  William refused to get a smiley face on his hand, and Lily did her own smiley face which included the "kiss" noise that it was making, and they are all eating treats to be in the picture, which is especially clear based on Bella's smile.  So funny.  Love these kiddos of mine.)

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