The Five of Us, Spring 2014

The Five of Us, Spring 2014

It Took Nearly Two Years

I'm about to admit something on this blog that I've never admitted to anyone except my husband and my God before. I've been embarrassed. I've felt like a failure. And I didn't want anyone to know that everything wasn't as perfect as it seemed. I especially didn't want Pea to know. Because here's the thing, until very, very recently, I loved her, but found it hard to really, really like her. I loved her with all the ferocity of a mama bear. I always have. Since I saw the very first photo of her. I would have given my life for her. I would have sacrificed anything for her. I loved her. I love her.

But I didn't really like her. She didn't fit in. There were a lot of ways that she did seem like my daughter (see above!), but there were significant ways in which she just didn't seem to fit in. I often felt like she had little or no personality. Like she was "nobody." Like if she was somebody, that she was deep in hiding. When asked to describe her, I had trouble finding the words. I honestly didn't know who she was. It was hard for me to really like her when I didn't know who she was. I even began to resent, a little bit, the fact that I couldn't like her. I hate to say all this because it sounds so horrible. But, try as I might, I just had trouble finding things to like about her.

I prayed for a breakthough. I prayed that I might know her and love her for herself, not just because she's my daughter. I fretted and worried that all our lives, she'd always feel like an outsider to me--and even worse, that she would know I felt that way. I wanted desperately for her to feel valued and loved, esteemed and wanted not because of anything external to who she is but rather for all that she is, through and through. But, it just wasn't turning out that way. And, a part of me believed that it never would.

I knew from the start that things wouldn't be perfect and that it would take time for us all to "gel" as a family. I knew that she'd been through a lot in her little life. I knew that there were developmental delays to work through, not to mention emotional ones. But, I wasn't prepared for it to take nearly two years for us to find her. I had no idea it would take so long for her to come out of her shell and be herself, for her to become our daughter in every last way. And that's why I'm sharing this now. For all of you who are adopting or have adopted and feel these same secret things in your heart. I want you to know that a day is coming when things will click into place. I want you to know that a real, likable kid is in there. No matter what has happened in your little one's life he or she can come around and become "real."

I know it because it has happened for us. Over all these weeks and months that Pea has been with us, I have loved her and prayed for her. And I have marked her progress in every area of her little life. I have seen her physical development skyrocket. I have watched her develop cognitively to the place where now, she is about on par with her peers. And, I have seen her heart unfold, slowly. Slowly. Slowly. And, then it hit me. This afternoon, it just hit me. I like her! She's a new girl. She's turned a corner and is more fully herself than I've ever known. Last night we were all watching Peter Pan and she laughed, a loud, free, honest laugh. Don't get me wrong, there's always been a lot of laughter in our house. But, last night was just different. It was her real laugh. It wasn't because she thought she should laugh. It was because she, the real Pea, thought that that zany crocodile was actually funny! It was a beautiful moment which crystalized for me the fact that the corner has been turned.

What caused the turn? I'm not sure. I've had more time to spend alone with her since Punk started Kindergarten, but I think that may just be the vehicle of the revelation. I think it really just took time and prayer and perseverence and loving her in spite of not really liking her yet. Maybe it's partly due to the shift in me--the realization that my striving to create a perfect little family life was actually ruining us. I can't say for sure, but I can say that these two years of loving her in faith have been totally worth it. I'm overjoyed that I can delight in my girlie, in the real her. That I have the privilege of seeing and knowing the real girl in there. She is everything I hoped for. She is beautiful and delightful and I so look forward to knowing her more.


We are Grateful!!! said...

Thank you for being "real" and encouraging others (me) through a difficult issue/confession.

S.M.S said...

This is an AWESOME testimony Rachel! Praise God for it and remember that the process is often ugly, but the outcome is a MASTERPIECE of GOD HIMSELF. She has captivated your heart.... :)


Kerry said...

Some moms feel like that after giving birth. Some moms feel that way forever.

I thought your post was raw and honest and full of love. It's not a "bad" thing to feel the way you did. It's a healing process that thankfully Pea was able to do.... and you were with her the whole way; waiting for her.

It's a love story. It is!

My Man and Me

My Man and Me
married 7/7/2001


ours through biology, born 7/25/2004, home 8/1/2004


ours through adoption from Liberia, West Africa, born 7/15/2005, home 10/25/2007


ours through domestic adoption, born 1/15/2011, home 2/10/2011, final 8/3/2011

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Round Two Timeline

  • 9/24/08 Home study update home visit for Ghana adoption
  • 10/15/08 Dossier sent to AOHG
  • 10/15/08 I600A application sent to USCIS
  • 10/30/08 First heard about possible domestic private adoption
  • 11/18/08 Last spoke with contact about possible domestic adoption; expected to hear back about meeting with birthmother
  • 12/3/08 Withdrew application from AOHG
  • 1/6/09 Found out another family had been chosen for possible domestic adoption
  • 1/21/09 USCIS fingerprinting appointment
  • 1/8/09 Received USCIS fingerprinting appointment notice
  • 4/11/09 Sent Pre-Application to Covenant Care Adoptions for Domestic Infant Adoption program
  • 6/8/09 Social worker visit to update home study from International to Domestic
  • 7/24/09 Received completed home study update
  • 8/25/09 Went "on the list" for birthfamilies to choose from
  • 4/28/10 Found out a birth mom had chosen us
  • 5/8/10 Met the birth mom
  • 5/11/10 Got the call that birth mom changed her mind
  • 5/19/10 Birth mom's scheduled c-section
  • 11/30/10 Visit from DSS sw about foster parenting
  • 11/30/10 Got the call that another birth mom had chosen us
  • 12/21/10 Met with the birth mom
  • 1/15/11 @1:42 PM BB was born!
  • 1/19/11 ICPC (interstate) paperwork sent to GA for approval
  • 1/31/11 ICPC Clearance Approved
  • 2/10/11 Placement Ceremony and Pup comes home!!!!
  • 8/3/11 It's Official! Pup's Adoption Decree was issued