This spring Ella will cross the line of having lived with us longer than she did in an orphanage. But we aren’t there yet. And honestly, I have no expectations that anything magical will happen once she has been with us longer. But it is still a milestone for the simple fact that we will have known her longer than anyone else. I remember mentally acknowledging it with Will. That I “finally” had known him as long as his birth mother. It’s just something we take for granted with a biological kid.
I’ve struggled with what to blog regarding our progress. Mainly because I’m not sure what is too personal to share regarding the kids struggles. So I’m trying to find the fine line I want to walk with what is too much vs. what is helpful.
Ella has spent the last 2 years both running towards us with open, loving arms. And running, frantically, in the opposite direction. Turns out safety and love are just as frightening as the past.
She lived in her first orphanage right around 2 years before being moved to the new facility. So I’m sure somewhere back in her subconscious she is waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because to her “forever” has only been defined as 2 years.
Earlier she was (lovingly) corrected for hitting a sibling. And per the norm, she entered a pretty lengthy meltdown. Taking the cue from a good friend, I reminded her that she was not in China anymore. She was at home with Mommy and Daddy. And she was here to stay forever. Then I asked if she remembered why she was crying, if she was happy or sad, etc, etc. She finally yelled “I don’t ever want to to go back to China!”. The sibling squabble was long forgotten. Being corrected flips a switch. The fact that she once lived in China, without parents, is always just below the surface. And being sent back to China is always an option. I scooped her up and used all the words I could find to tell her she would NEVER go back to China. She would never be without her Mommy, Daddy, brothers, grandparents, aunts, uncles or cousins. NEVER. But when your only reference of “forever” is 2 years…is that even a consolation?!
After she was calm we read some books about being a family and love, she really dislikes these books. But I hoped the weight of the words sunk in somewhere. We then talked about China some more. She is starting to lose some of her memories from there. Stories that she has told over and over and over, without missing a detail are suddenly gone. And I can see her racking her brain trying to put pieces together. (Which reminds me, I need to write them down ASAP!).
There is not a neat and tidy wrap up to this “update”. Just a quick story of where we are at. And where we will probably be for awhile.We have to remind ourselves that this is a marathon, not a sprint. I’ll be honest, I miss the days when I thought love was enough to heal my kids. We were just going to love them right on through all of their baggage. Love is a good place to start, but most of this healing can only be completed thru Jesus (and maybe a side of help from professionals).
I do promise to write more about this soon. We get alot of questions from friends wanting to understand/support us. And we are happy to share. I’m just not sure how much, or how little, I should put out on the interweb.
(Odds are if we talk at any length in person you have gotten an ear full, haha.)
The good news, her highs are HIGH. She truly finds JOY is so many things!
Even squeezing into her China clothes!