We are coming off a couple rough weeks here. I spent one whole nap time a day last week crying on the couch. Crying and praying and reading my Bible and swearing I couldn't do this another second and then feeling Father assure me that I, in fact, could. It's just been hard. Hard, y'all. This girl, she's the world's teeniest terrorist and sometimes we think she was sent here to undo us. She controls us from her chair, set high on the counter, pointing at things faster than we can retrieve them and not really wanting them anyway once we do. And just when we think we've got this bonding thing nailed, she gets sick or we go away for dinner or something and we realize again what complete idiots we are. What utter dolts. We know nothing. She is king. We are her serfs. All bets are off with this one. A wise woman once likened three year olds to drunken bipolar trolls. Yes. Add in inability to speak and the incredible adjustment from a life of neglect and near starvation to a totally foreign family and I think we're getting close.
This baby, we love her so much. I ache with it. She spent the better part of last month mourning something. Our five day escape? Some hurt of her past, just remembered? We'll never know. But she reacted fiercely, holding her food in her mouth for hours, refusing to swallow and losing two whole pounds, while I stood for hours by her chair, trying to coax her favorite foods down, tears rolling down my cheeks, growing angry and sad and hopeless in turns. And she wants nothing to do with daddy in those sad times. Wants only to be held by me, which is beautiful, but sometimes threatens to suck the life right out of me. I lost count of how many times I tripped over her in those weeks, her needing always to be 3 centimeters close, always. I shut the door of the bathroom, desperate for 5 minutes of solitude, only to open it minutes later and find her standing, silently, on the other side, self soothing, right arm rubbing left elbow, rubbing head. It's her safe place, that rub. And half of me wants to scream while the other half wants to cry with her. She has been hurt. There's no question of that. Our baby has been hurt bad and we are only beginning to help her heal.
And I'll be real, since it's sort of my thing, and say that in my ugly moments I have looked at this child, whose progress seems so slow, who demands the lions share of my time and energy, I have looked on her with ugly resentment. She has cost us so much time, money, energy. We have given her everything. And so a couple weeks ago, I collapsed on the couch after watching her refuse another meal, after laying her down with blankie and George and telling her I loved her. I collapsed, wailing to Father. I felt the need to remind him of all we've been through in the past 10 months. Of how I have four other children who need me and a husband too and how I used to be able to pour myself out outside the realm of therapy and doctors appointments and bonding exercises. I helped him recall how much we have given to bring her home and graft her in, because surely he'd forgotten. And as I lay there, I heard my Father remind me, gently, always gently, "Beloved, those things were never yours to begin with. Not the time, not the money, not even your very life. Never yours."
And it's been a game changer. This remembering that Father calls us to pour ourselves out on behalf of others, that our time, our resources, our very lives are not ours but belong to the one who will direct them for his purposes if we will only ask and listen. And it won't be a rose garden, you can take that to the bank. It'll be ugly and hard and it'll break you, but I'd rather take a day in the hard of Father's Kingdom work than a year chasing my own dreams because that'll leave me emptier than when I started. I've spent many years doing that. Do it still, often.
It's a hard line to toe, this adoption stuff. It's so important to me to be real about it. To not paint the picture that grafting a hurt child into your life will be all unicorns and rainbows, but also to not scare people away from this work. It's the best thing we've ever done. The hardest, most exhausting, best thing we've ever done. Maggie has changed us, all of us and we will never be the same. She has given us far far more than she has taken, has wrecked us in the best ways. And all the things we've given her? They were never ours to keep. The things we are most reluctant to let go are the things Father bids us give. For me it's been my time. It's the hardest gift, the one I most resent having wrestled out of my greedy hands. And Father, in his great mercy, has given me her nap time. Two hours every day where I can find rest for my soul and body. Because that's vital too. If you're going to pour yourself out, you must make time to be refilled. And somehow, miraculously, though sometimes I feel I've poured myself all out, there is always more. Not because I'm enough, but because he is. And so I wander through these days wondering how in hades I'll have time for one more, but knowing that the Father who has placed all these Smalls in our home will provide what we need to parent them. All and more, because he is gracious and kind and enough. There will be days when I forget that, happens all the time, but I'm asking him to boost my memory and break me in whatever way I need to be broken so that his precious work becomes my precious work. And give me grace to do it with a right heart. At least most of the time. And while I'm waiting for those things, could we talk about perhaps miraculously solving the problems of toothpaste in the sink and why no one can seem to hang up their coats? Can we solve those at least? Because sometimes I think my sanity hangs on them. Yours?
This is me being real. Smirking over poor Lulu who, upon seeing a flyer in the mail for our adoption agency, sweet little available faces all over it, sighed "We're never gonna get a dog, are we?" Prolly not Junebug. 20 Kevins, a bearded dragon who long to be a carnivore but must be a flexitarian, 6 Smalls and a keloid scar named Steve...my cup is full.