Friday, January 9, 2015

Joy and Sorrow

As mentioned in my previous post, there are many things I wish I had the time to write about about our family life now and the life lessons, spiritual lessons, I am learning, but there is one thing that I have wanted to share for a little while now. One worth the time it will take to type it.  And that is the joy and the sorrow felt because of the journey we are on.

A child born to another woman calls me mommy.  The magnitude of that tragedy & the depth of that privilege are not lost on me” ~Jody Landers

Just a few weeks after we came home from China, I was in our bedroom, rocking Felicity to sleep.  I was holding her, staring into her beautiful brown eyes, and I was overcome with JOY.  Amazing joy.  I was so thankful that she was a part of our family, that she was here.  In that moment, I uttered a prayer of thanksgiving.  Thank you Lord, for my arms being full.  That prayer was no sooner whispered, than a deep sadness came over me. My heart was filled with joy and my arms were filled with a beautiful little girl, because, 7,000 miles away, in that same moment, there was another mom whose arms were empty.  My joy was born of another mother's pain and sorrow.  There are moments when that reality is hard and beautiful, and bring-me-to-my knees inspiring.

I think about her often.  Felicity's mom.  I shed tears for her pain.  I pray for her daily. I wonder how she felt the day of our daughter's (hers and mine) birth.  Was she filled with joy?  Expectant wonder?  Was she worried when she saw that her daughter's face was not the perfect face she had hoped it would be?  How did she feel those three dreaded days before she made the decision to leave her daughter at the gate of the orphanage.  Most of us reading this are mothers  . . . we have an idea of the agony she felt in those days.  My heart aches for her.

Now, I bet she and I wonder the same things.  Does she have her mother's nose?  Is that cute, side wards glance from her mom?  Does she look more like her mom?  Does she have her father's personality? 

And as the holidays come, we experience them all anew with Felicity by our side.  Watching her at Christmas brought so much thanksgiving for the gift that she is.  Over the years there will be many Christmases, birthday parties, etc, etc that will be marked with the presence of a special little girl.  And as each one comes, I only hope that I remember that those days bring pain for another family that is separated from that same daughter.

You see, I cannot separate my joy from her sadness.  And I do not  think I should try.  They are meant to be intertwined.  It makes this whole journey a little more beautiful. 

Someone once told Pete and I we were heroes because we are giving an orphan a home.  Us? Heroes?  No.  There are heroes in this story (our daughter being one of them), but we do not hold the privilege of being heroes.  No, Felicity's mom is the true hero.  She gave until it hurt.  She sacrificially chose do to what she felt was best for her daughter, even though it would only bring her great sorrow and loss.  Her sacrificial love gave us one of our greatest gifts.  I will forever be grateful to her.

Many nights as I hold Felicity, I pray that I can love her well.  Not just for Felicity, but to honor her birth mother. May my love honor her sacrifice and be worthy of it.

I pray, God willing, that I may meet her in heaven one day.  I want to thank her for our beautiful daughter and share with her all the memories that she is missing now.  Until that day, I pray that God give her peace.  That she may know, in her heart that her daughter is well loved and cared for.  That she is an orphan no more.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Update Post

It's January.  But, I think you all already knew that. Months have slipped by without so much as a word, in this, my corner of the Internet.  Much like animals that hibernate in the winter, I have felt very sheltered over the past few months.  We have been "cocooning" as adoption circles call it.  We were at mass this past Sunday (we do go every week, in case you doubt) and I still was amazed by the number of people who came up to me and remarked that they had not seen Felicity before.


We have been home two months.  It seems like a long time, yet it seems so little.  We are still attempting to find a new normal, and are just not quite there yet.  After three weeks off from tutorial, all of the boys started back to homeschooling this week.  Homeschooling is not quite as easy with our "toddler tornado" around, but we are making it work the best we can.

Felicity continues to do well.  She is attaching to us, bonding with her brothers and is happiest when everyone is home together. The process of her melding into our family is much like dancing.  Some days are two steps forward, one step back.  Other days it is a step forward and two steps back.  I have never been good at dancing, but I am letting God and Felcity lead.  The dance is beautiful and we are moving forward. 

Each day we get to see more of her personality.  And it is a BIG, STRONG personality.  I look at the pictures of her from her first day with us . . .

Gotcha Day - October 2014
with her cold, dark eyes and a blank scare.  She was afraid.  I barely recognize that little girl anymore.  There is a light in her eyes now (and she has gained inches and pounds!!)  Even though there are moments when that scared little girl is clearly still present, the days and hours of her presence are rare. Felicity does well out and about too.  We are getting better at recognizing when a situation is a bit overwhelming for her and we just keep her close and work to get home faster. 
January 2015

The hardest moments come at night.  She still does not sleep well, preferring to always be touching me, even if it is with just her foot.  Night time is clearly the time when she grieves and releases stress from the day.  Our poor little girl will often cry at night in a way none of my boys have done.  The first few times it happened, we figured it was something she ate. But now, after two months home, we can tell there is something deeper than indigestion going on.  We just hold her and love her through it the best we can.

I love our little girl fiercely.  While I know it is not always the case with adopted children, my love and bond for her was strong from the moment she was placed in my arms.  She is my daughter and I love her no differently than my sons that I gave birth to.  Just the other week, Caleb, even said, "Mom, is it strange that I think Felicity looks like us?"  I chuckled.  She looks nothing like us, but Caleb's sentiment was felt.  She is a part of us, no matter where she started from, she has been knitted into our family and something would be missing if she were not here.

These two months with her have been profound in many ways. God has used this time to teach me so much about His love, grace and redemption.  There are moments I just want to pour those words out over the keyboard and hit publish, but more often than not, my hands are filled with the little girl that has been the avenue through which God is growing and molding me. 


I am off to enjoy the giggles of my daughter, who should be sleeping, but is not.  Please continue to pray for us!  Pray, too, for Felicity, especially.  She will be having surgery next week to repair her palate.  Pray for a quick and speedy recovery.