lovesongs

Friday, January 23, 2015

Last week, I left the neurologist’s office with a touch of concern, yet again, for our littlest. Never mind that she got the all clear after six months of follow-up appointments from her apparent life-threatening event, all I could think about was that the neurologist said she should have 50 words by 2. She barely had 20. When I questioned the speech therapist about it later that day, she said, “Well, actually, it should be 100.”  Normally, I wouldn’t worry too much about developmental stuff like that except I’m a little more antsy about this one because of the preemie stuff. the near-death stuff, and the 18-months-till-finalization stuff.

Two days later, we sat in the courtroom while the judge declared her legally ours. Now our stories are officially bound together. The family was unbelievably excited. Niah had been giving the countdown to everyone we met for days. Brenden told us when we got home that it was the ‘best day ever’. Maggie celebrated her 10th birthday with a new sister, and she could not have been more thrilled. It was a great day, to be sure. When we got home that day, much to my surprise, I noticed Mira was content and smiley in spite of the big day and lunch out. I expected a hard evening, so I was grateful.

I didn’t take much note of it until the next day when her easy attitude continued. She’d been kind of a pain for the whole week ahead of time, I’m sure partly in response to an incredibly busy schedule. The day after the adoption though, she was cheery, played with her toys, and wonder upon wonders, I added eight new words to her word list. The next day, party day, it continued. More new words, more cheer. It continued on through Sunday when finally Wendell remarked on it. I had been kind of storing up these thoughts in my heart until he said, “Don’t you think she seems different?” YES. It’s like she knew. As if that legal ceremony broke something free in her that had just been waiting. She’s more than doubled her word list in the past week. She’s smiling more. She’s playing better. She’s even more at ease with the new puppy, whom she had hated for the first couple weeks he lived with us.

Now maybe she just senses the lack of tension in our own attitudes. That’s possible. But she is markedly different, and that’s affecting all of us. Her life story is looking pretty awesome right about now.

 


 

We had no idea when we started our classes to become foster parents what our family’s story would look like, but when I I looked around the adoption party last Saturday, I was overwhelmed by the beauty that our family now contains. All the moments where I’ve wondered why we subjected our children to pain and loss and messiness and grief, all the moments where we felt like we might lose our children forever, all the moments I’ve spent in tears and prayer for the mamas, the daddies, the hurting children that we’ve met, all the moments where we’ve second-guessed our calling – those moments are superseded by this big, flat-out glorious family we get to be a part of now.

My newest little “brother” sat beside my son and across from the friend who brought him into our lives, the friend whom we never would have gotten to know if not for some of the suffering we went through along the way.

My husband’s mentor, the one who makes my husband come home lighter and happier each and every week when they meet, came to support him and to meet me. They introduced themselves by telling me how weird it is to have a daughter that they’ve never met.

A fire department co-worker of Wendell’s, whom he hasn’t actually been on duty with in almost 6 months, showed up with the most thoughtful personalized gifts, really confirming that all those long, slow nights my husband spent talking with her about Jesus and family, caring about her life…they made a difference to her.

Our kids’ CASA worker entered the room at the same time as my best friend of nearly 30 years, I thought I might ugly cry when the one of my very best friends walked herself in the door in spite of being extremely and chronically ill right now, and our church family finally got to set their eyes on Brenden and Raniah’s older sister – the one they prayed for and loved sight unseen all those years ago – and she became the talk of the party due to their uncanny resemblance.

I don’t want this to seem like too glossy and pretty a view of adoption. At its heart, all adoption is about trauma. I also believe adoption is always second best. Families are designed to be together. Adoption is a tangible representation that that does not always happen. But while not all of the people who were there will ever understand how this story is just as much about grief and loss as it is celebration, they are both there in solidarity and love regardless.

The kids’ sister told her mom after the adoption party, “It’s kind of like Miracle is my half-sister, now.” Yep. It’s kind of like that. Brenden, Niah, their older sister, Ben, Maggie, all four of us parents, and now Mira – we’re bound in this crazy beautiful way that defies description.

 


 

I wore my new favorite shirt that day in our church basement with the balloons and lights and popcorn bar, and the words on the front were my heart on display.IMG_5681

Love does write a beautiful story.

 

 

You can buy merch with that saying on it by visiting Kelli & Vanessa or by clicking the photo above.

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