Today we took Eliza to CHOP for her second appointment at the adoption clinic. Three months ago when she was first seen, she was so shut down emotionally that she could not be evaluated.
She was much better today. She smiled at the doctor and was much more cooperative. She is clearly connected to me, and was comforted by my presence. A couple of times Victoria needed to take Olivia for a walk, and Eliza was visibly upset by the prospect of me leaving.
Eliza has made huge improvements in bonding in the three months since our first appointment. The social worker encouraged me that she has made much more progress than they typically see in the same amount of time. She told me I am doing exactly what she would recommend.
The really hard thing for us is that Eliza is showing significant signs of mental retardation. I don’t like that word, but it is the word the doctor is using.
And it hurts.
In all honesty, this is not what we wanted. We never felt able to handle a child with significant developmental delays. We were told Eliza was a healthy older girl with a repaired heart condition. As soon as we met Eliza, as I have shared before, we knew there was so much more involved than we had known or expected.
Even so, there was nothing we could do. Eliza was about to age out, and we were her last chance at ever having a family.
There was no way we could leave her there.
Bringing her home was hard.
It is still hard.
She speaks a few words at a time at most. She calls me all day long. When I answer, and say, “Yes, Eliza.” She looks at me blankly. She never tells me she needs anything.
She demands hugs all day long. If I stop and hug her, she points to all of her body parts and says, “hurt.” It spirals downward, and she scratches herself until she bleeds. I have had to begin to tell her that I can’t hug her then, but that we will hug during our snuggle time when I rock her each night.
Mark and I have struggled so much with our feelings. We have felt so terribly trapped.
Every single day we have chosen to love her.
We are still choosing to love her.
And she is thriving.
She beams with joy frequently throughout the day. She loves her life here.
But none of it helps us deal with our feelings of frustration.
We didn’t want this.
There is a huge tendency in the blog-o-spere to only share the fairy tale of adoption, and the families who struggle are often alone.
I want to share the real story. I want to share the joys and the sadness, the exciting and the painstakingly hard.
We have felt terribly alone. In fact, I have never felt more alone, and yet I have never been more certain that I am walking in God’s will for my life.
The reality of walking with God is hard sometimes. Following Him down the darkest paths of His will for our lives is unbelievably hard. It takes incredible faith and perseverance. It requires a focus on God that is more narrow than I have ever been able to maintain before and a dying to ourselves that I never felt was possible.
We are, indeed, laying down our lives.
I have never before felt so one with God.
Loving His broken children is the most painful thing I have ever done.
Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.
Jesus is here amidst these difficult days loving us and showing us the way with His nail scared hands.
We are wearing Jesus’ yoke, and there is nowhere else I would rather be.