And I'm not talking about the usual suspect, but myself. I find that I still am overcome with anger towards H.'s previous life. As my dear husband kindly points out, it really has no purpose or function. I can't change anything by it, and I am glad that she is here now, but emotions are funny things. Rationally I know all of this, but the anger is still there.
As we slowly undo all that has been done, and we both discover what she is capable of, the anger resurfaces. I want to go back and protect my child from hurts, and slights, and being overlooked. I want to go back and tell her that she is smart, that she does matter, that her opinion counts. Recently we have been hearing a lot about her friend, Eric, who lived at the children's home with her. We hear what Eric likes, what Eric doesn't like, what Eric does, what Eric doesn't do. Eric. Eric. Eric. (He has been adopted and Eric is not his given name... for the curious.) We figured out after it first started that it wasn't really about the real Eric, since Eric's likes and dislikes included things that we were pretty sure weren't part of the real Eric's world, but more a stand-in for having opinions and voicing dissent. It was as if H. needed to play with these concepts and attribute opinions to someone else before she was ready to attach them to herself.
At some point, though, one grows tired of hearing so much about a fictional character. At the start of yet another litany of, "Eric likes...", I turned to H. and mentioned that it didn't really matter to me what Eric liked, but I was really, really interested in what H. liked. She was absolutely stunned. What did she like? It was if the idea that anyone could be interested in her was a brand new concept. And it made me want to cry.
I live in two emotional worlds these days. On one end of the spectrum, I am so excited for H. as she learns new things and discovers what she is capable of. She is her own best cheerleader and radiates absolute joy when she accomplishes... well, anything. Even the act of being able to take her own shower, something that we take for granted in a child that age, has boosted her self-esteem to unknown heights. And I am as proud of her as she is. Mainly because she works incredibly hard for every single gain. Not only does she have to learn these new things, but first has to overcome the idea and self-image that she can't do it.
The idea of not being capable was one that plagued us in those first few months. It was a process of encouraging and insisting; helping and letting her stew about something on her own. It was actually really frustrating to have a capable child look at you, dimly, and shrug her shoulders as if what you were asking her to do was something that had never entered her consciousness. More than once I made a quick exit on the pretext of filling my coffee cup before my small amount of patience evaporated. I often felt as though I was the meanest mother in the world.
But everything thing where that scenario played out, she was eventually able to do. As a reward, we were treated to a huge smile and sometimes joyful jumping as she exclaimed, "I did it! I did it!" And then my anger would kick in. If she could do it for me, why not teach her to do it earlier?
Once again, this is difficult to write. I want to be truthful, but the truth is a tricky thing. I don't want to give the impression that my child was not well cared for in her previous placements. She has never communicated anything negative, though she is clear in her desire to not go back. I am grateful for her care. And maybe this is why I find it so difficult to purge my anger... there is not really a bad guy that I can blame. There wasn't really a bad guy, but there was never the best either. There was no one to think about her needs before anyone else's, no one to make sure she was being challenged and not just a passive observer, no one to talk with her and answer her questions (at 9, she was asking the interpreter at one of the doctor's appointments what clouds did), no one to think she was more than a child to be pitied because of her face.
And as I write this, I realize that some of my anger isn't really about H. at all. But having experienced these emotions for this child, my child, who is so much more than her diagnosis, it kills me to look at pictures of other children who still wait for families. Children are in far worse places than my H. was. Children who have no one and as things look now will never have anyone. And I can't do anything about it, except continue to plead with others to look into their hearts and ask themselves if they couldn't be someone for one of these children.
To finish, since my daughter does have someone (in fact a whole lot of someones), I will now brag about her accomplishments. She is really reading. We are on lesson 11 of AlphaPhonics and she gets it. She can sound out words and blend those sounds together (as long as they don't break any phonetic rules) and she understands that these words she is reading mean something. She read 'hand' this morning and then held up her hand. She gets it.
I think this is one of the sweetest looking little boys...
Continuing to advocate for the children in Bulgaria. Their files were sent back which means that they cannot be advocated for on Reese's Rainbow or have any funds donated towards their adoptions. It means they are essentially invisible and unwanted. It tells the government and the agencies that yes, indeed, their initial assumptions were correct. No one wants a child like these. They are not worth it.
But they are! They are created by God in His image and we are called to care for them. They are truly the least of these. I cannot let them go; I think about them in nearly every free moment that I have. I'm going to post one of their pictures here at the bottom of each of my posts each day. Would you join me in praying for each of these children? Pray that a family would come forward who is willing to adopt them. Love them. Pray that they will know they are not forgotten? There is still hope for these little ones as their files can be specially asked for, it just adds time to the process.
This is Kramer. I can't think of a time a child has touched my heart like this little boy has. (OK, maybe I can, it was H.'s picture.) He is 8 years old and has CP. Because of the CP, he has languished in a crib without appropriate food, love, or therapy. How can anyone look at this little boy and think he is worthless? Not worth the effort and love to allow him to flourish and reach his potential? He needs a family. He needs a mother and father who will love him. Please...