Saturday, December 31, 2011

Goodbye 2011.....

I am sitting here looking back over this year, where we were and where we are today.  It has been a long year with a lot of ups and downs.  Some of which have forever changed me as a person.

January was my first forever change as I committed to be the mom of a 9.5 year old little girl with a boat load of issues through adoption.  Little R has worked so hard this year on her healing.  She has grown stronger both physically and emotionally.  A year ago she was fearful of everything even going to take a shower or go into her bedroom if the light was off.  She would lash out in violence if something didn’t go her way or she would rage for hours if her PTSD set in.   Now I sit here writing this with her showering on her own in the other room and no fear of a dark bedroom.  She has shown me so much about resilience and taught me so much about the power of trust.  I have had to earn her trust and it has been a long road and will continue to be so.

Little R is still “little” and will require consistent 1 on 1 from us for many years to come. This has been very unexpected and taxing on me.   We are hopeful that her healing will continue and she will become more independent as time goes on.   I struggle at times with having a 10.5 year old who is still requiring toddler supervision but who is growing on the outside.  I find myself as mom, psychiatrist, and listener most days as Little R works through and grieves her past and tries to process the present and future.  I realize that it is all a process and she is making great strides and growth.

For me personally this has been a tough year.  I have struggled continually with my connection to Little R in trying to find that feeling that she is mine forever.  I love her very much but she pushes me away so often and doesn’t let me be her mom that I feel rejected and don’t feel like a mom but a babysitter to her.  I lost my job in April and really have had a hard time recovering from that.  I loved my job and had envisioned staying there forever.  I was thrust out when the company went under in such a quick fashion I never had a chance to process.  I did find another job and am so blessed by that, but it is so different from my previous job I am struggling to adjust. Then there was my miscarriage.   I never had a chance to truly grieve the loss of my baby last December because Little R was here for her first Christmas and the adoption was right around the corner.  I brushed it under the rug.  Not a good idea.  It has finally surfaced and I am struggling with the loss of something I never even had.  Something I have always wanted and something I may never have again.   So this New Year’s Eve I am working through a lot of junk.

Feelings of loss over my pregnancy, fear of the future with my job, and connection with Little R, and my idea of what parenting should be.  I do know though that my God who is more powerful than all of my fear and all of my loss and all of my grief and will be there to lean on. He knows all that I am going through and feeling and will hold me up when I am weak and can’t walk another step.  My emotions are raw these days and I struggle at times to know what the right thing to do or say is.

My prayer for this New Year is that I will have healing in my heart from my loss and fear and that I will have great connections and strides with my Little R.  One thing I do know is that no matter what this New Year brings my God will be walking each day right beside me.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


Today was the last Sunday before Christmas and our church held a baptism Sunday service. Typically this is done on Palm Sunday but there had been requests to do it again so they decided this would be the week.   Little R has seen two baptism Sunday’s before today, and she just wasn’t ready to be baptized.  When I had asked her about this baptism she said “I think I will wait until the spring” the topic was closed.

This morning we arrived at church like any other Sunday and my girl was dressed in a nice winter sweater dress. She loves to dress pretty.  As the baptisms began she leaned to me and said “I think I will be baptized in the spring”.  I said OK and then as the baptisms went on I noticed she was restless. She said to Mike " I think I want to be baptized" and then when I asked her why and if she understood that she would go home in her wet clothes she changed her mind.   I few minutes later the pastor gave an invitation for those who did not plan on being baptized that the water was there and what better time than now to do it and that it was OK to be wet and go home in your wet clothing. He explained about baptism and how it is an outward expression of an inward change.  Rebecca tugged Mike’s arm and said “I changed my mind I really want to be baptized now”.  I sat with her during the song and said “why” to which she replied “I want to show that I have changed and that I want to follow Jesus always”.  I said “you know you will be all wet” and she said “I need to do this, I don’t care” and she was out of the seat and heading toward the baptismal as quick as she could get there and never looked back.  My little girl was baptized this morning. I was a very proud mama. Later at home she told me it was like a miracle. When she came out of the water she felt new like a normal girl.  I broke down crying and hugging her.  It was a sweet moment for us.

I had spent some time over the past few weeks reflecting back on my daughters change in the past year and I am astounded at her growth.  Now, she has grown physically, in fact she has grown almost 7 inches and gained 20 pounds.  She came to us as a tiny scraggly little 8.5 year old and is now a beautiful growing girl.  Her physical changes are evident to all who see her but it is the changes on the inside that are the most reflective on my heart today.

A year ago I could not make it a day without some sort of tantrum some which turned into rages.  I was contacted almost daily by the school for behavior issues and she was not progressing in school at all.  She could not manage social situations and most Sunday’s we had a breakdown of some nature in the church about her behavior.  She refused to treat her dad with respect and often belittled him and found ways to say hurtful things that hit the core.  We were contemplating whether we could even adopt her because of the string of continued tantrums and abuse she was dishing out.  I spent two weeks nursing a black eye and massive bite mark to my arm at the hand of my little girl and numerous other bruises including many to my heart.

Like I said that was a year ago.  Here we are today my girl asked to be baptized and I was all too happy to agree that it was time.  I am sitting her tonight as she has offered to help clean up after dinner, and is doing her chores without complaint.   She is doing well in school and has not been in any trouble this school year.  The teachers say she is a delight to work with.  She has been able to transition from activity to activity and goes into large social situations without a meltdown afterwards.  She is learning boundaries and self-control and she is learning trust.  She is opening up and sharing some deep secrets with me.  My heart has been warmed most by the sweet relationship she has built with my husband.  She has actually  said just in recent days how much she misses him when he works late and often asks when he is coming home and if I say he is working late she says “oh bummer”.  What a change.  A year ago she told me she didn’t know how to be good because the devil was making her do the bad things in her head, and today she is talking about all the things she is learning in church and how much she wants to be closer to God and so much less about the devil being in control.  She is adopted and has permanency this year and a new name.

My little R is a compassionate child and cares so much for those in need and those hurting.  I can’t wait to see what kind of adult she is going to be.  I now see beautiful promise for this child and am so proud to call her my daughter.

Little R has a lot of healing still to go and we have a lot of work still to do and I am sure we will have days that feel like we have taken 10 steps backwards but I will look back at our first year and remember how far we have come.

I have received a beautiful early Christmas present today watching my girl get baptized and the best present I have received this year is the changes I have seen in her and the love that I have for her.  I look forward to next Christmas and seeing the growth in my little girl.