But God's grace is so amazing and He gave me a gift tonight that I feel compelled to share with you. Below is an excerpt from a private blog I keep for my girls. This one was written for Gracie, about tonight. For those new to the adoption journey, new parents to adoptive children, or those wondering how adoption/bonding works... maybe the following letter to Gracie, written just under a year from the date she became ours, will give you a little picture of the honey-sweet, pleasure-gift of bonding and offer you hope.
Your disposition is almost always sweet, flirty, playful and relaxed. You love to play, smile, dance. But you are that way with everyone. There's not been any moment where I felt that you were bonded with me more than everyone else in the world...until tonight!
We were in SC last week for my grandmother's 80th. birthday. Your daddy was on a fly-fishing trip so I played "single mom" during the family visit. While your circumstances were constantly changing, I was the one thing that was your constant. And although you freely went to the arms of many others, there was something happening in your heart towards me. You were becoming aware of when I came in or exited the room. You wanted me close.
You started getting sick in SC with a cold. You were already teething and upon our arrival back home all the drainage had begun a secondary infection in your ears. Yesterday was your 15 month checkup and the doctor informed me of your infection and then shared with me the bad news that you would have to get FOUR shots for vaccinations. On top of that you had missed your morning nap and it was coming close to lunch time. You were having a very bad day! But amidst suffering Jesus is always doing something...something good, lovely. You were so sick you needed me and I got to hold, cuddle, caress and love on you in your exhaustion. Today you seemed a little better, a little more lively. And then tonight... what a sweet, precious night....
Your daddy and sister (Libby) were watching a movie, but you were not interested in that. Instead you felt you had the whole living room to put on a show for me. You walked (waddled) all over the place, smiling, flirting...just being silly! I tickled you and you belly laughed! You kept coming back to my arms and draping your body over me. You'd throw your head back in my lap and look for my eyes to meet yours... There, that was it! I realized for the first time that I had you! You are starting to bond on a whole new level and I can visibly see it. What a blessing that is to me!
This has been a very stressful year. Not because of you, Gracie. You and Libby have been the brightest, happiest part of this year. But I got so sick after returning home from Ethiopia that our first months together were very high stress. Just as I was beginning to feel healthy and energized, the earthquake in Haiti changed our lives yet again. For four months I have been on another emotional adoption journey, stalking government websites, championing the Hope Act, paper-chasing every vital document, making hundreds of copies, making dozens of shipments, following hundreds of emails, and walking several other families through their paperwork as well. I can get so task focused. While I have, for the most part, left the paperwork for the evening, after your bedtime, my heart has been engaged in the journey to Keemberlie, leaving you and Libby lacking just a little on eyeball to eyeball, fun mommy time. But today I shipped our papers to the Haitian Consulate and other than receiving those docs back and then organizing them for the trip to Haiti, I am done with that part of the journey and I am determined to be more playful, intentional, present. My time with you tonight was a timely gift, a sweet reminder, a precious heart-tug to enjoy the faces before me right now.
Gracie, Thank you for staring me in the eyes tonight as I sang over you. Thank you for lifting your hand to hold my hand as you laid in the crib. Thank you for crying when I left the room, showing your desire to be with me. I will go to sleep smiling about this day, about you.
If Only I Could Describe My Love For You,