I had big plans. Wonderful intentions.
Today marks two years since we sat at the Civil Affairs Office in Nanjing, PRC and promised to do our very best to care for and provide for our new daughter, Isabelle. It was a day full of hope and wonder.
Today I planned to honor that special day with lots of beautiful pictures of my precious girl that I could then plaster on the blog and say, “Look how she’s grown!” “See how lovely she is now!” and feel fabulous about how the last two years have been spent. It didn’t happen.
The day progressed (post-op check for Isabelle’s ear tubes, took Tori to lunch to celebrate her graduation on Saturday, appointment with Dalton’s teacher to discuss his progress, dinner, ballgame, etc). When we finally got to Asher’s ballgame, I thought I could get some cute pics of her in the park, but it started to rain. I just didn’t have the energy to follow her around in the rain to commemorate this day. Maybe I’ll get some cute shots tomorrow.
Today I am feeling a bit melancholy that here we are, two years since she has been in our care, and this is where we are. Trudging along with no real idea what we’re even dealing with. I feel sad that we have not been able to do more for Isabelle, that her ‘issues’, whatever they are, were not recognized until this year, that she and her delays had been largely ignored by her EI team due to her ‘international adoptee’ status.
And I can’t just point a finger at EI and not point the same finger at myself. I am hardly a wonder mom. I could have been doing more over the last two years. I could have been talking colors and numbers all the time and insisting that she ‘use her words’ more.
This has been a huge wake up call for me and has forced me to ponder what I think is most important in my life. What is my purpose on this planet? What has God created me for, right here, right now? I can truly say, without a doubt, that it is my kids. But does the way that I spend my time reflect that? Other than the list of things I have to do daily in order for our household to function, am I doing all I can do to make sure each of the precious children entrusted to me grows up to be all they can be? To know how loved they are? To know Jesus?
I think I have fallen short in a big way. So it’s time to pick myself up and get my game on. I CAN do better. Isabelle NEEDS me to do better. She requires so much, sometimes it overwhelms me. And sometimes I see how much she needs, but don’t know WHAT she needs. Even the experts don’t agree on what she needs. Yes, she needs speech and OT, but what else? “In your face” therapy? A wait and see attitude? Time? Patience?
It’s exhausting just to consider the options, but the reality is that time is ticking away. She is almost three. Many therapies succeed when started at a very young age (ie under 3). But putting her into aggressive therapy that she does not need would not help her, in fact it might be actually bad for her. So there lies my conundrum. I WANT to do for her, but WHAT?
Some days are so wonderful with her. Some moments are pure bliss.
I love the way she throws her head back when she gets really tickled with something.
I love her perfect teeth that remind me of miniature dentures.
I love the way she comes up to the shower and presses her lips on the shower door until I return her kiss.
I love the way she grabs two sticks every time we’re at the park and hands me one so we can pretend to have a sword fight.
I love the way she pats the picture of David when he’s crying in “No, David!” because he got sent to a timeout and says, “Don’t cry!”
I love her.
There are moments my heart is simply overflowing with pride and admiration for all that she has accomplished in the time she has been my daughter. There are times when I look at her and see such pure and unadulterated innocence, all I want to do is love her and protect her from the world.
But there are also times that I am sad to admit to a stranger when they ask her what her name is that, “Her name is Isabelle,” because she has no idea what they are asking her. Or when I have to pull her off a stranger at McDonald’s because she has decided she wants THEIR chicken nugget and not her own.
Being her mommy is like being on an emotional roller coaster. Daily.
I can never predict what she’s going to do, but she is guaranteed to surprise me. And she is guaranteed to remind me, daily, that it is all worth every tear shed and every moment spent sitting at doctors offices or driving to therapy, trying to do my very best for her. My mystery.
Happy two years together, Isabelle. Mama loves you.