If you’re just now joining me, I’d advise checking out the following two posts to catch up.
The short version: After months of Youth Villages classes and paperwork, we were approved to bring home a 17-year-old girl that we’re fostering to adopt. I’m referring to her as G. on this blog to protect her privacy and follow Youth Villages policies.
So, in the last post regarding G., we were about to have a weekend visit. The visit went well, and she officially moved in on Friday, May 10. If you’re keeping count, that means our family now includes SIX people. We’ve tripled size in two years, and I think that’s pretty darn fabulous.
It has been two weeks today, and the more we get to know G., the more thrilled we are to have her as part of our family. As we’ve worked to transition into this new life together, there have been many positive moments, and I wanted to share some with you:
- Evenings spent working on history projects, chemistry posters, and studying for exams.
- Friday night chicken wings with friends. Hot wings.
- Multiple visits to Hot Topic, where I learned about piercings:
- And I found this cool shirt for a friend:
- Friends delivering dinner (including a tub of brownies).
- Shopping! (Okay, I might have enjoyed this one more than G.)
- Sunday mornings reading under a shade tree at Shelby Farms
- G. sitting in the floor, playing dolls with Ellie.
- Ellie learning that G. has chips in her room. Ellie stalking G. and begging for chips. Constantly.
-Movie afternoons with pizza rolls, Oreos, and of course, chips.
- The discovery of a mutual respect and admiration for all things Star Wars.
Now, for the difficult part of writing about foster care and adoption. I want to be honest with you, dear readers. So many of you are Mamas in the trenches. You know the truth of what it is to adopt an older child and labor to form a lifetime of trust and attachment from scratch. You know the lessons that must be re-taught, the hurts that must be healed, the walls that must be broken down to let in some light. You know it’s not always puppies and kisses and flowers. And I want to throw in my truths, my struggles, and my self-doubt, so you’ll know you’re not alone.
Others of you are potential adoptive/foster moms, wondering if this is for you. Wondering what to expect, what is true, what you can handle, if you can help. For you, I want to paint a full picture, sharing not just the good times, but also the challenges.
Thus, I find myself at the crossroads most Mama bloggers regularly face: finding the balance between truth-speaking and protecting our children. Because above all, I want G. to feel safe and loved.
What I can tell you today, is that I’d appreciate your prayers for patience. I need to be reminded that trust does not come overnight. Strong attachments are not built in a day. It’s a journey, and it’s going to take time.
We’re in that awkward beginning phase where we’re learning one another’s habits, moods, preferences, etc. Communication is often deliberate and forced. There’s sometimes a sense of walking on egg shells. I fret over every expression, every change in tone, every action, wondering….”is she okay? Should I do something differently? Does she like us?” In the same way that new mothers check to see if sleeping newborns are breathing, I worry that my actions (or inaction) will somehow cause her distress.
Honestly, I want to skip this stage. I want a magical time machine to transport us six months or a year down the road. I’ve been here before, both with Herdest and Ian, and I know the goodness to come. I know the uncomfortable quiet will melt into endless chatter about an English professor’s latest antics (complete with video) or easy teasing about the latest crush. We’ll reach the point where Charlie and I are trusted with questions about class schedules, car troubles, relationship drama, and life plans. We’ll become dependent on one another as shared griefs subside and shared joys increase.
But this is a necessary period, and as much as I want, I can’t push her. So please pray for us. Ask God that G. will feel cherished like never before. Pray that she’ll come to trust us with her hurts and needs, knowing we’re going to be there always. And pray that we find new ways to show love as we take it day by day. It’s going to take some time, and she gets as much as she needs.