the ride

I’ve always been a person that prefers roller coasters over rides that spin me around.  This preference translates into how I live my life.  I try to embrace the ups and downs and I am a believer and preacher that God can put purpose to all of life’s highs and lows.  I have to believe that this will hold true for this entire adoption journey.

You know those picture books with only a squiggle on the first page, where lines are gradually added and the picture becomes  clearer and clearer as you thumb through the pages?  When we walked out of our ministry meeting on Tuesday morning, I felt like I was on the 3rd or 4th page of one of those books.  Today, that picture is almost completely clear.  The picture of how the foster family operates and of the motivation behind all of the drama that has taken place surrounding our adoption is now very easy to comprehend.

The picture of exactly what is going on with Sophia is also pretty clear and I can’t say that it is very pretty.  I am not certain that she is autistic.  She rocks her head from side to side and rocks back and forth from one foot to the other, but it appears to be a form of comfort that she has practiced since infancy.  Everything that I see about her seems to be institutional behavior.  I was shown a video clip of her in her crib at the orphanage when she was only five months old.  She was rocking her head from side to side, just as she does now.  She has never known what it feels like to be held in a mother’s arms.  She has never been taught appropriate responses or emotions and she has never been given any type of boundaries.

Today I watched her run around the park.  This was a gift.  We have been under the scrutiny of the foster mother, Jovana (her primary care-taker), the foster grandmother, the babysitter, and social workers and ministry officials.  Today was our first opportunity to spend time with her away from the foster home.  I watched her inappropriate reactions and her complete lack of empathy for any other person.  I was taken back to camping in Colorado and watching a pack of wild horses.  They were beautiful.  They had wild eyes and they seemed to run in no specific direction and with little regard to their surroundings.  They would run right up to the edge of a cliff and then just jerk backwards and take off in the opposite direction.  This is what I saw in my daughter.  A completely untamed, uncivilized, intelligent beautiful creature.

I have felt very unnecessary.  She has many mothers.  They may not parent her as I would and they may not force love on her, but they still fill that role.  She has never had a father-figure and this makes her “Tata”, a valuable asset.  She does seem to enjoy him.  She is taking an interest in Kira, Chase and Seth but I have to work hard to keep her from being aggressive towards them.  She has given me affection when she wants something from me.  When I have told her no, she has hurt me.  Today I had her on my shoulders and she began to kick me and pull me hair.  It hurt.  Physically.  Emotionally.  Mentally.  It hurt.

Chad keeps reminding me to focus on the small victories.  She never rides in a car and it took us about half an hour to convince her to ride with us to the park today.  And…she only cooperated after Jovana climbed in and rode along.  When we got ready to leave, she held our hands and climbed right in the back so that she could be by her “brat” and “sestra”.  She said (in perfect English), “See you tomorrow” to the kids as we dropped her off.  And…tomorrow night, we get to keep her with us.

This might just be the ride of my life, but I have to have faith that in the end it will be worth it.

8 thoughts on “the ride

  1. Becky White says:

    Spencer and I have been refreshing the page like crazy. He just walked out the door to pick up from the soccer field when your message posted, so I got to actually read it over a couple of times without him standing over me asking me questions I don’t have answers to.

    First of all, she’s precious. Have you found out how old she is? She’s older so there are more layers to break through, but after all of the other things you’ve survived, I don’t doubt for a second that you will get through the hard times. She sounds very smart. Once she learns the language you can start to work on the layers. Please tell us, next post, how the kids are doing. The hardest part for all of you is there are things in her past that you will never know about, because she can’t even remember,that have hurt her. Over time, with your love,Chad’s, and the kids’ love the hurt will fade. She will learn to be a sweet and strong little girl from Kira and giggle with Chase and grow with Seth. It’s just going to take time and you’ll need that darn patience again.

    There are so many people back here praying and thinking about you all. It sounds like you have an awesome group of church friends up there and lots of support waiting for you when you get back.

    We can’t wait to hear about tomorrow. Get some rest.

    P.s. We need to get Chad a pink “save the ta-tas” t-shirt – gives a whole new meaning to the word!

  2. Becky White says:

    Kaci, just something to make you laugh…

    Spencer just walked in. I read him the page, word for word. When I was finished, he immediately began firing off questions to me. I explained to him that I did not have any more information than what I just read to him. Then he asked me another question!

    I just thought it was funny because it’s exactly what I said he’d do on my comment. And this, ladies and gentleman, is why we could never pass an adoption interview. Be so glad Chad evolved several, no many, stages past my knot head husband.

  3. Wow. I’m still trying to process everything, I have no idea how y’all are surviving. I know your faith is strong, though, and you’ll make it no problem. I’m praying for you. She’s so beautiful. I can’t wait to see her. We love you very much!

  4. Char says:

    Hey darling! Thanks for being so transparent…I know you’re heart is hurting right now, but it won’t always be this way. Remember the promises of God and allow it to grow your faith in this time of transition and learning (on both ends).

    “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze. For I am the Lord, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior…Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life. Do not be afraid, for I am with you; I will bring your children from the east and gather you from the west. I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’ Bring my sons from afar and my daughters from the ends of the earth – everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” Isaiah 43:1-7

    I love love love you all…God is doing something big in Sophie’s life!!!

  5. Julie Lee says:

    Kaci,

    We are praying for you all! God will give you exactly what you need in the time you need it. We are standing with you!

    Love,

    John & Julie & Arabella

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