It’s been almost 2 weeks now that L has been with us. I had every intention of updating the blog at least once a week but with the holidays and trying to be extra present for all three girls, it just hasn’t happened.
We picked up L from the airport on December 14th. It was such a nerve wracking day. I was SO excited and SO nervous. She walked out of the elevator as a stranger, someone we knew only by face but already loved so much. It’s amazing how God can give you love for someone you don’t even know. We awkwardly hugged and she looked us in the eye and said, “Hello, my name is L (except that she really said her name, heh)” It was like she had rehearsed it over and over during her 24 hour trip to get to America. We all looked at her and said, “Hi! You know some English!” She smiled big and said, “Yes, I know a little English.” We were thrilled! When we later asked her what she was thinking that day she said that she was surprised to see us so excited and with a big welcome sign and she thought we looked like teenagers…haha! I’ll take that compliment sweet girl.
L is so bright and can be so bubbly. Her English is good and is getting better every day. The constant charades in our house are quite funny but we’ve found that it is a great bonding experience, I mean charades 24/7 how can you not love that, ha! Big Sis often forgets that L doesn’t understand all that we say so she just talks and talks and talks. Poor L gets so weary after awhile but luckily L has headphones and an Mp3 player to help her tune out for a bit when she needs to.
L has shared with us much about her country and the city she lives in. She’s told us of trips to the zoo and museum and what life is like in her country. She showed us pictures on her Facebook telling us about her friends and family. She relayed visions of a good life in a great place. As days have passed and topics come up that we’ve talked about before, we see the facade begin to crumble and the embellished stories begin to change into something more real, more raw, more painful. Things aren’t as peachy for our kiddo as she was making them seem. When she first arrived she appeared to be a gilr who needed nothing and no one and now as each day passes we see more of her needs and more of her reality.
The burning question that everyone seems to have is “How’s it going?” I don’t have any grand stories to tell you. I can tell you it’s going really well. We have all fallen in love with this girl and she’s let us know that she’s pretty fond of us too. Each day is just about living life as we normally would. Sharing Christ with her just as we do with Big Sis and Little E. Loving L, letting her know that she is special, speaking words of affirmation to her. She is such a fun girl. She can be so silly and so funny. My favorite times are when she lets her guard down and acts like a young girl should. She’s silly and awkward and likes fun girl things. Sometimes we forget how young she is because she seems to be mature for her age but when she lets her guard down, she’s just a young girl looking for attention, affirmation and a good time.
We have made great strides in her trust toward us. Her barriers slowly crumble as she watches us interact with Big Sis and Little E. When new people enter the scene, she pulls away from us, testing our loyalty to her. As soon as she sees that our loyalty is always to her (and Big Sis and Little E) first, the headphones go away and she opens up to the new people knowing that she has a special place with us that no one else can take from her.
We started out with an awkwardly aloof goodnight hug but that has now become a warm embrace. Darting eyes now look back at mine and smile a warm smile. Her eyes close as we pray and she says, “Amen” with the rest of us. She jokes with Dirk, loves on Little E and plays so well with Big Sis. Her bedroom door, once closed to go to sleep, now remains open each night. “Iss open, iss good.” A dentist visit full of nerves, her making jokes the whole way there until finally she asks, “You, uh, come dentist?” Yes, sweet girl, I will be there with you. Trust building each minute, love being shown every chance we get, words of encouragement spoken and two little “sisters” who can’t get enough of her. Big strides this girl is making. She is brave, she is strong and she is amazing.
Everything has gone really smoothly. There were so many fears going into this but they have all been dispelled. As scary as it is, I have been praying for things to go just a bit awry. That probably sounds strange to say but I don’t think that she can truly see how much we love her unless she sees us loving her at her worst. It’s easy to love when things are going well, not as easy when things aren’t going well. I pray that God will give us the opportunity to let her know that we will love her unconditionally through the good and the bad.
For those of you who have been praying for us, thank you! To each of you who have texted us and let us know you’re thinking of us, thank you! I’m sorry if we are slow to respond but please know that we are so thankful and so encouraged by each person who has reached out to us. We are being very mindful of our time and being as present in each moment as we possibly can be. We often do not have our phones on us and by the time we finally sit down for the night we are taking care of as much business as we can before practically falling in bed. We are having an amazing time but we are also very tired.
Some of you have asked for specific ways to pray for us. Here are a few prayer requests:
Pray for health, we are still battling viruses over here and it’s driving me bonkers! I’m ready for everyone to just be healthy. Also pray for us to get sleep. Little E has suddenly decided that sleep is overrated and is waking up at least twice a night and staying up for extended periods of time leaving me exhausted and the rest of the household a bit sleep deprived. Also, please continue to pray that we can make breakthroughs with L and let her know that we love her and MOST importantly that she would learn that God loves her so deeply.
Thank you our dear friends for sharing God’s love with us and supporting us in this journey. We love you!