Tuesday, June 15, 2010

3 Months

Unreal.

3 months ago today we met Lilah Abeba.

3 months ago today she was a little girl that we didn't really know.

3 months ago today we were people that she had never met.

Although those first few moments and days together were sweet, it's strange to look back on them now and think of how we came together- people who really didn't know each other and really didn't know what to expect from each other but all hoping for the best while preparing for whatever the reality would be.

She. Is. Amazing.

I am amazed looking back on those first days together- how she could step into this new, strange situation and just take it in stride.  That she could look at these four people and be so brave and willing to call them her family.  That she could just enter this new life with all it's changes- language, food, culture, routine, people, everything!- and not only fit right in, but establish her own identity among it all!  And not be afraid, but instead just be a constant source of joy and fun to everyone she encounters.  She is a LIGHT.  She IS light.  And it's got nothing to do with Mick, nor I, nor our boys, nor the way we parent... it's just HER.  The credit goes to her Ethiopian family; it's obvious that they LOVED and ADORED her.  It's also a credit to her caregivers at the Gladney Foster Care Center; it's obvious that, even though she was sick and not very happy for most of her 8 months there, she was very well cared for and lavished with everything she needed.  She came to us knowing how to give and receive love. And I know that is HUGE.  I am daily amazed by her- by her language development, by her willingness to try new things, by her flexibility, just by WHO SHE IS.  We feel so lucky.  I hesitate to call it "blessed" because to me that almost implies that we "deserve" such an easy transition more than someone else might.  And that is NOT what I want to communicate.  We "prepared" (as much as anyone can prepare before you actually meet your child) for challenges, and have actually been extremely surprised by the lack of them.

I am really not saying all this to try and blow smoke or paint a picture that is unrealistic for anyone out there who is still waiting, or to discourage anyone who is not having the easiest of times.  But this is our reality- she just came to us like this.  Just ready to be in a family.  I remember reading "There Is No Me Without You" and at the end reading all the stories of families who had adopted some of the children we got to know throughout the book.  I remember reading the story of Mintesinot (not sure of the spelling- and too lazy to go look it up).  He was the little boy we met early on in the book whose father was living with him on the streets.  The family he was adopted into commented on how they kept waiting for some kind of issue or problem to arise, but after months and months at home the husband and wife looked at each other and said, "I think this is it- I think this is just who he is!"  I remember reading that and thinking, "There is NO WAY that that will be us.  NO WAY will we have that easy a time."  Well... I think that's us.  Not to say that I think we are done adjusting or bonding or attaching nor that we really know everything there is to know about her personality, but (and again- no credit to us!) she is just a very adaptable, confident, flexible little creature who has adjusted and attached and bonded amazingly well.

I was honest in the beginning when I said that my feelings for her were not the same as those for Jack and Ben, but I was confident that eventually they would be.  Not that we didn't love her, but... it was just different.  And I knew that was okay.  I knew it would come in time.  And I know almost the exact moment when it had happened.  There was a day when she was just riding in the backseat of the car singing to herself (oh! how she loves to sing!  i love that so much!!!) and I looked in my little kid-view mirror and as soon as I laid eyes on her my heart just went to pieces and I thought... "THERE it is."  Beautiful.






Just 3 months... and I honestly feel like she's been with us forever.  She is a treat to parent and a joy to be around.  She loves (adores!) her brothers and is so glad it's summer now so that she doesn't have to cry all the way home after dropping them off at school each day.  (She still asks almost every day, "Mommy, Datch (Jack) and Ben no school?" and is delighted when I say no!) Having the boys has definitely played a BIG part in the ease of our transition.  She attached with them immediately and they with her.  They DOTE on her!  I often have to tell them, "Stop kissing her!  Get out of her face!  If I were her, you guys would be driving me crazy!!!"  ;-)  (a great problem to have- that your brothers want to kiss you too much!)  She loves us- we can feel her love when she hugs us and says, "I love you so much."  (it sounds like "Ah lob-oo toe motch."  ... Melts. My. Heart.)  And she knows that we love her.  And we do.  "Toe motch."

16 comments:

zach+kate said...

loved this post! as always she is just beautiful! it is comforting to hear a good adoption story from time to time. i am glad that you share, because it gives me hope :)

Lindsey said...

Love. Love. Love. Maybe the Beatles and Jesus had it all figured out. All you need is love. I adore and cannot wait to hear the rest of the summer plans to see where an Andrews/Gower reunion can be penciled in!

It Feels Like Chaos said...

Thank you for sharing this! I teared up reading it; it is just so wonderful! And when the press seems to only want to focus on negative adoption stories, as a family on the waiting list to adopt from Ethiopia, it is refreshing to hear positive adoption stories!

Kimberlie said...

Great update and post! I was wondering how Miss Lilah was doing. Your post was so heartfelt, it brought tears to my eyes. I remember my "that's it" moment with my oldest son. It was amazing. I am so stinkin' happy for you guys!!!

Kerri said...

Happy 3 months!!!

Anonymous said...

Sooooo, AMAZING.... God is great! We also had a smooth transition with our son. We kept saying maybe this is to good to be true, but after 4 months, so far so Amazingly
BEAUTIFUL these children are. They are so loved and cared for in Ethiopia. The love for these kids is so beyond words. The care givers are so good to these kids. Our baby was so social it was like we have had him since birth!! Glad to hear your daughter is adjusting so well. So are her brothers which really is a blessing....

God Bless Your family....
Mimi xox

Eryn said...

This makes my heart oh.so.happy!!

Beautiful girl, beautiful family, beautiful love!

Thank you, Jesus!

Becky said...

It makes me so happy to read your updates. GOD did such an amazing job of putting the right people together.

I also can't believe it has been 3 months. Time flies.

Leanne said...

Ok. now I am crying! She is gorgeous!

Thank you for sharing your journey! :)

hagarandishmael said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Justine said...

Wonderful, just wonderful!!! So happy for you all!

Heidi Jo said...

so you like her a little bit?

:o) love her tons! right? God is so good.

Karenkool said...

Yay Gayla. Love it!!! You wrote some amazing and beautiful things here. Your little girl is simply gorgeous.

Sohailah said...

Love this. Thank you for sharing. Very glad.

Tricia said...

I commented a couple months back, just after you had brought Lilah home. At that time we were praying through adopting. We are now in process to adopt a little 2-3 yr old girlie through Gladney. I LOVE seeing updates of your sweet girl, and am SO thankful to hear her transition is going so beautifully. Miraculous!!

Jill Greenway said...

Gayla! I didn't know you guys adopted a little girl! That's so great. And she is SO beautiful! I'm glad to hear how well she is adjusting. It's so sweet to hear that you have to tell her boys not to kiss her so much. adorable. Thanks for sharing this. It melts my heart:)

Selam! G'day! Hello!