Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Looking Back – Then and Now

 Besides adopting from a different country this time around, MANY
differences are apparent in my mind.  One big one is my attitude toward
Gotcha Day!!  I felt very sentimental about Jonathan’s Gotcha Day.  I
was so excited for him, thinking at every moment how he was having all
of his “lasts” at the orphanage….  His last night without a family, his
last morning getting ready with a caretaker instead of a mom, etc.
   We got to his orphanage and he was really excited.  The caretakers
seemed excited for him.  One of them even shed tears.  I thought how
maybe they had truly cared for him.  My eyes filled up when they took
turns telling him good-bye.
   But……  Jonathan felt nothing.  He walked away with no emotion.  He
looked at the director and caretakers strangely when they were telling
him good-bye.  He walked away forgetting to say anything; we had to
remind him to wave.  I saw all of that and thought, “He is just so glad
to leave this place.  He’s leaving without a backward glance.”  And,
that was true.  He WAS happy to leave with us.  He never looked back.
But, I was mistaken about the reasons.  He was happy to go with us
because he would have been happy to go anywhere with anyone.  He never
looked back because he did not have the slightest bit of attachment to
any person there at the orphanage.  And, while that is true in many
cases of children who have lived in an institution, I now know how much
it carries over into all their relationships from then on.
   Our first days with Jonathan were pretty easy when you compare them to
some adopted children.  He didn’t cry or grieve in any way.  He was
always looking for new things to experience, and since we were in a
city that he’d never seen before, there were lots of new things!
   The tough times came later.  The tough times were in seeing that --
because he’d never had any close relationships before -- he didn’t
understand them at all.  It was extremely hard for him to bond with us
because he’d never bonded with anyone ever before.  Maybe some of those
caretakers had tried.  But, in their defense, they just simply had
their hands FULL.  The other children living at his orphanage had
desperate needs, and I fully believe that the director was doing her
best.  She made some really good decisions regarding Jonathan’s care,
and I am thankful for her.  But in the here and now, life can be
challenging as we teach him about social skills and relationships, and
try to help him learn about caring for others, and showing or giving
affection.  He was happy for that first week, but when the “new” wore
off, Jonathan wasn’t happy any more to be with us.  It was easy up
front, but WAY harder in the long run.

   So, what about this time around?  What are my expectations?  What are
my hopes?  It would be easy this coming week if Emily didn’t cry or
grieve...if she was just happy all the time to be with us.  But, deep
down, my HOPES are that she cries bucket loads of tears, that she has
healthy emotions that would be natural for a little girl whose world is
being totally turned upside-down!!  She doesn’t know that her life will
be changed for the better.  She doesn’t know that these 2 people who
look different, talk different, smell different, and eat different
things will love her and provide for her in ways that couldn’t ever
happen in an orphanage.

  Those are my hopes -- but if they aren’t realized, we’ll have also
learned from experience that things DO change little by little for the
better.  Jonathan has come a LONG way.  When I see all the milestones,
when I focus on the improvements, when I see small glimpses of his
attachment to us showing up here and there…I know that God always has
a plan.  He has a plan for Emily, too, and we get the privilege of
seeing it unfold.


  1. Hope everything is going well!! (((HUGS))) and prayers!

  2. Hi Christy,
    I am so excited to realize that in checking your blog, Emily is with her forever family! You have done a great job of sharing details that one day you (and she) can reflect on to remember your journey. And hey, those of us out her could use some pictures!! Praying all is well and you (for a period) got those bucket load of tears.