Here it is, October 17th, one month after we first officially met Anah. And what a month it has been! As I sit and reflect on where we've been, I am amazed at all that has already happened. In one month, Anah has:
- adjusted to her new home (and has made herself at home!)
- learned how to face the two little stair steps in our house with less fear
- learned how to sign "please," "thank you," "more," "all done"
- learned how to call us by our family names---Mommy, Baba (daddy), Jiejie (big sister), GuGu (big brother), and Didi (little brother)
- learned how to give hugs and kisses at bedtime
- tried Italian, Mexican and American food and eaten it without any problems
- attended a wedding and showed off her dancing skills
- entertained us with her singing
- charmed us all with her smile, laughter and giggles
As I reflect on where I have personally been this past month, I also have come a long way. In one month, I have:
- gone from just going through the motions of caregiving to really enjoying being with her
- become more comfortable with the idea of being her mother (it's not always as natural as one might think)
- introduced the 1st and 2nd grade Sunday school class to Anah and am learning to speak on her behalf to build bridges with others
- been humbled that I could be a part of this amazing little girl's life.
God has been so faithful. Somehow this week, God has given me a new vision and understanding of what He has called me into. Even last week, I was focusing on all the inconveniences, the frustrations, the struggles. I was grumbling, complaining and whining, feeling sorry for myself. I questioned my sanity and wondered how I could ever have made such a dumb decision. If I couldn't handle it now, how was I going to do this the rest of my lifetime?
But God has a way of answering the prayers we are ashamed to admit and addressing the fears that we can never voice to others. I really worried that I would never connect with this child. I have always had to work hard at hugging my first three kids. With Anah it was even worse. I kept her at arms' distance and had to will myself to pick her up, hug her and kiss her. It felt very unnatural and uncomfortable at times.
But last week, God challenged me to just sit with her at the dining table. I was on my laptop. She had a coloring book and crayons. For an hour, the two of us worked side by side, giggling and singing "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" over and over. By the end of the afternoon, I was hooked on Anah.
Since then, she has responded to me too. She has let me brush her teeth (which is still a struggle but we're getting better!). She has sought me out to play. And she has called me Mommy. In her own little way, she has captured my heart, without even trying. It just took time. He has used each step of obedience and service to begin to open my heart to her.
Of all the things that has happened this month, I think this is the most amazing---God softening and changing my heart. It is not my own doing. I'm sure there are going to be hard days still to come when I will once again question our decision to adopt. But little by little, this little girl is slowly becoming one of my own. I am changing and so is she.
If this can happen in one month, I wonder what God is going to do in a lifetime.