Where joy and hesitation meet

Thursday I anxiously awaited the arrival of the FedEx truck. I even emailed Karla with the subject line, "Should I be nervous that it isn't here yet?" around noon. And of course in the 20 minute window between 12:50 and 1:10 that I went to pick Kylie and Caleb up from preschool it was delivered. I knew that there would be some written directions inside, so I quickly got the kiddos down for a nap and then opened the package.

Essentially what we had been waiting for is this one piece of paper titled, Letter Seeking Confirmation from Adopter It starts with our names and a then a paragraph that says,
and then Darcy's Chinese name, sex, birth date, health status, identity, and current guardian status follow.

Essentially though, down at the very bottom, it all boils down to a "check yes or no" box.
I could hear that old George Strait song playing in my mind as we took our turns signing the form. I mean really, all the waiting (this part of the form has been the same for all three kids) and we come down to check boxes? It seems so ceremoniously informal or something...

Then copies were made, immigration forms were looked over one last time, a final agency payment check was written, and the kids eagerly plopped the FedEx package in the drop box, stopping to ask Jesus to "make it really soon until we can go to Darcy."

Oh how my heart is singing! I mean, yeah sure, some moments I almost panic thinking about managing three kids that make up two sets of virtual twins (yes, technically that is correct) ~ I'd be lying if I didn't admit that! But oh, it will be so wonderful to look in the little mirror in the Highlander (Ian is still holding the belief that all three seats will fit back there) and see three precious faces smiling back; to hear three sweet voices asking the blessing for dinner; to fill in that spot "in da middle" with a third child when I sit criss-cross applesauce on the couch and read a story to my children.

Am I full of joy? You bet!

And yet, there is hesitation too.

Not so much because I know that there will be a period of adjustment as we go from being a family of four to a family of five. I anticipate difficult growing pains as my kids go from a dynamic duo to a terrific trio. The first little while will be arduous for all of us as we add a pre-schooler to the family. That's normal and is to be expected. It happens to every family. It will be trying, but we've navigated these waters before. Eventually the dust will settle, an equilibrium will follow, and we'll be through the initial rough patch and into "regular" family life. I can't wait!

No, my hesitation is mostly focused on Darcy.

It's not ABOUT her, but FOR her.

Because right now she has no idea that we even exist. I mean, we've known about her since March. We've begun to love her from thousands of miles away. We daydream about the day she is finally home with us, but right now, she thinks she is home.

You see, Darcy is blessed to live in a home instead of the orphanage. For her psychological and emotional development that is HUGE! We were thrilled to learn that she has been with this foster mother since July of 2007! She's been under consistent, individualized care (we've learned that she's the only child in the home) and from the story pictures tell, she's loved too!
We were lucky enough to get several pictures from Red Thread Charities (the medical mission team that visited her CWI) that completely show her foster mother's face ~ I chose this one to respect her privacy. I think her fingers curved over Darcy's arm speak volumes. In some, even though only a tiny bit of her face is shown, you can see the smile that extends up to her eyes. She seems to be proud of how still Darcy is sitting as the doctor listens to her heart ~ just like I'm proud of Caleb when he is so tiny, yet sits so still in the chair at the hair cut place. In some pictures she gazes at Darcy in a concerned, loving way, (like I watch my kids as they are checked at the doctor's office) and in others it is clear that Darcy is looking to her for reassurance and comfort as doctors are performing their check-ups (like Kylie does to me when we meet new people).

Right now she's cared for and appears happy. And gives me such a sense of peace!

Shortly however, my youngest child's life is going to be turned completely upside down. Not only will she face the confusion of suddenly losing her ability to communicate, the discomfort of switching food styles, and the striking (and most likely, terrifying) realization that she will now live with other people who look, sound, and smell different, but she is going to lose the one constant in her life ~ the woman that right now is her mother. And that is difficult for me to come to terms with, both as I think of Darcy and as I think of her foster mother.

Yes, I know that she'll learn to love us, but I also know that it won't happen the moment we meet. Children are resilient, they do recover, but considering us family won't be her first natural instinct. I know that there will come a day when she announces, "You're MY mommy!" when I pick up and hug a friend's child (or even Kylie or Caleb), but I know that it will take a while before she feels possessive of me AND speaks fluent English. I know that by the grace of God that she will come to consider us her family and that she will flourish, but that at first we will be strangers.

I know this because I've watched a child mourn the loss of those they love and I now see how tightly he clings to me. Caleb had been with his foster family for a year less than Darcy will have been with hers. So I know it won't be the overflowing of joy for her that it is for us ~ initially. She is going to miss the woman that she knows as her mother now. I'd be worried if she didn't! Adoption is a beautiful thing, originally orchestrated by God Himself (after all, HE adopted us into His family), but adjustment doesn't usually happen overnight.

That's how I find myself where joy and hesitation meet, not that I can't wait for her to be home ~ I can't wait to hear her voice, watch her movements, and learn the personality of my third child ~ but realizing that my heart will most likely break many times for her as she begins her life with us and there's no "Easy Button" as a way around it.

So Ian and I pray daily that it won't be too long before her heart heals enough to embrace being part of our family. (If you want to pray along with us we'd covet those offerings to God)

And I can't wait to watch her begin to interact with her two siblings who are crazy about her already. These guys are ready to have their sweet little sister join them in all they do ~ including naps...

While they have their share of fights, Caleb and Ky insist on being together nearly 24/7, and they nap better when they are together. I suppose one day I'll have to separate them when they rest during the day, but for now it sure is sweet!

And I of course am anxious to document it all. Because whether it be good, bad or ugly; when I'm documenting as Mama to my three, it will mean that our family is complete!


Kristi said...

Congrats on your conformation letter. It is always hard to add a new child, but always worth it, as you know. Prayer for Darcey and the rest of you for a smooth transition. Come check out our newest addition, we just went from a family of five to six.


Lilly said...

OMG! Kristi, your words gave me chills.

Our Nathan has also been in foster care since July of 2007. He is the only child the foster parents had care for. I also have my own fears about turning his world upside down and pray daily for full adjustment, knowing that it won't be easy, that language barriers do exits and that with time and love, he will adapt, but it will take time for all to comprehend. I guess is every parent feelings, one way or another, adjustments are not easy and as you said it before, fake it until you feel it. But you know what, God is with us and will hold us every step of the way, holding our hands and preparing all of us for the most anticipated meeting next year.

I can hardly wait and started packing already!

Madeleine said...



I remember getting it and feeling my skin prickle with excitement!

Here is to hoping the rest of the process is a breeze!!

Glenda said...

Ohhhh, not so fast there Mama. Your family will only be complete until number 4 catches your eye!! Just kidding, but seriously, you captured thoughts so well. It really is a bittersweet kind of thing for a while. We know it is for their and our best, but it is hard to see them go through the sadness they must go through. At least we have seen the other side and know sweet times are to come.

Rachelle said...

Congrats on your confirmation for Darcy! Prayers for you all as you grow into a beautiful family of 5!

Our Journey said...

It's sooo great to get that paper! Your post is so thoughtful, and it's wonderful for you to see her being loved. I'm sure that your fears are normal - and our prayer is that her heart is open to your family & that God shows her the love you all have so that she will heal from her loss of her foster mother. You're such a GREAT mom for thinking & preparing for her feelings. I can't wait to watch your family grow again!

Sharon said...

Your just the family for her to meet all her needs!!! I remember crying the night we got Hudson, crying in utter joy that we had him and crying as he BEAT me and his nanny ran out sobbing and crumbled to the floor because I knew he had no concept of how much we loved him and all he knew is we were taking him from all he knew and loved. I know you know the incredible love and trust that develops over the following days but be confident that I will be joining you in prayer for Darcy. Can't wait to see her snuggled up next to those two other gifts for nap time.

C.C. said...

Beautiful! I think being able to see your thoughts and feelings and the fact that you are mindful of what she is going through will mean so much to Darcy.

Larry and Carol said...

I agree with Glenda, Darcy is #3 but who knows what special eyes will capture yours and you will be off again. Wonderful!!!
Love, Aunt Carol

Jenn said...

I love your thoughts posted here. Darcy is loved so much already. I simply cannot WAIT to watch her (through the blog of course!) blossom and grow once she is home, home, home!! The Lord has His hand on her now and IS preparing her. Sweet baby....I'm praying for her!


Nancy said...

Woo hoo! Congrats on being a big step closer! We will definitely pray for Darcy's transition as well as yours.

Jennifer Barbee said...

Amen. I so understand your thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I understand your thoughts all too well. On one hand I can't wait to meet Maylin and Pierson, on the other the thought of pulling them away from all that they know breaks my heart. although the skype visit really helped me with that.
Love ya
Traci /Aunt Cici