Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Gotcha Day!

Saturday was Lizzie's Gotcha Day.  On that day, one year ago, we had visited with her for 3 days and she was finally released to us to spend our next 30 days bonding before officially adopting her.  Though our visitation time was short, it was still difficult to leave her each day.  But, I believe it was healthiest for her as she transitioned and am thankful for the way the process is completed in Hungary.
Lizzie enjoyed us from the beginning; we were fun and exciting.  She had not spent much time outside of her foster home in those three years.  She was kind and affectionate and began calling us Mommy and Daddy and saying "I love you" immediately.  This is also how she was coached by the social workers and facilitators.  "Here are your new mommy and daddy and brother and sister - say I love you."  And she did.
On that Gotcha Day, though a new season began for me and my sweet girl.  While I was constantly thankful that she was always kind to John Reese and Ellie and mostly Reese - we went through some quite difficult days.
Our mornings would begin with having to wake her by opening the curtains at 8:30 or 9.  She prefers to wake up on her own - we get that now :).  I would begin a morning routine of trying to rub her back or give her a good morning hug and she would push me away, turn her face, wipe my kisses off and choose not to look at me.  Then she would give good morning hugs and kisses to everybody else.    She would avoid talking to me, not answer questions, push away food I gave her and probably more that I, thankfully, don't remember.
The days would progress this way with us having some break throughs throughout the day.  When every one else was tired in the afternoons, I would let her ride my back around the apartment pretending I was a dog or I would race her up and down the halls outside of our room.  Encouragingly, she did always want me to take her potty and read her books at night.  She grew very attached to our night time routine, although when all books were read and prayers and songs were finished, she usually wanted me to sit in a chair beside her while she fell asleep refusing hugs, snuggles, rocking.
And this is pretty much the way things were for 30 days.  We had lots of breakthroughs throughout those days -but we were all a little worried.
God provided such peace for all of us, and I was constantly comforted and reminding Reese and John Reese and Ellie that she was resisting me because I was number 3 Mommy and she had to see if I was going to hang around even she was pushing me away.
I still remember the day that we had been home a week, and Ellie and I ran to Target and she asked for me the entire time and was close to tears.  I got big hugs and kisses when I got home.  We were all so excited.  It was such big news for us "Yay, Lizzie missed Mommy today and almost cried!"  Not a conversation I expected to have as a Mama, but that's where we were and we celebrated!
Lizzie has come so far in a year. Her language is amazing.  Her abilities to try new things impress us daily.  She is learning to read.  She loves to travel.  She makes friends easily.  She loves church.  She constantly talks with us about coming to get her in Hungary, her foster family and how she misses them  and is just really open with her emotions - which I think is so healthy.  And now she really does "love" her Mommy and Daddy and brother and sister - and all of her family!
Physically, she has grown 4 inches and gained 6 lbs in a year.  She has lost 4 more teeth and her small bowel is really not a significant issue.
God is good and faithful and true!  I am reminded of this constantly and again so thankful and privileged to have been called on this journey!
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, to Him be the glory."

Friday, January 11, 2013

Christmas and more

We are so thankful for an amazing Christmas with our Lizzie.  Last year we had gifts out for her including a suitcase and a Bitty Baby, but what a joy to watch her this year.  We were all so excited for her.  She enjoyed shopping and choosing gifts for her brother and sister - and me and Reese, too and even used her own money to buy one gift.
We packed in all we could in a month including the Botanical Garden lights, baking and decorating cookies, lots of Christmas books, traveling to see family and friends, shopping, Church Christmas programs, wrapping gifts and movies.
I wish I would have used a video camera while driving through the lights at the Botanical Gardens - oh my - Lizzie was hilarious "Look, look - pretty, pretty - wow!"  All at a very loud and high volume :)

We have begun our second semester of homeschooling, and Lizzie amazes me each day with all she is able to learn.  She is sounding out words, identifying some sight words, great with math and loves to sing and play games.  I didn't homeschool John Reese and Ellie for kindergarten - so this is really fun - and also challenging at times - mostly to get her to sit still and pay attention.  But - oh - how rewarding to be the one with her when things "click."  It is a precious blessing that I am able to do this and I am truly thankful.

There are a few new people checking in on this blog as more and more people are becoming interested in Hungarian adoption - some due to the recent (and sad) ban on Russian adoptions.

I am so thankful that God led us to Hungary because that is where our daughter was.  We loved our time in Budapest and miss it every day.  At this time last year we were packing our suitcases to leave - what an exciting time for our family.  I am glad we went to Hungary, but I am mostly glad that we obeyed.

I cannot imagine our life without Lizzie.
It is not the same, and it is not easy -but God is good and our days are filled with much laughter and joy and peace!

Every day is not easy and there are things I never have had to deal with and don't always know how including:

"I already had a mom.  I miss Gingi.  I want to go back."  Now, that may sound alarming, and it is not anything you can prepare yourself to hear as a mom, but the truth is I am thankful she has happy memories and misses her foster family.  And, when she says she wants to go back, she doesn't mean without us, she is just homesick for the home she had for three years.  We talk and pray and she moves on.

It is not always easy for me to deal with her "delays."  Though it is so clear she is very bright and capable and her delays are caused from lack of exposure - I still am weak at times and compare her to other seven year olds or remember what John Reese and Ellie were able to do at these ages and I kind of panic wanting to "catch her up."  But that is not her story or her journey, and I know that God will use this time in her life to teach us both many lessons.

I am older!  She is very energetic and talkative, and, at times, I am worn out!

She is so tiny, and, at times, I have fear about wanting her to be a "normal size." But God constantly reminds me that he took care of her for six years - He's got this!

And that's the biggest lesson I have learned over this year - I am here to be used by God - not to fit Him into MY plans!  I pray I learn to live like this more each day.