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."