I met the little girl that we are (hopefully) adopting over two years ago. I lived at her Hogar (a home for children) for three months, and she just grabbed a hold of my heart in a really special way. I remember noticing her my first week there. She was quiet and unengaged. She would sit alone in the play yard just staring off into space, and she didn’t cling to me like many of the little ones did. I thought she was a year younger than she turned out to be. Well, every night at dinner the older kids would always want me to sit by them. This little girl of ours would sit in a highchair, and therefore kind of separated from all the action. One day I said to everyone, “Today I am going to sit by (our girl).” I purposefully took my chair and moved it next to her highchair. She looked at me with disbelief and then the biggest, brightest smile I have ever seen lit up on her face! She knew in that moment that I cared and from that moment on she had my heart. She also came alive in so many ways. She began interacting with everyone more, exploring the world around her actively, laughing, being silly, looking through books. It was the best three months of my life. My husband fell in love with her too.
So now, over two years later, we are finally able to pursue adopting her. There are, of course, a lot of emotions coursing through us at this decision. We are excited. We feel like we’re finally doing what we were always meant to do. We feel like she is already our daughter, so we’re excited to make it official. At the same time I am also a little nervous. Most parents get five years with a child to learn how to parent a five year old. We are going to learn it all at once. Even though I’ve worked with kids her age, I wonder if I’ll be a good parent.
I know that adopted children of any age go through a great loss when they lose their birth parents, but I can’t help but think about how she will have memories of her family. And she does have family. Due to circumstances they are unable to care for her, but she knows them. And she loves them. She has asked us to take her with us, but how will she feel when we really do? Will she wish we never had? Will she hate me one day for taking her from her birth mom? Will she ever see me as her mother, when the memories of her birth mom will always be there?
What about school? I’ve never had to sign a child up for school. How will she handle the structure when she has been unsupervised for so long?
What about language? My Spanish is mostly nonexistent and although it’s been enough to communicate my love to her, what about when she needs to really talk? When I really need to communicate something?
What about discipline? I am learning about the challenges we may face and I know communicating our love, and that encouraging attachment is more important than how she behaves. But how well will I tangibly deal with that?
We also have a new baby. She is three months old. Maybe she will be a year when we our second, but older, daughter arrives home. How will the baby handle sudden divided attention? How will our new child feel when she sees me caring for a very needy infant? Will I be a good enough mother of two?
These are all questions I think about daily. So I guess I have some fears mixed with my hope and excitement. She is already my child in my heart. Adoption might be a challenging path, but I can’t run from that challenge, because not running towards HER would break my heart. She is amazing. And I know, even though there will be challenges, there will also be joy. So I read, and try and prepare. I guess no one can fully prepare to be a parent. They just become one when it’s time! I also pray. If it is God’s will that this child be ours, then it will happen. And we will face whatever challenges are ahead as a family, with his guidance and his Love.