Monday, February 9, 2009

her story unfolds

Adrienne will be nine months tomorrow, and she has quite a few things to add to her resume of accomplishments as she sails into her next month.

She started month 8 with her first encounter with snow. We had about a quarter inch dusting, which was just enough to cover the ground for an hour or two before the sun melted most of what had fallen. Of course I bundled her up and rushed out there so that we could get the picture and mark it down as one of her firsts. It only took five minutes for us to get our fill, but at least she got to wear the snow suit once.

Then not much later, Adrienne developed a keen love for standing. In fact, her drive in life right now revolves around this passion, and she spends most of her waking time standing on whatever object is closest to her, seeming perfectly happy just to be vertical.

It was this love for standing that finally pushed her to her next major milestone, crawling. Her intense desire to stand was thwarted when I placed her in the middle of the room with nothing but level ground surrounding her, so she finally took the plunge to becoming fully mobile. Adrienne can crawl anywhere, although usually her destination is the closest piece of furniture, and once there, of course she stands.

As our baby bird gets bigger, it has put us that much closer to the time when she will be able to understand how she came to be a part of our family, and I thought some of you might be interested in exactly how we plan to go about communicating that to her.

Before we dove into the adoption process, I can't say that I gave a thought to how adopted children came to know that they were adopted, but as soon as we decided that's where we were headed, it was instantly of major interest to me. Before we had even begun the paper work, I had thoughts of the moment we would have to sit down and tell our child that he or she was adopted, and to be honest, it overwhelmed me. I found myself anxious as I anticipated the gammut of emotions that we might face, unnerved at the possibilities before we really even began. That's why it came as a relief when we found out that contrary to the image I had conjured in my head, the recommended approach is a much less nerve racking process. Basically, the idea is to tell your child about her story from the very beginning, so that there is never a single moment of revelation, but rather a gradual, age appropriate understanding that begins to form as early as she can remember.

Because of this, I've already told Adrienne many times how she came to be a part of our family, and even though I know she has no understanding right now, each time I tell her, it rolls off my tongue more naturally. Marianna is usually near by when I tell Adrienne her story, and she is excited to be a part of the telling as well. I really like it this way because it eliminates that fear that would come from a sudden "unloading" of the story, and at the same time, I pray that it will allow Adrienne to grow up with a sense of pride and appreciation in her own unique and beautiful story. I'm not saying that I don't anticipate that there will be times when she will struggle with different aspects of her adoption, yet I am hopeful that many of the unnecessary portions of stress and worry can be eliminated by this approach.

I believe that every child, whether adopted or not, will have moments of difficulty as they try and grab hold of their identity, so my prayer for each of my girls is in many ways the same. I pray that they will grow up knowing that they are both vitally important, unconditionally loved members of our family, and I want them to see that that their worth comes not from what they do but from who they are, beautiful creations of God.

"My frame was not hidden from You, when I was skillfully wrought int he lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed. And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them."
Pslam 139:15-16


Katie said...

thank you for sharing that! my husband and I are currently waiting for an adoption placement and that is something I think about alot.

beccad said...

She is so precious and getting so big. It still amazes me how much she looks like Nathan. Stop by my blog and see what I have waiting for you. I hope you like it.

Jen in Al said...

Amen and pass the bacon!:)LOL As an adopted child, I am eternally grateful that my parents took that approach with me and i cannot remember a time i didn't know i was adopted, wanted, loved and special. I even have one younger brother who is biologically connected to our parents but it has never been an issue for me. we are very close and he could not be more my brother than if we were conjoined twins!:) To me adoption has always been a beautiful picture of how Christians are made a part of God's family! we are adopted in Christ. I hope this is an encouragement to you and your dh. All three of your girls are so precious! So hard to believe how much Adrienne has grown. It goes by sooo fast! Thank you so much for sharing the adorable pictures and your heart! blessings, jen in al

Laurie in Ca. said...

Beautiful approach Angie, and so natural too. I will never forget a girl I went to high school with who found out in our junior year for the first time she was adopted. She was devastated and felt betrayed by the ones who loved her. Adrienne was made by God for your family to the point of looking like all of you. How good is that? Starting young is great Angie. You won't regret it. I love you.

Love and Hugs, Laurie

sarahdodson said...

Happy 9 months! What a beautiful girl. I like the pic of her in her pink coat:)

Lindsey said...

HI there.. I've been reading your blog for sometime now :) Just wanted to say that I was adopted at 2 months old. I don't ever remember a time that I didn't know I was adopted. My mom alwasy told me the story of how God picked her to be my mommy and take care of me because the mommy who had me in her belly coudln't. As I grew older of course more details came into play and she was alwasy open, honest, and answered any question she could. I'm so grateful for my mother (who is no longer with us) and how honest she was with me. Even though I've found my birthparents right before my mother died....she is my mom and no one could ever take her place. I know she had fear that my birthmother would...but that is NOT the case. God works in mysterious ways. I found my birthfamily a few months before my mother passed.....although my birthmother and I don't have much of a realationship my birthfatehr and I do! IF you ever have any questions for an adoptee...feel free to contact me!