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."