Sunday, September 14, 2014

Bringing Home a Teen Infant

I was searching my old blog recently looking for old photos and I was taken back to 2011... the year I brought home a 13 soon to be 14 year old daughter. 3 1/2 years later I am amazed at her progress and maturity. She even has her drivers permit. (please look through our current posts to see what fun we have!)

I never thought we would get to this place we are at today. 

Her first Easter Sunday - She got a pillow pet and still treasures it!
Sleeps with is every night, and takes it on every trip!

The journey is still ongoing, but for anyone who is just starting, hang in there. 
Don't turn back. Here's a little advice from a 

Remind yourself daily why you started this journey,
 and pray. 
Pray on all occasions. 
Celebrate the little things. 

And don't let the task at hand consume you. 

Create boundaries, and don't feel guilty about them. 

You are not effective if you are consumed by the situation and overwhelmed by the immense needs of your new older child. So create those boundaries early on. 

You can never replace what was taken from your child, 


And that isn't your job as the parent. So don't burden yourself with that impossibility. Even if he/she expects you to. The holes that were left in the heart will only heal by the touch of God. 

Your child may act like a toddler... even if they are a teen. It's normal. I watched as my daughter went through similar early psychosocial developmental stages that we experience growing up. Only, she was already "grown-up". Infancy/toddler/school age/adolescent. I don't know if it's a phenomenon all older adopted children go through. But I've heard several families describe this. These were international adoptions. It may have something to do with language acquisition. Something I find very interesting. 

During this early time, talk to someone who's been there! Don't stay quiet! You need support, so get it...
Easter 2011

This stage went by rather quickly though, and getting through it was challenging. But we have a GEM. A diamond for sure! Which is still being formed. She's gone through many hardships, loneliness, and painful experiences most of us would never endure. 

I don't have many early posts of those days, But I'd like to share those that I have. I stopped blogging for a season to allow our family time to grow together. I didn't know how to express our transition in a way that was respectful to Arielle. I want her to tell HER STORY someday - if she chooses. Below is a post I wrote only 11 days after she came home. I was preparing her for a doctors appointment. She was dreadfully afraid of doctors... and created a scene (to put it mildly :)
Reluctantly learning English
We communicated this way for several months using google translate. Even her reading of Chinese Characters was limited but she knew enough to get us through.....

Blog Post From 4/11/11

Keeps me going...

Older child adoption....some know what it's like. It definitely is different than our last 2 adoptions. But in many ways it's the same. I keep looking at this girl expecting "something older". But what I keep getting is a little girl. And I know that this is ok, good, and maybe even necessary, but it's weird for me. It's almost like I have to close my eyes and re-adjust my brain. Reminding myself Who lead us to this place. And the many miracles that took place in the past 12 months that confirmed her place in our family. Her family.

But it's rough.

And rewarding.

And scary.

And wonderful.

and and and and...... I'm tired.

But I'll wake up tomorrow refreshed and ready. Like I did the day I wrote this letter.

Arielle, 早上好!(Good Morning!) 4/8/2011

耶稣爱你. 妈妈爱你。

(Jesus Loves you. Mama Loves you.)


(This is what we are doing today)

你需要洗个澡 (淋浴)。(You need to take a bath (shower))

穿上干净的裤子。穿上干净的衬衫。(Put on clean pants. Put on clean shirt.)

刷牙。梳理你的头发。(Brush your teeth. Comb your hair.)

我们将离开12:00 (We will leave at 12:00)

我们将采取的男孩 (We will take the boys) 艾米的家 (Amy's home)

我会带你到医生 (I will take you to the doctor)

不要害怕。(Don't be afraid) 

我永远不会离开你。(I will never leave you.)

我们会一起祈祷。求神帮助你。(We will pray together. Ask God to help you.)

永远不要忘记,你是美丽的. (Never forget that you are beautiful.)

永远不要忘记,你很聪明。 (Never forget that you are very smart.)

你可以祈祷的祈祷:亲爱的耶稣,(You can pray this prayer: Dear Jesus,)

请帮助我不会害怕。(Please help me not be afraid.) 

请帮我了解耶稣基督的爱。阿门 (Please help me understand the love of

Jesus Christ, Amen) 

妈妈爱你!(Mama loves you!) 

She was so excited to read this letter! She ran upstairs and a few minutes later she came down with this:

The top is cut off but she wrote her whole name.

It's challenging, it's rough. But the reward will one day far outweigh any fleshy feeling I have about my momentary inconvenience. She is His Child. Not mine. Later on that day, she had a meltdown at the doctors and I totally forgot our morning moments...until now.

But I don't think she did.

When we put the boys to bed, she joins us. We pray and snuggle with the boys and kiss them goodnight. The other night, maybe the same night as the meltdown, after we put the boys to bed, she started for bed too. We usually pray downstairs together but she wanted us in her room, next to her on her bed, praying for her at nite nite. We prayed hugged and kissed her goodnight. Like tucking in a little one! How often was she ever tucked in!?

NEVER.... until now.  Lord, Keep reminding me...

For more posts on the early days you can get to Arielles Pages HERE

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