The journey has somewhat played out here for you to see, and yet you must know there are so many things which have happened on this roller coaster ride which I will keep to myself and my own family for quite some time yet, if not forever.
Miss L’s journey with us began when she was 18 months old. She was with us for three months, then gone for a year. In February of 2015, she abruptly re-entered our lives again. Since that time nearly two years ago, it has been a hard journey and a heart journey. There were moments we weren’t sure what the future looked like. In fact, there were more moments of uncertainty than moments of being sure about much of anything. I’ve said that in two years, I feel like I’ve aged five.
Things are certain now, for the most part. Adoption was final on October 5th. It was a celebratory and prayerful day of hoping to give her every good thing she deserves in life. It was a day marked by courtrooms and lollipops and a gathering at the cupcake shop afterwards for family and friends. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling I’ve had for many months; the feeling that says she could be taken any moment. I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop, then quickly reminding myself that the future has been determined (at least in the realm of permanency) and I don’t have to worry anymore.
So that should be it, right? Things should be all good now. Except that’s rarely how life works, and you know what? Things are not fine. Things are mostly really great, marked with moments of awful. She still holds anger and trauma close to her. She still goes to therapy. Some of her rages have been the hardest things I’ve ever experienced, as she’s screaming that she hates me and uses alarming verbiage about how she wants to hurt all of us. Those times are heart-wrenching and patience-building and unequivocally exhausting.
The thing is, those rages are HER about 3% of the time. The other 97% of time, she is a high-energy four year old with curiosity and questions about the world and how it works. Her smile and her sparkle reaches all the way to her eyes, and she skips when getting from Point A to Point B because her little spirit can not be contented with simple walking.
This morning she is in her weekly therapy session. As we arrive, I talk with the play therapist as I do every week. I can almost see Miss L’s ears growing bigger as she strains to hear what we’re staying about her while she pretends to be fully immersed in playing with the toys in the waiting room. Her therapist says to her, “are you ready?”
Miss L’s eyes light up. She is indeed ready. Her long hair and dark eyes and olive skin is oh so beautiful. She is mine to care for and to love and to teach about all the good that’s in the world around her. In this moment, she skips into the play therapy room, so full of life and light it makes my heart ache. And it occurs to me that, no matter the depths of the moments of rage she experiences, I will still do anything I can do to protect her and keep her spirit as light and beautiful as it is in this moment. No matter the hard times, I will do anything I can to make her life good.