So yes, friends, our little transitional family is growing once more. When Rachel and I moved here, we never dreamed we’d have the opportunity to be the holding arms for other people’s children while they wait for forever homes. Fortunately, we couldn’t have asked for a job we love more. Yes, it’s hard…there are frustrating moments when we wonder if they will ever learn “don’t touch”, how to belong, to sleep through the night, etc, but the good moments (and the eternal weight) far outweigh the frustrations.
Our newest family member is sweet 7 year old Lily (who we called Nora up until her adoption was final**). The details of her story are not mine to share, but as with many orphans, Lily is just now learning things that children with present-parents learn in infancy. When she came she was not comfortable asking for help, even when she really needed it. She had never heard of a hug. She thought it would be her job to cook and clean for us. She has never slept in a bed of her own. She is afraid to ask for food.
These are things that stare me in the face all.day.long and sometimes wear me down. It’s hard to spend all day around children who remind me that this world is a messy place. It’s hard to answer her questions without knowing her story. How do you explain that God is good to a child who has spent 7 years in an orphanage? I have to stay focused on the fact that we know He is good for her now, so we have to trust that He was good for her all those years that she doesn’t understand. I know the plans that I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and a hope. Are those words less true for her than they are for me? No. It’s a lot to ask of a 7 year old, but she has been given some incredible grace to handle things that even I struggle with. The most beautiful part of Lily’s story so far is that tonight, as we sat on her bed trying to understand the darker parts of her life, she met a Father who thinks she is beautiful and has loved her since before she was born. Her eyes lit up as I told her about Him and she asked Him to spend forever with her…to define her in the midst of all the unknown of her life. There was immediate change in her face and heart. She believes – owns this new reality – in a way that challenges me.
So it’s hard, but it’s beautiful…and in the midst of it all, we laugh…and that reminds us of His goodness. Today, she brought me a bottle of nail polish remover and said, “I use this to bathe?”. This evening, I was washing my hair in a bucket and she ran up and started helping me, giggling the whole time as she ran her fingers through this strange, new kind of hair. It’s fun to watch her taste new foods, take out her clothes and fold them every night, brush her teeth with a cup of water because she can’t remember that water can come out of the faucet in the bathroom. Today she giggled with delight when she found out we have TWO toilets and she claps her hands and giggles with pleasure each time the power comes back on…as if she had forgotten we had electricity!! She is full of questions…she wants to make sure we aren’t taking her back to the orphanage, but no matter how many times I tell her that this is for good, she still worries. We bought her a bed of her own and her joy was uncontainable. The permanency of a bed must have assured her that she is wanted forever…not just for the holidays. At this time of year, the care center in our town asks the good people of Masindi to take a few of their children for a week or two. It gives the children a sense of family and it helps the care center financially. Since we brought Lily home around the same time as other children are leaving, she must have thought this was just short term charity rescue. What a joy it is to assure her over and over that she is out of there for good. She keeps asking me, “I not go back there?”
No, sweet girl. You not go back.
Also, thank you to
for donating their BEAUTIFUL clothes to our sweet girls…
each child that I put one of these dresses on absolutely GLOWS with pride.
**to protect her identity, we called Lily “Nora” until her adoption was final. Because, to me, she’s always been Lily, I am going back and changing her name throughout the blog. If, however, I miss a spot and you’re confused, just know that Nora and Lily are the same little girl.