Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Steady Steps

Selah is developing and growing with slow but steady steps. It is so fun when those little “aha” moments happen…the ones that to most people may be taken for granted, but to many who have adopted a toddler or older child, they are moments of pure joy! One of those very moments happened just the other day, as we were driving home from dropping the boys off at basketball practice.  I begin to hear Selah talking to herself. You see, this, in itself, caught my immediate attention because it has never happened before! Be assured that this little princess LOVES to talk…like REALLY LOVES TO TALK. As in from the moment she wakes to the moment she sleeps! Her preference is to direct about 95% of her conversation at me. I do have a sneaking hunch that this is contributing to my current brain condition...the one where my brain feels like a jumbled mess of unconnecting brain connections! But, back to the car scenario. To talk to herself? Never. Therefore, I immediately look back through the review mirror and what do I see? I see my sweet girl holding two little smurfs (from Happy Meals, of course) and she is having them jump down from her carseat into an imaginary pool! Did you catch that word? Yes….IMAGINARY! Sweet Selah, for the first time had used her imagination and was truly PLAYING! It was a moment to praise God in a great big way! J Since then, she has been engaging in a lot more imaginative play. Soon thereafter, she set up barbies, other dolls, and a stuffed Scooby Doo all around a little table to enjoy a meal together. I got a picture of that one! It was the first time while in the playroom she didn’t just repeat something we had played with her, but rather she put her own personal little twist of imagination into it! And just yesterday she created a huge display of matchbox cars and trucks arranged on top of and all around a large structure created by using those big colorful cardboard blocks! I am so incredibly thankful and encouraged by see her finding ways to play independently and to see her little imagination developing.

Her English is coming along as well. She understands so much and is learning new words every day. She is often very difficult to understand, though. I understand almost all of what she says, but most people cannot. It is just like when our boys were learning to speak at around age 2-3 and I could understand everything they were saying, but others would not. Is this something any of you are finding as well? Selah was considered speech delayed in Bulgarian and the orphanage staff said that she never really said many words at all. In four months, though, she can say at least 100 English words and phrases! I am believing the pronunciation will come in time! The fact that she has already surpassed her language performance in Bulgaria (in a mere 4 months!) is a miracle and testimony to God’s goodness!

She has also made huge strides in attachment. Her indiscriminate affection has almost completely disappeared. She doesn’t even try to kiss new people anymore! It is kind of like it happened overnight! One day she was doing it, and then the next day it seemed she was all done! Praise God!
Also in the area of attachment, I feel like some of her walls have been crumbling with me. It feels as though she is resisting me less and being less oppositional. There are definitely many moments in the day where she is desperately trying to maintain control by doing the exact opposite of what I have asked or of what is expected, but they have lessened considerably. I am so thankful for the healing that is happening in her heart. I know it can’t feel good for her, by any means, to be so hyper vigilant about each moment of the day. It definitely hurt me as well because as much as you can know the “whys” to her behaviors of rejection and opposition, after a length of time, you begin to put up your own set of walls without truly realizing it. In order to deal with her emotions and the constant confrontation, I needed to detach a bit in the sense of not taking her actions personally. But, when you detach to not take these behaviors personally, it becomes easy to detach somewhat emotionally as well which is not good at all. When these children are pushing us away and displaying these detached and oppositional behaviors, it is when they most need their family to lavish the love. It is a tough place to be in for everyone involved! Thankfully, though, God has been healing her broken little heart more each day. This in turn is allowing her to accept my love and to trust me just a little more with each hurdle we cross. He is healing Selah and, in turn, changing me. He is a good God!

He led them from the darkness and deepest gloom; He snapped their chains. Let them praise the Lord for His great love and for the wonderful things He has done for them. For He broke down their prison gates of bronze; He cut apart their bars of iron. Psalm 107:14-16 (NLT)

Then you called out to God in your desperate condition;He got you out in the nick of time. He led you out of your dark, dark cell, broke open the jail and led you out. So thank God for His marvelous love, for His miracle mercy that He gives to the children He loves; He shattered the heavy jailhouse doors. He snapped the prison bars like matchsticks! Psalm 107:14-16 (The Message) 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

A Beautiful Surprise!

The other day I received an amazing gift! Our very dear friends happen to be very close friends with an absolutely amazing photographer. Jennifer of Jennifer Jones Photography is not only an amazing photographer, but simply an amazing woman. She puts so much thought and prayer into every shoot and it is so obvious when you get the opportunity to view her work. Well....our friends, Coleen and Bill, arranged for Jennifer to be at the airport when we got home with Selah! We hadn't seen any of the work yet because all of our lives seem to take on these crazy twists and turns. BUT, this week I was given the most beautiful video EVER! We all sat and watched it and of course I was bawling and even sweet little Landon said, "Mom, this just makes me cry remembering that special day!"

A couple of my favorite shots were of my mom and Selah. In the very beginning of our journey (even long before we started the paperwork) my mom and not really been on board with our decision to pursue adoption. She just couldn't understand why we would take any chances when we had a strong, happy family already. But, the pictures you will see will show you just how powerfully God works! He is so awesome! My mom grew to love Selah even after the very first photo we saw of her. It was the photo we saw when we tried to get her referral the FIRST time! Mom felt just as we did! This little girl was meant to be ours. Then, over time, mom became just as excited and crazy in love with Selah as we were! The pictures of their first meeting are precious! Then there are the photos of sweet Landon waiting ever so patiently for us to bring his little sister home to him...precious. The peek-a-boos with Grandpa Bob (Bryan's Dad) are so sweet, too. And finally, as I sat with my precious baby girl in my lap and could feel the peace in her little soul as she relaxed in my arms and saw her healthy rosy cheeks(our Friday check-up revealed a 7 pound gain to bring her to 36 pounds now!) and enormous seemed an eternity ago that we brought home the Selah with the exhausted and frail little face. Only 3 1/2 short months ago she was a little one filled with rage who bit, scratched, and hit. She was a little one so weak that she could hardly get up and down our steps. She was a little one that screamed and rocked in terror for nearly 48 hours without sleeping. And now? Remember that verse from Joel? God will give back all that the locusts have taken...? He is giving it back day by day! This beautiful video reminded me of all the work He has, is, and will continue to do! He has plans for our sweet princess and I am so excited to witness all the victories of her life!

Thank you so much, Jennifer, for sharing your amazing gift with our family! What a treasure you have given us!

Note- It is HD quality so it takes a little longer to download.

Blessings and smiles,