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) 


  1. I totally remember when Andrew starting to play by himself and using his imagination. It was such a wonderful moment. We missed out on many firsts, but God definitely gives us many more firsts to experience with our children that I am so thankful for. So, glad to read your update. It's amazing how we get to have and see such tangible moments of attachment.

  2. So good to see that things are coming along well. It surprised me to figure out that Sibelle didn't know how to do imaginative play with dolls and things. Were you ready for that one? Yes, it's a great feeling to watch them blossom into the wonderful, playful, verbal little miracles that God made them to be. Isn't it cool to watch a little miracle in progress? One of the joys of adoptive parenthood. Glad to see that Selah's blossoming!

  3. Very good news indeed! Could still use your prayers here:)...

  4. YAY! So happy to hear, I know just how you feel. It is hard to expalin to other people how exciting it is. Yesterday Faith ate a graham cracker. She actually fed herself, took bites and the item was dry and crumblily something that usually would never even touch her lips! As I type this she has decided to babel away in what songs like a song.. so funny and cute! She isn't talking yet but it will come!!!

  5. I am writing you from my first visit in Bulgaria and just read this blog. It is encouraging to learn that my 5.5 year old son is not the only child that does not have imagination. The 5 days I have spent with him have exhibited a great lack of imagination and interest in toys, although he is very interested in controlling everything around him. A great break through came when I was able to get him wet in his clothes and he did not object and insist that we changed clothes.. he actually enjoyed being wet... there are others and too many to write, but I do know that I have to help teach him to have FUN. He just doesn't get it yet and also feels the need to lead all the other children.. he is carrying the weight of the world on his little shoulders but he has a spirit that refused to be broken by the awful hand of cards he had been dealt. I am so proud of him and I am thankful that you shared your story!

  6. Praising God with you. Others don't understand Calvin either, we do though. I agree it is like when they are 2 and learning to talk. So happy she is improving each day. Blessings friend, think of you often