After the darkest night comes the sweetest morning

Conrad was in terrible pain. A throat infection (his allergies make his throat sensitive – especially in the Spring) spread to his right ear. We are at the end of our wits energy wise. And yet, as a parent, when you think you can’t go any further, you muster up enough energy to push on a few more …weeks.

Last night we had a family reunion for my 36th birthday. The kids played. The eldest cousin, Luca, who is 10, is a natural with younger kids: patient, attentive, selfless. He know he’s been stretched thin by also trained well by his 2 year old brother, whose personality is bigger than life.

Upon meeting her aunt, uncle and cousins, Evelyn was delicate and elegant and sweet. She made the best of the evening. She says very little at first, when she spends her time, observing, analyzing everyone. Once she finds her space, her personality emerges: she is funny and loud, expressive and brave.

Today we had our official (3rd) visit at the adoption office, with the social worker and the psychologist. Despite our day so far, and my exhaustion, I was cool and collected, my mind clear, with lots to share. We are feeling at the peak of our success, complete, fulfilled, at home even if we need to abide by law and take Ivy back to the foster home at night.

Listening to Evelyn communicate in her own way, shy throughout the visit, I can confidently say that today we hit another personal milestone.

Later in the day, she told me she loved me without being prompted or responding to my telling her I love her. She leans into me with love, and smiles up at me.

After going on the scooter with the kids in the neighborhood, she took a break and came to me to hug my leg and stand like that for a while. I picked her up and she hugged me tight, check to cheek, and we stood like that for a while, her up in my arms, her arms wrapped tightly around my neck, safe, light and happy.

And today she said wants to sleep up in my bed. Usually she cries she wants to go back to her old foster room. Mostly she missed the familiar, and she doesn’t like people in her personal space. But not today at nap time.

We went up. There was a large window near our pillows. I probably wanted sleep more than she did. So I closed my eyes. She started caressing my hair, with the sweetest tiny hands. She did that for a while. Then she took my hands and caressed my fingers, turned my ring around, and then she hugged my hand under her chin and kissed it with her eyes closed. Then she held it tight for a long time.

A few minutes later Jackie came up too. And Ivy leaned against her sister, while her sister held her around the waist. It was so sweet. Alas, it didn’t last long. Jackie kept telling Ivy to sleep, while she herself was restlessly tossing and turning. Ivy would have none it.

Jackie is a restless sleeper and she wanted to Co-sleep the first few months. Conrad and I have never been more sleep deprived as we were then. But now I realize not all kids wiggle and squirm, toss and turn. Just our first one did.

While Jackie was up, she wanted me to caress her arm. So with one hand I held ivy’s hand and with the other I caressed my eldest sweet daughter arm to her heart’s delight.

Now that are both asleep, breathing steady, deeply, as I write this, I find their deep sighs resting be the sweetest sounds for my ears. It’s the first time they are both deeply and sound asleep. Next to each other. Beautiful faces, long eyelashes, restful foreheads. What a blessing we are for each other, the four of us.

So today, while I felt pretty comfortable expressing myself, I got to share my joy of parenting and adoption with the state employees. My delight is invariably intertwined with my faith.

We talked about our readiness and the practical aspects of our current situation: the sisterly love and tension, their ever evolving relationship (which I see as pretty normal, smooth and special …but maybe I’m biased because I’m their mother).

We talked about our house rules: listening (obeying), respect (words and actions), truth (trust). We defined these in time with Jackie, with respective consequences, and they are pretty good pillars for our growing family foundation.

We reminisced about the past, but only in passing, and we talked about our realistic expectations, of what we know and what we are about to discover together. But our confidence is not in our own strength alone. We have a bit of experience with the adoption journey, and a good support system. And we have God, who uses every opportunity to polish our spirit, and our hearts He fills with abundant and generous love.

This is a very complex and special day. It started with me praying in the waiting room at the doctor’s office, for an efficient processing of Conrad’s diagnosis and prescription; then the hour long drive each way… and it almost felt like God is dilating time for us and we made it on time everywhere, including at the adoption office on the other side of town.

Doors open wide, and we walk on waters… or so it feels. We are utterly dependent on God. And my daughters who have a heightened emotional intelligence, who feed on my courage and my dependency on God, who soak up everything good and light… surprisingly they don’t drain me one bit. Their presence and astuteness fills me with renewed hope and energy and faith.

Waiting for Evelyn, as time seemed to stretch endlessly, in the last few months, my eyes fell on David’s psalms where he prayed that God would not let him be put to shame.” Let him (David) succeed in his quest so God’s name be glorified”.

It may seem like a selfish prayer, a bit odd, but I prayed it often, including in my first heartbreaks nearly two decades ago… and God always – always answered. It’s not a selfish or foolish prayer, when it’s uttered in honesty. God allowed it to be printed in His Book. For us to courageously and wholeheartedly pray it.

In our honest pursuit to adopt Evelyn, while we journeyed through the desert, God was faithful. He he did not let us be put to shame. He blessed us beyond expectations. And His name is glorified.