Our first trip to the mountains

So many times we felt her absence. Even before we decided in earnest to adopt again, I wondered who are we having fun without. A strange yet vivid feeling.

After two intense weeks of appointments and exhausting change, worry and noise, hard work and tears, Friday we decided to go to the mountains on a whim. We’ve been stuck in one place for months, and it was time to go. We packed our whole family, including Rufus before the sunrise, and drove for four hours, to Lacu Rosu.

The girls asleep in the back… smooth road ahead, rolling hills and blue sky layered over the peaks of the tallest mountains. We live in a beautiful country. Glimpses of heaven. Pure heaven.

We hiked two peaks, we ate a ton of ice-cream, we ate our sandwiches with a view, drank beer and bitter-lemon, with the cool mountain summer breeze in our hair, birds singing, fresh pine natural fragrance…

Take kids out of the mundane and bring them into wild nature… and relationships get strengthened, soothed, mended, beautified.

Evelyn adapted well to our hiking inclination. She and Jaclyn hiked shoulder to shoulder, giggled, chased each other, pretended to swim in the tall grass filled with flowers, even Rufus had a grand adventure.

Evelyn has been with us full time for two weeks. But it feels as if she’s been with us forever.

After calling her foster family once, and got sad and weepy, we embraced her need to mourn her past.

We followers our instinct, as they recommend we break away from the foster family the moment the child moves in her forever family. We let her to about her past, we listen, we encourage her to honor her relationship with the foster family, as we’ll see them again. But for now, we can’t visit.

With every day that passes, she feels more at home, more relaxed, more confident. It is a delight to watch her transform.

The adoption journey is complex. Peppered with heartache, with worry, with humbling fears. It feels wrong to remove a child from their foster family, because of this temporary pain. Yet we know, a forever family, a name, belonging, commitment, a paper, all these work together and transform the demeanor of a child. It takes abundant love, wisdom, commitment, and hard work. There is no exact recipe. We follow our instinct, we pray, we trust God, we serve each other, we rely on each other, we lean on each other. It takes a village, or at least it takes two commuted spouses to make it work, so all those directly involved can also enjoy the journey.

I make a conscious effort to remember to have fun. To delight in the present, to stop and look them in their beautiful eyes and love them. Same goes for my husband. I stop. I stop the running and think of him with a tender heart. To be grateful. To admire him. To love him.

Marriage and family are so fulfilling because of the work we put in. A labor of love.

Adoption is miraculous. But it’s not easy. The grafting season crushes you and builds you back together. I just wish I could say this clearly to all who endeavor. Every story is different. Every child is different. And as Evelyn settles and Jaclyn finds her new spot as big sister, as the girls become ever so independent, and we define together our boundaries, our values, our goals, our belief, what the outsiders will see will be the fruit, the abundant fruit of a well grafted tree. But there are scrapes, sweat, blood, tears and every confusing emotion mixed in. I steer clear of pride. I am afraid of it. Like a trap. It’s apparently mesmerizing, justified, acceptable… but in my experience, prude comes before the fall. So let’s stay humble. We a a mere reflection of our creator. Can our shadow take pride in its shape? What a foolish notion. Yet we do it all the time.

Remembering that God created these beautiful girls, in his image, that they are His, I pray at night with them out loud, and give thanks to Him for how he created them, and I pray that he will be their guide, their savior, their best friend forever. I already plant in their heart and mind the authority of God, his role, his indispensability. May God delight in their lives, now and forever. May these girls love God first and foremost forever.