The cocoon

We met Ivy two weeks before the pandemic hit Romania.

Who knew the first two weeks would be so precious, and out of the current ordinary. We treasure those times of kisses and snuggles without reserve or masks.

I have faith that much will still change around the world. And Ivy will adapt, as this is her super power, though she doesn’t even know it yet. 

So I am now grateful for the two months of separation we had two endure, when Ivy was confronted with the lockdown in her foster home. Because now she doesn’t associate confinement with us, her new and forever family. But instead, she has a broader understanding of the limitations imposed by a world wide spread virus.  

As the winter closes in on us, and we are stuck at home most days, this home feels like a cocoon. A cocoon from which we will emerge stronger and brighter. But a cocoon nonetheless. 

Ivy occasionally compares our home with the foster family’s farmhouse. She was surrounded by animals, and had an upstairs to go up and down in the house. Ivy had her own room, which now another foster girl is using. But from that perspective, her adoption was a downgrade in the appearance of space. She will share a room with her sister even after we move to a larger house.

Most adoptive families worry that their adopted children have had more at their disposal in the foster homes, be that fresh air and space in the village life, homegrown food, and other foster kids in the community. 

With Ivy I struggled less with this feeling of inadequacy and downgrade. Because in the grand scheme of things. I know better. With the confidence that a forever family and a name can provide stability.

Jackie has had the ability to draw this conclusion on her own, that life with us is broad and expansive, adventurous, and what we offer them is potential. But more over, my main joy and gift is that we could bring the sister together so they can share the same childhood. May they never lose sight of this blessing. 

Yesterday Jackie was reading “Charlie and the chocolate factory” before their afternoon (post hike in the snow) nap. Charlie’s grandparents all share the same bed, and their daily meal is cabbage soup. They are obviously pour. But Charlie is going to school the next day. So Jackie poses a good question: “if they are so poor, can Charlie afford to go to school?” And we started a conversation about children’s rights and the right to education and the fact that going to school is free. But often families are so poor that buying the school supplies and warm shoes and a warm jacket might be a stretch for many numerous families. We talked about poverty, which seems to interest Jackie greatly, to understand how a person reaches that state.

And this is how the story turned toward introspection and a closer look into her own past. Jackie remembers her birth mom didn’t have a proper dwelling place. And she wondered if she and her sisters and mom shared the same bed as Charlie’s grandparents do. She asked me if her birth mom is dead. I told her she is still alive. And then she trailed off wondering if her birth mom now even has a bed. Her concern for her birth mom’s well being is moving. Her pondering about the birth mom being alive still, but not in her life, is also fascinating. 

Ivy thanks God every day for this life, for the warm house and the good food. Jackie does too. We didn’t prompt them how to pray. But we pray alongside them often, heartfelt, sincere, deep. And they are drawn to our conversation with God. He is our rock and He is the one giving us strength to push though each day. 

Jackie is starting to struggle with self worth and purpose in life. I’d say it’s rather early. This type of reflections seem more appropriate for a preteen, not a seven year old. But she is one of a kind precocious girl. 

Last week, through tears of reconnection and transparency, I told Jackie that I am her mother and I will always be her mother, no matter what will happen to her and no matter her current or future choices. I will always love her with my whole being. And she can always come to me for help, even if she’ll screw up. I will be by her side.

I also catch ourselves expressing gratitude for each other. The girls tell me they are happy to be my daughter. And I tell them I’m happy and grateful to be their mom. I see their shoulders relax as they hear verbal validation of my commitment and love for them. It all goes and in hand with daily guidance and acts of service, quality time and snuggles. But they definitely love to hear about our love and commitment.  

Life is fleeting. As a full year will have happened and we stayed close to the nest, but we’ve grown older and wiser, more patient and resilient, though testing and daily training. It’s easier to think of life beyond this world, to pursue Heaven and God’s light reflected in us.