Saturday, December 10, 2011

Finding Amie

Finding Amie

The journey to grow our family has been a difficult one.  Caleb was a wonderful surprise, but after that, things weren’t so easy.  Many steps have been taken on our journey - mountain highs of other pregnancies, only to hit the valleys of loss and miscarriage.   

After much prayer and soul searching we decided to pursue adoption as a way to make our family larger.   The process of fost-to-adopt is a journey in and of itself, long and arduous.

We made it through the classes, the paperwork, the interviews, the home study, the home inspection, and the next step was to find the child for whom we would be the right family.  We had discussed looking for a single child, but somewhere in me, I knew it might be two.  

This was the most difficult road of all to travel for me.  Every other week I would head to our agency to look at books of profiles of children new to the foster care system - yes, that’s right, books - there are thousands of kids who need homes right here in California, 115,000 in our nation.  It was heartbreaking to read their stories, even more heartbreaking to set their profiles aside because they weren’t the right ones.  I poured over websites like “Heart Gallery” looking at pictures and profiles of kids who need homes, and went to an adoption picnic where prospective parents could meet and interact with foster children.  I left that picnic in tears, having been with so many kids who would walk away that afternoon to a place that wasn’t home.  

I did this for 6 months, until, at an adoption fair, we saw the pictures of our sweet girls.  And I knew.  I knew these would be our girls.  I couldn’t stop thinking about them, Amie’s sweet face on the forefront of my mind all night long that night.  After a month of many phone calls and meetings with social workers, we were chosen to parent these girls.

We met the girls for the first time at a McDonald’s play place.  Both girls were pale, Annie malnourished.  Both had dark circles, and Amy had scratches all over her face and hands.  Amy was quiet, fearful, reserved.  Neither girl could talk much.  They reminded us of wild kittens, terrified, unable to communicate, lost.

When the girls came to live with us, I made it my job to protect and to help Amy, who was living vicariously through Annie, to find herself.  Amy had no possessions she was attached to, no opinions of her own.  She followed Annie around and copied whatever Annie did.  She called Annie, “Amy”, an extension of herself.  

As I got to know Amy and her story a little better, I began to understand why.  We are the fifth family she has lived with.  She has experienced every kind of mistreatment imaginable, and she has gone by three different names.  How is a little girl, at 2 years old, who has been through all of this, to know who she is?

Our quest has been to help Amy find herself.  With lots of love, affirmation, and intentional therapy, our Amy has begun to emerge.  A strong girl, sweet, and funny.  She loves to hold her babies, put on pretty clothes, get her hair done in the bathroom with Mommy.   Her eyes are beginning to smile, she’s playing on her own and saying, “Mine!” and “No!”.

When we were told that we would be able to change her name, my first reaction was, “not again!”.  But the more I thought about it, the more I realized her given name is not who she is.  We decided on Amie, and are changing her middle name to “Sue,” which is my aunt’s middle name as well.  When I tried the new name out on Amie, she lit up, lifted her little chest and shoulders up several inches, put her hand on her heart and said, “I AMIE SUE!!!”  She walked around for hours saying this over and over.  Amie Sue found herself that day.

The journey to adopt has really been a journey to find Amie.  I knew she was out there, I knew God had planned for her to be a part of our family, and now I know that we’re finding her more and more each day.    Amie Sue, you are loved.  Amie Sue, you are home.

Amie Sue, you are found.

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