Monday, May 20, 2013

Better Than A Hallelujah

Today Annie:

  • Ate dog food ("I'm hungry!")
  • Spread ashes from out outside fireplace all over the patio and patio furniture ("I was making cupcakes, Mommy!")
  • Peed her pants and proceeded to put the wet clothes on her bed pillow ("I was playing outside and didn't make it to the potty!")
  • Stepped in dog poop and proceeded to rub it on her hands, and then, in her hair. ("I was trying to get it off!")

No, this was not an entire day's worth of disasters.  This was all while I was trying to cook dinner. (Par for the course, I must say, with Annie, this is how much of our days go.) And if you know Annie, then you will understand that each of these things happened in a split second when I was stirring something or looking away for only a moment.  The dog poop incident, was the last in this series of unforgettable evens, and about did me in.  I turned off the BBQ and the stove burners, and brought her upstairs to shower.  I know my frustration, stress, and irritation were evident, although I was holding back and doing my best to hand out a healthy dose of "we don't do this sort of thing" so she would learn, while attempting to season it with some grace.

And as I am washing her hair, Annie begins to sing the words, "Better than a hallelujah."  God speaks through little ones.

Even little ones with dog poop in their hair.

This song sung by Amy Grant is one of my favorites, and came out a few years ago, around the time of my last miscarriage.  I remember hearing it and weeping in my grief.  Part of the lyrics are, "We pour out our misery, God just hears a melody.  Beautiful the mess we are, honest cries of breaking hearts, better than a hallelujah.  Better than a church bell ringing, better than a choir singing out...." To be reminded that God could take my fear, my sadness, my aching for more children, and turn it into a melody.....beautiful.

And He did - He brought me these two amazing girls, including the one I am frustratedly scrubbing down in the moment.

Instantly I softened, tears in my eyes, and said, "Yes, Annie, that's right." As I looked in her eyes and fell in love with her even more than I already am,  I heard the Holy Spirit whisper Romans 12:1 "Offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God.  This is your spiritual act of worship."

Convicting and comforting all at the same time, I was instantly brought back to the moment I first heard that song and wept with a broken heart over our lost baby, and became even more grateful for our precious little girls.  Then I was convicted that in the moments of poop and pee and dog food eating today, I wasn't parenting as an act of worship.  And then I was comforted, as the Spirit again spoke to me and said, "I know how hard this is, I understand, and yes, adopting and parenting this beautiful girl,  in the midst of the sassing and messes and struggles, is your act of worshipping me, is better than a hallelujah."

Tomorrow will probably hold the same kind of stresses that today held.  Messes to clean up, sassing to deal with, Annie's amazing whirlwind of activity and energy, but tomorrow, I will be singing, "Better than a Hallelujah" and offering up this beautiful mess of our lives as my sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Wave and a Smile

I climbed into the car after dropping Amie off at preschool. When I looked up, there she was in the window with her sweet smile and a little wave.  This melted me.

Most moms would think this is nice and cute and move on with their day.  I sat and relished the moment because it was a true gift.  When you adopt older kids who have attachment disorder, these kinds of things can be few and far in between.  With Amie it is a sign that she and I are creating a healthy attachment.  That I feel like “mommy” to her and she feels like “daughter” and she wants to see me one last time before I go.  

Kori Heuvel, another adoptive mom, very eloquently calls adoption a “beautiful heartache.” It’s been a long road, this attachment process.  Often difficult.  You can’t take things personally.  One of the reasons this little wave meant so much is often when I have to leave to a meeting at school or run an errand and there’s someone else watching her, Amie will often say, “Bye Mommy,” over and over before I’m even ready to head out the door.  Her way of saying, “I’m fine, I don’t need you, you don’t matter.”  It’s just a defense mechanism, part of the process, but if I were to take it personally, my heart would be breaking all the time.  

I celebrate the journey, though, and I celebrate how far we’ve come.  One year ago, after a year of being her mommy, I got my first “Mommy’s HERE!!!” when I picked her up at preschool.  I cherished that moment and can still remember how my heart swelled with those words and her first time of showing excitement at seeing me after being apart.  

Yesterday, she sat in my lap and just wanted to be held and hugged.  I had a million things to do, but reminded myself that I never got to just sit and snuggle her as an infant, and when she wants to be close with me, the laundry can wait.  So I cuddled and squeezed and tickled and scratched her back and just loved on her for an hour.  And it was great.  

She is healing and attaching.  I am learning to take each little wave and snuggle and smile as a gift.  We are on our way!