Monday, October 21, 2013

Elijah's Gotcha Day Celebration~acknowledging the loss.

September the 15th, we celebrated the day God added our youngest child to our family. We met Elijah on a hot, steamy day in Guangzhou, China, 5 years ago.  Such a wonderful day deserves to be acknowledged. On our kids' "Gotcha Days", we allow them to pick a place to go and get a treat.

* rant coming up...Before I go any further, let me say I know all about the controversy regarding the term "Gotcha Day", and have decided that for our family, it's the term we will use for a most extraordinary days, the days God gave us two more blessings to love on. As far as I'm concerned it's a benign term, signifying a wonderful day for our family (albeit a very hard day for our new son and daughter). If you feel differently, that's fine. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, I just don't happen to share this one. You can call it what you want, and we'll call it what we want. No need for judgmentalness here.  So there ends the mini rant.*

Elijah chose to go to the local frozen yogurt place.

So many choices, so little bowl space..

Adoption is a wonderful thing, but it does start with a loss. A huge loss. A loss that stays with a child deep down. This was apparent to us on Elijah's Gotcha day this year.

Before we were going to the yogurt place, Elijah was sitting in my lap. I started telling him about the day we met him. He was listening intently taking in every word. He then asked, "What did the orphanage tell you about me?" I reiterated the details, as I've done countless times before, about how our agency knew we were looking for a little boy who needed a Mommy and Daddy. The orphanage contacted our agency and sent a picture of Elijah. The agency called and said, "Could this be your little boy?" Our agency told us and we knew that handsome little boy was our Elijah! In the middle of my often told story, I noticed that Elijah's eyes were filling with tears. He began to blink, keeping them at bay. I then said, "You look sad, what's wrong?" He ruptured into spasmodic sobs! He just bawled. Then he did something so telling...he took his thumb, which he hadn't sucked in months, and stuck it in his mouth! I asked him what was wrong, and he said he was upset about John being sick. (John was sick in the hospital, with a couple of nasty stomach infections. He's fine now.). John, Sr witnessed the whole episode. We were dumbfounded! He wasn't upset about a sick brother... he was grieving. Grieving for an abandonment that he couldn't even begin to understand. He didn't consciously remember it, but deep down inside, he has a pain that is still raw five years later.

I love the verse about God making beauty out of ashes, I know that's what He does through adoption. But the hurt of the "fire" is still there and probably always will be. We as adoptive parents, and siblings need to remember this. It doesn't make it any less beautiful, it just makes it real. It's not a fairy tale, it's a child's life. God redeems the hurt and blesses the family, but there is hurt, real hurt. Hurt that doesn't go away.

My Mama's heart hurts to think of my children experiencing pain. I'd rather it be me a thousand times over, than one of my kids being hurt just once. But that isn't the way life is. What happened to Christ was painful and ugly, but because of his pain, something glorious and beautiful was achieved. The same thing happens with adoption. We must choose to embrace the fact that our children coming to us is a result of a loss. But, praise God, that loss doesn't have to stay a loss. It's part of who they are and God will use it to write their story. A story that I'm forever grateful to be a part of!

This is the Elijah we see the most...

I love this little one so much and it breaks my heart to know the pain he feels from time to time, because of his early beginnings. I will do everything in my power to help him deal with the pain, starting by acknowledging there is a sense of loss.   I hope and pray that, with God's help,  John and I can love him to where the pain, while it might never disappear, will diminish with every year!


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