Since we brought Ella home I've been praying that God would "restore the years" to her (Joel 2:25). For three years I've been blaming the time that Ella was in an orphanage for all of the "stuff" we deal with. Every pediatrician, therapist, or specialist has to hear my liturgy on what this little girl has dealt with, "Eastern European kids who are institutionalized suffer from…" While I was waiting to see the speech therapist to discuss a recent evaluation, I was watching the kids around me and realized that most of these kids are completely "normal". Ella will probably be one of few (if any) adopted kids that this therapist will see. It finally dawned on me that even if Ella had been born to me, nurtured by me from birth, and given every opportunity possible for the first three years of her life, just maybe, she'd still be having a hard time talking, learning, and understanding. Whoa.
Even though I tell the kids who ask about Ella's limb differences that God made her special for a reason, I don't think I've applied that to all of her. I can accept that he made her physically different from most children, but I haven't thought about giving Him credit for her mind. I've been so busy worrying about "fixing" what the first years have done, that I haven't taken the time to look at ALL of her as God's special creation. Even if she's years behind in language, she's perfectly what He wanted. I can't begin to understand why some children are born with more struggles than others. I do know that God made her with a special purpose, and me trying to "fix" her or make her like everyone else means I'm denying God's sovereignty. I'm making MY plan and my purpose better than His.
Romans 12:2 says…That ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Clearly God's perfect plan for my child is better than my plan. His will is good, acceptable—I can't even see past the next few hours regarding my will for my daughter! How can I possibly deny that His creation of Ella doesn't fit into his perfect plan for her? He made her with all the idiosyncrasies that we enjoy and the ones we'd like to toss out. I finally got it—she's who she is because God's doing something with her that requires this—He's got a perfect place for her and it requires that she go through certain fires to come out just right.
I'm feeling this new sense of peace. I feel okay that we have passed the time allotted for her to 'catch up' and that she's still fighting these battles. These battles were given to her by God, not inherited from an institution in Ukraine. I can't see the purpose in these battles, but years from now maybe we will get a glimpse at what God has accomplished through our trials. Maybe we will never see the fruit of these delays beyond the changes they cause in our own lives.
One night I came directly from showering to kiss Ella goodnight. After I kissed her, she said, "Nice hair mommy." Then laughed. I laughed too and we shared a moment. That was the first time that she verbally expressed a thought that wasn't related to her needs. She put three words together! It was astounding. It was also just last year. I'm becoming a better mother because of my little girl. She's teaching me to celebrate the accomplishments that would seem ordinary to another mom. Now I feel like I can embrace my kid with a different attitude—encouraging her to do the best she can, but accepting all of her just the way God made her.