May 9, 2012

Orphanage Dust

Dust sneaks up on me. I admit that I'm not a regular duster. I assign that to one of the half-hearted cleaners of our bunch. He generally gives things a swipe, one hand holding a book open, the other aimlessly moving the duster. Our dust gets stirred up every once in a while, then settles back down to accumulate some more. One sunny day I'll happen to glance at the piano and grimace. I frantically move from one piece of furniture to another eradicating dust from each flat surface.

I am ashamed to admit that it seems to work the same way with orphanage dust.

Everything seems so clean, so tidy, so perfect. Then, one day I walk by and notice that dust has been accumulating. It's thick and marring the beautiful surface of our child.

Four years next month. Four years in our family. The magic number for this daughter's life. She's been with us longer than she was in Ethiopia. It seems like four years would be long enough.

The dust has been accumulating and we were slow to notice it. A few strange things happened and then, rather slowly, we noticed. The sun shone down and the dust was glaring back at us.

This business of redeeming a hurt child never allows for a quick fix. We admit that we were too lax at the beginning. Medical needs trumped attachment worries. We were careful, but not vigilant. She seemed so well adjusted...until recently.

A friend gently urged me to do something proactive. She was confiding in me about attachment problems and I began sharing some recent worries. The thick layer of dust revealed, I knew we needed to get busy.

I share this, thinking that some of you might have similar concerns. If it seems like it's been long enough, don't fool yourself into thinking that 'she's really fine'. Do something now, because nurturing behaviors are much easier with a 3 year old than an 8 year old! It's easier to win over the heart of an 8 year old than a 15 year old. We press on through the snide remarks, questions, fibs, and sneakiness. She's sweet and yet she knows how best to hurt us.  Ultimately, the battle becomes one within myself.

This is my life with our daughter. She loves me unless there is another adult to please. The kindness of an acquaintance lives on through her praises, while our gestures are snubbed and disregarded. In my heart I want to stop trying and just let her be.  We know she's still hurting and the dust is stirred up. We re-read the books that had long been shelved. Entire paragraphs are highlighted and sticky notes mar the pages. It's a great resource, but when push comes to shove it sure is hard to be stabbed in the back daily.

God didn't bring this soul out of darkness and near death for us to flippantly lose her to her past.  The real changes have to begin with me.  In an effort to win the heart of my hurting child, I realized I have to change my heart.  Five children.  Three adoptions.  Seems like I would have been there and done that.  Read all the books.  Known all the right answers.

Her shrugs have brought me to my knees.  Right where I need to be for all of our children.

Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.  1 Corinthians 15:58

1 comment:

KLT said...

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, and faithful in prayer." Romans 12:12 This has become a theme verse for us, especially in relation to our adoption processes and the continuing work of being a holding place for healing in the lives of our children. In your post, I sense the raw emotion of tough times. I wish the hurt were easier to bear. Know that you have been prayed for today.