I've been thinking about how my heart has changed toward Lily these last few months. I am going to be completely honest in this post, so be prepared to read things that might sound harsh.
Going into this adoption, I had a lot of expectations. First of all it was only supposed to take a year. Ha! Obviously, that did not happen. I was going to have a petite, dark-eyed, dark-haired, Chinese daughter. She would be around 9 months old and I would watch her take her first steps and hear her first words. As time lengthened, we knew we had to make a change. Enter Lily.
I fell in love with Lily the moment I laid eyes on her. She seemed so sweet. However, it really is hard to get an accurate view of your child from a couple of pictures and a few words on a piece of paper. It truly is a step of faith to say yes to a referral. As many people have discovered, there can be many undisclosed needs. Jon and I discussed where our line would be if faced with a difficult decision. What I wasn't prepared for were the superficial things that made me step back for a minute.
I was completely prepared for the light skin and shockingly white hair. I am embarrassed to admit that I wasn't prepared for the chubby toddler that was waiting for me. I was supposed to have a petite daughter. I hadn't really believed the reports on her weight. It bothered me that her belly was so huge.
I was completely prepared for light eyes and poor vision. What I wasn't prepared for was her nystagmus. I was under the impression that her eyes would settle down after a bit and would hardly be noticeable. Lily's eyes moved constantly and they were not settling down. It was distracting to watch.
I also wasn't prepared for the way she looked when presented to us. The clothing alone was ....... I don't even have the words to describe them. Bright colors, multiple layers, split tights with her tush hanging out! The scab across her face, severely chapped cheeks, and the buzzed hair took away from her sweet face. My expectations were being completely thrown out the window.
Once we got her into our room, we stripped her down and put her in an outfit brought from home. With the many layers off we noticed that she was covered in red sores. I wasn't sure what they were. I felt like holding her at arms distance.
We also noticed that each side of her head towards the front was a bit flat. (Something that I have never shared before.) It didn't seem normal to me and I felt this fear deep inside me. Was there something wrong? Was she damaged? Our guide felt we should call the orphanage and find out if there was information on this concern. But, after watching Lily interact with us, we knew it wouldn't matter.
Throughout the trip I compared her to the other kids. The other girls seemed cuter. Their clothes actually fit! I loved my new daughter, but I was struggling letting go of some of my expectations.
Fast forward 2 months. I have learned so much. I have learned to trust in God's plan. I have learned to not rely on emotions of the moment. Just because she didn't seem cute at the time didn't mean I would always feel that way. The infected bug bites and chapped cheeks would heal. The hair will grow. The scab will fall away. I would give her a healthier diet and in time her weight would even out. Her eyes? Well, her eyes are part of who she is. And the indentations on her head? I haven't even thought of them until I began this post. I am no longer concerned.
My daughter is exotic, unique, and beautiful. She turns heads wherever we go, and I am slowly getting used to the attention. The love I have for her is huge. I thank God every day for her. I am truly blessed to have her in my life.
As we begin our next adoption, I pray that I will remember these lessons. I will remember to put aside my emotions and expectations and trust that God has it all under control.