One of the requirements of our adoption is that we have a 3 month update completed by a Social Worker. The update is then submitted to our Agency who then submits it to the Ethiopian government. Updates are required at 3, 6, and 12 months, and then every year until Peaches turns 18. The first three updates consist of the SW visiting our house, interviewing Heather and me, and sort of giving an overall visual look at our kids, Peaches, etc. The line of questioning reviews all of the typical adoption related questions such as bonding, sleeping, eating, grieving, language, emotions, and the thousand different types of adjustments that have occurred. Since our original court date was on February 28th (the day she legally became our daughter), our 3 month update is due at the end of this month.
It's seems strange to be doing a 3 month update when we've only been home for about 6 or 7 weeks. On the one hand, we still feel like we're just getting to know each other, just beginning to understand each other. And on the other hand, we can't remember life without our Peaches. As we think about what's happened in our lives this year already, we pause as we remember that we've traveled to Africa and back twice, added a beautiful little girl to our family, watched our five other children all make amazing sacrifices to make room for our new little one, and oh yeah, also completed an addition to our house. Maybe that's why we're tired a lot??? Well, that's my excuse anyway.
The visit by the SW was a good time to review where we are with Peaches. The questions regarding language reminded us of how far we've come, and also how much farther we have to go. We are able to communicate very basic concepts. Peaches has never been really verbal, so her language has been slower than what we have perceived the transition of other Amharic speaking toddlers (though our perception could be wrong). But there has been progress and for that we are thankful. Much of her early frustration (and still some of her frustration today) is related to her lack of ability to explain something or to understand our explanations. But as the language improves, we can see her increased relaxation into our family. Her fears and anxieties slowly dissolving away. That's a very good thing.
We also discussed her bonding. If you've followed our story, you know that Peaches has bonded extremely well with Heather and the kids, but very poorly with me. We are thankful to God that that bonding with me has been improving. I am still not the person of choice when there are emotions involved (sad, angry, etc.), but she will give me a hug if she's happy and she really does enjoy playing with me. The improvements are very noticeable and we are on the right track. The bond she has with Heather is very good. Although Peaches is definitely not a huggy, cuddly type of child, she does enjoy close time with her momma. And her momma loves to read books to her little Peaches - and the other kids that gravitate to her when a book is opened. It's a beautiful sight to see. That is ultimately what family is all about and that is what we love to do - to see her settle into our family and see the love flow from us to her and from her to us. Thank you God for the work you are doing in her little heart.
There were many other topics we discussed and we were encouraged to realize that overall things are going pretty well. She is still whining and crying (LOUDLY and with GREAT tears) when she doesn't get her way, she is still demanding of everything that she wants (does NOT understand the word share), she is still sleeping with Heather at night. But with all of these things we see improvements. We have read many books and have talked with many adoptive families and have known all of the things we've dealt with were going to be a possibility. But, it's suddenly scary to see them in your own child. It looks completely different when the issue is staring you in the face rather than just reading about it in a book. You can put a book down and move on to your day, you can't do that with a child. You must continue to love, hold, embrace - even in the face of opposition from your child.. You can't take a day off. I've watched Heather do this with an amazing God-given capacity. I'm so thankful for her.
Thinking through the improvements we've seen, we can't help but give God the glory. There are so many areas of her heart and soul that we cannot reach, we cannot touch, we cannot see. But God can. He is able to know her deepest hurts and insecurities and provide a healing that is full and complete. We can reach into those parts of her life that she allows us to, but God can reach every part. We know that He is working always. And not just in her life, but in the life of everyone in our family. We've all been affected by the adoption, we've all had our lives inconvenienced, our feelings hurt. But we've also tasted God's grace and healing touch in a new way. We're thankful that He is always working, not just in Peaches life, but in our lives too.
I have a little girl on my lap who wants waffles, so I should go. This is one of those beautiful moments that you cherish. Thank you God for Peaches and for Your loving, healing touch.