Forward and Backward

posted in: Adoption | 0

It’s a common saying that with adopted children and the days, months and years that follow- there is often a two steps forward and one step back kind of progress.

It’s so true. There are months of leaps forward and then a random few weeks thrown in there on occasion where the adoptive parents kind of scratch their heads and wonder what trigger or what event might have caused their kids to regress.

In these instances I find it is always best for me to take a step back and survey the big picture- which always reveals how incredibly far our kids have come from when they first were united with their forever family.

Chapel had a rough week last week. She caught some kind of virus and ran a really high fever and felt pretty miserable. She didn’t like much and didn’t even seem to want to be comforted much- although we pushed through with loving on her. I’m sure she’s always had to soothe herself through any sicknesses and so that’s  something that we want her to unlearn. We want her to reach out for comfort and find solace in it.

Today she began acting so much more chipper. She giggled a lot and she was so alert and responsive. She very clearly signed “milk” to me as she kicked her legs and giggled while I prepared her bottle. It’s like she took a giant leap forward after the week of sickness.

I’m amazed at how far she’s come from the little girl I met about 2 1/2 months ago in China. She was so weak that her head bobbled around more like a 6 month old than a 27 month old. She didn’t seem to respond to much and didn’t even cry much, if at all the first few days.

God has already done such a work in her.


Last night I had the privelige of revisiting the initial events that sent our family to Iquitos, Peru to adopt our first daughter Camila because I was working on an article for a ministry magazine about adoption. The entire journey was very vividly miraculous-  and will be forever etched in my brain like a story cut into stone.

And when I see how far my treasure Camila has come from the tiny three year old who didn’t know how to speak and had not even the slightest life experience or interactions…my heart swells.

I often get asked questions about Camila’s speech and if she is speaking English now or if she is “catching up.” That always gives me a chuckle. Camila, in my heart, is the bravest and most resilient kid on the planet. When you actually begin life at 3 1/2 and you’re not slowing on continual progress…when you’re finally putting 8-10 words together and you’re learning how to process and deal with sensory issues directly related to your beginnings..when you have every reason to be afraid of everything in life and you’re boldly stepping forward to conquer the next mountain. You’re beyond “catching up” which would be much too shallow of a description or expectation. You’re a walking miracle and an all-out amazing kid. I couldn’t be prouder of this girl.

A few weeks ago we did something that would have felt like a forever impossibility when we first brought Camila home. She had been so wild and aimless and there was never any safety is allowing her to walk beside you. She’d run away in a New York minute- run to any stranger- take off in traffic…you name it. But a few weeks ago we all got on our bikes and rode around the neighborhood together. Camila listened to my every instruction. When cars were coming she’d listen and pull over to the side of the road.

I had trouble choking back the tears as I rode behind my girl. I kept thinking of the phone call that arrived during our adoption process when we were told that Camila could never live a normal life. That it probably wasn’t best for us to adopt her. That taking her home might be the biggest mistake of our lives.

Nope. Leaving our daughter would’ve been the biggest mistake of our lives. With every hurdle she jumps I want to shout, “Look at her now, suckers!”

Amazingly, God doesn’t require that the whole wide world see the potential we ourselves see in our children. It’s really, really comforting when they do- but the real trusting and believing is up to us. I know what God has written on my heart and I believe every piece of it for the treasures he has entrusted to me.

Yami and Carlos are light years away from the kids we met in Peru. There’s so much to say but God has done such a beautiful work in them and it’s impossible for me to express how lovely and wonderful they are to me. I love them so much.

And I love our four biological sons who have never once batted an eye at this adoption stuff. They not only love with their words- but they’ve been required to daily lay down their lives to all of these adjustments and it is their joy. At any announcement of adopting- they’ve cried tears of joy and jumped up and down and celebrated. I think that’s pretty special.

Phew- maybe I’ve done enough bragging on my kids tonight! Ha! I’m feeling extra sentimental, I guess. This adoption stuff has never been easy but I’ve never had a moment of looking back and second guessing our decision to say yes to God and grow our family through adoption. God indefinitely confirmed our steps and we get to see the beautiful work of redemption year in and year out. I would not trade it for the world.

Thank you Jesus. Only you could’ve done these things. I’m humbled by the privelige of parenting myreedlings. <3