Our dear friends, the McLelands, adopted a baby girl not even a year ago. Bill said to us shortly after they had gotten her home, “I didn’t know if it would be possible to love an adopted child as much as your biological children, but we love this baby girl, it makes no difference how she came into our family, we love her just the same.”
“You love them just the same.”
“I bet she fits perfectly in your family.”
“It must feel like she has always been a part of your family.”
Often, when I hear statements like these I think about McLelands, knowing they can wholeheartedly agree. But when those statements are said to me, I feel guilty. I feel guilty because I know the right thing to say is “yes.” It makes me wonder if adopting an infant is different from adopting an older child because I am still in the process of getting there, I have yet to arrive.
I love Nina. There is no doubt about it, but I cannot say that my love for her is the same as it is for Ellie and Nichole. When the girls fight, my first instinct is to side with Ellie and Nichole, or to comfort them first. I find myself being less patient with Nina, or feeling annoyed when she wants to join in if I try to have one-on-one time with one of the other girls. At times, it even feels like I am babysitting some else’s child.
The truth is, adopting an older child for us was not love at first sight, but rather, a journey of falling in love.
For almost 4 years, we lived without Nina, and she lived without us. We have come together, all of us, with our past. We have different languages, different cultures, different rules. We are just getting to know each other. At times I am sure she is confused, and she does not understand what is happening in her new world. At times I am confused and I do not understand why she acts a certain way. Our communication is broken in many ways as we try to understand each other. Nina is learning what it is like to have a mommy and a daddy and sisters. She is just discovering that we really are her promise of forever; we will never walk away from her, never. She is learning to trust.
Adoption is a journey of falling in love, for all of us. A journey with highs and lows as we walk along the path. And we are falling in love.
Nina smiles, she gives us hugs, she signs “I love you,” and says “I lou wu” She makes silly faces and thrives in our praises.
Nina is a precious little girl. She is sweet and charming. She has brought so much joy into our lives and she has shown us much about God’s heart as Heavenly Father. Our family needed Nina, in more ways that we will ever understand.
And we are, we are falling in love, madly in love with this little girl.