There have been moments since China that I have felt like a first time mom all over again, and today was one of them. Three months ago, David had asked me to attend a conference with him at a church in Woodstock and since it was three months out and before I met my precious daughter, I readily agreed. Amazing how a couple of months changes things.
Since Kate came home in May, she has not been out of our sight for more than an hour or so at a time. We have left her in the nursery at church on Sundays only because it became a waste of time for me to even attend when I spent the whole service outside of the service. Since we are currently in transition again in our church life, it has been several different nurseries, but only for a short amount of time. I have developed my first post adoption frustration on several of these Sundays. I really don’t mind being stared at everywhere that I go (and I do mean everywhere). I really do not mind the questions (even the ridiculously naive ones like “Does she look like her father?”) because most of the time they give us glorious opportunity to share God’s redemption. I have realized over these weeks though, that I am absolutely aggravated by being treated like an overprotective, petrified mom when I drop my daughter off with complete strangers. It hasn’t been at every church, but at the majority of them when I ask them to call me at even the slightest concern, they look at me with this patronizing look and tell me that she will be fine. I know that they mean well, but here’s why I have a problem with that. First of all they would not know if she wasn’t fine without some basic background information that I have yet to be asked for. When Kate is terrified, she doesn’t cry like normal children, she simply goes blank. She dons a look that any parent that has never adopted would classify as “fine” in the very moments when she is the least fine. However, it seems that as I try explain this and tell them that she has only been home two months, they blow it off and give me the “fine” speech again like I have attachment issues. Now I am not denying that I do. As a matter of fact, I think that when I leave her, Kate is much more fine than I am. I cannot wait to get back to her and make sure she is confident that I am coming back for her always, but I simply do not need to be looked at like I am overreacting. I stood in a room in China and was handed a little girl who had only ever known an orphanage as home. She sat in my arms terrified as I tried to comfort her with words she could not understand. She finally has started to trust our love and I am not eager to give her any reason to doubt it, even for a second. She is not old enough to know that mommy and daddy will come back. I have valid reasons to be concerned. The second reason this bothers me is a more prideful one…this is not my first rodeo. I have done this two times already. I have experience. I am a professional. When I tell a stranger that I want to be notified if my daughter breathes the wrong way, I expect them to take it seriously…maybe ask me a question or two about what they might look for or what situations to avoid. I have not resorted to whisking her away as of yet because David is quite adamant that we teach her we will be back, and so far she has been “fine” (I know because I check on her at least twice during service even if I do get a few “what are you doing here again?” looks.), but she has also been VERY excited to see us after service, and has now begun to get scared as soon as we get to church that we are going to leave her in the nursery.
So needless to say, as this conference drew closer and closer, I became more and more nervous about leaving my daughter for the whole day. I knew that I would need to leave her with, not only someone I trusted, but someone that Kate trusted. Alisha Bowen was the perfect person to ask. She has been a close friend for a few years now and Kate absolutely loves her. Not only that but she has followed our story from the beginning and knows the difficulties and differences between biological children and newly adopted children and she loves Kate. Despite the amazingness of Aunt Leesha, I was still dreading leaving my daughter. As I dropped her off, I fought the urge to turn around and go back home. The thoughts that seem to consistently overwhelm me are imaginations of Kate as an infant and a toddler without a mother, being passed from caretaker to caretaker, never knowing the stability or love of a mommy. My prevailing concern is that she will relate me leaving her to the only other transition she has known which happened in China when she became a part of our family forever. As I drove away, I felt spacklings of guilt in the back of my mind…after all, she has only been home two months. Was it too soon?
Kate had a great time at her Aunt Leesha’s. She played with Leesha’s 5 kids, took a nap, went swimming, and even went to the potty a record 5 times. However, when it came time to reunite with mommy, she RAN across the front yard and held on tight. She seemed a bit suprised that I had come back for her…surprised but thrilled. She is slowly learning that she finally belongs…forever!