After nearly five months home from China, I finally put the time into creating Joya's "Gotcha" video. For those of you outside of the adoption world, "gotcha day" is the term used for the day families are united with their child (got-ya).
Our adoption was and is an amazing and life changing journey. It went beyond anything I could have imagined in the realm of both JOY and PAIN.
Although we are convinced that God had His hand on Joya's adoption and that she is perfectly matched for our family, we are equally convinced that this is NOT the way life is ideally supposed to be for her.
At one of our hotels during our stay in China, we noticed another family at breakfast wearing T-shirts that had the slogan, "Adopted By Design" on the back. It implied to us that God designed adoption as a first choice for these children.
It actually angered my husband and it gave me great pause in my thoughts.
Adoption is a second choice for orphans. It is a second choice to staying with each orphan's birth family forever. It is clearly the result of a broken world.
No matter who an orphan's birth family is, there is LOSS and GRIEF in adoption.
But, over the last five months, I had one adoptive mom repeatedly remind me of the BEAUTY in the process. And after making this video, I am far enough removed to see it.
Because, as you can see, it has not been all sunshine and roses. The transition has been HARD. Our love was instant when we met our daughter, however, it took TIME to build our relationship and get to know each other.
And we are not done yet.
I was fearful to let her look back on the grief she has endured this year. Up to this point, any reminder of China has only upset her.
But maybe we both knew in our hearts that it was time to put together the memories. I let her watch it and she stared intently at it and then looked at me and said, "SAD Lien Lien." (She still mostly refers to herself by her endeared Chinese nickname.)
Then she smiled.
Relief washed over us when we realized that this did not re-traumatize her. We have been working so hard to shower her with love and consistency - trying to establish coveted trust, that we feared the memories might hit the reset button on all of that work.
Personally, I think it had the opposite effect. I think watching the road we have traveled together has encouraged her to hold more tightly to her forever family. She has smiled more and been more affectionate in the last few days.
For me, it has completely renewed my COMPASSION for her and allowed me to feel pain for her that I had pushed to my back-burner as I have committed myself to the very tedious, daily work of mothering five kids.
I have a renewed perspective of adoption and the MIRACLE that occurs in the process.
And I am looking forward to watching the BEAUTY grow with time.