Monday, July 7, 2014

Blue Chalk and Love Notes :: Lessons from a 7 Year Old || 4 Months Post Adoption

We bought a new rug. Thanks to some welcome home gift cards and a giant, yet washable, stain on the upper right corner, we walked out of Kmart with a giant size piece of carpet for less than my Aldi grocery bill.

The basement had decidedly been quartered off to make a playroom for our girl, who has befriended most of the children on our street and hosts tea parties, art classes, and teaches school to unknowing 3 year olds.

My living room and my minor OCD were not surviving the traffic.

The finished product (on a minimal budget) made me and our girl proud and so with excitement I announced that she could have her "quiet time" in the basement in her new play room.
(We have a quiet time every day for 1 hour to refuel her engine and give her a bit of time to wind down. But let's be is really for me.)

I heard the pitter-patter of feet running up the stairs, far too early than previously agreed. As an excited 7-year old face peered around the corner I automatically knew. Some thing had gone terribly wrong.

"I have a VERY awesome gift for you, Mommy." Blink. Blink, blink, blink.

I slowly walked down the steps, eyes half open because she had requested me blindfolded - to which I met her with a compromise of no.

As I entered the quarter size playroom and looked down, I gasped. The brand new white/cream/beige carpet (should of seen that one coming) that had been so delicately placed in our child's playroom (again, really didn't seen this coming?) was covered, COVERED, in bright neon blue chalk.

It was like a Smurf crime scene.
Her pride soared.
My jaw dropped.

As I looked from the carpet to her face and back again, it was obvious that I was in shock. And her joy went from soaring to broken.

"What did you do?" I asked.

And in a quiet voice she said, "I wrote you a love note."

As I looked closer, I realized that all the lines and circles and shapes were not random. They were calculated. And designed with care.

I LUV U MOMMY! heart shape. heart shape. heart shape.
N J E F. (This is her sleek way of writing code for our family - Nosipho, Jessa, Erik, Family) heart shape. heart shape. heart shape.
LOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEEEEE. heart shape. heart shape. heart shape.
Chicken shape. (I'm still not totally sure how this one fits into the love note, but I'm sure it will come to me in some divine revelation when she is 16. Or she just really loves chickens.)

I am no adoption expert. Not even close. But even the worst informed adoptive parent would know two things in this situation:

1. My response to this situation was absolutely horrible.
2. We are the luckiest people in the world.

Adoption is hard.
The waiting process is daunting, exhausting, and heart-breaking at times.
And when you finally cross over to the much anticipated moment of meeting the child you have prayed for, cried over, pursued, and worked so hard to bring home, there is a part of you that feels like you should be singing and dancing everyday.

I am amazed at how quickly that emotion fades. And how quickly I forget that this is the little girl that stole our hearts and set us on a life-changing path.

When your daughter is kicking, screaming, crying, and scratching for anything she can touch in the heat of a total breakdown because she doesn't know how to express her needs, you forget that there is a little person in there that is broken and hurting.

When your 7-year old is asking you to dress her every morning and carry her to bed every single night when you know she is capable of doing it and all you want is 5 minutes to finish eating your cold dinner, you forget that there is a child in there whose basic needs have never been met the way they needed to be.

And when your daughter, who you adopted only 4 months ago, gives you kisses and hugs everyday and writes love (did you hear that? LOVE) notes in your brand new carpet, you forget that it is nothing short of a miracle that this little child is your daughter. And that by the grace of God, she has been able to find small pieces of healing and little reasons to trust, despite the many, MULTIPLE (like on the daily) moments where we TOTALLY screw up this whole parenthood thing.

We eventually scrubbed out the blue chalk and the stain in the right hand corner of the carpet. The stain came out completely. But there are hints of blue all over the rug and I am thankful for that. Thankful for the reminder that mistakes along the way are often more beautiful than perfecting the process.