I'm constantly amazed by how much the Lord is teaching me and revealing to me as I make this transition into motherhood. He is changing me and molding me, yet again, into a completely new person. In one of my recent posts, I talked about how some of that has been painful and less than pretty. A lot of sin has been brought to the surface during this very sanctifying experience.
But there is this new phenomenon I have been seeing take place over the last two weeks.
When you are going through the adoption process and attending countless classes, conferences and online seminars, you are warned time and again that it is not always "love at first sight" with adoption. That for some families, it takes time to get to a place where you truly feel like a family. God was very gracious to us in that we both fell head over heels with Bradley the moment we saw him. Then that love was confirmed when we finally got our feet on Ethiopian soil to meet him.
Then we got home and the reality of parenting a child from a very hard place set in. It was so much harder than I ever imagined possible. I loved Bradley so much, and I knew that he was my son. But he didn't know that. To him, I was just a lady who had taken him away from all he had ever known. I had to FIGHT SO HARD for his heart. Day by day, minute by minute showing him that I love him, that he is mine. And that those are good things.
And rarely was that love returned. The first several weeks home were mostly trying to get him to stop crying. I have hesitated and wavered back and forth about sharing a lot about this period of our family's life because it is so personal, and it is part of our son's story. But I do feel a sense of obligation to be honest about what adoption really looks like after the airport and behind the pictures. So I am going to use broad strokes here.
Bradley was scared. Everything in his little life had changed. Every single thing. How terrifying for a baby. So every moment of my day was spent teaching him that this is a safe place, that he is loved, that he will always have enough to eat, that he doesn't need to be afraid, that he can stop crying. Please stop crying.
I loved this boy so much, but life did NOT look like I wanted it to.
The Lord sent His Spirit into our home and carried us through those first weeks.
But over the last few weeks I have noticed a shift. It was very subtle at first, but now I am seeing it more and more clearly.
Bradley loves us back.
We have crossed the shaky bridge from being a source of food and cleanliness to being people he truly loves and wants to be with. I see it in the way he reacts when I walk in a room or when Adam comes home from work. He smiles and giggles, lets out a squeal of delight and reaches for us without screaming. When playing, he will randomly crawl into my lap just to give me a hug and then go right back to what he was doing.
He sees us as his mom and dad. He has learned what those words mean, and, more importantly, he has applied them to us. I could collapse on the floor and weep for this. My son sees me they way I have always seen him. The Lord has grown his love for us, and truthfully, He has grown our love for Bradley, too. Each day we feel more and more like a family.
Don't get me wrong. There are still a LOT of hard days. There is still a TON of crying. But the undertone is different. He wants to be consoled, and he wants me to be the one to do that. He wants to play with us, not just sit in our laps or be held.
He is learning what it means to be a family, and it is the most beautiful thing in the world.
Our God is a God of miracles. Truly.