This was the perfect gift because we are always on a journey in this life as we travel to our ultimate destination.
My journey is never dull and as I watch my children, my family and friends I realize their journeys are not dull either. At any given moment we may be scaling up a mountain and hanging on for dear life or we may be sliding down so fast that we can't catch our breath. Then there are the moments where we can find a quiet place to rest and to take a moment to reflect on where our path has taken us and how God has been with us every step.
Life has been interesting at our house. It has definitely been a hard transition for Lena and for the family as well. Several weeks ago we actually thought maybe we should look for a smaller family for her. She really seemed lost in this one not being able to find her place. We were asking God if maybe we were only the bridge ment to bring her to another family. She seemed so unhappy here it was breaking our hearts. There were good times, but honestly they were so few and far between. She has been here almost 5 months and only spoke about 10 words of English and refused to try to speak more. The animosity between her and Julia was so palatable you could taste and feel it anytime they were in a room together. I felt like a referee more than a mom.
We were very discouraged and it made me so sad to see how unhappy she seemed to be. We got into a discussion at the table one night and she told Alesa that she might want to go back to Ukraine when she is 18. When we took her to get the papers on her citizenship and she had to swear allegiance to America she teared up because she wasn't sure. She hesitated before putting up her hand and we held our breath.
Yes, I was mad as I thought of how we love her and the sacrifice it took to get her here. I looked at her newly cut hair, her brand new jacket, and thought about the piano for her that was waiting under the blankets in the garage for Christmas day, and of the voice lessons she had the week before. I thought about the dirty cracked parking lot in Ukraine where they sat for hours and played, and the flithy plastic swimming pool that they had as their summer fun and the same set of clothes that were worn over and over. I know she has no family there and she told us all her close friends had been adopted. I see our other girls who can't express enough how thrilled they are to be here and have a family. I thought about the children over there who would give anything to be in her place. I was very angry with her attitude, and more than anything tired. In frustration I thought maybe it's us and she needs something more than we can offer. I asked God are we really the family you want for her should we do something different?
God obviously didn't think so because he renewed our patience and poured more love into us so we could give it to her. About the time we were throwing our hands up in total frustration things started to improve dramatically. It is such an on again off again thing but I have started to see a pattern each time we are in despair about it getting better, it does, and each time it gets better she seems to draw closer. We see improvements in her attitude we see her less caustic and she and Julia were actually laughing together. That was music to my ears.
We still deal with issues like last night when she told Julia that the cupcake Julia made for her was ugly. Julia worked hard at making everyone a cupcake with their initial and favorite color for dinner and Lena spoiled it with her rude comment. Julia asked her if she would like a cupcake to decorate and she had no interest. When we talked about it she was less defensive and was willing to say she was sorry after much conversation about why she should.
She gave me a watch for Christmas and more and more frequently comes up and hugs me out of the blue. She is so helpful when it comes to cleaning you can't put a glass down at our house now without Lena picking it up to clean it. She has a beautiful laugh and she is easy to love out of a bad mood. I go up and hug her and say come on down and she immediately gets over it and seems happy again. She doesn't ask for much and seems content with what she has been given. She has many wonderful qualities and we hope to magnify those more and help to minimize the ones that are not becoming.
Isn't this what God does for us all the time. I can see him looking at me as I say, "look God this is a good quality about me aren't you proud", but the ones he is more concerned with are the ones that I struggle with that when I overcome them make me a better person.
The journey continues...