When we met our girls, it wasn't a fireworks moment. It wasn't filled with tears of happiness and joy and lots of hugs. It wasn't an emotionally charged rite of passage at all. C, who's about 8, was extremely shy. Being shy certainly isn't a bad thing. I've had shy children who have blossomed. But it took every day we were there to chip away at the wall she had built up for whatever reason. It could be simply personality or it could be a coping mechanism. We were assured that her shyness existed before we ever did, so the behavior wasn't unusual.
Many adoptive families share about the first moments with their children being picture perfect with hugs and smiles. I spent our first moments with C in an awkward stoop trying to see her face and think of something comforting to say.
I was just as nervous as she was.
M had a pretty outgoing personality. She would make goofy faces for the camera and laugh and kind of play "hard to get." Which was again confirmed by the orphanage workers was her normal self.
When we hugged the girls, they would stiffen. Not sure if this is personal or cultural or simply a lack of attachment issue. Some days I left very encouraged by some of the progress we made, especially with C. But a day or two I left very discouraged and worried about bringing the girls to a new country.
I learned that subconsciously, I myself am holding back a bit--and maybe for the same reason C is...I'm afraid to become attached and then lose them. But I worry for them as well.
I don't expect the transition from an orphanage to a family--from a third world country to the U.S.--to be an easy transition. Not at all.
And what I'm remembering about love, is that it is not an emotion. So just because I don't feel all warm and fuzzy inside about how things are progressing does not mean I don't love these girls. Oh how I love them. It's the action of love that is love itself. It's in the sacrifice that love shines through.
The best way to understand God's word is to live it. And I'm beginning to understand Romans 12:1 in a whole new way:
"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God--this is your spiritual act of worship." (NIV1984)
There is such an overwhelming peace and comfort walking in God's will--even when you don't understand everything or have all the answers. I couldn't think of a better way to live my life than to lay it down for others.
That doesn't necessarily mean to go run out in front of a car to save someone else's life (though that could be included!). But rather, lay down the life you are living to help someone else. There are a million different ways to do this, and this is what God has specifically called us to.
So, while I don't have endless amounts of butterflies in my stomach, I do have endless amounts of peace from God on the path He has called us to. God is teaching me about a deeper kind of love and it gives me a small glimpse into His love for us.