Thursday, January 1, 2009


How long do you think it takes to heal the pain of abandonment? I don't know the answer and probably you do not either. But for my six year old the pain is still there. Not all the time like it was the first few months after we brought her home from China at one year old, but it still is present. I recently read a post on a friend's blog relating how her adopted daughter has trouble watching her sister(who happens to be bio)open birthday presents. These two siblings are very close in age just like two of my girls. My daughter Isabelle from China is just 5 months older than her sister Abigail. On Abigail's 5Th birthday Isabelle was visibly disturbed, which shortly turned to anger. My sister-in-law had given both the girls a small gift and then had given Abigail one more for her special birthday present. We made it through the evening, but the next day Isabelle was still angry. When I brought her into my bedroom to discuss what was going on she burst into tears and bawled, " I just want to go back to China!" I thought this was an interesting response to Abigail getting a birthday gift. She continued crying,"Why didn't she want me?" It turns out that this perceived inequality on Abigail's birthday reminded Isabelle emotionally of the inequality that occurred around her first birthday. That day on my bed Isabelle cried and I cried for my precious child and for the loss of her mother in China. We prayed for her China mom and Isabelle realized that day that the way God worked it out allowed her to not only have a mom who loved her as much as any birth mom, but also he gave her many siblings who will always be there for her too.This aspect of security and family strength gave Isabelle the ability to focus on the good work God had done in her life. I have never grafted a branch on to a tree, but this grafting that occurs with adoption takes a lot of tending and salve and nourishment. I bet it is quite a bit like that with a real tree. I would guess that you do not just drill a hole and stick a branch into the trunk and sit back and watch it grow. With adoption you cannot just bring a child into your home and think they will not need specific nurturing that will help them bond to your family tree. After an emotional issue like this one is worked through and resolution occurs we rarely see it as big again. As we talked through Isabelle's feelings about the loss of her mother and her country I saw in her a new sense of security with the family that God gave her. She knows for certain that the family that God grafted her into will hold her up as she continues to bond and grow. And as I watch this grafting process continue I see Isabelle flourish and I am certain that one day when she is fully mature she will bare much fruit!


Patty V. said...

Thank you so much for sharing that with us! What a blessing you are! I will try to call you before I leave!


Kari:) said...

"ye ganna baal"...Merry ET Christmas VanWetten Family. We need more photos of your family...I'm having withdraws:))
We love reading your are so wise & God uses your grace to touch our hearts!! We celebrate Zoie Senaits 1 year b-day on Sat. We have been very emotional knowing we share this incredible day with our hero we have never met...birth mother. She gave us her gift of love & we deeply love her & miss her. How is it possible to miss someone you have never met. Thank you for always being so honest in your posts. I cherish your words!!
love you lots

Debi said...

Thanks for sharing this part of the journey. It must be hard for a little one who can't talk or
ask questions to understand why they are being taken by someone they just met. My wonderful neice was adopted by my sister's family at age 2. We also experienced the testing and struggle and jelousy with her. Isabelle is blessed to have such a loving, understanding and prayerful mother. I know after the testing, her heart will be secure.
Love and hugs and prayers,

Nikki said...

Just came across your blog and have so enjoyed reading your posts! Thanks for sharing. We are hopefully adopting siblings from Ethiopia and are so grateful for insights from other adoptive families. Thanks!

Jori said...

My friend, you are one of the wisest people I have ever met. You put love in action ~ I am inspired by your honesty and openess and yet no longer under the impression you are perfect. Thank you Lord, for only He should I be looking to. I can not express how much you and your family have touched my life - you inspire greatness and you walk your talk. Thank you for sharing this journey with me - I am richer because of you. Adopting older children is different for sure.
love, jori

Thankfulmom said...

Wise words my friend. Thank you for writing them.


Apryl said...

Ella did the same thing on Sally's birthday this summer--she wasn't angry, but visibly disturbed. In her own way she worked it out. I honestly didn't expect years (most likely a lifetime) of healing for my daughter, but your post is so right.
much love,