13 months and 28 days... but who’s counting? That’s how long our two newest Treasures have been home. It’s a journey that has seemed like a lifetime, and will last another lifetime.
When we met our son Kooper, almost 14 at the time; and our daughter Kinley Grace, 2, we had no idea what the following year would hold. All we knew was that God had clearly invited us to join Him on an adventure that would be impossible on our own.
My writings over the past year have mostly focused on the joys and struggles of Kooper’s transition, in hopes of encouraging families that teen adoption is doable. Not necessarily easy, but doable nonetheless.
But what about Kinley Grace? Sometimes I wonder if she’s gotten the short straw in facilitating her transition into our supersize family.
On October 26, 2009 we first held our screaming daughter. She was the 5th Treasure God had placed in our arms, and never had we experienced a reaction this negative.
In a span of 30 minutes she went from a kicking, screaming frenzy to complete shut-down. She would not utter a word or leave my hip for five l.o.n.g. days. She literally ate, slept and poohed – all preferably as my appendage. And she would have nothing to do with her daddy.
I remember vividly a day in China that I was so exhausted and discouraged I thought maybe these two Treasures really would be better left in their birth country. I began to reflect on all the photos we had of Kinley, realizing she was never smiling. And then I remembered the comments of a family who had met her, observing that she was very introverted and wouldn’t smile. I began to wonder if she’d ever come out of her shell.
Fortunately, it was only a matter of hours till I realized that I was buying into a lie straight from the enemy! The battle was on, but we would emerge victorious!
Six days after Gotcha while Kinley was cautiously standing beside my chair, she ‘accidentally’ started talking. She immediately looked at me, as if to say, “Did you hear that? I didn’t mean to say that out loud.”
At last, hope! After that breakthrough she began to smile, then giggle and eventually chatter in two-year-old gibberish. She would venture away from her lifeline (Mama!) and play with toys. By the time we flew home she actually occupied her own seat.
Once home, she had no problem interacting with her older siblings, but she still wanted nothing to do with Daddy…until two weeks home. For the first time, she saw Daddy and ran to him. Really ran to him!
Kinley Grace’s medical need was listed as post-operative left cleft lip. Her lip was repaired in China under the Tomorrow Plan. However, her gum line is also cleft, which was a bit of a surprise to us – but we wouldn’t change a thing! We have scheduled a revision to straighten her nose and reduce her scar this spring. At the same time, she will undergo testing for the muscle development and tone in her mouth, and her gum line will be repaired once her permanent teeth start coming in.
Now that we’ve begun the adoption process again, as I reflect on the past year I realize I’ve sometimes worried that Kinley would get left in the shadows and not receive all the attention she deserved, but God, in His sovereignty, has protected her and preserved our family. He has grown her into a beautiful, outgoing, spunky little firecracker who will talk your leg off! There is nothing in this world that can hold her back - not my parenting fears and failures or the ginormous needs of her siblings! Because no matter what chaos our life brings, there is One always in control... and there is nothing beyond His redemption!