There are times that I become very aware that we are starting to write many new chapters in a book that looks like this--
In our adoption, we are not starting with a bunch of blank pages, but rather with snippets pieced together by some two weeks of snapshot views into this little girl's life. There are things were are happily aware of. Things we are sadly aware of. And of course, we are so very aware that there is so much we don't know.
What were her birth parents' situations and mind-sets like that Julia wound up being available for us to bring her to our home and family six years later as our own? How did her nannies treat her in her almost five early years in the orphanage? What do her grandparents that used to visit her think about her adoption? Do they even know? Those are the missing pages.
Sometimes things show up that we have no idea where they come from whatsoever. Like why the sight of our empty, plastic, hamper-style recycle bin made her run for the corner of the couch, curl up in a ball and start crying and rocking. We can only guess that something negative happened in the orphanage that she correlates with storage bins like that. Guess is the key word. We have some words--maybe sentences--but those are the torn pages.
We have a splotchy medical history, full of diagnosis, testing and treatments, many of which don't seem to make sense to us. We have a language of jibberish that she speaks and some select Russian that she'll follow. We have behaviors that we are uncertain of their origin or reason, let alone how to best use them for her strongest benefit. Those are the blurred, smudged pages.
We do have some very important pieces of information that read more like a fact sheet--maybe an appendix of sorts. Some of these pages will need to be written back into her story as her age and maturity deems appropriate, like at what age will she want to know about her sibling? When will we tell her what we know of how she came to be an orphan? How many times will we repeat the pages that tell of our journey to her?
One thing I do know and am so very clearly aware of is that the picture above holds a very pertinent quote by J. R. R. Tolkien:
"All we have to do is decide what to do with the time that is given to us."Though we didn't get to write the first chapters of Julia's story, we have so many blank pages before us. We can't rewrite her history, but we can sure make a new one together. We can offer her blank pages in front of her to be filled with life, potential, hope and love. We are deciding that she is a story worth telling, worth writing and most of all, a story worth keeping.
So, in honor of adoption awareness month, I am happy to say how aware we are of our opportunity to piece together Julia's life story and gladly make her story together as a family.