The other night I was laying with my little girl while she fell asleep. I was rubbing her back and comforting her while we were snuggled up. It was normal — a totally normal occurrence on a normal night with my little girl. But then I realized that this normalcy wasn’t normal AT ALL! You see, that was the first time I was ever able to rub my little girl’s back and have her receive it as something comforting. The first time. My daughter is four and has been with us for the last 27 months of her life. In all of that time, in all of the comforting, consoling, and parenting she has never felt okay with me attempting to comfort her in such a simple way — as most mothers comfort their children. In over two years. But the other night she let me rub her back.
IT TOOK TWO YEARS.
Like many adoptive families, we have a unique story. There’s much to my daughter’s story that is hers alone to know, but there’s also much to her story that shows how resilient she is and how much grace is in her life. Before I adopted, I never would have known that a hug, rocking, or rubbing one’s back might not be wanted. But I learned quickly because those things weren’t wanted here. We had to earn her trust. Barriers had to be broken down. Wounds had to be healed. Bridges had to be built. We have worked so hard to do all of these things. Prayed many prayers. Sought much wisdom. Invested in our daughter.
And on that night when things felt so normal, it took me a minute to realize that the normalcy I was feeling, was a new feeling. It took me a minute before it hit me that we had never done that before. This was new, and it was awesome.
There is nothing more rewarding than watching our children grow and thrive. But there is truly nothing more rewarding than watching our daughter grow into a safer space, feeling loved, cared for, and comfortable — feeling more confident in who she is. This moment gave me an opportunity to think back over the past two years. I easily find myself stuck in the struggles of the present, so I appreciate an opportunity to remember where we’ve been.
We’ve come so far; she’s come so far!
In that time I’ve learned much about myself and my parenting. I’ve learned that it’s not just about behaviors, and it’s certainly not about me. So many things have felt discouraging, so it’s a complete joy to see something happen after all this time. It took two years, but it happened. I find that encouraging for many other things, too.