"There's a stranger in my house".
Eden was a lot of things to us the 3 years we waited on her. She started out as a step of obedience. Then a beacon of hope. Next she was a reminder of God's silence. And finally–she became a bit of an idol. We worshipped the idea of adoption and although the wait was agonizing, it soon became just a part of our personality as a family. We picked up Indian things here and there. I bought every "E" letter imaginable. We celebrated, prayed, hoped, scheduled–all with her in mind. Sometimes in the back of our minds, but always in there.
It became such a big way of life for us–this waiting game–that when we actually booked our tickets to go get here, I was in a bit of a shock mode. And then a bit of a panic mode. I said I wanted to do this. I said she was the gospel with feet. I said I was ready to take on the world. But then it was time, and I was scared. Scared of all the unknown. I was strong and courageous with the unknown when it was in the distance. Now as I stared it straight in the face–the reality of adoption really ending with a child (in our case) hit me like a ton of bricks.
We met Eden for the first time December 2, 2014. After running through the airports desperately trying to make flights, losing our luggage and stinking to high heaven, we made it to her orphanage and to the moment we had been waiting for. It was gut-wrenching and painful the way she first rejected us. I was her mom, but to her I was a stranger. And, if we are being honest, she was a stranger to me too.
The first 2 months home with Eden were the hardest I have ever had. There is so much happiness in her that comes out. But deep inside there is a rage that is hard to handle and sometimes impossible to keep at bay. Unlike bringing an infant home, Eden came to us almost 2 years old–full of personality, loud vocals, high demands, and constant neediness. I wanted her to want me and love me. But I was almost crushed under her initial level of emotional and physical needs. She was a stranger in my house. I loved the idea of her for so long, but now this actual human being was here and ready for my daily, sacrificial, and constant love. And I was crippled by the uncertainty of whether I could give that to her or not.
All of this seems so heavy. It sounds like I would rather go back to the waiting. And at first, I honestly did. I prayed for God to show me how this was suppose to look. I thought I knew but quickly realized I actually had no idea. I knew adoption was a mirror of God adopting us–but that is not what this felt or looked like to me. We looked beaten, joyless, tired, frustrated, and angry. Where was Jesus in this glorious conclusion of our story? But that's where it hit me–this was not the conclusion of our story–it was the beginning.
The Gospel was not just going to be shown to others through our family. It was going to be shown to US. I realized I was seeing first-hand at how God CHOOSES to love us. He loves us when we reject him. He loves us while we rage and throw tantrums. He loves us on our best happy days and loves us when we are overly needy and unfathomably whiney. I did not want our love for Eden to be a choice. I wanted it to be a natural overflow of my heart. I will say that as I pray for my affection to grow for her, God answers that prayer ten fold. But there are also days where I am worn down to the bone of my emotional capacity and it is just 3:00pm.
Would I choose a different path? No. Would I choose a different daughter? Never.
She is ours–fully and completely. I know that she was given to us JUST as our biological daughter was given to us. Now 7 months home, we see a lot of progress, experience much silliness, laughter, sweet moments and affection. We are bonding and feeling mutual love for each other. The road has been totally different than anticipated. The feelings caught me by surprise. But the Lord's faithfulness has remained since the beginning and I know it will see us through to the end.