Friday, July 25, 2014

My Baby You'll Be

I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always, as long as I'm living, my baby you'll be. 
~ Robert Munsch Love You Forever

You weren't placed in my arms like the babies I birthed-- swaddled in a striped flannel hospital blanket, fresh-faced from the womb.

But I bet you probably had a nest of ebony curls upon your crown.

Your tiny fingers likely grasped hold of a nearby finger.

I wonder if you squealed that same baby-girl cry as your sister, whose lungs generated quite a distinct sound from her brothers.

Our first encounter with you was quite different.

At nearly two-years old, your black curls were set atop your head with a pretty ribbon.  Your bottom lip was puckered out.  

A sensation spread throughout my body as I buckled your tiny frame into the car seat of our SUV.

A whisper from the Father.

Sunlight spilled in from the sunroof and the whole world just felt right with you inhabiting that space in our car.

An emotion I couldn't explain.  A feeling only experienced with you, Little Bitty-- not the eleven others.

I knew you were unlike any other who would fill our beds.  But, I dared not speak it out loud.  Not even to Kevin.

We missed your babyhood, but we embrace you now, just as you are.

Today, at three-years old, you squealed with delight, jumping and clasping your hands to your face.

Your eyes shimmered when I said,  

If we had you when you were a baby, Mommy and Daddy would've bought you special baby clothes and toys.

Just for you.

Would you like to go to the store and look at the baby toys and pick out something?

You barreled through the automatic doors of the store.

Insisted on walking instead of riding in the buggy.

It turned out you couldn't even walk.

Instead, it was a Little Bitty sprint to the baby aisle.

Chubby brown legs created a cadence of wee steps in your mint-colored Mary Janes with hot pink straps.

Spirals of mocha bounced down your back with each stride.

The tiniest one in the house.  Yet, your acoustics are some of the highest volumes my ears have known.

A passionate spirit overflowing with ear-piercing joy.

All of Target surely heard your heart explode as you shrieked.

Sheer delight as you touched the rainbow of colors that splatter the infant items.

You first chose a baby grooming set.

You wailed big tears as I gently placed it back on the shelf.

Telling you to wait.

To see everything before choosing.

Maybe I should have bought it.  But, we really don't need more fingernail clippers or fingernail files.

You finally settled on a pink lovey, pressing the fluffy fleece to your brown cheek and rubbing the satin edges with your fingers.

A bathtub tea set made it into our buggy as well.

Something Mommy would've bought you...if you'd been a baby in our house.

Come on family!, she yelled as we headed out to the car.

And my heart soared.

I floated in a wave of joy across the steamy Alabama asphalt.

Because there is new growth.  A blossoming of stability.

I can view it with my eyes.  Sense it within my soul.

The Father loving her more than we ever could.

Things are changing.

And I am immeasurably grateful for His tender love and care.

Sweet girl with her lovey and bathtub set.  When I woke her from her nap, she had spread her lovey over her pillow to sleep on. 

 *Please be sure to see the resources at bottom of post


*A side note- first of all, there is NO way we could walk this journey without our agency, Lifeline, holding our hands.  They are phenomenal and give us the resources to connect and call us to more as parents.

Speaking in general, children from hard places (adoption, foster care, or even biological children with stressful in-utero or birth experiences) may miss stages of development.  For example, a neglected or abused child may skip crucial stages of infancy or toddler-hood if they do not receive adequate care.  A baby left to themselves in a crib without purposeful nurturing or eye contact (which occurs in healthy homes in the care of feeding, rocking, changing diapers, playtime, etc.) will miss these normal stages of development which are vital for psychological and developmental health.  For example, this often manifests itself with an older child acting much younger than their age.  Because of this, it is significant to go back and allow children to make up for lost time (i.e., letting them experience the omitted phases-- this can include swaddling, rocking, bottle-feeding, and allowing them to play with baby toys, etc.), which permits their brains to connect and bond in a healthy way.

For more information and wonderful resources for children from hard places, please visit Empowered to Connect.  Workshops are available all over the country.  Also Dr. Karyn Purvis's book is a treasure.

{photo credit:}

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