Children adopted from an orphanage setting often (always?) come to us hurting. We may have to work differently, more intentionally, with children whose earliest experiences in life have taught them that adults are neither trustworthy nor reliable. But the results are so worth it.
We have witnessed so much healing in our girl's heart as she has moved from a state of insecure/avoidant attachment to secure attachment. For a long time, she preferred any warm-blooded woman to me. Now she's my sidekick, pretty much (literally) always by my side.
There are times when I sneak away for a little alone time only to hear the pitter patter of her feet trailing behind me. She'll ask to just sit by me as I read. And even though I was craving some time to myself, I do a mental fist pump, with a thankful heart that we've grown so close.
My prayer for Evie has always been that she would have shalom in her heart. Shalom is a Hebrew word that we often translate as "peace" but it means so much more. It also means wholeness, completeness, well-being. I've prayed that I would be attuned to her needs - the specific ways her heart needs healing. There was no magical cure. Healing came slowly, through hugs and kisses, games and books, morning juices and clinking glasses with an exuberant cheers! It came from loving when rejected, setting boundaries, and lots and lots of grace - for both of us.
Like any road trip, some moments are exciting and others are boring or frustrating. There are times when you worry you've lost your way. (Oh yes there were many of those!) But right now, I feel like we've made it to the top of the mountain... and the views are spectacular.
My heart overflows with gratitude for the healing that has come to our girl, for the love she so freely gives me, and the gift of parenting our Ethiopian beauty, Tarikua Evangeline.