Take Hope

October 11, 2012

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Today I welcome Angie Washington to NoSuperheroes. She lives in Bolivia as a missionary. Angie has several blogs @ngie and a photo blog. You can follow her on Facebook or Twitter as well as read more about her life at the end of this post.

I Called Her Baby

My hand went to my mouth and my eyes got big. Did I just say that? Did my lips really just form that word? I just called her baby. My conscious convinced me that my subconscious made me blurt out how I truly felt. Through an uncontrollable smile I breathed a sigh of relief.

Over two years had passed since we brought our youngest daughter home. She was two at the time. This adorable little toddler quickly settled into life as a Washington. Her Spanish lisp made us grin. Her first English words were, “I love you,” and “coffee.” People complimented us on the apparent ease of the adoption. They remarked how well-behaved she was. Most even shared their astonishment at how much she looked like me. My husband seemed to connect with her wonderfully. Everything had a glow of perfection.

No one knew about the gaping hole in my soul. I told very few about my greatest struggle.

A scene from a recent episode of Parenthood resonated with my ache. A couple had adopted an older child. He had been in their home for some time. The husband reached out to his wife who was having a hard time. She whispered from her pillow to his, “I feel like I’m waiting to fall in love with our son.”

I was waiting to fall in love.

My analytical nature drew me into circles of torment at what could have been done better or differently. Then the cycle took me an assurance I had tried hard enough. I talked myself into believing that the feelings would follow.

So much of adapting to the adoption of a child comes from a conscious effort to change. I suppose this is true for any adjustment in family dynamics. Marriages, births, deaths, and adoptions, too, present the opportunity to flex or the choice resist the change. I owe a great debt to a good support group around us. Thanks to them and our longsuffering Lord, tweaks of perspective and practice have happened.

How can one know what issues one will encounter?

I could not foresee what would shake me to the core. I did not know that I would have to wait for the feelings of love.

Then this night came. I called her to me. She left her toys and came running. She stood before me. I looked up from whatever I was doing and I said, “It’s time to go get your ‘jamas on, baby.” She chirped a, “Yes, ma’am,” and ran off to change.

Then it hit me. I felt it. I felt love. In that little word I knew something had clicked. Tears welled in my eyes as I realized I had called her baby.

During the two years of waiting I fretted that the day would never come. Worry engulfed me with fears of a doomed future. Since this night, when the ‘baby’ was born, those two years seem miniscule.

I don’t dare belittle the pressing weight of your own wait. May I simply come alongside you and whisper a word of hope? Take the next step in front of you. Take the hand of the one beside you. Take a moment to dream with eyes shut tight. Take this one breath, and then take another.

Take hope.

From Chris: As a fellow adoptive parent I can relate to many of the these situations. While not experiencing a bonding issue, I felt the desperate need for support and grace in my own ways. Whether adoption or normal parenting; even just everyday life, we all need help, encouragement, and support.

What type of grace do you need today?

Angie Washington

Angie has been living the adventure with her husband and their kids in Bolivia for over a decade. Together they have started: bible schools, an international office for equipping Latin leaders through media and conferences, a local church, a K-12 Christian school, and an orphanage. Straddling hemispheres creates a continual need for her to rely on Christ… and coffee! She enjoys laughing out loud, collecting cacti, and taking pictures.

Make sure to check out her Blog or follow her on Facebook or Twitter.

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A missionary teacher for 24 years currently living in South Africa. I am a recovering superhero, daily in need of the grace of God