Thursday, February 3, 2011

This Isn’t The Chocolate Factory and I Am Not Willy Wonka

Sorry for the delay in posting, folks. We had no internet for the last two days due to the crazy blizzard that blew through Oklahoma. Love the snow, hate losing internet. Anyway, the story continues. Like I said earlier, I am going to do some reposting. If you have already read these, go take a nap. If you're new here, read on pretty please. Either way, consider getting involved in the adoption option. It will change your life for the better. It did mine.

When we adopted our first two daughters, I had it all figured out. Since the little one, Belen, was only four years old, she would have an easy time bonding with us. I was prepared for our ten year old, Rachel, to possibly have a more difficult go of it. I quickly learned two valuable, life-changing lessons: I will never have things all figured out no matter how sure I am that I do and God has a plan that is usually very different from mine.

The first words Bel ever spoke to us were these, “Do we have candy at our house?” Seeing that beautiful brown face enter the room for the first time, watching as she climbed onto the couch and snuggled close to me and then hearing those sweetly funny words escaping her mouth should have told us something. We were headed for trouble with this one!

Once the girls were home with us, we quickly moved from the honeymoon period to reality. I am thankful for that now. It wasn’t a week since moving the girls in that Bel began to show what was hidden in that little broken heart of hers. She would scream and throw temper tantrums if I tried to give her a bath, brush her hair or take her picture. Shopping for clothes was a nightmare. The girls arrived with almost nothing so I was thrilled to have a valid excuse to spoil them rotten while shopping for new clothes and toys. I never imagined the scenes Bel would create however.

One of the first times we shopped together, Rachel shyly and quietly would pick out clothing and ask if she might have this or that. Of course, I was beyond happy to get her whatever she wanted. Bel, on the other hand would lay on the floor screaming that I was trying to make her wear “ugly clothes.” My boys were little monsters but rarely in public places so I felt instantly like a failure with Bel. I had no idea how to handle a four year old girl that rejected me on every level. Fear began to creep into my heart. I had taken the classes, read the books, even taught some of the classes for DHS. How could I be so clueless?

Over the next fourteen years, I am ashamed to say that I found myself avoiding Bel on many levels. I was a good mother in that I provided all the things necessary for a decent life. I guarded my heart closely though. Time and time again, when I would reach out only to feel rejected, I would escape deeper into hiding hoping to protect my heart. I never blamed Bel. I knew I was the one failing her, she wasn’t failing me. We even sought counseling. Prayer at church. Fighting it out at home. Nothing seemed to help.

Right before Bel’s nineteenth birthday, she had a medical scare which landed her in the hospital for a week. The thought of losing my baby girl was more than overwhelming to me. It took my focus off of me and my pain and placed my eyes where they should have always been from the beginning, on Belen. The night we rushed her to the hospital, I sat in the backseat of the car, holding my daughter in my arms. I don’t know that I have ever wept the way I did that night. The only words I could say over and over were, “I love you, Bel!”

It’s an amazing thing what vulnerability can bring to a relationship. From that night on, as I opened my heart again, no longer worried about being rejected but focused on what was best for my daughter, each day has brought more than I could have hoped for. More than I deserve. I learned to be honest about my feelings but more importantly, I learned and am learning to listen. Bel has opened up about her fears from the past and her fears of the future and you know what? As we have opened ourselves up to one another, most of those fears have suddenly faded away. Light seems to do that to darkness….melt all the boogie men you just knew were laying in wait to get you someday.

Bel just turned twenty-five years old. She is one of my favorite people in this world and definitely my favorite Belen. She and I have so many things in common. She loves the poor and needy. She cares for others with her entire heart not just a piece of it. She is funny and witty and kind of weird. She is one of the most amazing and strange people I have ever known. She is just like her mother.

Belen Marie Hansen, doing just one of the things she does best.

and the story continues.....


Glen said...

SO SO hard - but so worth the effort. You lot (people who adopt / foster) are amazing. Look at those two girls of yours and know what you did there was give them a life they would never have known. Well done you x

TechnoBabe said...

That food is just too darn healthy.
Where are the junk snacks?
Lovely daughter for a lovely family.

Brian Miller said...

so do you have candy? smiles.

a lovely write for a lovely young lady...that is just like her mom...smiles. said...

That is beautiful. So are you and Belen. I love the image of light being shed over the darkness.

Not So Simply Single said...

Saint Marla, you don't look old enough to have a 25 year old daughter....did you adopt her when you were ten?

I ALWAYS wanted children. So bad. But God didn't bless with with a husband, and I didn't think I could afford a family without two incomes. I adopted cats and take darn good care of them.

However, about seven years ago, I met a young woman, who was about 25at the time, and new in recovery. She was a lost child, and I "adopted" her. In Hawaii we call it Hanai, which means adopted by love. So I am her Hanai Mom, or her Maui Mom. She found her way, fell in love, got pregnant, got married and now has an adorable little boy,Wesley. Megan tells Wesley that I am his Grandma!(She askes him, where is grandma and he points to ME!)

Life is interesting... Find me a nice Southern gentleman and I will marry him and adopt a few....agree?

Love ya, Lisa

So, in a round about way

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

the (amazing) story does continue... what a lovely young lady. i didn't adopt, but ron adopted shaun and amy and we had a few rough patches, too. amy finally had to come to terms with a few things and then it's been much better - almost eerily better - since then. same with shaun. once they each passed 14, things seemed to straighten out.

J.J. in L.A. said...

Adoption can be difficult at times. I know my sister's family has had to deal with some things that no one expected. But my nephew is a great kid...and that's all that matters.

Shelley said...

What a wonderful assortment of food in that picture!! Looks amazing.

Real Life In A Minute said...

Lovely daughter! All grown up now. Mind too. Mine are both boys. Wouldn't change but wish I had a girl too! Sandra

Deborah said...

I love and appreciate how you move forward and trust no matter what.

Lovely story!

Michelle said...

oh, I have a flesh and blood daughter that I felt like that about! She is eighteen now and I feel like the walls are finally crumbling! And the surprising thing is, I think she likes me!