We decided pretty quickly after our Gotcha Day that it would not be the day for celebration. We had been warned by others about how emotional it can be for everyone, so we were somewhat prepared. I remember the first thing I thought when I saw Brielle was how incredibily tiny she was, and clearly not a typical 3 year old. We tried very hard to engage her, and help her to understand the life-changing event that was occurring. She could not make eye contact, did not know how to be held, and was not mentally with-it. It was a pretty scary day for us all. I think at that point Scott and I were accepting that we had adopted a child with very little functioning skills. That was not what we expected. Although we will never know I am sure the day was incredibly hard for Brielle too. She was taken away from the only orphanage she had known to sleep in a new one for a night, put into new clothes that were too big, and handed off to strangers who didn't speak her language.
We didn't hear any noise out of her until she let out a giggle in the car going over a pot hole. That brought a moment of relief, knowing that at least she could laugh. My prayer then became that there would be a day when she would laugh at us, not at bumps in the road.
We played outside in the grass, and with some of the toys we brought. Brielle was pretty content just to be held, and she slowly learned how to lean in and form her body to ours. We had a small dinner, and put her to bed. She went down without crying and slept 12 hours straight.
Scott and I didn't talk much about that day, and how we felt because it was too hard. Our expectations from her file were very different than the reality we walked in to.
I was reading some of the blogs I wrote before we went to Bogota last year. I had written about a sermon from Momentum based on Matthew 28-30, where Jesus talks about followers taking his yoke. In the sermon Bart described how Christ's yoke fits each of us perfectly because the yoke is molded for us, and us for the yoke. I know on August 14, 2014 I was questioning whether the yoke Christ had given us was indeed a good fit. Now a year later I know, with out doubt, that the yoke of parenting Brielle was designed specifically for us. It is still not a perfect fit because Christ is molding us to fit that yoke every day, growing patience, love, and grace in us.
Brielle was not the child we expected her to be, and she still exceeds our expectations every day. I cannot even recount all her accomplishments this year. The way that she overcomes her difficulties amazes me every day. I am blessed to be her momma, and pray that God will continue to use her story to draw others to Him.
(And in case you're wondering October 8th is our Family Day celebration, when we will celebrate the day our adoption was final in court and we could come home a family of 3.)