It is CRAZY to think that Ruth and I have just now been home for two months. I haven’t even been home for as long as I was in Nigeria, yet- that is mind blowing! And it is very sobering knowing that two families are still in the process of getting their kids home. One of the families are just waiting for visas, and have been for several weeks, the other family has just applied for visas. There is little trust between the U.S. and Nigerian governments, and it is causing heartache all around. Please continue to pray for the families trying to get home with their kids. God hears the prayers of his people, and he is in control- not either of the governments. He will be glorified!
We would like to share some of the highlights and struggles since our last update. Thankfully, there are way more highlights than struggles to share! Ruth is doing very well in all aspects. Physically, she is a little deficient in vitamin D and iron, but we’ve switched her daily supplement to try and correct that. She is eating well- not as much as Allen, but considering he eats the amount of a full grown adult I wouldn’t worry about that! She loves milk- I think she would drink a half gallon a day if we let her! She is not fond of sweets- candy, cookies, donuts, cake, ice cream etc.. She does, however, love Tara’s (our good friend and children’s coordinator at church) chocolate chip cookies! Blueberries are just meh, meat is one of her favorites and, of course, bananas are always a hit!
Ruth has been attending day care twice a week for about 3 weeks now. Her teacher says as soon as Ruth and Allen arrive, they separate and she plays with some girls! This is a relief, we are so glad she is comfortable enough that she’s able to socialize with others. It’s an answer to prayer that she’s so attached to Allen, but she is not dependent on him for comfort or happiness. She equally enjoys going to church- she gets lots of attention from her teachers, and just overall is doted on, even more than at home, in fact!
Bonding with extended family is ongoing. She tends to be more quiet and reserved when it’s not just Shane, Allen and I. But the more we see and visit family, the easier it will get. Ruth and the guys went to Pryor recently when I had to be working, and she got to experience a little farm life! She is obviously slower to try new things than other kids, but she seems to be less afraid of animals than when she first came home. She will now touch both Pepper and Coulson, or Coco (our cat and dog), and while in Pryor, she helped feed a bottle calf. She was still scared of Nana and Papa’s dogs, but in her defense, they are big and friendly!
She is getting stronger little by little, and that is translating to her ankles, as well. Her physical therapist is certain that with some shoe inserts and a little home therapy she won’t have serious ankle issues. Ruth really enjoys her therapy sessions, though- she will be so disappointed when we stop going! But we are very happy that she is so healthy, especially considering her history. Potty training is going well. We still have yet to see her consistently use the toilet when it’s bowel-time, if you know what I mean. But progress is being made!
Allen seems to have completely adjusted to having a sister. Very rarely does he act out anymore solely because he wants all of our attention. He loves having sissy home- and says VERY often, unprompted, that he loves Ruth and she is his best friend. Talk about melting my heart! He has shown some enormous compassion for his sister- what a special relationship theirs is already! I pray it continues to be something amazing. But he is a typical brother- he likes to pester her, and does so fairly often! The other day, he was chasing her with a scary dinosaur toy, as Ruth cried/whined for him to stop. Just typical sibling stuff! Can you hear my mom eyes rolling in the back of my head as you read this? *wink*
Shane and I are doing well. I still wish the bonding were happening deeper and quicker than it is for me, though. I know I need to give myself grace and time, love is a choice and not a feeling. But it’s so much easier when the feelings are there, too. This is just another way that I am learning to rely completely on God to provide all I need. Shane just shared a statement recently in our youth group that has deeply resonated with me: “A mature sheep is defined by it’s level of dependence on the shepherd, not it’s independence.” I cannot be a good mother to Ruth on my own strength. I cannot be a good mother to Allen on my own strength, even if it “feels” like it, sometimes. I pray, not for things to get easier (although my heart wants that), but that I would turn to God for all my needs. That depending on him would as second nature as breathing, and that he would do his work through me. I want to be a great mom, but the only way that happens is if I die to myself every minute of every day.
Finally, our support system continues to be incredible. We CLING to the prayers of our friends and family. We feel you, through the Spirit, lifting us up and we thank you! It’s not easy, or fun, admitting that I have a harder time loving one of my kids than the other- but I share this knowing that other parents are going through the same valley. That it’s not necessarily a struggle unique to adoption, that it happens with children of any background. But we aren’t defined by our failures, we are defined in Christ, and he has overcome. Ruth is so resilient and strong. She is incredibly smart and I know God has amazing things in store for her life. I do know that His plan is good- for all of us- and when I take it all in I feel humbled that he is using us for something as wonderful as this. Hard, yes, but truly wonderful. We are so unworthy and imperfect, but his will is accomplished in spite of all that. All the praise and glory be to him!