It's been 8 months and a few days since Elianna landed back on US soil as an American. I can hardly believe it has been that long, and yet, at times, it just feels like she was always a part of us. Time is funny that way, I guess. A year ago, we were counting down the days until I would leave to visit on her birthday and waiting on that all important sda date to start the in-country process. Feels like forever. There was so much we would learn in the following months. And there is so much we are still learning.
She is doing well. Keep praying as we navigate the healing of a precious heart and this first year as being parents of a teen girl. She is doing great in school when she tries and seems to be getting the hang of being homeschooled. She is in a Bible study on Monday mornings and is on the homeschool debate team on Wednesdays. She will be debating (as part of a two-person team) Wednesday about the topic of capital punishment. Her team has own one debate on this topic and has lost one debate on this topic. Her English is amazing and her relationships are blooming.
The teachers God has provided at church are amazing and doing such a wonderful job with helping us point her more to Jesus...and get this, her small group leader at church was raised as a foster kid! And the placement into that group was "random." (Obviously God had a hand there)
Josiah and Lydia love her dearly and she has taught them and loved on them so much.
I watch her across the room in church some mornings. She usually sits with friends. As we sing things like "Yahweh! Yahweh!" And she sings it out, the tears come to my eyes. Adoption is such a picture of what has happened to us as believers of Christ. Isn't it? What a mirror has been put on my own life in these 8 months... Today she helped with 5 year old kids. She walked out singing "father Abraham had many sons...... Etc." A part of every American Sunday school kid's basics that she didn't have as a kid. I am so thankful for a church that not only teaches her to learn to be a godly kid, but one that also teaches from early ages what it means to serve. Once a month she helps teach kindergartners about Jesus. Precious.
All that said, it hasn't been easy. We never thought it would be. Some days are awesome and everything we all dreamed. Some days are downright hard. Some times we live in the moments we have now and sometimes we deal with damage done by others in her past... Or even with the damage created by the loss of her country, her home and her language. Sometimes she speaks and wisdom from beyond her years comes tumbling out and sometimes she asks questions that should have been answered by a mom or dad when she was a small child. Some of life's toughest lessons have been taught to her the hard way and other basics like thankfulness, honesty and unconditional love are brand new concepts.
I often find itself watching her and feeling sorry for those people who hurt her in the past and therefore they had no chance of knowing the blessing this girl brings to us. I then turn and I am so thankful for the gift that she is to our family. Our lives are fuller, our home more exciting and our love so much greater than if we had never been chosen as her family.