Wednesday of this week marks two months of having been home from China with Lydia. And now I’m choked-up… How can it be, only two months? Eight short weeks ago, we were still just getting to know each other in China; signing papers, touring, signing more papers and just barely beginning to take-in all that is this precious little girl, our daughter. In the last eight weeks this precious little girl has had much to take in.
First, she was ever-so-quickly introduced to two brothers. And within days they were wrestling, laughing and hugging. Alby refers to Lydia as “you cute little baby’ more than he actually uses her name. And while the arrival of baby sister, definitely upset his world (nearly six years of being the baby) a bit, he has fully come around, and man he is smitten. He doesn’t even get that mad when she breaks his legos. 🙂
Quinn was a natural, being a bit older and so excited for her arrival. He’s a rather excitable child so what I mean is SOOOOOOO excited for her arrival. 🙂 Quinten lights up when Lydia comes in the room, finds her entirely entertaining and Lydia is quite aware she has him tied-around-her-little-finger. It’s great.
Not only has she been introduced to siblings, but also, the other special people in our lives. Extended family. She was greeted by all four grandparents and one great-grandma at the airport. Day two of being home she met her aunt Kara from St. Paul, so fun! My older sister, Emily with Abby (Em’s middle girl) in-tow came for a quick visit a few weeks ago. Emily was as startled as we were when upon entering the house, Lydia literally ran to greet her with a big open armed hug! Tears all around, so awesome.
Lydia has had a few trips out to Mormor and Papas house, including a Peterson family gathering. Mormor comes on Tuesdays while I’m at Bible Study, and Liddy has quickly learned that Papa will give her anything she wants. Anything. 🙂 Last night when he was babysitting, she wanted three cheese sticks. Three… ‘really Dr. Judge?’- says her digestive track. And just last weekend Lydia got to spend some good time with Grandma and Boompa from MN. She loved every minute of their attention and they hers. Precious. And here’s the thing. Kids just know. They know who the special people are. They have a sixth sense about who family is and somehow what it all means. It’s been a joy to watch her take-in so much love.
But, I wonder, does she understand love? Surely, she was loved by the nanny that cared for her in her orphanage. We have pictures. Precious pictures, where she’s playing with her nanny, being silly with her, even giving kisses. In our months of waiting, the boys and I prayed often that one of the nannies that cared for her would really love her, bond with her, give her extra care and attention. And I believe God heard that prayer.
But still I wondered does she know? Can she know how deeply loved she is. From the day we met Lydia, we have been telling her over and over that we love her. I tell her many times a day. And a few weeks back God gave me a verbal gift, from my non-verbal child. Lydia is limited in her speech. She can make the following sounds, ah, pa, na, ma, la and guh. Her cleft, limits her ability to even try forming many sounds and we can’t wait for the day she finds her voice, literally. But, the gift I got a few weeks back told me that though, she can’t form many sounds, she understands nearly everything we are saying. We can say, “Lydia, bring me the ball”, or “put this in the garbage”, or “wave goodbye” and she does it. But, her understanding was fully confirmed when I was rocking her in the blue chair before bed and said, “I love you” because she took my face in her little hands, smiled and responded with, “Ah, la la.”
There was my answer. She knows. She knows that she is so loved. And as has happened so many times in the last ten plus weeks of having this little girl as my daughter God has showed-up in and through her. She doesn’t speak words yet, but she has been a mouth-piece from God to me.
This Sunday was the first in ten weeks that I sat in a Sunday service and heard a full sermon. I ventured to leave Lydia in the nursery for the first time. She was there with the boys and our beloved nursery workers (her future preschool teacher) and she did great. The sermon was from John 15:1-17. About the True Vine and the branches. I’ve read it, heard it preached on before, many times in fact. It’s a beautiful passage. But this time, I heard something new. Verse 9-10 “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands you will remain in my love…. vs17 This is my command: Love each other.”
Lydia is remaining. God wanted me to know Lydia is resting in the love He has for her -the family he has placed her in. She is knowing and experiencing love as Jesus intended it and she is learning to trust and love in return.
“Ah, la la”, Lydia.