One year ago this week (the 20th), we became the legal parents of our dear Baby L. She was almost 5 months at the time. The past few days I've been rereading our adoption travel posts and remembering the excitement and nervousness of the weeks just before we traveled to get her.
It has now been nearly a year since we met her and nearly 10 months since she's been home. I'm amazed at her progress. When we first met her, she was not really fond of any kind of feeding (having been cup-fed by coercion in the foster home). We celebrated getting her to take more than 2 oz at a time...now she downs 8oz in seconds! And she loves to eat, but still likes to eat on Her Terms only. I'm ok with that, most of the time.
Learning how to take care of her skin and hair (both tending to be very dry and needing lots of moisture and gentle care) has been a wonderful thing. It gives me great confidence when I manage a cute style or see the results of good moisturizing. One thing I've realized is that white people don't use enough moisture on our skin and hair - especially curly-haired white people like me.
There is such a thing as reverse discrimination and it can be very damaging to other family members. I don't fault people for doting over our Baby L - she is darn cute, and I realize that it is unusual to see a white mama with a black baby. However, we've gotten preferential treatment due to this. Treatment I know other white babies or black babies don't get. I guess I should just enjoy it while it lasts...but I have another daughter who sometimes is very hurt by the excessive attention her baby sister gets. It is hard to watch a stranger or friend make a fuss over Baby L (saying how pretty she looks, etc), while my older daughter stands by waiting to be noticed. And let me just clarify this goes WAY beyond the attention my other babies got and their older siblings had to endure.
Part of this attention involves physical attention that isn't comfortable for Baby L. Nothing really inappropriate - often curious touching of her hair. But she isn't really comfortable with people getting in her space. It is hard to set the boundary when what they are doing isn't really abnormal - just a bit too much for her.
Loving an adopted child is the same and somewhat different than a biological child. There is that familiar physicality to it (I love the smell of my kids and the nuzzle their little cheeks). But I'm often struck by how blessed we are to have her in our family. Her presence with us seems such a clear gift of God. Not that biological kids aren't, but due to the biology of humans...it isn't surprising we end up with kids, right? But adoption is outside that. We had to really seek and work to have her join our family - and it really (obviously) required God's hand. I'm shocked by how well our family fits her. It is like our family was designed to for her...and of course it was.
I wonder what the future has in store for us. Sometimes I find myself worrying about how we'll handle the racial differences, her adoption story, etc, but then I remember what good friend often says, "Just do the next thing." Don't get too hung up on worrying about the future...just do what comes next. Right now that is getting her to be more comfortable with new people and new situations. So, we'll just work on that for now.
Have a lovely weekend and check out more 7 Quick Takes at Jen's blog.