Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Love Is a Choice by Jenna Lorick

They say that love is a choice.

Never have I experienced the truth of that statement more than when we brought our daughter home this last fall.

I read all of the books and blogs that talked about bonding and attachment.  I read about the struggles that some moms had to connect and really love their new children.  But honestly, I had loved this little girl from that moment we said yes to God’s call to adopt, and I just didn’t think loving her would be a problem.  I loved her before I knew who she was or how old she would be…my heart and home felt incomplete without her.  For 2 ½ years I loved a little girl from afar…surely loving her and feeling connected to her would come easily once I was home.

I will never forget waking up on the morning of October 16th.  We were still completely jet lagged but nothing could keep us from rushing down the stairs of the babies home that day to meet our sweet Kenzi.  It was so surreal to finally have the little girl in our arms we had been praying over for years..  My emotions ran crazy and continued to do so as I remained in country for another 6 weeks to finalize the process.

It wasn’t until I arrived home and all of the craziness settled down that I realized this would be harder than I thought.

Loving my biological kiddos came so easily.  I am certain now that a lot of that stemmed from their desire for me.  As new babies they needed me and wanted me. They would always choose me over anyone else.  I loved them, and they loved me back.
With sweet Kenzi it was different.  Even at 11 months she had learned to be so independent.  She didn’t need me to hold her, or rock her, or even to hold her bottle.  She was perfectly happy to go to anyone and most of the time she didn’t even want to come back to me.  There were times when someone would be helping me get all of the kiddos to the car and she would hit and even scream when she had to come back to me.  It crushed my heart and made it so difficult for me to feel those loving mama feelings towards her.  And all the while I was running into people who were praising me for doing “such a great thing”…I just felt like a fraud.

I couldn’t believe it. Here I was struggling with the one part of this whole process that I thought would be the easiest.

I did the only thing I could do…I cried out to God.  I asked Him to help me love her more and more each day and for our bond to grow.  The amazing thing about our God is that He is able to do far more abundantly than all we ask or think.

I tried each day to ask for His help in showing love to my sweet daughter even when I didn’t feel like she really loved me back.  Often times I would say scriptures about loving others out loud before I went to get her up in the morning or after nap time.   
Several weeks later I was putting her to bed one night and God gave me the most amazing moment.  After I gave her a bottle I cradled her in my arms and just looked down at her when she put her little hand up on the back of my neck and pulled me close for a kiss. It was her first ever unsolicited sign of affection towards me and my heart just about leaped out of my chest.  I was reminded of God’s faithfulness and that He is truly the God who sees.  He didn’t have to give me that moment…but He is just so good!

We have been home for almost 7 months now and I know that I have so much more to learn.  I continue to seek His guidance as I raise all of my children and continue to pray that He will strengthen the bond between Kenzi and me.

Sweet adoptive mama out there who may be struggling with this too…be encouraged…He called us to this.  He is faithful to equip those He calls.  Often times He even calls the most unlikely ones to do His work.  He will be faithful to equip you as you seek to love those He has put in your care!

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