Thursday, October 3, 2013

Happy Gotcha Day!- Or not so happy....

I am not sure why we celebrate Gotcha Day. Looking back, I have to say it was one of the worst days of my little girls' life-and maybe one of my worst days as well. I guess we are celebrating this year because we can testify of all the great things God has done in our family over the past year. He truly has brought us through the difficult transition and woven us together as a family! I am so thankful to Him for seeing us through!

October 5, 2012

Today was the day we would pick up Joy and she would be with us forever. It was supposed to be a happy day. It started off rough. We were supposed to meet at the orphanage at 10:00 AM. Our driver was late-due to traffic (imagine that!) She didn't arrive until just a few minutes before 10:00- and remember, it takes over an hour to get to the orphanage from the hotel.  I wanted to call and let them know we would be late, but I was informed that in the Philippines you do not need to do that. It is almost expected that you will be late-how can you not be late, with that kind of intense traffic!

By the time we arrived at the orphanage, I was a nervous wreck. I HATE being late and I felt terrible about it! I felt even more terrible when we were met by the orphanage director who said the babies had been waiting for the "going away" party, so we would do the party part first before going over all the paperwork. I think Joy was anxious too. I think she thought we were not coming for her. I felt so bad!

They had a nice little celebration for us, with chips of various kinds. Chips were Joy's request for the party food! They decorated and sat all the babies in a circle outside on their back patio.  We sang songs and then Joy went around and hugged everyone and said goodbye. It was heartbreaking. She was saying "goodbye" to the only home she had ever known. And it was a good home. A loving home. She had her needs met-and she loved her caregivers.

We went over the paperwork with the orphanage directors and the social workers-and then it was time to leave.

Joy wanted to ride in our van. She came very willingly and didn't cry one bit. All the caregivers had tears in their eyes. They were sad and happy at the same time. Joy sat between me and Natalie. In the van, she sat rigid and didn't want me to touch her, and then she clung to Natalie. She wouldn't look at me or let me touch her at all. And that's how it began. She was terrified. She was confused. And she wanted Mama Tine, the only Momma she had ever known-but she didn't know how to tell us what she was feeling. Instead, she clung to Natalie and rejected me.

At the hotel, things got worse. She stuck her tongue out at me if I tried to smile at her. She pinched me if I tried to touch her. She spit in my face if I tried to help her in any way. I felt like she hated me. I think she was trying to get us to take her back to the orphanage, the only home she had ever known. I will be absolutely honest.  I had several moments when I wanted to take her back. She was doing her best to act her worst.  I knew she was scared and hurting, but I didn't understand how she could act that way. It doesn't matter how much you study this kind of thing in adoption books-there is no way to prepare yourself for this type of rejection.

We had no honeymoon period. Not even one day. Not even one hour. And she took out all her fear and her anger on me. In turn, I had trouble even liking the little girl we had gone half way across the world to adopt. Judge me if you want, but unless you have been there, you cannot understand. I wanted to love her. I wanted to take care of her. I wanted to be her Mommy. She wouldn't let me. She pushed me and pinched me and spit at me. She didn't want me. She wanted what was comfortable. She wanted her bed. She wanted the only momma she ever knew. Isn't this the way we treat God sometimes? He's trying to give us something better than what we had, but we kick and we scream and we push it away, wanting only what is comfortable to us. We have to remember He sees the big picture and we can always trust Him even if it seems painful at times.

It is not true that God does not give you more than you can handle. He gave me way more than I could handle those first several weeks with Joy-but He was right there with me. Without God, I would have given up the first day, but His strength upheld me during those very difficult days.

And so, gotcha day was NOT a happy day. Joy didn't want to be there with us, and the way she was acting, I didn't want her there with us either. This was not the way I had imagined how our first day together would go.

I am so glad that today, one year later, we can celebrate what God has done. I can look back and I am so grateful for the missionaries and caregivers who took such good care of our little Joy. Her complete rejection of me was partially because she was so well loved and she didn't want to leave. I can look back and I can see how far God has brought us. Today, Joy loves her Mommy and Mommy loves her to pieces. Joy is happy now, even though she still misses her first "family" at times. So, Happy Gotcha Day, Joy! Remember on this day that God always loves you and He will always take care of you, even if you are scared or angry or confused. God's hand is upon your life and He can see the big picture, even when you only see the pain.

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