Lenia is Home


I have another child. She is a sweet, complicated 13/14 year old girl who is in many ways like a newborn. She requires near constant care and supervision, and she cannot (or perhaps, will not) communicate what she is thinking or feeling.

We went shopping today. I bought her a bunch of clothes and Maggie a few things. Once home, I reminded them they are the same size and can share everything. No reason why not, right? As I took the clothes out of the bags, I suddenly felt as if I had stepped into a veritable minefield of emotions! One misstep, or word, or even breath and it would all go KA-BOOM!!, disintegrating on the spot. Maggie claiming her territory and making sure its borders are secure, and Lenia, not trusting anyone or anything yet, giving me this look from under her lids which communicates all I need to know. . .

Except I don’t know.

I desperately want to know, but I don’t yet. I do not yet understand the nuance of an arched brow or a nose twitched just so – those non verbal cues we both give and receive that tell so much about our current state of being. I don’t know. I haven’t had her her whole life. I’ve had her full time for one week; Greg for two.

All that said, it is just that “knowing of her” which revealed Gods plan to me. “I’m SUPPOSED to KNOW this child!” came unbidden but loud and clear one Tuesday evening in April some three plus years ago. “I’m supposed to know her like I know Emma and Maggie – every mark on her skin, every crease in her hairline, every major or minor occurrence in her life. I should know THIS child.” . . .

As we settle into this new normal of Lenia being home, I am realizing a truth I already knew: Visiting our daughter every two to three months was nice, but now we are beginning from absolute zero in her now home. She must learn over these next months and years that her Poppi and I are truly safe. That she won’t be hurt in this house. That she has a real and permanent place in this family. That we mean it when we say, “You cannot make me not love you. You cannot make me send you back.” No matter how hard she pushes us, now matter how long it takes, we will love her.

No. We already do love her, and we will come to know her just as deeply and completely as she does and the Spirit wills.

(Si Bondye vle)

6 thoughts on “Lenia is Home

  1. Wow! Well said…..we pray them here and then assume so much. Praying for your family. Please keep us posted with your blog. — great insight & teaching tool.

  2. Abby, I am not an expert and Mac is only 4, but if you ever want to talk about bringing a new child into an existing family, let me know. I have noticed that Mac is very possessive because he has never had anything that was his own before. He stockpiled thing for the first few months- clothes, food, toys, but has become much more relaxed the past couple of months, since he knows it will always be there, as will we. :). Congratulations, by the way, she is a beauty!

  3. Abby, beautiful and prophetic words. I love reading this and getting a glimpse of your life with Lenia. Thank you for sharing! Though I haven’t adopted, we had a young 18yo from Angola live with us for a year and with my parents a year as we helped her transition to America. I so remember the desperate feelings as I try to understand her silence and her pain. Trying to unravel the layers of her past suffering and help her become a confident young woman. She now is an amazing young lady living in Nebraska and married. She is confident, successful and thriving and working in Social Work to help give hope to others. She calls me , loves me and there is a bond that comes with the trust. That too will be yours and Lenia one day! I can’t wait to watch your family blossom in the midst of the struggle and GROWING PAINS! 🙂

  4. Yes! Two years later we’re still saying “There is nothing you can do to earn my love, you already have it. Completely.” Two years later she still tries to make peace, jumps to empty the dishwasher first, or changes her thoughts on things to please us. It’s a process that will take years. We just keep the conversation ongoing and, while we allow quiet moments, we never allow the door to close. We base everything in truth and honesty.

    I know you, my friend, you will learn what that twitch of the nose means and the difference between a “you figured me out” eyebrow and a “wouldn’t you like to know” eyebrow. You love her enough to push through the frustration you’ll feel when you can’t get the answers you so desperately want and need to be able to love her well. This is just another leg of the journey that God started and that He will walk with you.

    The love you all have for her is huge and visible and awesome! So glad she’s home and you can start this part of the journey.

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