I have heard from older adoptees (aka a person who has been placed in an adoption) that around 8 or 9 years old is when things start clicking about the reality of adoption and questions start being asked. As Anna is getting older, this seems to be true for her and I have left the door open for her to ask anything she wants an answer to. I reiterate it with every card and note I write her (along with how much I love her!). One day I hope she’ll cross that threshold. Until then, I’m starting to see her peeking through the door in curiosity.
At our Christmas visit this past December, instead of her running off to play with Savannah as usual, or quick one-word shy answers if I asked them, she clearly had an agenda of connecting. An agenda filled with asking me questions like, “How old are you? What is your favorite color?” She told me all about herself; her likes and dislikes, her teacher, her friends. She had a fort to show me that she built herself, drawing and paintings covering her room she wanted me to admire. Before we had to end our visit she insisted her best friend come over to meet us, and she introduced each of us by name and titles.
This is what my heart has been longing for in the years since she was a baby, when it was easier to connect with her.
As a baby and toddler it was easy to rock, feed, and play to connect. I have always felt like she and I have had this deep soul connection. That somehow she knew that she grew in my womb and never forgot me despite months that might go by between visits. She would fall asleep on me as a baby and give me huge smiles and kisses as a toddler. And then she got older, and while that connection still felt like it was there, it was distant and I spent more time with her parents during our visits than with her. Which was fine, I understand Savannah is way more fun to play with! However, our last visit something felt different, like her heart was so curious and open to knowing me more. I have to say, it was the best visit we have had in a long time, mainly because I felt honored to be the center of her attention most of the visit. Maybe that sounds selfish. But, I have spent my life sharing her with others (willingly, lovingly) and it was so nice for her to chose to me. To want to know me more, just as I want to know her.
As she is nearing 10 years old in a few months, I look forward to what is to come. If our last visit was a taste of it, I am excited that she wants to know me more. I dream as she gets older, growing into her teen years where more freedom comes, that she may want to text me or be my friend on Facebook so we can know what is going on in each other’s lives more often or just to say hi. Maybe she’ll come to me for advice. Maybe when she has a car, she’ll come visit us. I don’t know what is to come. I don’t know what challenges our relationship might face as the dark reality of adoption is realized as well, I am prepared for her to be angry with me one day! But what I do know, is that God has blessed this journey and I trust He will lead us, just as He has to this point.
Is the best yet to come? I sure hope so.