Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Four Months and a Lifetime

In some place in my heart, I knew this day would come. 
Way back when we received the referral for Guo FuZhi, I knew I would have this moment. 
I've BTDT with adoption, so I knew.

Our first night together, July 31, 2011. Peter teaching Maylin we were a jiah, family.

Yet, it snuck up on me.
And I was surprised.

Today, I was just Maylin's mom. 
Not her new mom. 
Not her second mom.
Not the lady trying to be her mom.
Holiday Inn Shifu, Guangzhou

It happened sometime when I calmly told her to go to her room for hitting her brother with a drumstick.
It was when she looked at me with sad, but angry, eyes and sulkily obeyed.
It happened 3 minutes later when I got down at eye level and told her I would not let Beth or Matthew hit her. Ever.
It was when I reminded her, I would not allow her to hit Beth or Matthew. Ever.
It was when I took her hand and brought her to the kitchen to help me finish making supper by mixing the orange and grapefruit salad that didn't need to be stirred.

That's when I forgot I did not have this daughter in my home for the past 6 years.
She was just that.

I don't know how to explain to non-adoptive parents what this adoption thing is like.
At first, my child wasn't connected to me in anyway.
Even when I saw her, and touched her, and bathed her, and brushed her teeth.

I loved her fiercely, but we had no history together outside of each of our dreams.
And then, we did.

I never forget that my children who came to us through adoption have first parents;
not while I comb that stick straight hair, or smooth the wrinkles on the school shorts, or remind him to turn the shirt right-side-out, or swell with pride as I watch her performance, or kiss his sweaty neck as he sleeps.

Yet I feel like I am their first parent.
I didn't create them; yet I create them every day.

It isn't all that different than the kids who joined our family through our genetics.
Each of the 8 were hand-picked when God wove their DNA together. He selected each variable from the strands...and created the child He planned for His Glory. Then He gave them to us.

And I'm just his Mom.
I'm just her Mom.

What has Maylin experienced in her four months and a lifetime as a Dersch?

She's driven in a car everyday. She's eaten ice cream regularly. She has her own baby doll. She loves to swim. She differentiates between Grandma and Papa, Grandma, and Grammy. She wraps the Bigs around her finger. She eats 2 fried eggs a day (nearly always.) She still refuses to teach me Chinese, but agrees with a head nod and a "yah" when I "google translate" it. She participates in 4H Club. She enjoys petting Lucy and giving her treats. She survived the pediatrician and enjoyed the dentist. She's been on a boat, and she's gotten wet in the ocean. She's seen waterfalls in NC, and a wedding in OK. She waits impatiently for her Baba to come home each night. She knows the days of the week and what happens each of those days. She lavishes me with hugs and sweet kisses. 

Her Chenglish is adorable.

"Moot a wah Hee?"  (Go ahead, say it out'll laugh at the sound itself, even if you don't visualize Maylin's head cocked to the side, with a DVD next to her sweet smile. Say it again and compare the sounds to "watch a movie?" I'm not fixing that phrase...yet.)

Her friend Mackenzie is "Mahg kee gee." We count her friends by name several times a week.

I can't even begin to phonetically show you how she says "oranges." Just let me tell you it has NOTHING to do with the letters that are in that word.

Maylin gave a full story to our friend, Debbie, on Sunday regarding our returning a coat to Debbie's son. Debbie got the whole thing. 

Maylin is sassy and confident in most situations where she feels secure. She still takes emotional cues by watching my face when she isn't certain how to navigate.

I've witnessed a stunning performance of her screaming at a sibling, while she thought I was still out of the house. When I walked in on the sound, I was sure it was a "blood or fire" issue. As I watched briefly from the doorway, she was angry for not getting her (unreasonable) request. The noise ceased in an amazing heartbeat when she saw me, and a "I'm so busted" smile lit her face. I've seen great kitchen performances before (a special shout-out to my niece Stephanie) but none so refined. Maylin quietly disappeared for about 5 minutes, then returned as if nothing happened.

I personally think her ability to "reign it all in"quickly when I show up is a survival technique I would deem "orphanage behavior." I might be wrong.

She can now stay home without me (yes, with other appropriate supervision!) and not make everyone miserable while I'm gone (because wherever I go must be the most fun ever!) Her "I go cahr, Mommy" does make me change my mind about taking her sometimes, although she asked to "Shtay. Home." from this morning's school run because Matt was home sick. Thought that would never happen. She loves the trips to "Shkoo" to deliver or pick up the sibs. She still hates to miss the "shtore."

I occasionally still find her with a thumb in her mouth. It's usually at night. We laugh about it during the day, but she isn't quite ready to give it up yet.

She picks random things about which to be a little compulsive--like brushing her teeth at the left bathroom sink tonight. It's a coin toss as to whether it's a need in her mind, or manipulation because Beth was brushing there. I try to let the sibling keep their space, while encouraging Maylin to be patient in order to get what she wants.

She is attending her age-appropriate Sunday School class as well as Children's Church where she loves being with the kids. Soooo proud of her papers when she shows me them. I can usually get enough of her story to know what they taught that day! The highlight of the week is practicing for the Christmas Musical. 

She is getting more consistent with naming colors. She can copy letters and words, but doesn't recognize any of them yet. We work on right/left, up/down, first/second, etc. as we work and play together.

Food is a non-issue. She can consume anything without complaint although she often tries to tell us she doesn't like something just because. She's very fickle on likes and dislikes...She often looks at me in surprise when she's tasted something and grins, "My like!"

We regularly look at the photos from her orphanage, which I've begun to call "her first home," and she tells me more and more about it. She has no sadness as she talks and she doesn't seem to miss the people there. They did a great job in caring for my daughter until we found each other. She must have had loving attachment to caretakers because her attachment here has been flawless. 

She is as normal as any 6 year old I know.

She is a Flower From My Father that brings me Flowers from Him every day.


  1. Dorothy, i loved this so very much. Thank you for sharing and soooo happy for this special moment!

  2. Beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  3. This made me smile. Makes me anxious to discover the new normal that we will have when our little girl comes home.


  4. Such a BEAUTIFUL post. Typing through tears. Thank-you for sharing. She is an amazing little girl with an amazing momma.

    (from LCC)

  5. She is absolutely adorable and you are so lucky. Great family. Hope all have a happy holiday season.

  6. Thank you for this wonderful update Dorothy! We are just 4 months home with Katie Grace now too! I know they are close in age, KG will be 4 on Feb 7th. There are so many similarities in their progress. I believe we may have discussed this before, but where in FL are you? We are in Davenport, just SW of Disney.