We have a lot of catching up to do. Two years with Ivy is a special place to be. We are so proud of this girl. I really do love adoption, more all the time. Watching God transform a family through this process has been one of my greatest joys in this life. I recall the pain of natural childbirth and the joy that followed. Adoption is no different. The pain is real. The joy takes longer to show up in some cases. I never want to minimize the hard part about adoption, especially older child adoption. It's just plain difficult on everyone involved. So for the people who said, "This is going to be hard". I say, "We expected hard. Some things were much easier than we anticipated, and some things were much harder."
Ivy has grown physically at least three years of typical growth in two years. She still finds great joy in each and every meal and snack! Imagine living the first five years of life without a full tummy, or the experience of asking mom for 'seconds'. She's still making up for those early years. Food is a real big deal to her. So she fits in well here with this group!
Emotionally, she has matured at least four years in two years time. This part is impossible to put into words. Ivy was like a two year old in many ways when we brought her home at just under five years. She was grabbing kitchen knives and was basically out of control and doing all the things toddlers do. Tantrums and meltdowns were daily or hourly occurrences. Imagine never having a 'voice'. If you cry, no one comes. So while our patience was tested, we still embraced the screams as a good sign - a sign that she realized for the first time someone was listening, and her voice mattered. Through lots of prayer and begging God for wisdom, we have found ways to validate her 'voice' and still maintain some peace in our home! God is so faithful to lead us in this journey.
Academically, Ivy is remarkable. She is reading and doing first grade work. Her favorite things to do are to listen to "Little House on the Prairie" books on CD, read books with mom and sisters, and do crafts of most any kind. Swimming would also be high on the list. Her vocabulary seems to have surpassed the average American child at this age. It really is remarkable. So to the people who said, "How will you teach her the language?" I say, "I really don't know how it happened, but it was much easier and faster than we ever dreamed it could be."
I must also mention how proud I am of the growth in our other children. The reality is they have had to make many sacrifices and changes. Watching God transform their hearts is an unexpected joy. I am so proud of them for hanging in there and allowing God to grow them. So for those who said, "This will be hard on your other children", I say, "True, hard it is. But I want my children to be challenged by the fire of adversity and to see their need to be dependent on their Savior. I want them to learn to love what God loves rather than have satisfaction in the world's things."
And for those who said, "Why would you want to do this at your age?" We say, "When God calls we must respond. This is His work. He knows what is best for us. Yes, we sometimes dream of quiet days and nights and cruising in a convertible. But the fact is, there is no where else we would rather be.
So Ivy Ruth...She's full of life, full of joy, spunk, creativity, hilarious comments, and huge emotion. She is brave and never quits at anything. She is strong-willed, never at a loss for words, and always the first to love and forgive.
So for the many people who have said, "She's so lucky!" We say,
"Trust me, We are the blessed ones."
Thank you, God, for the transforming work you have done in ALL of our lives the last two years.