Thursday, January 14, 2010

The love of a parent

During Samson's first couple months home with us, he had to be overwhelmed. He made his first trip ever to a grocery store, he was introduced to his new house, his new bedroom, his first car seat; he played on a play set with a slide and swings for the first time in his life and he had to learn his third language.  And as if all of that isn't enough, he has a new family with siblings and a new mom and dad. He had and still has so much to learn.

His first months home with us, he didn't know who his mommy and daddy were. He called us mommy and daddy, but to him, those were our names and no more meaning beyond that. Because he had a few favorite nannies at his care center, he easily would go right into another woman's arms, so he did not identify with me as his mommy and main care taker. He did not identify with me as the one who will love him the most and have his best interest in mind.

In fact, the first couple months, Samson rejected me. He would tell me he loved me but he also told the neighbor girl he loved her. He didn't know what he was saying.

Rejection is tough and he seemed to reject me more than he rejected Steve. This was hard on me. Each day I would wake up and give it the Lord and hope that the day would come soon that he would finally understand that I am his mom, that I love him very much and that I will take care of his every need. At times I wish I could have pushed a fast forward button and be done with the attachment process. As hard as they were, these first days were important for him to find his place in our family and that would take time. He would have to learn to trust me. I would have to be patient.

I love him so much and often times lavish him with hugs and kisses. But when he was first home, he didn't want my kisses and hugs. In fact, sometimes he would brush them off his face or wipe spit on his tummy so I wouldn't want to blow on it. I probably would do the same thing if a stranger tried getting that close to me. He didn't know me.

But I was not willing to give up. From the suggestion of our social worker, I asked extended family and friends for some help. I asked them to turn Samson back to me if he goes to them for any of his needs, including wanting to be held. I asked them to please reassure Samson who his mommy is, how nice his mommy is and how she will take care of him.

Those we saw frequently, followed these new rules well. Samson needed to be told by others who I am to him and what that means to him in his life. He needed someone else to reassure him that I am a good person and that I will raise him well and protect him. I can understand his confusion and why he had a hard time trusting me. It's because he had been let down so many times in his life before.

I can't pinpoint a particular day or time but all of a sudden, things switched and he began to rely on Steve and I more for his every need; he began to call me mommy in a way that showed me that he knows me as more than just another person who happens to be around a lot in his life; he now tells me he loves me without prompting. He no longer wipes my kisses away or rejects my hugs. He asks for more kisses and hugs at bedtime. He has allowed me into his life.

When he wakes up from his naps, the first person he asks for is me. When he wants to snuggle at night, he wants me. He will not go down at night without a hug and kiss from me. Our most tender moments together are when he lets me hold and snuggle with him.

He doesn't try to control everything anymore. He gives more and more control over to Steve and I every day. I truly believe that he now accepts and knows our love as his parents.

I can't help but think about how our relationship is so similar to my relationship with God. There was a time in my life I did not know God. I knew who He was but in a way, I rejected Him as my Father and care taker. I did not have a Father/Daughter relationship with Him. I wanted control and independence over my own life. I didn't know how loving a relationship could be with Him.

Before I claimed God as my Father, I wonder how many times he held me and lavished on me. I wonder how many times he wished I would stop trying to control everything and just trust in his love and care for me. I wonder how much I missed out on because I didn't allow Him to direct my life.

I kind of unknowingly rejected God for several years of my life and I now know how painful that must have been for Him. But He never gave up on me. He still loved me. He still took care of me. He still claimed me as His child. He was patient with me.

I was thinking about how we are all orphans and until we accept God as our Father and enter into His Family, we will remain orphans. We will not know the love of our Father in heaven or know the benefits of being in His family if we don't ever begin a relationship with Him.

On June 16th, our adoption of Samson was final in Ethiopian courts. On December 16th, we finalized our adoption of Samson in the US court system. Once we say "yes" to God, our adoption is final. That's it!

Throughout this journey, I have learned more about the benefits of surrendering to a higher power and God's role as my heavenly Father than I have learned the first 40 years of my life. I have witnessed God's love lavished on me. I have felt tender moments together with Him as I had to give Him full control over our journey to Samson.

God has taught me to love as Christ has loved. I always thought I knew what love was, then God took me on this journey. I have learned to love with my guard down and with no pre-judgment of others. I have learned that the kind of love you receive from God, is love without restrictions or loopholes. It's pure, it's beautiful, it's simple.

I want to be that person who loves without boundaries - someone who God can use to show the rest of the world about His love and Grace. I want God to be the first one I call out to when I wake up. I have so much more to learn about love but I want to be that person who can show God's love to those who reject it like I had at one time. As part of His family, I count it as a privilege to tell others how He is a loving God, that He will take care of our every need and that He has our best interest in mind.

After all, if I would have ignored the Lord's prompting, if I would have not set aside my insecurities, if I would not have recognized my own self righteousness, I would not have one of the biggest treasures of my life - Samson.

(P.S. Click on the song "Orphans of God" on the playlist at the bottom of my blog. This song expresses just what I am learning.)

1 comment:

Jones Family said...

This post made me cry. Beautiful.