Recently, a lot of our conversations around the dinner table have been retrospective about our girls’ life in China before life with us. Unfortunately, Amanda doesn’t remember much, but Hope does, and we continually learn more about her former life.
We are cautious not to belittle what she had before and to acknowledge what she endured to make the adjustment through the adoption. We were talking about her feelings when she saw us, when we took her away, living in the hotels, boarding the airplanes, etc. Hope told us that she never took off her coat while in China because she was not used to buildings having heat. Her former school didn’t have it and neither did her foster home. She was expecting to have it get cold in the middle of the night, so she wore it CONSTANTLY. She also mentioned that her former foster family didn’t have an ample water supply, hot or otherwise, to have the hour long hot showers like she originally told us. (not that we believed her, but she finally trusts us enough to tell the truth and that she wasn’t honest before.) Most sobering, however, was when we talked about her fears and feelings about coming here. She told us that she was told that she MUST say that she wanted to be adopted; that she didn’t have an option. I asked her if she knew she could say no to us, would she have done so? She said Yes, without a moment’s hesitation. (talk about a heavy silence that followed that bombshell!) But she also followed up that statement that she is so glad that she did come home with us to be a part of our family.
In light of other families returning home without their older children because the children decided at the last moment they didn’t want to be adopted, I shudder to think of our family if Hope knew she had that option. Is it really in the best interest to give a 12 or 13 year old the life-altering choice to have a forever family or to stay in China as an orphan? I know my eldest daughter still thinks she knows everything but is desperately needs her parents to give her firm guidelines and to reign her in when she wants to go astray. I could never allow her to make a monumental decision that would affect her for the rest of her life based on fear of the unknown with no regard to the opportunities she would (or wouldn’t) have. Why do governments think this is a good idea??
Once again, a glimpse of the providence of God has been revealed to us. We are SO thankful for his hand!
All my best,