About 10 years ago, what had been a brief vision was becoming reality. The phone rang and the woman at the other end of the line told me that they had matched my husband and I to a waiting orphan. It was surreal, not in a romantic or artistic way, but in a quiet-can’t-hear-a-pin-drop way. Unlike other couples, we had been waiting for this call for about 9 months. This was about 7-8 months longer than everyone we knew and I had just about given up.
Fast forward about 3 years. It was about the time my daughter was turning three that I remembered my vision. Of course I had been asleep when I had it, so one could argue it was just a dream. But it came back to me crystal clear as my daughter laughed whole-heartedly in front of my face. You see, about 4 years earlier, sometime very early in the adoption paperwork process, I had seen the face of a young girl with straight dark brown hair and eyes like black pearls while I slept. It was only for a minute, but she had been laughing wholeheartedly in front of my face – exactly as my daughter was doing now. When that knowledge hit me, there was absolutely no doubt that my daughter’s soul had come to me in a vision to let me know she was coming and that she had chosen me.
It seems unbelievable, I know, but I have had many weird dreams, short and unstructured with no apparent meaning. This was different, it was real and it came with a message.
Raising my daughter has not been a typical experience or an easy one. Every single day is hard. I feel oftentimes that I am not equipped to give her what she needs. How could I? I was raised by a single mother with no extended family around, no younger sibling or cousins, no babysitting, and certainly no children with any type of special need. My daughter has many special needs, some stemming from biological sources and others incurred during her time in an orphanage. She has partial Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, a Reactive Attachment Disorder, ADHD, Anxiety and Sensory Processing Disorder. The worst part of all the diagnoses is that they are invisible so most people expect her to be capable of what her peers are, which couldn’t be further from the truth. I have to fight for her in everything I do. Sometimes that involves pushing the school to accommodate and sometimes it involves pushing her to do more than she herself feels capable of. She is clever, funny, creative, entertaining and filled with love, and fears that love will disappear. But I don’t give up, I will never give up. I will do the best I can to be the mother she chose.
This afternoon, I went on my deck to check on all the flowers I had planted a few weeks ago. This is something I do every day. It brings me peace and happiness to be near all the blooms. I have been watching one rose bud all week. It had been attacked by some insect which had bored a large hole into the side of the bloom. I thought for sure the bud would shrivel and die, but today it proved me wrong. That helpless bud had fought against fate and bloomed into one of the largest roses that plant has ever produced.
I stopped to smell it of course, but couldn’t help thinking what a perfect example of how resilient children who have experienced neglect and abuse can be. No matter what has attacked them, they still have the inner strength to survive and exceed expectations. I needed this reminder as the last few weeks have been very difficult, and I am grateful.