Unbeknownst to us at the time, yesterday, February 23rd, marked our two month anniversary home with Cassie. Randy and I had just been commenting on how much Cassie has changed and grown since first setting eyes on her back on December 12, 2011.
She is becoming more peaceful, willing, comfortable in our home, in her home. She is smiling more often, radiantly so. Cassie, while being nothing short of spirited, is delightful, compassionate, tender, funny as all-get-out and absolutely engaging.
Ever so bright, yet with a probable emotional age of a two year old, Cassie loves to cover her face just before one of us walks into the room and by doing so she thinks she is hidden. Yesterday, as a matter of fact, Cassie was talking on the phone with her interpreter from Riley and I heard her say to her, "Where is Cassie?" Then she sat real still and quiet with a slight grin on her face. When i told her she must talk to Yenchen in order to stay on the phone, she began talking and laughing as though she had just shared something very funny. I realized later that, when she asked Yenchen where Cassie was and then got quiet and wouldn't speak, in her mind she had been hiding from Yenchen.
This is one of many, many examples of how a child thinks and behaves who has not had an opportunity at attachment to a mommy and daddy from early on in life. Without attachment, neurological development becomes slowed, hindered, leading to stunted growth in emotional development which ends up, in our case, looking like a seven year old girl on the outside yet in reality feeling more like and acting more like a two year old in her focus, in her short attention span, in her struggle to reason out cause and effect to name a few areas.
And now that Cassie has a family who loves her and who appreciates her for who she is and where she comes from, she now has the opportunity to "catch up" and to get her feet firmly planted and established in the crux of her family, a family who will always be here for her.
When Cassie does not get her way, she likes to say to me, "Mei Mei bu (emphasis on bu) happy, Mommy." as she gives me a real sad look, lower lip down-turned. Bu means "no" in mandarin, so she is essentially letting me know she is not at all happy with how things are going for her at that moment. I happened to be sitting at the computer yesterday when she announced to me for probably the tenth time that morning she was not happy. So I thought to write to her on google translate, "But Mei Mei, you really have so much to be happy about. You have a mommy now. You have a daddy now. You have a big sister now. You have a nice bed to sleep in now. You have a heart that is healed now. You can play now." And for the rest of yesterday she did not make such an announcement again.
Until today that is....
But...Cassie is very bright, and she is catching on quickly to how a family functions and moves. Mentally she is one sharp arrow with an open heart for learning and for loving. It is only recently that i can share with you that we are fast approaching the end of what was, at times, a very dark tunnel. Yes, we are still in the tunnel, but can now see the light at the end. Thank you, Lord Jesus, for Your endless mercy.
The growth we are all experiencing as a family could not and can not and will not happen without a complete reliance on God the Father and Jesus as Lord and Savior over our lives. God has carried us through the days leading up to the adoption of this beautiful child, and He is carrying us now, transforming our minds and hearts in the midst of these trials and hardships.
The greatest harship we feel to be the language barrier we are encountering with this little one who loves her language and who has been reluctant to let it go. So to serve as a bridge, during the daytime Sonya and I speak little phrases in her mother language, and converse with Cassie the best we can that way. As we are doing this, we are also introducing the english language to her as well. Cassie is just now beginning to enjoy the feel of english words in her mouth and on her lips. She is just now feeling confident enough in our love for her and in her own ability to tackle and master this new language. It is a delight to watch as pure joy pores over her face as she sings the abcs or counts from 1-20 or when she learns a new little phrase and uses it often. One of her favorite things to say now as she holds up her pointer finger, "One second." And she loves to hold up her hand while saying, "I'll be right back." She also likes the sound and meaning of "I know."
There's so much more to say, but i will end for now. I haven't forgotten about my promise to share more about my journey of faith back to the Lord. Someone like me, who strayed so far away from Him, who at one time thought the Holy Bible to be nothing but a bunch of lies or half-truths and who now stands on the promises of God contained within the very same. My life and love for Jesus are nothing short of a miracle, and i am looking forward to sharing with you what i have learned about Him and His love for all of us. Until then, thank you for your prayers, and thank you for "listening".