Sweetie’s Choice

Many years ago, when Sweetie 4 was 7, she was removed from her tiny village, along with her brothers and sister and placed in an orphanage.
She said that was the first car ride she ever remembered.

Sweetie had a very tumultuous life, but she didn’t really know that, because it was all she knew.  There was a serenity about her village that she speaks of often.  She was carefree, way before any child should be carefree wandering through the streets of her village.
She wandered into houses and took food. She wandered into orchards and took apples. She wandered the streets and found terrible trouble also.
Her earliest memories of this were long before she was able to have been left alone.  She said her mama piled garbage bags against the door so she couldn’t get out of the house, so she climbed out the window, and nobody ever noticed she was gone.  She would wander home sometimes after dark.
She and her sister still remenisce about simple things like making hot soup, fishing in the river, drying the fish on the roof, tending to a garden and  raising chickens.  They fondly remember their brothers.

They also remember the dark side of things;  alcoholism, hunger, fear, cold, abuse, violence, fighting, broken glass, garbage, and more.

Sweetie was ripped from the only mama she knew, a mama she loved, and placed in the orphanage. She saw her father taken away by the police, never to be seen again.  She loved him.  She hated him.

Not quite two years later, a family would come to adopt her, her brother and her sister.  Her sister was looking out for her best interest, and Sweetie trusted her sister.  But she had to make a choice.
She was 9.
She didn’t want to go to America. She wanted to stay. “What if my mommy comes back and gets me?”  “What if she comes to see me?”
BUT…   She had already lost her baby brother to adoption by a Russian couple.
She didn’t want to now lose her brother and sister too!
She didn’t want to be ALONE!

So she made a choice that NO NINE year old child should have to make.
That was my brave girl.

Trying to adjust to life in America was so hard on her.  She didn’t want new parents, but there they were. And her little brother was replaced by another little brother. She didn’t want him either.
She was grieving.
And then she got ANGRY.
As her little life became full of rage, it spilled out against the very ones who wanted to love her.  They couldn’t reach her.
It never once occurred to her that she could possibly lose her brother and sister. But that is exactly what happened, and now, her worst fear had occurred.

She was ALONE. Completely alone in the world. She had no way of contact and was not allowed to contact her siblings.  She was on the other side of the world from her biological extended family, and she was TERRIFIED.

We came into her life when she had turned 11.  There were a few other stops along the way in her journey.
We are her third adoptive family.

She was BROKEN.

I had never seen a child who’s spirit had been so broken.  Trauma had taken hold of her like a freight train running down the tracks. There were no brakes and it wasn’t slowing down.

BUT GOD…. rich in mercy, great in compassion, looked down at a little girl whose life was a tragic mess and intervened.
What a journey for her; for all of us.
I can say she is doing great, and she is, but there are days when
suddenly, every thing doesn’t feel like it fits.  All of the sudden, it is like trying to wear a high heel and a tennis shoe at the same time.
It just doesn’t “feel” normal.
And the memories flood back in.

This was our day yesterday.   I don’t know why sometimes I get caught off guard. You would think I would remember.
Yesterday everything seemed to go wrong for her.
“Mother! You need to do your job and make my breakfast!”
“Mother! You have to take me to school, NOW!”

“Are you asking or telling?”
And she blew up….  Five minutes later, she was full of remorse, and then five minutes later, back to being demanding….
She made it to school and when I picked her up she was full of remorse again.

Then there was a bumpy, afternoon, it was hard work to keep her on track, but we managed.
Then, last night before bedtime she asked if I could rock her.
“You don’t have to rock me if you don’t want to! You really don’t!”

“Why would you think I wouldn’t want to?”
“I think you sighed.”
“I’ll be happy to rock you.” 🙂

So we rocked. My 3 year old, in a 14 year old body, curled up on my  lap and I rocked her.  And then, she began to speak.

“I miss my family.”
“I miss my mommy and daddy. I miss my brothers and sister.”

“I know sweetie. It must be so very hard sometimes to not have them.”  “It wasn’t your fault.”
We talked a little bit about her memories of them and then I sang to her the song called, “Through It All”.

I’ve had many tears and sorrows
I’ve had questions for tomorrow
There’ve been times I didn’t know right from wrong
But in every situation
God gave blessed consolation
That my trials only come to make me strong

I’ve been a lot of places
And I’ve seen so many faces
But there’ve been times I’ve felt so all alone
But in that lonely hour
In that precious, lonely hour
Jesus let me know I was His own

Through it all
Through it all
I’ve learned to trust in Jesus
I’ve learned to trust in God
Through it all
Through it all
I’ve learned to depend upon His Word

So I thank God for the mountains
And I thank Him for the valleys
I thank Him for the storms He’s brought me through
Cause if I never had a problem
I wouldn’t know that He could solve them
I wouldn’t know what faith in His Word could do.

As I sang to her she intently listened to the words.  It was a precious
time with her.
She whispered in my ear, “I’m so glad you are my mama.”
And I whispered back to her,”Me too.”   “It is always ok to love your first mama.”
“And someday, if I ever meet her, I will give her a hug, because she gave me you!”
And Sweetie 4 went to bed, peacefully and drifted off to sleep in safety and security.

And then,  I breathed a sigh of relief, that she is really going to make it!  She really is!

And I reminded my self once again that not all behaviors are what they seem.  Sometimes they are just a kid being rude, and sometimes they are symptoms of grief.
How those two scenarios are handled, is very important.
We cannot plan for “grief” to visit us in a timely manner.
It just happens.  You can be going along just fine, minding your own business and suddenly, you are missing somebody who has died. That has happened to me so many times in my life.
I’m glad she was able to open up and tell me with her words, what her behavior had been trying to tell me all day.

Comments warmly welcomed!


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