IMAGINE

This has been on my heart for several days and I have a little time before bedtime to share……

Imagine if you were 10, or 12, or 15 or 16, and you were in an orphanage in America. You didn’t really understand what a “family” was, but you had heard ALL about it. You wanted one. Everybody wants a mom and dad and a home to call their own.
And imagine, you were hosted in China…. and you had a wonderful time for 2 weeks or the summer, and a bunch of kids went with host families, and everybody was excited because they knew they were going to be picked to be adopted.

And then, imagine that wonderful day when your parents came to get you. You dressed in Chinese style clothing and had learned a few phrases in Chinese. And you were SO READY to go!
You said your goodbyes, and got on a plane, and went to your new home, excited, full of hope…. ready for a NEW LIFE.

And then…. there were so many things to learn. So many new foods that you weren’t too fond of. And the sounds…. IF YOU HAD TO HEAR CHINESE for ONE MORE MINUTE, your head would explode!

Oh how you longed to hear your native English. Oh how you longed for Coco puffs… Oh how you longed for a taco!
Instead, it is squid, and rice and fish and seaweed FOR A SNACK! WHO EATS SEA WEED FOR A SNACK!

You are REALLY TRYING, but you can’t help but feel a little resentful that nobody seems to understand how you feel.
How do you tell them HOW YOU FEEL when you cannot communicate with them???
They think you are mad at them, YOU THINK, you aren’t even sure, and you really can’t tell them you are sad and you are longing for what was familiar, NOT because you don’t like your new family, but because you miss your old life.
It isn’t that you don’t like where you are, but you miss where you were.
Everything is SO HARD….. Every time you have to talk, it is HARD WORK to think of the right words, and the chance that you will be totally misunderstood!

And everybody just seems on edge. You question if you have ruined the family. You question if the family still wants you. You have been So.Much.Work!
Sooooo, in order to give them an out, and not cause any more damage, you say

“I want to go back! I want to hear my language, eat my food, see my friends!”

And they get mad. So if you stay they are mad. If you leave they are mad. They are just mad…. and there is no end in sight.

NOW>>>>>>>>>>>>

Imagine, if your parents, instead, recognized just how hard it was going to be for everybody and they worked hard to surround you with comfort foods.
One morning when you were expecting fish, they gave you coco puffs.
One day when you were trying to get the right words out, they sat and smiled at you warmly and gave you a hug, letting you know it was ok. Not to worry….

They worked hard to warmly smile at you daily…. They offered kind touch, and used gestures of acceptance and love.
Imagine if they took you to an English speaking Church, and then out for English food!!!!!
They brought over people who spoke your language and learned it themselves!!!

They laughed with you when you butchered Chinese and you were able to laugh at them when they butchered English!

Imagine they gave you space to grieve and knew when you were crying to go back home, they offered a warm hug and told you they understood…..

How different things could be……

The experiences we have had bringing girls over from other countries brought this to mind. I remember the days when communicating was so hard for them and the JOY on their faces when they learned we cooked Borscht!
We found a local Euro Deli that sold many of the comfort foods they loved from the orphanage, and they could hear their native language spoken to them.
It has been a wonderful experience going to the deli 4x’s a year and letting the girls ooh and aahh at all the food and bringing home things they never thought they’d see again!

I remember when Sweetie 3 was learning English how hard she was trying and it was YEARS before she mastered…… In fact, she is 19 and still has not MASTERED…. and she has been home since she was 8.
Second language MASTERY takes a LONG LONG TIME.
And English is JUST HARD.

Our facial expressions and body language is SOOOO IMPORTANT because our children READ us in that way.
LOVE YOUR CHILDREN… HAVE COMPASSION for them. Be understanding and kind. ALWAYS KIND, even when they aren’t…..
They are learning.
Not only are they learning about culture and language, they are learning about family and love and commitment and it is a STIFF cliff to climb.
Through Grace upon grace, and mercy upon mercy….. we will all make it.

Imagine.

Comments warmly welcomed!

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