Discover the Sweet Spot of Success Learn Where to Experience Peace and Joy, No Matter What
Leah was a woman ahead of her time. As a social worker, she assisted lawyers, physicians, and women in crisis pregnancies.In her spare time, she operated the County Home, or orphanage,where she poured her life and love into abused and abandoned children who were sent to her for refuge.
One balmy August day, Leah was delivering a baby to new adoptive parents. However, this wasn't any ordinary adoption. This was the adoption of her first granddaughter by her son, Mike, and daughter-in-law, Retha, who had suffered from infertility for years. The homecoming of this baby was a new beginning for them.
Leah pulled into the gravel driveway in her big black Buick, washed by the children at the orphanage for this event. With her heart pounding and hot tears streaming down her cheeks, Leah whispered to the sleeping newborn on the front seat next to her, "Here we are, sweetheart. You're going to meet your new mommy and daddy. They already love you so much and have been waiting for you for years."
Grabbing her linen handkerchief from her patent leather purse, she tried to stop her tears, which dripped freely onto the baby's tiny face. As she nestled her granddaughter close to her bountiful bosom, she smoothed the satin-lined pink blanket around the baby's body. Then, in her tie-up grandma shoes, she tiptoed up the steps of the bungalow house, with the glee of a child who has just received a present she can't wait to share.
Opening the squeaky door to the screened-in porch, Leah proceeded to peek through the three little windows of the front door to see Retha and Mike rushing to meet her. With shaking hands, Mike reached out to hold their new daughter. "She's so tiny . . . I can hold her in the palm of one hand!" Mike exclaimed. Retha gently placed her hand beneath Mike's to steady his grip. When she could wait no longer, she said, "Now I want to hold her." Suddenly, the baby arched her back and began crying. Retha's body tensed and she wondered if she was doing something wrong. Maybe the baby didn't like her. Maybe she wasn't cut out to be a mom. She pulled the baby closer and the baby screamed louder, refusing her touch. Nervously, she handed the baby back to Leah.
Fast on the heels of the fearful thoughts about the baby rejecting her was haunting guilt. Retha asked herself how she could entertain such thoughts about this baby they had longed for. Where did those feelings come from? Neither Mike nor Retha realized that they had a secret parental need—to know that their child loved them.
They also had no idea about the challenges that this innocent baby would bring into their lives, but they were determined to do this parenting thing right. They wanted to succeed in meeting the needs of this tiny one.
We Couldn't Understand Some of Her Behaviors
As a baby, their daughter did things they didn't understand and they had no idea how to handle the behaviors. They didn't know any other parents with adopted kids, so they had no one to ask if her unusual actions were normal for an adopted child.
When they tried to cuddle their baby, her body went stiff. She refused to eat. When they put her into her crib, she aggressively rocked on her knees. The motion moved the crib around the room so they never knew where they might find it the next morning.
As a young child, she seemed clumsy and banged her head against every chair and car seat she sat in. And what a temper! What should they do with a raging child, kicking on the living room floor? Was it best to put her out on the back porch to settle down?
Then there was the day that she scratched "I love you" messages on their fine bedroom furniture. Should they be happy about that? Their daughter's learning ability seemed below normal, despite the tutors Retha hired.
Excerpted from 20 Things Adoptive Parents Need to Succeed
by Sherrie Eldridge
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