So there has been this strange thought floating around my head lately. It just creeps up on me out of nowhere and it shocks me every time. It happens when I look at Zoya and realize my immense love for her and that I would do a n y t h i n g for her. Out of nowhere comes this crazy thought that she never lived in an orphanage. That that didn't really happen. That it was another lifetime, that it was a dream, that it was all made up. It is so odd because in my head I know she lived in that orphanage for 22 months and I know we took two trips to Ukraine to adopt her and I know she didn't live with us since she was born, but that all seems so surreal to me. It seems like it was simply a dream (or a nightmare). I honestly cannot believe she wasn't always my daughter. When this thought creeps up I tell myself that I'm crazy because I know what really happened...but no matter how I try to convince myself of that, I still have this overwhelming feeling that it really didn't all happen this way. Looking back on our time in Ukraine is almost like an out of body experience. That wasn't us and that wasn't her. It was another family's crazy story. We have been here all along and Zoya has always been ours. I look into her eyes and my heart just has a hard time believing her bogus story. Maybe it's God's healing. Maybe it's my mind trying to protect my heart. Who knows, but it is PEACE.
And it is a step toward the rest of our lives together because now, Zoya's orphanage story is but a sentence in her life story and I love that! Her history no longer defines who she is. She has beat the odds. She has proven every life has worth. She has proven she is becoming the child God intended for her to become. She has proven that she is a normal two year old princess who is capable of anything she puts her mind to. She is Zoya Faith Basile who is happy, stubborn, sassy, full of life, and loved beyond measure. She has found her place in this world and is already leaving her mark! I can't wait to see what else God has in store for her! I may never know why Zoya hard the start to life that she had, but I know it was but a blink in God's eye and now to us, but a blink in ours.
Many people don't think about how adopting from an orphanage can be a traumatic experience for the parents. I know I never thought about that before we adopted Zoya. Looking back on our first months home, although we couldn't have been happier with Zoya, I see those months covered by a cloudy haze. I mourned for all the children that were left behind. I felt depressed and helpless. I felt there would never be a way to make a difference for the rest of the children in the orphanage, and throughout the world. It was hard not to focus on Zoya's sad past. I viewed her as my daugher, but more I viewed her as a child someone else left behind. I viewed her as broken and needing to be fixed. I viewed my job as putting her pieces back together. In many ways that was true, but in more ways she was simply the child God had given us. She was simply Zoya...nothing more and nothing less. My job was simply to love her. Whether or not she had been an orphan, my job would be no different. Her past doesn't define her. I can now see that it took time for me to view Zoya as simply Zoya. She is who she is regardless of how her story began. Once I realized this, the healing could begin. It is amazing to see how I have changed since meeting Zoya. From viewing her as a child someone else left behind to hardly being able to comprehend the fact that she was ever NOT my child. Every day I love this angel girl more and more and I can't imagine my heart having even more love the next day, but each day I wake up, sure enough my heart is filled with just a little more love than the day before.
I think it is important to add that I'm not denying where Zoya came from nor denying the fact that that may play into how we need to parent her or how she develops emotionally....just coming to accept Zoya for who she is while not focusing on her past but keeping it in mind as just a smaller part of her bigger story.