Today was the first day we left Zoya in the nursery at church. We had arranged to tour the nursery and the 2's classroom before the service started to see which would suit her better. I was a nervous wreck as it was because this was the first time we were leaving her with people we didn't know and leaving her in a group setting with a bunch of other kids. I figured she wouldn't remember being with a bunch of kids in the orphanage, but I worried slightly this might remind her of her prior life. So as we were waiting to meet with the director of the children's program, Shawn noticed this boy (about 8 years old) laughing hysterically while looking at Zoya. This boy went and got his sister and looked right at Zoya, while laughing, and said, "LOOK AT HER FACE" and continued to laugh and smirk. I was beside myself and Shawn was pretty upset. I said to the boy, "What's so funny? I don't see anything funny!" And then the director came over just at that moment to start our tour. He is lucky because I had it in for him let me tell you! At church, I cannot believe this happened. My heart was racing, I was FUMING mad at this 8 year old! I felt like screaming at him, I felt like crying. I was SO upset. I know not everyone sees Zoya like we do. I get that. Nobody else will ever think she is quite as special as we do because we are her parents. But to laugh at my kid right in front of me because she LOOKS different. You just woke up the momma bear in me! My claws came out and I was ready to fight (yes an 8 year old!). I couldn't believe I was so mad at a little kid! I wanted to just yell at him and call him a little brat. I wanted him to see what we see in Zoya, but it seemed hopeless. Parents, teach your children compassion, seriously....if that's all you do....do THAT! Anyways....
She is really right between the two classrooms so we opted for the nursery for a few months and then we will transition her to the 2s classroom. She was eager to go in and play with all the toys and the kids. She waved bye bye with no reservation. I was trying to tell the workers everything I could jam in about Zoya and all her quirks but they were so busy checking other kids in I really didn't have time to say much. I did warn them she likes to touch everyone and sometimes hugs very hard and that she is not trying to be mean when she does this. So we left her there, and I watched her play and explore for a few minutes before I went into the service. The sermon was on Living a compelling life. The pastor got to a part in the sermon where he was talking about living a life in which we know we are constantly being observed by others and trying always to make Christ-like decisions. He said, "when's the last time you acted in a way that was un-Christ like?" At that moment I leaned over to Shawn and whispered, "Oh crap, that would be about 5 minutes ago when I wanted to drop kick that boy who was laughing at Zoya!!!" I still couldn't get un-mad at him though as hard as I tried.
The sermon was really inspiring and pushed me to reexamine how I can continue living a compelling life. We followed God's call to adopt Zoya but it can't end there. We need to continue living a compelling life in which we can affect other people and be an example of Christ's love. I'd be silly to say I know what the future holds. I don't. Will God call us to adopt again? If I had to be 100% honest, I am hoping he doesn't. How could I say that after seeing how blessed we are with Zoya? Well because international special needs adoption is hard, it's scary, its difficult, it's all unknown, its a risk (but I guess all good things in life are). If you asked me a few months ago, I'd say this was our one and only adoption regardless of how God feels about it! We did our part, right? To be honest, I don't really WANT to go through all that hassle again. I don't really want to put my full trust in God again (isn't that awful?) I want control! I struggle a lot with that. It is so hard to let go of all the unknowns and just jump. I laugh at myself because I can see the outcome and how God KNEW Zoya was meant to be ours. I can see that I should have trusted him fully all along and never doubted him because he could see us as a family long before we ever could. He knew we needed each other. We have Zoya and she is such a blessing and we are so happy and content with this life. But, this life is NOT about us or our comfort. We need to abandon that idea, but it is oh so hard. We are human. I have no idea what we will be called to do, but I am hoping that when we are called...no matter what he asks, we will abandon all fears and jump again...whatever that means....I hope we can be open enough to be ready when he calls us to our next mission field (whatever that may be). I feel God has bigger plans for us in the orphan and special needs ministry area and am praying that I can help our church move more toward a focus on those two areas. Our church needs it.
So you're wondering how it went with Zoya? We picked her up and as a teacher myself I knew to ask an open ended question to elicit the most honest response about how she did. So instead of saying, "Was Zoya a good girl?" (How do you answer no to that?!....) I said, "How did it go?" And the lady said, "Good, she had fun....you're right she does like to touch everyone and not everyone appreciates it." Heart broken there. I would love to help our church start a children's program that knows just how to include kids who are differently-abled. A program that would reach out to all the families with children with special needs. Many of these families are afraid to come to church because they don't know how their children will be accepted. We need to reach out to these families and tell them we want them and need them and value them. After I was feeling kind of sad about not everyone appreciating Zoya, the director came over to me and said that it seemed to go well while she was in the room. She said sweet Zoya crawled over to one of the babies in a swing and put a blanket over her to cover her up! My sweet girl. This almost brought me to tears. She is demonstrating love and compassion all on her own, which means she feels loved and valued and treasured and nurtured. I'm so proud of her. She also said Zoya was signing "help" when she wanted to play with a toy a couple of times. She was asking permission to play with it!
It's so hard to let go and let her show the world she is worthy. I feel like I have to brag about her just to open people's eyes to give her a shot sometimes. She is capable of SO MUCH, if people would just give her a chance. Seeing that boy laugh at her today made me most sad because it was once again a cruel reminder that some people will write her off because she looks different, or not give her a shot because they have preconceived notions about her ability (or disability to them). They will truly miss out. For now I will continue loving this girl with all my heart and pray that others can some day look past her differences in order to see her gifts. She is full of gifts.
Oh, and just for fun, it was a year ago today that I became a blogger. I enetered the blog world with THIS POST ANNOUNCING OUR INTENT TO ADOPT ZOYA.