It blows my mind to think Elizabeth has been home over seven months now.  What’s even harder to believe is  how much she has changed since December.  I’ve been pretty lax with updates on her transition and progress on here (because, let’s be real, things have been ca-ra-zy around these parts), so let me take a minute to fill any inquiring minds in on how she’s doing.

In short, she’s doing awesome.  In December, we met a malnourished, dehydrated baby with extensive developmental delays.  She had very little muscle tone and was unable to even crawl at the age of 21 months.  Today, I am beyond thrilled to report that Elizabeth is more or less caught up developmentally.  She runs, jumps, and climbs.  Constantly.  She plays well.  When we first brought Elizabeth home, she had zero concept of play.  Upon being handed a doll, ball, or truck, she had no clue what to do.  Gone are those days.  Elizabeth’s imaginative play skills are particularly endearing, as she chatters away on play cell phones and sings her baby dolls to sleep.  She feeds herself independently (oh how she feeds herself…).  Her vocabulary continues to grow by the day, and her favorite phrases remain, “No, I do it” and “No, mine”.  Because, you know, she’s two.  And come to find out, two year olds act the same, no matter their nationality.


Growth-wise, take one look at the girl, and you’ll realize that there are no problems there.  🙂  I haven’t checked her exact weight and height recently, but I do know that she’s gained over 10 pounds and several inches since December.  She has outgrown clothes and shoes several times over.  To put it bluntly, the child can eat.  The dinner table often sees her furiously signing and asking for “mo’? mo’? mo'”.  (Meanwhile, we’re working on my ability to tell her “no”…)  Elizabeth’s favorite foods are still rice, beans, and chicken, and she has just recently started to willingly eat fruits and vegetables.

Oh, and attachment.  The oft-discussed buzzword in the adoption world.  Overall, we feel unbelievably blessed by the ease of our attachment.  While Elizabeth can still very often be seen clinging to my hip, her transitions at school and church and for babysitters have become much, much easier.  Any adoptive parent will acknowledge the doubts that will linger from time to time about attachment.  If we’re at the park and Elizabeth approaches and smiles at a stranger, I have the tendency to internally freak that her indiscriminate friendliness to strangers is a sure sign of attachment issues.  If she reaches for someone other than me, I wonder if that’s alright.  If I have failed as an adoptive mom.  As adoptive parents, we have the burden of carrying around the question of “is this a normal kid issue? Or an adopted kid issue?”.  (Per usual, the great Dr. Purvis has something to say about that issue here.)IMG_1768

While we’re on the topic of my probably-neurotic insecurities, let me address how the rest of us are doing for a second.  Right off the bat, let me just talk to all of you who insisted that the transition from one to two kids is harder than the transition from two to three.   You’re all liars.  In all seriousness, as beautifully as Elizabeth has fit into our family, adding another kid to the mix has been understandably exhausting from time to time.  But that just goes with the territory.  Aside from that, it’s been unbelievable.  I truly mean that in every sense of the word.  I honestly cannot believe that we have the privilege of raising this amazing little girl and calling her ours.  The way in which God has grafted Elizabeth into our family in a way that feels just so natural, so right… it leaves me in awe of the One who led us to her.

But I also mourn.  I cry for her birth family.  In fact, Tony Merida (author of Orphanology) preached a great sermon on adoption at our church this weekend.  My response upon leaving church?  Tears.  It took a long conversation with my patient (and probably ridiculously confused) husband to sort through why in the heck this sermon led to my crying.  The verdict?  Because talk of the beauty of adoption inherently drives me to reflect on the trauma and tragedy that goes along with it.  This was honestly not a big part of my framework of thinking about adoption until Elizabeth was in my arms.  But now I find myself thinking about her birth family all the time.  Praying for them.  Talking to Elizabeth about them.  I carry around a dull ache in my heart that her birth mother never had a chance at parenting her because of a probably-preventable death at childbirth.  I honestly don’t know if it’s “right” that this all affects me so much.  Perhaps I’m just too much of a bleeding heart.  But I also know that the moment we adopted Elizabeth into our family, we also adopted her history.  We adopted her broken past, trusting in God’s faithfulness and ability to make all things new.  To redeem.  But I still don’t forget.  Won’t forget.

All of that said (and once again, I probably said too much), we’re doing great.  Elizabeth is thriving.  Our family is thriving.  But before you applaud us making all of this possible, don’t.  We know plenty of other adoptive parents who have done everything right (we haven’t).  Who went by all of the books  (not us).  And, yet, who have had struggles with attachment.  Or their child’s health and development.  It’s not about us.  We have loved on and cared for Elizabeth the best we know how, and we just attribute any good that has come out of it to God alone.  He has heaped such grace upon us over the past seven months, and we are grateful.  Has it always been easy?  No.  There have been countless occasions over the past seven months in which I have found myself a weepy, exhausted mess by the end of another long day.  But God’s been good to us.  So good.



2 Comments on seven(ish) months in… how we’re doing

  1. Thanks for writing and updating. I’m glad this beautiful story is YOURS because of Jesus and that I get to read it.

  2. What an awesome update Catherine. I agree 1000% that going from 2 to 3 is harder (we should have just counted the number of arms & hands we had before that third kid to conclude everyone was lying about it being easy). I love your reflections on the truth & tragedy of adoption–it’s a sign that all is not right in the world, but that God works out beautiful & redeeming things in the midst of it…but to me, there’s still tears in that. Thanks for sharing your story. 🙂

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