Last night as I performed our bedtime rituals, Zoe got all serious on me. I think I triggered it when I made mention of how different her room looks now. We just recently took down all the pretty pink and yellow decor and replaced it with the color grey. Yes, that new color that is gaining so much hype that will hopefully sell our house. We have been planning for over a year to move. We have tried before but this time it’s for real so new paint and carpet has left us with a shell of a house that no longer says that we live here. Zoe has had to deal with a lot lately. Her brother and sister moved out within a week of our biggest event; Jacob and Rachel’s wedding, and she has been left with two 46 year olds that love to go to bed around 8 o’clock each night. She has expressed how she doesn’t want to move but we tell her of all the new and exciting things that she can do in her new house and quickly move on to another topic. This particular night was hard for me. She didn’t cry but got a worried look on her face. Zoe doesn’t cry much. She cries over pain when I do her hair or when she falls down. She doesn’t even cry when we leave her for over a week with loved ones to watch her. She worries about school work when she doesn’t score an A but this was different. On this night, this reaction pulled on my heart strings.
I have to tell you that when I first found out that we were matched with Zoe, then two years old, over a conference call with Scott and our social worker I was overjoyed. Truly I knew she was ours and couldn’t wait to lay eyes on her sweet little face. Over the course of a few weeks we agonized over how long it was taking to get a court date in Ethiopia. Then the disappointment of a postponed court date for over 14 months. This was an emotion I had never experienced before and I’m sure all mom’s and dad’s who adopt have gone through this pain. However, when we brought Zoe home it was difficult for me to bond with her. She was a good little girl but fought me on just about everything I wanted her to do. She didn’t want me to dress her or change her diaper. She didn’t want to take her medicine or brush her teeth. She didn’t want to go to bed or ever be alone so this was all very hard for me. I was trying to love her unconditionally but her defiant behavior was not making it easy. I was told early on in our decision to adopt that this was common. Another mom shared with me how it was also difficult for her to bond with her adopted daughter. I prayed every night and marveled at how quickly my older two children were accepting and loving and bonding with Zoe. Even watching Scott with her put my feelings to shame and I just kept pushing them away. Having Zoe home alone in this season of life is so good for me. She is the only one I have to look after. She has our attention but has grown to love her alone time and we give each other space. Zoe loves her school and friends so naturally thoughts of all that changing is difficult. I can only reach down through my own experience of moving when I was 12 years old and pull out stories of how I saw God get me through the scary and lonely feelings. I hated the thought of leaving my school and friends and did not welcome the uncomfortable feeling of meeting new friends. Funny that while having to walk through that experience it has made me thrive in situations where I have to meet new people. Ironically enough this move it primarily for Zoe’s sake. We are in a house that doesn’t have close neighbors around. Yes the yard screams for a tree house and even though there is a tire swing, Zoe does not like playing out there alone. We felt like a move to a neighborhood that is walking distance to her new school and with parks around where we can walk and bump into neighbors would be so good for our little social girl. It’s hard to make decisions for our kids when they don’t see the benefits yet but I know God prefers it that way. We don’t know for sure how this plan will end up but we have to cling to God and His promises. He will never forsake us. He is guiding us and that’s exactly where I have felt the most comfortable. From the time we said yes to adoption up to now selling a wonderful home we will thrive wherever He leads us.
Being comfortable is often what we strive for yet I find that when I reach that comfortable pinnacle I begin to move on. First, it begins in my mind and then Scott and I pray about it. I used to feel like I was quitting but it’s not that at all. I believe, for me, its a time that causes me to ask God, “what’s next?” Recently, studying John 5 I saw Jesus dealing with doubters. When I’m not willing to say yes to God I’m doubting His power and my unbelief hinders me from experiencing His mind blowing plan for my life.
Moving might not seem like a mind blowing experience to some. It’s just a house or neighborhood. But every move we have made in 24 years has come with careful prayer and consideration on why? That way I can explain with complete honesty to Zoe that our actions are not our own. He had a plan for her life before she was knitted in her mother’s womb. She will grow up hearing stories about how her grandparents and great grandparents prayed for God to show up in big and little decisions. That certainly helps me in knowing that I’m making the right move for my daughter. I’m making the right move for her well being and I know that decision will help me bond with my daughter because just like God says to me, ‘I have your best intentions in mind when you follow me.’ With change comes new opportunities. I can’t wait to see our reward.