When we set out into the world of adoption, we spent much time thinking about the child that would come into our home. We read books on attachment, we read stories and testimonies of trans racial adoptions, "Loved by Choice", "A Passage to the Heart", "Lost Daughter's of China", "attaching in adoption" and more. What we didn't prepare ourselves for were the eyes within our home .. not the almond eyes but the sparkling blues that would be impacted and forever changed!
Over the past two years, my beautiful Dakota has grown and changed. It is Dakota who made Maliah laugh for the first time and it is Dakota that spends hours in a day frolicking around the house with her baby sister - doting on her, giggling and playing dress up and teaching her what it is to be a little lady. It is also Dakota that Maliah asks for before she takes a nap each day when she says "when I waked up, we go get my sister, Koda and my big bruver". Every day ... without fail, Maliah asks.
Over the past two years the Lord also began to speak to my heart about my beautiful Dakota and in recent weeks, the message has become LOUD. He is, in every essence, teaching me to see the world through her blue eyes.
You see, Dakota, who has blonde hair and big sparkling eyes, is often over looked and over shadowed by her petite but very rambunctious sister. When we are out, most strangers will stop to gaze at Maliah and often will even comment ... "how beautiful is your daughter" or "she is so cute". We smile, agree and tell them what a blessing she is and then turn to see blue eyes peering back at us. Without fail, most will by pass or overlook Canyon and Dakota in their attempts to make notice of Maliah or to simply comment on her. We (as adults) understand ... she's as cute as they come, full of life, beautiful, demanding of your attention and well ... different from the rest of us, but the other eyes don't quite understand that.
The Lord spoke to me firmly on two occasions recently and let me see the world through those blue eyes. The first was with "Nana". Nana, who proudly wore each granddaughter on her hip at our awesome Orphans Ticket Home Gala was given a glimpse into this world. She brought my kids up to the church and with my insistence, I asked that they come a little early. I wanted them ... especially Canyon and Dakota to get the opportunity to look around and see the beautiful sanctuary we had transformed that day. They had been very much a part of my planning and even sometimes, left to entertain themselves while I wrestled in it's details. So, Nana did that very thing. I noticed my girls from afar and noticed a small crowd around Maliah. As I approached I saw Dakota tucked up under Nana's hip ... unnoticed and watching those who clammered over her almond eyed sister. Immediately, I dropped to my knee and looked into those blue eyes. She didn't have to say a thing ... I knew just what was making that heart ache! Later, after the Gala that night, Nana said that for the first time she saw for herself what it must be like to take my girls places. "I cannot believe that adults will take such notice of Maliah ... wanting to hold her, hug her and more and never turn their head to Dakota who sits quietly by -- my heart ached and I didn't know what I could do to shield her from the ignornace".
A second occasion was recently when I stopped by a friends house. This friend, without thought, came to Maliah's side of the car, opened it up and began to literally kiss and ooh and ahhh all over her. I understood that she wanted to come and say hello to my beautiful almond eyed beauty, however, all the while, my two other kids sat and watched ... without even hearing this person say "hello" or acknowledge them as they sat beside her. As this friend was talking to Maliah, I watched Dakota carefully ... I cannot even explain the sadness in her eyes as she simply ... watched. Her eyes told the entire story.
After these instances, I felt clearly that the Lord was trying to show me a way into my daughter's heart. On a recent trip to get some hot Cocoa lately, I decided to visit with Dakota about this and this is what it looked like:
"Dakota, did you know that you were once as little as Maliah"
"Yes, baby, you were. We all were ... me, Daddy, Canyon and YOU!"
"Dakota, do you ever notice that when you go out into public or are with other people that they give Maliah lots of attention and always want to talk to her?"
"How does that make you feel"
"Dakota, you know what, there is something I want to tell you. I want you to know why some people do such a thing and why it might make you feel that way --- they don't intend to do that --- it just sorta happens. You see, Dakota, first of all ... everyone loves a baby. Babies are cute, funny and everyone loves to hug on them. They did the same with you and Canyon both. They always came up and told me how beautiful you were. They always commented on your sparkly blue eyes"
"REALLY, how big was I?"
"Yes, REALLY - you got lot of attention - and they do the same with Maliah now too, huh?
"Yes, a lot!"
"The second reason they do that, Dakota, is because she looks different than the rest of our family. To us, Maliah is just that ... Maliah. But to other people, Maliah is unique in some regards. You see, Dakota, not everyone has a family that looks like ours. Not everyone has been blessed with a sister all the way from China. When people come up and talk to us, it is often because we don't look like every one else's family and they are curious about us"
"Kind of like Curious George!"
- I giggle - "YES, baby, like Curious George"
"And when people come up, they often want to ask questions about Maliah and although they never mean to not want to know about you and Canyon ... for the reason that Maliah looks different .. draws their attention. Sometimes, they too have families that "look different" or sometimes they think that maybe they have a baby in China.
"Dakota, I have another secret. One day, Maliah isn't going to like that attention and she isn't going to like that she doesn't look like us. She is going to have questions, questions about where she came from and why she looks Chinese"
"Well, Dakota, you know that Maliah was born from another Mommy's tummy. That Mommy couldn't keep her and the Lord brought her to us. But someday, Maliah is going to want to know why and someday, the extra attention and not being from my tummy might make her sad. But Dakota, that is what makes you so extra important. You see, Dakota, Mommy and Daddy know and trust that someday, when Maliah feels sad and has questions ... that she will come to us and ask. We also know that she thinks that you are extra special and she has a special bond with you so she might decide that it's her amazing big sister that she tells those things to or asks those questions from. When she does, Dakota, we know that you will be able to tell her how much we love her and you will be able to remind her that God knew her ... even in her Mommy's tummy. You are so important in Maliah's life, Dakota and someday she may look to you when she is sad too. Mommy wants you to know that I see that sometimes the attention she receives makes you sad ... but that someday what Maliah won't like .. is the very attention she receives that you don't like and makes you feel sad now. One day, you will be able to tell her that you understand a little how she feels, but that you learned and know that it's not your skin, your eyes, or the tummy that you came from that makes you special! RIGHT?"
"HUH ... I didn't ever know that"
"Dakota, God knew all along that Maliah would be your sister. He isn't surprised by any of these things ... he knows all the hairs on your head and even how you feel"
"Every single hair ... all of them?"
"YES ... giggle"
"Does it make you angry when those things happen or when people give Maliah so much attention?
"Does it make you sad"
UMMM ... sometimes"
"Does it make you feel a little jealous?"
Head down ... "YES"
"So Dakota, I want you to know that I see those things, and it is o.k. that you feel the way you do ... I see when people don't talk to you, or tell you how beautiful you are ... I see them and I want you to know that they don't mean to make you feel that way and Mommy wants you to know that I think you are so special ... very special .... and unique ... and beautiful ... and most of all MINE ---- God Gave you to ME just like he gave Maliah to me!... and I think and he thinks you are SOOO special ... just like she is!
Seeing the world through Blue eyes seems harder these days. I am so proud of those eyes .. so proud that all the while she lives this daily, that never has she taken it out on her sister. She has never acted resentful, displayed jealous anger or envy or any of the sorts. Instead, she watches quietly and takes it all in --- and hopefully now, she'll feel the freedom to let me know when she is.
Thank you, Lord, for showing my Dakota her heart! Lord, please help me to see the world daily through those lenses so that I can be the Mommy that BOTH of my girls need me to be for them!
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Posted by Cristie at 5:50 PM
Friday, December 5, 2008
So it seems as though so many times my kids say the funniest things and I forget them later ... such a tragedy. I wish that in my head was a video tape that could record and re-play my day in and day out activities with the three funniest and cutest kids I know. If I could, I think I would be the winner of that old show "Funniest Home Videos".
Today, when I picked up Maliah from school was one of those moments that was hilarious and maybe it was just to be since I happen to be the Mommy. Now, you probably won't laugh the way I did as you don't have a beautiful almond beauty on your hip, looking into your eyes and grinning while you hear her speak.
So this is how it went:
"Maliah, did you do the Nativity today, who is this in your picture" (Showing Maliah her beautiful picture of cut out pictures glued to construction paper)
"Baby Jesus ... dats Baby Jesus and hers Mommy"
"Oh, Maliah ... I love it, who else is in your picture?"
"UMMMMM (long pause) ... dats Jofess and Amewica"
Giggling ... "who is Jesus's Daddy?"
"JOE - FIS I said"
"And who was Jesus's Mommy?"
With assurance and confidence she says --- "AMEWICA"
HAHAHA .... The Nativity and Bible story, re-told by the none the less, Maliah Jade Xu Martine.
Oh, say can you see, by the dawns early light ... (SCREECH! -- wrong song)
Away in a Manger, no crib for a bed. The Little Lord Jesus lays down his sweet head ....
Posted by Cristie at 2:47 PM
Monday, December 1, 2008
O.K. so do you want the final numbers for the Gala - I have officially sent the big package TODAY!?
$32,630.01 was raised the night of the Gala
The expenses charged to AWAA were $6,482.01 - their are some others but they are being donated and covered by gracious families!
so that leaves a total amount raised to .......
So, pray for my package heading to AWAA's financial department. I think the last time I was that nervous to mail something was when I was sending my Dossier off or my acceptance letter for my beautiful Maliah off. You realize as you seal that folder and hand it over that you totally have to trust the mail system. AGH! That makes me nervous!
It was a great honor to work with AWAA and the staff to put together such an incredible night. I have to tell you, I know of one family who has already sent off their application to begin their journey to Ethiopia and several other families who are praying it over. I have 11 families confirmed to attend our next adoption seminar on December 4th and several of those are families who joined us the night of the Gala. Lots of babies .... Lots of blessings!
SO ... pray for that package arrival, it will be a great relief when I know that it has been received by sweet Mary!
Thanks a ton!
Posted by Cristie at 2:00 PM