Friday, April 13, 2012

God Can Make All Things New

Aria has been a very changed girl the last couple of weeks. We have seen a slow change in her over the months that truly has been quite amazing. But I feel as if the last couple of weeks have shown the largest change in her, I think a great deal to her acceptance of her circumstances. For so long, she fought being here. As little as a few weeks ago, she indicated she thought she was still going back to China. After a long hard talk with Aria - again - about this home being her life now, it seemed that a light bulb finally went off. She asked me two questions after that talk. 1) "We're all done China?" This was something we have told her multiple times, but this is the first time she's ever acknowledged it. Her question was almost more of a statement. And 2) "I didn't have necklaces in China." Since that talk, she has found things almost daily to comment on about what she has here in America that she didn't have in China. Friends, I believe she has come to the stage of acceptance.


This is huge, because with acceptance comes hope. Aria has grieved, and grieved hard, these last several months of all that she has lost in China. And in her little mind, she lost a great deal more than what even existed for her there. We saw a great deal of her shock and denial while we were in China, particularly that first week she joined our family. We also saw her pain of leaving what she knew all her life into a world with a strange family with strange words and strange looks, food, and habits. We also saw her loneliness that first month as she would go off on her own, seemingly preferring to play alone and talk to herself in the mirror rather than be with us.

Looking back on the first three months of Aria's time home, I think we got the brunt of her anger. She was mad she was here, she wanted to go home, and she let us (particularly me) know about it. As her language improved, she was able to communicate the incredible loss she felt and how strongly she missed China, mama, and her friend Mei Mei. I think this surprised a lot of people that walked alongside our family because in wisdom, they realized Aria was taken away from a hopeless situation where she had very, very little. But to Aria, this was her home for 4 years. This was her people group, her friends, her land, her language, her food, her life. To not mourn such a profound loss would be even more surprising.

There were days we would see more of the girl that God made Aria to be. Days turned into weeks, and our hard days (at least as they once were) seemed to be disappearing. And then... acceptance. Aria has seemed to accept that we are her family, that this is her home, that she does have more of an opportunity for life and love here with us than she did in China.

Our family has had experience with grief. We know it comes in waves, and the fresh pain of it all can come out of nowhere like a blow to the stomach. We know that acceptance does not mean the end of the grieving process.

But acceptance is the first step to hope. And hope to joy. And the joy of the Lord is her strength. (Nehemiah 8:10)

She is definitely a "huggy" girl (her love language is certainly physical touch). But more than ever she is showing love to us... to Chad, to JJ, to Elliana, and to me. I've noticed her countenance, which has been for so long a default of scowls and frowns, now turn to smiles and joy. I've noticed her delight in kindness rather than lashing out. This girl is changing. She is becoming new.

God can make ALL things new.

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