Friday, June 30, 2006

Express Yourself

It's been pretty draining to have Jada go through this "terrible two's" stage.  Amy has been so much more patient and tender than I have, but we're both not in the best of moods when Jada's in one of her crying fits. We're trying to see the big picture here, that as she evolves developmentally she's learning how to express herself.  It's no longer just a reflex reaction -- I bump my head, I cry; I feel hungry, I fuss -- but the start of something much more complex.  Some day soon, hopefully, she'll find words and gestures that are appropriate for what she's trying to communicate to the outside world, but for now she's having to experiment with fierce faces, wild waving, and cantankerous crying. 

And this is just the first of many such phases: when she is much further along, she may feel deep things and struggle anew to express herself appropriately.  Amy and I have been discussing a lot lately about whether Jada will go through a phase where being adopted is hard for her, whether she is being teased at school or angry at her biological parents for abandoning her or just plain curious about her earliest days.  We hope we'll have built the kind of relationship with her that we can be a safe place for her to again explore the outward expressing of what she inwardly feels and needs.  We hope we'll adequately brace herself for a world that is sometimes mean but that still deserves our best.  And we hope we're never too impatient or dismissive with her, that we don't take the time to affirm her conflicted feelings and give her permission to hurt and wonder and rage. 

If, with God's help and by His grace, we can be those kinds of parents, then I have the feeling that we will have the remarkable opportunity to watch the blossoming of a cranky little girl into a woman who is confident, unashamed, and deep.  Not one who is without hurts and scars and issues, but one who carries them healthily and has a heart to help bear those burdens with and for others.  And if that's the payoff for being patient with her now, when she's 16 months old, then by God's strength and in His love, I'll do my best to exercise that kind of patience.
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