"Thank You that she can now relax those survival skills and
learn to look to a mama and daddy for what she needs."
This quote come from a blog that I've been following. A little girl just came home from Bulgaria. She is nine years old and only 10 pounds. You can check out the story HERE. It is heart wrenching and amazing. I can't believe this little one is still alive, let alone might actually live!
The quote above actually made me cry this evening because I have seen Sofie relax her own survival skills. Although, she was so lucky to not have been in such dire straights as little Katie, she has her own story. We will probably never know that story completely but I know she was alone. Sofie had to go through her first three years of life an orphan. She was not touched enough. She was not stimulated to learn, communicate, or even play. She cried and no one came. She sat in wet or soiled diapers for hours and broke out in rashes on her bum. She was force fed to the point where it hurt. She wasn't allowed to put anything in her mouth for fear of spreading germs or being dirty so she had very little oral development. She never knew love.
She some how survived. God protected her until we could get to her. She tried to control her eating and tried not to eat but it was forced upon her. She was a mere 19 pounds at 3.5 years old. She hit anyone who got to close to her when they were un-welcomed. She pulled hair for attention, even if it was negative. Her eyes darted when she was afraid but made no sound from her mouth. She had to rely on her own tiny means to get through the days in her crib alone, staring at the children through bars. She would rock, click her jaw and tap her teeth continuously just to get some stimulation. She had never been out side the gates of the orphanage.
Sofie is discovering what love is now and learning how to be in a family. She has all but dropped her rocking. I only see it a few times a week now, instead of the hourly habit it was just a few short months ago. She only clicks her jaw a few times a day instead of a few times a minute and I don't remember the last time I saw her tapping her teeth. She is realizing she doesn't have to be in charge of her survival anymore. She is starting to trust that Mommy and Daddy get to take that responsibility off her tiny shoulders. All she has to do is be a kid. All we have to do is love her, and that is so easy to do. Literally watching her body relax over the last few months is such a gift. Seeing her smile when we come in to the room she is in is priceless.
Honestly, all my fears of not attaching to her are gone. I'm attached. I feel like her mommy completely. I don't remember when it all exactly came. It was much more gradual than with Livi but I'd say it was pretty locked in within the first few weeks. The first few days in Bulgaria we so surreal. I was in awe of her. The first few weeks at home were hard. I was frustrated with her but wanting to be in love, holding on to the knowledge that it would get better and feeling my love ever so slowly grow. As things settled down, we figured each other out and when we figured the sleeping issues out everyone was happier and much more loving. I was sold, attached, a real Mommy again.
Sofie is showing a lot of signs of attachment now too. She follows me around and cries if she think I'm leaving her. She smiles at us and even looks for us when we are with other people. She listens to our promptings better than too strangers. She is still very social and in-discriminant who plays with her. Part of it is the un-attachment but we figure she also has a really social personality. Sofie has also found her voice. I'd even say she borders on loud sometimes! We promote fun yelling contests... I think we might regret that one day. You can actually hear her laugh now! She cries loudly now too. Not in the panicked way she did in Bulgaria, but just like a typical 3 year old complaining or upset with something. She is realizing that she can cry loudly because Mommy or Daddy will always come.
I'm thankful that Sofie is such a strong little girl was able to survive until we could get to her. I'm also thankful that she is trusting us, looking to us, loving us and feeling loved. She doesn't need to just survive anymore. She gets to flourish.