Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Hard earned love

I gave an update on Polly recently. Now I'd like to update on Ms. Evangeline Marchenko.

Good news to report! Evie and I are finally in that gooey love you usually have with a newborn. She's been home eighteen months. I honestly wasn't sure if it was going to come.

I see her smile and I can't help but smile back. Throughout the day we seek each other out. This is a big deal. Before, it seemed like when she sought me I wasn't willing or able and when I sought her she wasn't willing or able. We kept missing each other. And we were frustrated with each other. At times we both felt rejected. Most of the time we both felt lost.

Now she comes to me and puts her arms up for me to take her. Most of the time when she wants me, I can't think of anything better than spending some time loving on my girl. She loves for me to swing her around. She loves for me to sing songs. She takes my hands in hers. She plays with toys. She seeks me out when she gets hurt.

It's been a long time coming. I can't say exactly what we did to cultivate this love. I mean, we did stuff. We've done brushing and holding and joint compressions. We go to attachment therapy. But I'm still not sure when I actually started to love her. I just did. And I thank God that it came.

I love her. I love her little heart shaped face. I love the sparkle in her eye. I lover her strong little Ukrainian gymnast body. I love that her eyebrows meet in the middle creating one long uni-brow.

Evangeline has not progressed much cognitively since she came home in August of 2009. She is just now starting to show an interest in toys. She still, mostly doesn't communicate. And I'm not sure if she ever will. But her emotional growth is substantial. She cries for her sisters. She says 'Mama' and 'Papa.'

I think she is starting to believe she is home. What more could a mother want?

Our love is hard earned.

Adopting isn't magical. It's difficult. A child comes home with you after months of dossier prep and in our case, extensive money and international travel. We know she's home in theory. Only she doesn't know that because she has never known what home is. And secretly, our hearts don't feel like it's the right child. Because all of sudden the reality of the child you dreamt about is here. And she acts differently than you thought she would. She smells different than your other kids. When she falls down she wants her crib instead of you. It hurts. And most of the time, it's painful.

But I just wanted to put down on paper tonight that it is worth it. It is oh, so worth it.

Our love is hard earned. But the reward is that much greater because of it.

I am over the moon for Evangeline. Our family couldn't imagine life without her. We are so glad that God orchestrated her being in our family. We got her!

Hard earned love is the best.


  1. So glad, Gillian. So very glad.

    (and you need a "hankie warning" at the top of this one)

  2. I agree with Tanya as I sit here and sob. So grateful you are there! Amazing and beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing.

  3. Hard earned love but also a beautiful act of grace. Lovely, lovely writing.

  4. By far the best blog post EVER!! Congratulations momma :)

  5. This is amazing, Gillian, so vulanrable, so moving and so it

  6. oooh wow. This is precious. What a rock solid foundation of love EACH of your kids will take with them through their lives. A person can pretty much tackle anything in life if they know they are LOVED. So happy that Evie is getting this. It's just the beginning of everything for her.

  7. That's awesome Gillian!! We've been praying for you guys, for their health and for the bonding to take place. My cousins adopted a little girl from Russia and they've had the same journey, but we're still waiting for them to "connect" in this way. This is fantastic for you guys!! xoxoxo

  8. smiles & hugs! I love hearing about your struggles and successes... we love you all!

  9. Thank you for sharing your heart, Gillian! It is beautiful and makes me a bit teary every time I read your words. I praise God for you and for your honesty!

  10. Very nice to hear! Great report from the front of what it's like.

  11. hard earned love--what a statement of strength and perseverance.

  12. what a beautiful touching.

  13. Congratulations Gillian. That means everything :).

  14. This is such great news. It's like the birthing labour you didn't get to have with Ev was replaced by a labour of the heart (and mind).

  15. beautiful honest post..thanks for sharing!


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