Saturday, May 24, 2008

Expectations Vs. Reality

On May 23rd, I was about half-way through the day before I realized that it was on that day, two years ago, that we got Maya's referral. It's amazing how the time has flown.

On that day 2 years ago I made some assumptions about Maya's personality based on her adorable referral picture. She looked calm and peaceful and I imagined our future daughter as a quieting influence in our home and the child who I'd probably have to ask to speak up because her sweet little voice would be so timid and shy. For some reason phrases in her paperwork such as "active and restless" and "bangs toys against crib", didn't sway me a bit in my sure knowledge of this little girl's personality. If I'd had a crystal ball to see into the future, I think the picture above would have matched my perception of the calm, serene child we'd be adopting.

The reality is that this picture is much closer to the true Maya we've come to know and love. Although I admit I was quite fond of the image I'd had in my mind, we absolutely adore the loud, boisterous, energetic person who has joined our family and we wouldn't change her for the world. My expectation didn't match reality and I'm so glad.

I've had that same thought many times in regard to our 3 older children as well. There are things about each one of them that had I been given the option, I probably wouldn't have chosen and we'd be the poorer for it. When we were in the early stages of our adoption, a neighbor asked why we'd choose to adopt since we already had biological kids. He said, "With you own kids, at least you know what you're getting." I couldn't disagree more. Adam, Madeline, and Abby are so different from each other. Each one of them has surprised me numerous times. They've surprised me with talents I wouldn't have guessed they'd possess and challenges I wouldn't have guessed they'd need to face.

When I start thinking about expectations, I'm reminded about how many of the things I worried about in connection with little Maya have never come to pass. I expected her to be delayed. She wasn't. I expected her to have issues attaching to us. She didn't. I expected that I'd need to parent her a little bit differently than the other children. I haven't.

I'll admit there are some things I didn't expect to be big issues that are looming fairly large, but such is life. It's a leap of faith to give birth to children and it's a leap of faith to adopt. We love this "active and restless" girl just the way she is. She is her own perfectly made spirit and we're thankful we get to be a part of her life.

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