If you were to meet Haven in real life, you would that there really is something special about her. There is a sweetness, a tenderness about her. She is just so very endearing.
Haven has been part of our family for a little over two years now. She is ten years old. We adopted her after her first adoption failed–and she was left in China after five days of having a forever family. You can read her story here or here if you are new to my blog, or just click on her name on the navigation bar.
Haven is one of those children who waited and waited and waited for someone to come and get her out of an orphanage. Her story is heartbreaking. No child should ever have to endure what she did. Ever!
She is one whom many looked at and said (or thought), “She is never going to become anything in her life.”
How WRONG they were.
I’m here to tell you that slowly but surely Haven is becoming EVERYTHING God created her to be.
She is blossoming AND growing. She IS learning.
Sure, things do take so much longer for her to get….but oh how she is trying. With all her heart.
For the longest time she and I have been working on puzzles together. We started with the easy ones–those with the little cut-outs that you fit the puzzle pieces into. It was SO hard for her at first. Even puzzles for an 18 month old, she could not do. But eventually, with much perseverance, she figured it out.
Recently we have been doing 16 piece puzzles. I started by fitting all the edges together and then encouraged her to fill in the middle pieces. It took so long for her to learn how to do it…but she did. Her brain is working. She is learning.
These days I can give Haven the same 16 piece puzzles and she can totally put them together herself.
Why is it such a big deal, you may ask.
Because Haven was written off as being “mentally disabled”, “extremely low IQ”, “retarded”, “mentally ill”, and “profoundly Autistic”. To every person in the orphanage she was unworthy of even being touched (really!). To one family she was not the daughter they dreamed of having…so they returned her to her orphanage. And to the countless others who inquired about her while she waited on a waiting child list, she was just one who’s future seemed bleak, hopeless really.
So much rejection. So much heartache for one little girl.
And so she waited for someone to come–for years!
God, in His great love for the fatherless, reached down and rescued this sweet girl from a life of absolute hopelessness. He set her in a family and knew that she would thrive there. Simply because that’s what happens when children are in a family–in a place where they know that they are loved and accepted. They thrive. No matter what is “wrong” with them. It’s just the way it is.
The Lord God gave Haven the “safe and sheltered place” He promised when He named her.
I am so amazed at how far Haven has come. Yes, the effects of PTSD are still there. Safety is still a huge thing for her. She absolutely has to feel safe and protected. After years of awful abuse, who can possibly blame her? I too would want to be protected if I endured what she did.
We still wait for the day when Haven will find her words. If it happens, great. If not, who cares? Being non-verbal does not make any difference. It will never define who she is. She is so content in her silent world, and that is perfectly fine with us. She makes no attempt to even try and speak. She just could not care less about communicating with words. No worries, sweet love. We love you just the way you are. We love you like crazy!
I can’t even tell you what joy Haven brings to our family. I look at her and cannot help but think about the many, many children with similar “labels” who are waiting for a family to come for them. Children who are less than perfect (in the eyes of the world). Children who have struggled since the day that they were born. Children who live in conditions so heinous that anything “wrong” with them is exasperated. Children who, if just given the chance, WILL grow beyond all expectations.
What a difference it makes in the life of a child.
I cannot imagine my life without this beautiful little angel in it. How blessed I am to be her mommy.
There really is just something about Haven.