Yesterday marked Eva being home 9 months. I didn't even realize right away, which says more than you would think. With the other big milestones-one month, 3 months, 6 months-I was searching for progress, looking for signs that things were easier. I was obsessing over how attachment was going, if her behaviors were FAS (forever) or institutionalization (possibly changeable). Every day there were several episodes of me analyzing and scrutinizing interactions and episodes.
Yesterday came and went without any such thoughts. Eva has integrated into our family so well. Is it still a little different? Sure. knowing someone for 9 months (and 2 of those there wasn't much communication) is different than knowing someone for years. But, she fits. She is our family. We are moving forward together.
It has not been an easy 9 months. There have been many shocks, struggles, stresses, and sorrows. But I feel we have really turned a corner the last few weeks. I admit a few times, I have thought, "What have we done?" "I can't do this". "I am not enough." "I am overwhelmed beyond belief."
But now, there really is no doubt. I can do it. I am doing it. I am enough. I am so thankful.
This is not to say it we won't still have hard times or bad days. Or that I never get overwhelmed. But, with her, it just feels like normal, "I have a big family and a lot going on and I need a break and a coffee and a nap and I wish someone would do my dishes and my laundery" overwhelmed.
At some point recently I realized I needed to not worry about Eva's behaviors being "fixable" or forever. She is Eva. She is our daughter. I need to work on fixing myself. My reaction to her behaviors. My ideas about what should be and what normal is. I always thought I didn't have any of those restrictive notions. That I would be naturally totally accepting of just about anything (drawing the line at violence/abuse). I mean, I have tattoos, I hopped freight trains. I used to shave my head. I have been outside of typical society most of my life. I am not normal myself, so surely I will just accept this child for whoever she happens to be. no matter what.
But I was wrong.
I hate, hate, hate to admit that. But I really struggled with some of the more atypical aspects of Eva. I grieved who I thought she would be. How I pictured her in our family. How our relationship would be. I was fighting reality and trying to fit her into this picture frame that never even existed. The harder I fought, the harder it got. I was not accepting. I was denying. I didn't talk about it a lot because I didn't even realize I was doing. it.
Don't get me wrong, I was definitely bonding and we were making big progress, but I was dragging my heels in hard as I could. I was making everything harder for all of us.
I realize all of that now. And I realize I need to work on fixing myself. Because Eva is not broken, and, most importantly, I don't want to break her.
Because I love her. Just the way she is.