I don’t know what I expected. But there are so many things I didn’t think about. Like teaching table manners. To a 13 year old. Showing her how to wash her hair and take a proper shower. She had never been taught how to do it, she was just told that water was good enough. That was a hard one to understand. I couldn’t believe her parents hadn’t taught her the most basic of hygienic routines. But then I stepped back to try to understand.
For two years, she lived in a car. That means she probably curled up in the backseat, being quiet and trying to be out of the way as much as possible. They probably pulled up to a gas station and her father told her to use water to wash up quickly using only water and then got back in the car again. What a terrible life, especially in the heat of Arizona.
She saw a lot of violence while she lived in that car. She was taken from her father’s car after he pulled a knife and held it to his girlfriend’s throat. I can only wonder at what else she saw. Even when she was little. I just learned last week from her social worker that she has been a part of CPS from birth, for neglect. Unbelievable.
She’s a very quiet girl and uses as few words as possible. We are a highly verbal family, so this is a stark change to our norm. We don’t understand why she won’t tell us when she needs something. One day, she had a blister on the back of her heel and she put a piece of fabric on it and used a hair tie to keep it in place. She never asked for a band aid. This girl can take care of herself when she needs to, even when she doesn’t need to anymore.
God brought us to this new adventure. i have no doubt about it. There are just too many things that brought us to this to convince me that they are not just coincidences. When God has a plan, He makes it to where nothing else matters but what He wants us to do. That’s how I feel looking back on the time when we were trying to find out what her situation was and how to help her. None of the thoughts on what I would have to teach her at 13 years old, things I haven’t thought about in 8 or 10 years when I taught our bio daughter how to shower, table manners, social interactions, just about everything, came to mind. If they had, we might not have tried to help her.
I get angry at her for some of the things that she does, or doesn’t do, that I expect from a 13 year old. I have to remember that she is functioning at a 9 year old mental capacity and I can’t judge her against my 12 year old bio daughter. I pray a lot for patience and to help me correct her the way Our Heavenly Father corrects us. With love.
It’s so hard. I’m not sure I’m up for this new adventure. The only thing I know is that God is with us. And He will get us through this.