This past Tuesday was our daughter’s first day of second grade. While first days of school always mark the passing of time, and thus can be a bittersweet moment, this one was especially rough for me. We just relocated to the Seattle area because I got a new job with my company. This meant that we moved away from all our family and the friends we’ve made over literally decades of living in the DFW area.
We just moved to the area a week before school started, so it’s been quite a whirlwind few weeks. The night before school started, it really hit me that Alina would be all on her own just a few short days after we had arrived. We haven’t even had the chance to get settled yet, and already she was going to have to venture out on her own.
So many people have encouraged us during the last few months, and one of the things they kept saying was that “kids are resilient” and that she’d adjust just fine. While my head believes that, that feeling was not echoed in my heart. It was actually a worse feeling than the day before we dropped her off at kindergarten. We had lived in that area for more than a year before she started school, so being here for such a short amount of time had me thinking that it would be harder on her.
As I lay in bed staring at the ceiling, I literally cried out to God and just over and over again said out loud “God be with my little girl.” As an adoptive father, I am very well aware that Alina is truly a gift of God, and that He has given her to us to guide her in the right way, encourage her, and try to guide her in the right way. What I was really freaking out about was that I couldn’t be there for her to comfort her if she was scared, and tell her that it would be okay.
What I realized is that trying to hold on to her is just as futile as trying to hold on to a rope that is tied to a runaway bull: it’s futile. The tighter I try to hold on to that rope, the more I would feel it ripping through my fingers. As time goes on, and she gets older, the less rope I have to hold on to, and the more she will be in control of her own life and the more choices she will be responsible for. I only hope that with what little rope I have left that I help steer her in the right direction.
But ultimately I know that she is not my daughter so much as she is God’s child, and I have to learn to be okay with that. I will continue to pray for her, plead with God to help me be at my best for her, and at times even try to wrestle with God trying to keep her safe and protected. But only He can really do that, and like every other Father trying to raise their kids that is so hard for me to swallow.
In the end, I am left with a hollow feeling that no matter what I do, I cannot be there to shelter and protect her all the time and I have to learn to live with that. That’s when I have to rest in God’s promise that He knows her name, He looks out for her far better than I can, and that He is with her all the time. I must ask for him to fill that hollow feeling of helplessness in me, and help me because I am so incredibly weak. Thank you God for allowing me to be a small part in her life story.