Wednesday, April 6, 2011

No Longer All Bottled Up

Daria in the gown she wore in Tessa's wedding
Mrs. Beaver:

Tonight Mr. Beaver and I took Daria out. Just the three of us. We granted her this time alone with her parents because we knew she had a long list of important issues she longed to discuss with us. The week before Tessa and Aaron's wedding, while Mr. Beaver was in Los Angeles, Daria came to me late one evening with about 15 in-depth questions about what it means to be part of our family.

I knew this was a journey the three of us needed to take together. I knew we were too caught up in the details of the wedding to give her our full attention so I promised her we'd carve out the time after the big event.

So finally tonight over lightly-breaded walleye, she opened her spiral notebook and began the in-depth dig into the kind of questions that any teen joining a family in another culture, especially a home schooling family, would have. Daria asked us to help her understand when she will graduate from high school since she's doing some of her studies in Russian while pouring much of her scholastic energy into learning English.

She wanted to understand what our family's year-round school schedule, with breaks for out-of-town company and travel, was like. Daria wanted to understand if we would do anything out-of-the-ordinary this summer. In the orphanage the children got a break in routine by visiting a camp each summer. Daria was excited about our current travel plans and our hoped-for travel.

She told us about her many, many interests, which range from the care of animals to interior design to ballroom dancing. Scholastically, she's interested in science of all types, but especially biology. She asked about religious differences between the Christian and Muslim faiths, between the Bible and the Koran.

Many of these queries we had to put off until we can research some more (and pray some more). Thankfully, she's a wonderfully patient teen.

When we got home, Daria spent the next hour telling me about her grandmother's special knack with animals in general and snakes in particular. She described in vivid detail watching her babushka capture one of the reptiles by grabbing it from the back of the head, pry it's jaw open and drain the venom for later medicinal uses. Daria believes she was about six or seven at the time. She lived with her grandmother until she was about eleven.

I'm not sure my beloved Daria took a breath between 6 and 10 pm tonight. I'm an exhausted listener yearning for bed, but I'm also a joyful adoptive parent. My teenage daughter earnestly wants to talk to her parents. She wants to share her life with us. She wants to share her past, what's bottled up in her heart and her future dreams. An evening filled with many laughs, general understanding of her use of her new language on our part, and a ton of patience on her part just doesn't get any better than that for the new parents of a 16-year-old.

God is so good!


WhiteStone said...

I am enjoying "meeting" Daria and delighted to see in her a maturity that contains wisdom. Bless you all!

Carissa said...

That is such a neat opportunity! Praise the Lord for her open heart! I pray God will give you wisdom in this learning process!

Tony and Dawn said...

It is great that she has yearned to open up to you and your husband. With adopted teens, this sometimes never happens. Regarding the love of animals, our oldest daughter has the same passion (she is 17). She started volunteering at the local animal shelter a few months back and now, once per week, she and her younger siblings spend two hours walking the dogs and playing with the cats. This has been very good for her, but also my youngest son we just brought home a few weeks ago. We have dogs and horses at home, but the shelter has been something they all enjoy together.

Tina said...

I feel so convicted! I have been so negligent in this area with my own children. Too often, my "all important" work interferes with special times with my individual children. Thank you so much for your example. Not only has Daria been blessed by you both, so have I. I want to commit to being more attentive to my children's thoughts. Thank you again.

the johnson crew said...

How sweet to hear she wants to talk. She wants to know her parents. Beautiful. Praying for you all. - Janelle