The Pursuit of Olivia

I was in Developmental Psychology, when my professor said something that caught my attention.

Adopted children can have physical, psychological, and emotional problems from early traumas in their lives, creating a variety of special needs….

And suddenly, my mind races back 7 years to when Olivia came home from China. At almost one year old, she could not even sit up. It was the result of being left in a crib in an orphanage all day- she  had no strength in her abdominal muscles. She also did not have a sucking mechanism, so we had to cut the nipples of her bottles so the formula would flow freely and she could drink. She had an extreme gag reflex, sensory issues and was very malnourished.

My teacher was right. She had many special needs.

But what God knew, was that she really only had one special need. Love. 

Olivia had never had a mother to hold her, to kiss her, to tuck her into bed at night. To love her. Olivia came to us not knowing what it meant to attach to someone, to trust a Mom and a Dad to care for you. Olivia didn’t know what it meant to be loved.

Olivia’s first bath with my parents in China.

And so my parents loved her. It wasn’t always easy. Olivia wouldn’t make eye contact with my Mom. The intimacy of eye contact was something Olivia had never experienced, something that was foreign and uncomfortable to her. But my parents pursued her. My mom would put a sticker on her nose when she went to wake Olivia up every morning & it would catch Olivia’s attention. She would make eye contact with my Mom, if only for a second. It was a start.

My parents continued to love and pursue Olivia; holding her, rocking her, feeding her, even when she resisted it. It would reduce my Mom to tears- but not once did she give up. Watching my parents pursue Olivia reminded me so much of our relationship with Christ. He loves us and pursues us, and even as we struggle and fight against Him, He holds us firmly in his arms.

And ever so slowly, Olivia began to love us too. She started to trust she would never be alone again, and my parents would provide for her needs. As she began to allow herself to be loved, and love us in return- suddenly, her other “special needs” started to disappear.

Olivia was able to sit up by herself. And within a few months- she was WALKING.

She gained weight, learned how to suck on a bottle and a straw, and her gag reflex and sensory problems got a little better.
Oh- and she started talking. Boy were we in for it ; ) Olivia has the biggest personality, and is so smart! She has memorized all our families phone numbers, and leaves us messages while we are away at school or work. She has an opinion about everything & is not afraid to show it!

Although it was difficult at times, Olivia was so beyond worth it. Watching her transform before our eyes showed us how powerful love really is.

Olivia Rose Ping Adams, the chance to pursue you is one of the biggest blessings we have been given. I don’t know what I would do without your sarcasm and goofy-ness during the day, and kisses and cuddles at night. My heart flutters every time you say “I love you” because that love wasn’t instant, but instead a beautiful process. I will forever cherish it. Oh Olivia, words cannot express how much we love you. We love you to the ends of this earth.

Will you let me hold you in my arms tonight?  
I have come so far to find you.  So far to find you.  
Will you take my love and give up the fight?  
I have come so far to find you.  So far to find you.
From a world away I’ve journeyed just to hold your hand.  You will never be alone again.
I have come so far to find you.  So far to find you.

3 thoughts on “The Pursuit of Olivia

  1. Oh Lindsay, this is SUCH a beautiful post and a wonderful tribute to your mei mei, Olivia. I did not realize her story, and I am so glad you shared it here. It is priceless ~ LOVE, I mean. It’s such a beautiful thing what the healing power of unconditional, Christ-like love can do. Olivia is living proof, as are so many other orphans who have found the love of a forever family. It’s wonderful to know that so many ‘special needs’ really only need one thing: LOVE. And I really appreciated your analogy of how our Father pursues us the same way your parents pursued Olivia. Just beautiful!

    And might I just add, how incredibly BEAUTIFUL your mama is!! Good gracious, she certainly doesn’t look like she can have a daughter all grown up and in college already. But she can rest proud in knowing what a wonderful job she has done in training you up in the way you should go… just like Olivia, you have blossomed into your own beautiful flower… both on the outside and IN!!

    Love you, Linds!!

    Hugs,
    Tanya

    P.S.>> Khloe has that exact same coat/hat that Olivia has on… it is one of my favorites! Your mama has GREAT taste!! 🙂

  2. That is absolutely beautiful! I am so impressed by your commitment to share the incredible need to provide families for orphans. My wife and I, at the prodding of our 14 year old daughter, began considering international adoption a few months ago. We are now in the process of adopting a 13 year old girl from China! We are so excited, and we can’t wait until we bring her home – a home filled with 9 brothers and sisters ready to share a whole new life with her.

    Thank you again for being faithful to God’s calling.

    • Mark- Thank you so much! I can’t even begin to tell you how incredibly excited I am for your family’s adoption- it sounds like there will be tons of love to go around with 9 brothers & sisters! How amazing! This past summer, I was an English Teacher for kids ages 5-12 in the foster home, so I LOVE hearing about families adopting older children! Both you and your new daughter will be equally blessed : ) Please keep me updated! I will be praying for you!

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