there's this little extra pinch of transformation which takes place.
like a butterfly with new wings.
there's something in her eyes. something about her face. something in how she holds her delicate hands and moves her slim shoulders.
there's something in the twirl and leap and spin which grabs hold of my heart when i watch her. she is so natural. and i wonder, if still in china, would she be dancing? do children in orphanages of 3000 even dance?
i don't mean do they wear sparkly costumes and have perfect ballet buns or glossy curls -- that's ridiculous to think. but do they have anything in them which wants to twirl and dip? it's big fun to slip bell into her dance dresses, curl her hair and giggle as we attempt to add some eyeliner (the directions said to apply to the crease of the eyelid --- these directions weren't written for mother's with chinese daughters -- there is no crease)! though that's kind of exciting once a year at recital time, i have to tell you, there's no need for all the sparkly trappings to see bella's joy as she dances. it's all over her face whether she's spinning on the stage, in the classroom or across the dirty floor of my kitchen. she dances with joy.
this weekend, bella took part in a large recital. she and her best pal, emme rouse, have been in classes at the prairie school of dance every thursday. though sometimes getting to class each week is hard for their busy mamas (am i right, diana rouse)? the girls never want to miss. they always want to go. they blow into class each thursday afternoon like two tiny chinese hurricanes. some days we remember ballet shoes and hair buns and some days we barely make it in time with bare feet and messy ponytails. it doesn't matter. it doesn't matter one bit how clean they are after quick lunches in the car. it doesn't matter how tired they are from a lack of nap. it doesn't matter how cold or wet or wild the weather ...or even how crabby the mommy. when they enter that classroom they are ALL IN. there's no hesitation. no glance back over the shoulder. no timid turn of the head. nope! they grab hands and push themselves past miss carrie waiting for them at the door. they love to dance. they dance in puddles of joy, these two. and when i watch, i find myself dripping wet with the splashes of their liquid love. it's transformation for them and it's transformation for us.
just before we went to get bella (2 years ago next month)! we were sent this picture of her on the playground at her orphanage. i have to tell you, i cried over this photo. yes, i was thankful to finally see her sweet face (we had received very little while we were waiting for her), but this picture kind of broke my heart. that look in her eyes seemed so detached, so void of childhood, so absent of joy. i know (now) how easy it is to get bella to smile for the camera, couldn't they have coaxed even a tiny grin out of her? at least for her mama waiting across the ocean? she seemed so sad. i probably was reading waaaaay too much into it, but i can tell you, it made me want to highjack the nearest plane and head for china right then and there! this little girl clearly needed to be tickled on her belly and swung high in the air. she needed brothers to piggy back her around the backyard and big sisters to paint her nails and sing songs with. this little girl, like every little girl and boy, needed a mama and a daddy to squeeze her tight and tuck her into her bed with a thousand "we love you's" each night.
because that's what happens when we love children well. when they are brought home and held close to the heart. through our adoption of bella, we've met so, so many kids now with their forever families. even those children with things like spina bifida and other more obvious special needs, seem to dance in joy. what is it exactly? i'll never quite know, but i don't think it's got much to do with us. i am just humbled to be a part of it. humbled to watch my little girl dance wherever she is.
when bella and emme were finished with their dance on stage sunday, i was walking them back to their seats in the auditorium. as we were wiggling our way through the audience, people were giving the girls high-fives, huge smiles, little pats and way to go's! who isn't a fan of child who dances with joy?
i adore this photo of emme! that look! oh my...talk about JOY!
bella was clearly caught up in the moment --
notice the other ballerinas already up on their feet!
brothers to piggy back and sisters to paint nails...lots of joy found in these five!
(by the way, connor's not really angry -- he just didn't like the sun in his eyes). =)
sweet and so proud...
my favorite shot of the weekend was at the dress rehearsal on saturday. the mom's had to be back stage for a few minutes helping get the girls situated before their dance.
i caught bella in this sweet moment...
waiting in the wings...
waiting to dance.
and of course you know what i'm going to say next...
this picture only reminds us that in our world today, there are over 200 million other children waiting.
waiting for a chance to dance in joy.
"let them praise His name with dancing..." ~ psalm 149:3