Can you remember when you had a crush on that boy in school? That one really cute boy who was "perfect" in every way. You just knew that if he only knew you better, he'd love you forever.
Imagine you were assigned together for a big project. There was no escaping - you were going to be together for the long haul. Now imagine that the boy was nice to you sometimes. Sometimes not. He usually outright rejected you in front of family, friends, strangers. He often scowled when he saw you. You were sad, embarrassed, and sometimes even angry.
But of course you stuck with it. Because you are that kind of girl. Sometimes you were fueled by some romantic notion of love. The love he might eventually have for you - might even have for you now even if he wouldn't admit it.
Sometimes, you stuck with it because this was a commitment, doggone it! You said you would do it. You didn't want anyone to see you fail. You were used to succeeding. You were going to put in the necessary time and effort. Even if he didn't seem to care, you tried accomplish the goal for both of you. There were days when you gritted your teeth and did the dirty work that needed to get done. There were days when you just went through the motions. There were days when you just about gave up hope.
Did I mention that he was utterly and completely in love with your best friend? Since he absolutely adored your best friend, you knew that he was capable of love. He just wasn't willing or able to love you. Maybe there was something wrong with you.
Your best friend, with the greatest of intentions, tried to helpfully give advice as to how to get this boy to love you back. Sometimes you took the advice. Sometimes you angrily stared at your friend and said mean things like, "I know how to make people like me." You felt pretty awful after that.
There were days when you doubted that you were enough. You weren't really sure that this boy could love you. You worried that your love for him wasn't going to be enough to hold things together. You were worried that you could stop loving this boy and that the ache the absence of this love would leave in your heart would make you crumple. You were terrified you'd fail.
But, once in a while, especially when nobody was looking, you two
would share some pretty great moments that kept you hopeful about the
future. It kept you going. You would think, "See, he is really
starting to like me. This is true love." Your heart would swell with
joy nearly to the point of bursting.
And then he would
go back to avoiding you in the halls, sometimes literally running away
from you. He would make a face at you and yell at you, obviously
trying to tell everyone that he absolutely did NOT
want to be stuck with you.
You held on.
The sweet moments came more often. Loving him was less anguishing and actually (dare you say it) kind of great. Even if you weren't his favorite, he liked you better than strangers. That was enough to start, you told yourself.
He began to seek you out. He wanted to be near you. He smiled. He laughed. You smiled. You laughed.
You both developed your own sort of language. You had some inside jokes. Everything wasn't perfect, but you could see things changing. Thawing. Settling into an easier place.
The look in his eyes had changed.
Adoption isn't easy. But it is worth it.