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The Hope in Pandora’s Box

August 26, 2011

We have not officially started school, but signs are imminent. The box of teddy counters is back on the shelf. The laminated picture of Decimal Street we made last year is back in its place next to the shelf. Mercy has the “first day of school” tag for our calendar out and ready.

Yesterday afternoon Hope asked if she could use the teddy counters and Decimal Street. She spent two hours creating this.

A road (with a stripe dashed down the center) connects Decimal Street with the Teddy House mat. The branching roads, connected with rolls of tape, lead to destinations like a park (a piece of paper on which she colored trees and a swing set).

Hope has also been coloring pages in a coloring book, staying in the lines and finishing the picture. She’s even been doing word search puzzles, not reading to find words because she cannot read yet, but rather referring back and forth between the word list and the puzzle until she finds the correct letter patterns.

All of this since we settled on an extended-release ADHD med. she does not have to swallow whole.

*****

I’ve been struggling a little with not knowing my own child.

Yesterday, when she finished her teddy village, she brought me Usborne’s Greek Myths for Young Children retold by Heather Amery and asked me to read while she ate her snack. “Pandora’s Box” was the next story up. Hope had never heard it.

“That would be really hard,” she commented when the god Zeus gave Pandora and her husband a beautiful box for a wedding present, but forbade them from ever opening it. One day Pandora’s curiosity overcame her prudence and,

“She broke the lock off the box with a tool. Then, hardly daring to breathe, she slowly lifted the lid. Before she could look inside, there was a terrible screaming, wailing noise. She jumped back, terrified. Out of the box streamed all sorts of horrible things. There was hate and jealousy, cruelty and anger, hunger and poverty, pain and sickness, old age and death. Pandora tried to slam down the lid but it was too late.”

I finished the story and sat quietly, lost in thought, trying to remember the first time I heard the story of Pandora when Hope interrupted my thoughts.

“That’s a made-up story, right?”

I nodded.

“Its like that lady, Eve, in the Bible,” Hope said. “Except it was the real God who told her and Adam not to eat the fruit. They didn’t listen and that’s how we got sin in this world.”

This is what I mean that I don’t know my own child. The Hope I knew would listen while I drew a parallel between two unconnected stories. She could parrot it back to me immediately afterward before losing it. But she’s now reflecting on what she hears. She is making connections in her mind between the present moment and past moments that were previously beyond retrieval in her brain.

Did you catch that? She has been listening all along.

*****

I re-read the ending of the story:

“Then one last thing, very small and pretty fluttered out of the box. It was hope. People would now suffer all kind of terrible things, but because they had hope, they would never despair.”

“Who gives us hope?” I asked.

“Jesus,” Hope answered, crossing her forearms.

“What does it mean when you do that?” I asked, not recognizing it.

“The cross. Jesus’s cross. He died for all that stuff in Pandora’s box so we don’t have to.”

Amen, Hope. Amen.

*****

Adopting a child with FASD may feel like opening Pandora’s box. As Paul said in his second letter to the Corinthians, “We were so utterly burdened beyond our strength that we despaired of life itself. Indeed we felt that we had received the sentence of death. BUT that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead. He delivered us from such deadly peril and he will deliver us. On him we have set our hope that he will deliver us again.” (2 Corinthians 1: 8b-10.)

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. August 26, 2011 8:11 pm

    Carrie, now that I have wiped my eyes and gotten myself together…..I just wanted to say what an amazing and beautiful and inspiring story you have shared with us. What you are now experiencing with Hope makes me start to cry again, but I am SO HAPPY that you are now having the opportunity to really get to know her. And what an amazing thing, to know she heard you, even when you were despairing, she heard you. Sounds like our God, sometimes we despair, feeling like he is just not hearing us, but he does.

  2. August 31, 2011 1:15 pm

    What a wonderful testimony! I know there are days when I wonder if my son hears or understand anything I read to him but I keep reading. There are days when he understands better then others and I never know which day it will be. Thanks for sharing this!

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