My Rock Star Teen

In September I posted a picture on Facebook of Pima being the “best” cousin and a friend commented that Pima seemed to be the best at a lot of things, obviously from seeing the previous posts that I’ve shared of her. She absolutely is the best.  But sometimes, and mostly in person, I’ll mention to people that adopting a teenager hasn’t been the peachiest of times.  I remember when Ryan and I were discussing what it would be like to adopt a teen, and we assumed that after working with teenagers in a youth group for 5+ years we would be experts.  We were so very wrong.

We are mermaids, of course.
I could think of at least 50 blog posts to write about experiences that we’ve had with adopting a teen, but because she is a teen, they’re not really my stories to share. Ryan and I have hit some serious lows with Pima, one low in particular that I pray I’ll never encounter with my littles.  Most of those times came after her adoption.  The counselor explained to us that once Pima had official stability she didn’t know how to internalize that, having lived a life that consisted of messiness, change, and always waiting for the next shoe to drop.  There were actually two times that I can think of when I went to bed questioning if I should stay awake or not, thinking that Ryan would get stabbed in the middle of the night. CRAZY right?!?!? You have no idea. 

I’m so thankful for my mom and mother-in-law’s support, Ryan and I often make phone calls asking for reassurance of whether Pima’s behavior is “normal” teen behavior or a “teen from the system” behavior.  I am happy to share with you that most of our questions lately have led to an answer of “normal” teen behavior, which is HUGE. Pima deserves to be a normal teenager after the not-so-normal life she’s lived.

The other day we were sitting together signing up for graduation announcements and gown orders when I typed 'Pima Opal Senters' into the name line.  Pima started laughing at me and I had no idea why until I realized that I meant to type 'Pima Opal Jordan', honest mistake! (Ryan would’ve written Senters on purpose).  After typing her name incorrectly it really had me thinking that she is both.  She is forever a Jordan and forever a Senters.  She is a part of our Ohana.
I keep having these fears that Pima will turn 18 and promptly move out. But I believe I created this thought in my mind to protect myself from feeling absolute shock if it actually does happen.  She has had conversations with me about shopping for her wedding dress, being in the room with her for big future Dr. appointments and various life events and I always say “if you want me there” because I don’t know what she’ll feel like when those days do come.  I imagine that other families that adopt kids who are older might have those same feelings, and I guess that having her consider me at all when she thinks of big life events is a blessing anyway.

Merielle, our friend and Pima's mentor that leads her towards Christ.
I was at a training about a month or so ago on adoption and left with a complete perspective change for Pima and my other two adoptees. One thing I couldn't shake was when the trainer explained that we are always trying to find “permanency” for kids in the system but we forget that they have permanency; they’ve always had it with their birth mom.  What we need to stress is that we’re finding them a “forever home”.  About two weeks later I was in contact with Pima’s mom and we were setting a date for dinner.  Now Ryan and I have both had the chance to spend time with her and we have the privilege to watch Pima build a relationship with her Mom again after 6+ years have passed.  I realized that I needed to get over the fear of Pima leaving and instead give her wings to fly, trusting that Jesus will guide her. 

Visiting with her Momma
So let me tell you why all of my social media posts on Pima describe her as a rock star. Well first, because she obviously is one and second, because I’m making up for the years that she missed having anyone brag about her.  She is a beast at playing badminton, a lover of hamburgers, an artist, a kind friend even when the kindness is not reciprocated, a champion for the underdog and she’s a SENTERS and a JORDAN.  We are so very blessed by her, it far outweighs the messiness of adopting a teen and I would highly recommend it to those on the fence of adoption.  

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  -Jeremiah 29:11

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