WARNING THIS POST IS LONG AND NOT ALWAYS 'PRETTY'! I have been wanting/needing to write this post for sometime and what better a time than.........5 months ago yesterday a brave little boy walked into our lives with NOTHING but the clothes on his back. He held a "man's" hand as he entered the room and met his family. I don't think he knew this man. He recalls that day every once in awhile and says, "Remember when I hold that man's hand and I cry hard and you give me lollipop?" I remember it well!
I love reading adoption blogs! I love the before, the following along on the "in China" journey and then the happily-ever-after when these precious children are home. The pictures are always so happy, in beautiful settings, amongst family members and most often in way too cute clothes(where do you guys find those adorable outfits?) It is heart-warming, kinda like a feel-good Hollywood movie. Our first adoption was pretty much like that. Except for the first day of never-ending crying, 9 month old Jaida adjusted beautifully and within a few weeks we had all bonded and blended. It was super easy! I remember the social worker at our 6 month post placement visit asking us what had been hard about the adoption. We looked at each other and replied,"The plane ride home!" Honestly that was it.
So why not do this again? God spoke to my heart.We prayed. He answered loud and clear...."Do it again." So we did. I read the books on "older" child adoption, asked questions, followed blogs, and thought I was prepared. I knew this child had medical needs, so I prepared myself for the worst. These things haven't been a problem. I knew language was going to be a HUGE issue. I prepared myself for the worst. This was only an issue while in China. He learned English ridiculously fast!!!! I knew he would grieve. I prepared myself for the worst. I can't tell if he grieves? He skips and sings a lot? Mixed in with the yucky behavior of course.
But these past 5 months have been hard. Very hard at times.What I didn't prepare for was the feelings I have. I have shocked myself. I am at times, ashamed of my thoughts and feelings. My selfish and self-centered self assumed this child would be so glad that we "rescued" him from his life as an orphan and embrace us. Instead we have seen a child that is whiny and ungrateful (maybe this is his grieving). A child that acts like he is 1-1/2 instead of 4-1/2. A child that does some weird things socially. This makes him, not so likable. I, and here comes the not so pretty part, don't like him sometimes. This shocks me! My children are everything to me. I adore them. I sometimes feel he is an interruption. As a good friend put it, "A house guest" I want my old life back, where we had our little routine down and everyone functioned as a family, without a guest hanging around. My daily prayers have found me asking God to help me love him. I never prepared for that! But why wouldn't he whine and act up? Why would he be thankful we took him from the only life he ever knew? We disrupted his life just as much as he did ours. So I pray for compassion and patience too. There are moments when his love is real and so is mine. I hold on to those. He runs to me when I pick him up at school. He gets a big smile on his face when I come in to kiss him goodnight. He asks me to hold him. He loves to show me things he has made. It is getting better. I felt so alone and saddened by my thoughts and feelings that I decided to talk to someone. I spoke with our social worker. Of course I cried and of course she had a box of tissues on hand. I told her I felt like a horrible mother. What was wrong with me? She assured me this was all very NORMAL. My feelings, his behavior, the whole kit and caboodle. I like the word normal. She assured me that a year into this it would all feel different. We would feel more like a family. It is a process. A process involves patience. I pray for patience too.I do see forward strides. We are moving ahead. People said his surgery would be a good thing, as far as bonding goes. They were right. I laid in bed with him most of the time. At night when he woke up he would instantly look to make sure I was there. He wanted Will and I right there, even holding Will's hand through the bars on the bed. My heart felt more normal. There was love inside it for him. Before he went into surgery, I thought about the 2 other surgeries he had had before and wondered if anyone was there for him. He had heart surgery at age 2. Did anyone care if he didn't come back? My heart grieved. This tiny little 4 year old with so much of a past, a hard past, that I will never know about was placed by God into our family. There is no mistaking that! God wanted me to be his Mother. He must know I can do it. I would much rather have had the pretty, happily-ever-after ending all wrapped up and handed to me but that is not the way this story is written. It is a process...... and God is teaching me, growing me, holding me up as I learn how to be a great Mommy to this child He created. So those of you out there who are thinking of "older" child (non-infant) adoption, know that it is tough, but it is beautiful too. Those of you who may be feeling these things now, know that you are NORMAL, not horrible. It is a process and the process takes time and that is different for each child and each Mommy. As I look at my new son, I see a child that has experienced more than the rest of us put together, more than any child should have to experience by age 4, but I also see a brave little boy trying to find his way into this new world and new life, fighting it sometimes but embracing it most of the time. So I will continue to pray and continue to ask God to help me and to help him on this journey called................ a process.