Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Trying not to take it personally

In January, two little boys walked off an airplane in the snowy midwest and walked right into my life. Granted, they'd been in my life for several months by that time, but just about 2 months ago was the first time they were physically here...really and truly mine.

Z and I tried to prepare ourselves for what life would be like once these two boys were here...and we thought we were prepared for hell. I mean, in all likelihood these two boys were going to be a bit stressed and freaked out (as would the new mom and dad). In all honesty, we've been pleasantly surprised and blessed. Things we thought would be a major hassle were not (riding in car seats, getting along with the dogs and cats, MAJOR tantrums, discipline problems, etc.). I am amazed every single day when I look at these two boys and realize how much they have gone through in their short lives and how resilient they are. They are bright and funny and quirky. They are smart and outgoing and mischievous. They are warm and cuddly and loving.

I really and truly am counting our blessings....they have been showered on us for sure.

The first few weeks that the boys were here, they were definitely on "overload". Everything was new and everything new was exciting. But I've noticed in the past couple of weeks especially that the new-ness and excitement is wearing off. They are both realizing that this is IT. THIS is where their forever family is...THIS is their new life. It comes as no surprise that there might be a bit of grieving that will come along with this realization. This is especially true for little Peanut. In some ways, he must miss his old life...his friends...the "pink house". He misses omotua (ground nut soup - which I HAVE to learn to make) and getting away with stuff because he's "cute". He is struggling to learn that not every adult is a potential mom or dad...and that living with this mom and dad means that he has to adhere to some basic rules. Its a bummer, I know. And it is HARD when you are 4 years old and there's suddenly a big white woman telling you what to do...and you're supposed to listen it, too ('cause she's your mom).

When I watch this amazing little boy, I am so filled with love for him. I know he's been through a lot...and I know that some of his behavior is just his way of working all this change out in his head. But at the same time, it is so hard to watch this little boy walk up to complete strangers in the waiting room at the clinic and act as though he'd be just as happy with them as he is with me. And its hard to watch him reach out and grab the hand of an adult that I (only seconds before) introduced him to and announce "I want to go with you" and proceed to stroll away down the hall. And its hard for me to hear him say that he wants to go live in the "pink house" after he's had a particularly rough day.

I have to honestly admit that it hurts...and sometimes it hurts a lot.

I know that he likes it here. I know that he likes his room and his toys and his daddy and our van and the pets. I even know that most of the time he likes me....but there are days when I definitely feel as though I'm replaceable; like he's got other options waiting in the wings in case this mom doesn't work out. And those are the days that I know I need to keep him a little closer, hug him a little tighter and whisper "I love you" a little more often.


KelseyChristine said...

You sound like you are doing an incredible job with the boys! Attachment can be such an intense process...strangers that don't ever say "no", or enforce rules, or make you brush your teeth can seem pretty appealing, but they are also not the ones who get to say all of those "I love you"s day after day, forever and ever.
I love your blog!! :)

Anonymous said...

mmm, so vulnerable and honest. Thank you so much for sharing so much of your self.

Sarah Riedel said...

I just showed Meagn the pics of her new cousins. She wants to know when Theo and Enoch can come to our house and play with her toys? " How are you doing with the kids? How good is being a mom and a dad?" She wants to know......

jen said...

Oh, I am feeling for you... Hang in there. I bet this is the rough patch after the honeymoon that they talk about. I know I would feel the same feelings you are sharing but like you, I also would know that this will pass. Thank you for being so open about this. I am confident that you are not the first one to feel this way. I just bet you are a fantastic mom! Just think of the crash course on parenting that you are doing! Be proud- you are doing great!

Jim & Laurel said...

Thanks for your honesty.

During our month in Ghana with the children, they bonded to their new "Papa" much more quickly than "Mama". They had never really had a dad in their lives, but they have had lots of "moms", so they didn't seem to need me (or want to get to know me) nearly as much as they needed the love of their Papa.

When I had to leave them in Ghana, and return home to 8 of my other children, it was actually a blessing to see how much they would miss me. And, they are always so excited to chat with me, when we get the chance.

God is blending our families ... in His time.


Leslie said...

It is very hard--hang in there.

jen said...

Man, this is the hard stuff, isn't it! I haven't had a ton of time, but I've really enjoyed what you have written here. Adoption is so not for wimps! We knew it would be difficult at times, but to then walk through it is so very different then just imagining it!

Great post, though I am sorry it's hard!

Sheila said...

You are awesome. Caring for someone with a chronic illness such as sickle cell disease can be very challenging. My four year old son has the disease and is doing well. Why type does your son have? Does his brother carry the trait or no? You should definitely learn to cook Ground Nut Soup - do you live near an ethnic food store to purchase the ingredients? Google Congo Cook Book and you will be able to find the recipe there - if not, let me know and I can send it to you. I think its important that you keep them exposed to their heritage, and food is one ways, especially since he longs for it. He would definitely appreciate that! To keep abreat of the latest in sickle cell info - visit www.scinfo.com; www.sicklecelldisease.org
I admire your story and all that you've done. You're a terrific mum - bonding takes time, you'll get there....together! Great Fortune to you..

Sheila said...

Sorry.....that site was scinfo.org