Beware of some honest whining. This is being written by a newly-adoptive parent... post-dinner and pre-bedtime. Both can only be described as mayhem. So welcome to my mood, ya'll. Welcome to parenthood from the 7pm lens.
Exactly seven weeks from Gotcha Day. And from what we can hear or compare, things are going just swimmingly. But let me clarify one thing: Off-the-charts smooth transition does not translate into easy. Heck, it doesn't even really mean smooth.
We don't get a cohesive conversation in around the dinner table.
We don't sleep a consecutive, full night's sleep.
We don't have time alone without the lurking fear of a three-foot intruder.
And we have nothing to complain about.
Wah, wah... can I hear my fellow parents shout out?!
We don't understand what our adoptive child wants sometimes.
We know he's homesick as he circles aimlessly around the house in tears.
We are not only referees, we sometimes have to be protectors and battle against some bad defense mechanisms our adoptive son is having to unlearn.
Some days start out rough and I wonder if it's all that bad to lock myself in my room. At 9am. Some days are gloriously charmed until 4pm.
So how is one to gauge "how we're doing (adapting)"?
Remedy: perspective. Zoom in, zoom out.
I have to keep zooming in to find what might be behind the behavior or the tough situation. I have to keep zooming out to see the overall gamut of hurdles we've stumbled through to get to where we are now.We have many things to rejoice over:
- he's eating much more normally, when one day I'd cook four things for him to eat a bit
- he feels remorse after hurting his brother, when one day all I could see was bitter hatred in his face
- he seeks me for comfort and random snuggles, when one day he sought me only as the adult authority who dolled out food and justice
- his world isn't rocked when the norm has been tweaked, when one day he'd lose all hope in security if one of us wasn't around when he woke up from a nap
- he's content with knowing some things are his brother's, when one day he either thought he owned nothing or owned everything
He's just a lot more relaxed. He's fine. And that's HUGE. He loves love, not out of fear or a desperate attempt to gain favor from anyone, but I notice that he just wants to be loved by his special few. These awe-inspiring milestones are small pebbles in comparison to how he'll master these same big rocks in a deeper way some day. In other words, I'm not saying that I can mark anything off the list per ce. But the progress is undoubtedly there and completely humbling.
It's National Adoption Awareness Month. As I posted on my first photo-a-day challenge on Instagram, adopting has given me a newfound hope in God's work in dark places. I was afraid that opening my eyes to the need (and thus my heart) would make me feel heavy, burdened, and sullen at the sight of the pain and darkness in this world. And it did. But ultimately, a hard look at the reality of the lack of care orphans endure has caused an even greater peace because now I see how much more wonderful the work of restoration is than the simple wretchedness of evil. When you think about it, what is more impactful: seeing the raw gore of a devastating scene or witnessing the healing in that which seemed hopeless?
It is the transformative power of love that lingers in our minds. I cannot take credit for the immense amount of love required in parenting--no one can--that love is too supernatural for anyone to assume they could muster up themselves. It is God's immense, consuming, mighty love in us. It heals scars in such a way that they don't only dissipate, they became intricately beautiful marks on our hearts. It writes stories that no one could imagine or willfully sign up for. It penetrates crevices we didn't knew existed.
This is the only thing I can credit for the goodness in our story thus far. The rest is the mess of life. And the rice kernels I have to sweep up after every meal despite the humungous tray that could easily cover a 180º radius around their little bodies.
And I'm off to kitchen clean-up duty!
Keep drawing from His love,