Sunday, March 3, 2013
The Hard Day...
Well, this post should be an interesting change of scenery, if nothing else. My updates on our family's
adjustment have pretty much been all sunshine and butterflies. I never expected that, because I am a big fan of transparency. I started my blog so that other people could get a realistic look at the timeline for Ghanaian adoption, and to document the realistic struggles that many times face parents who adopt older children.
But the reality was- we didn't have enough attachment drama to warrant a post. The kids settled in nicely. We geniunely love them. They have always actually felt like our kids, not like we were babysitting someone else's kids...
I had planned on giving some insight to future adoptive parents who (like I once did) rely on the internet for
some bit of truth as to what the future may hold. Because people need to be prepared for not only the joy of
adoption, but also the hard part. However, I almost feel like I can offer no advice or authentic picture of
life after adoption, because ours too closely resembles a fairy tale. I'm pretty sure I set expectations far
too high when discussing adoption with anybody.
But today was real. It was one of those days I spent so many months trying to prepare for. It was hard.
A little history: Several months ago, we realized that our little boy (9) was taking candy without asking. He
was hiding in his room eating about 50 pieces of chocolate at one time. When confronted, he would boldly look me in the eye and promise that he didn't do it. And he was convincing. I even fell for it once! This same
situation played out several times, each with a more severe punishment.
The last time, however, was a little different. I had found another stash of wrappers. I didn't confront him
though. I went quietly to my room, prayed, read my Bible, and wrote an outline of what to say. Amazingly, it
was easy. All those verses I had memorized as a child came back to my mind. And in order! Verses about lying, trustworthiness, temptation, the power to overcome, obedience, and forgiveness. (Note to self: start making kids memorize scripture ASAP!) (Disclaimer: No, I'm not one of those awesome Christian moms. We don't do a daily Bible study. I forget to read my Bible almost every day. And I don't know who Beth Moore(?) is.)
So... I called Konto to his room for a talk. We read verses together. I explained them. I told him that if he
ever messed up and wanted to confess to me, Daddy, and God- we would forgive him. There would still be
consequences, but forgiveness as well.
To my surprise- he immediately said he was sorry. He tried to stop himself. He tried to tie himself to the bed
so he wouldn't do it....
He then started pulling out ALL of his secret stashes.
I. Had. No. Idea.
Boxes, an old soccer duffle bag, a hippo Stuffie, socks, mattress, Transformer truck....
Finally, he pulled out his double barrel Nerf shotgun. Both barrels were packed. Like, he had used a stick to
compact the wrappers. There had to be 30-40 in each barrell!!
Anyways- after said confession. I thought that was all. We explained exactly what the punishment would be
should this happen again. (But of course it won't! This is a fairy tale, right?!!)
Fast forward to today. One of the girls let us know that her candy collection had been depleted. Konto (again) denied any responsibility for the crime. He very convincingly told me, "I promise Mommy. I haven't take any since the other time, because I don't want to miss soccer. I promise." Of course I believed him. Soccer is his one true love. He'd never do anything to jeopardize that!!
It was the Hippo Stuffie again. Along with one barrel of the shotgun. My husband and I discussed it until the
end of the day. We came up with the exact perimeters of his punishment. When he came into his room, he
continued lying until I produced Exibit A.
He had nothing more to say. He turned to face the wall and refused to answer our questions. As we began going over the punishment, he kept trying to push me out of the way & walk out of the room. He got mad that he couldn't get past me. Then, it started.
The angry cry.
And then, the part I spent almost 2 years preparing for:
"I just want to go home!!!!!"
Nope. All that preparing, and I still wasn't quite ready to hear that.
Although, I'm pretty tough. My feelings are not hurt. I didn't get mad. And it won't keep my up tonight. But- it does make me wonder what he's hiding within himself. It's not too much different from when I was young & in trouble. I often cried and shouted how I want to run away. I really just wanted to hurt my parents' feelings for punishing me. It just caught me off guard when he said 'home'.
We make it no secret that Ghana is a part of us all. We talk almost every day about how we want to go back to Ghana. The difference- he had never referred to Ghana as home.
I tried to gently remind him that he was home now. He said that he was 'just at some place'. I don't believe he believes that. I really don't. I think he was just mad and hurting- and wanting, in turn, to hurt us.
Yet, I wonder. What all is there that I can't see? He insisted that he wanted to be alone to think. "About
what?" I ask. He only says, "I can't told you. I'm not allowed to." We have this exact same conversation
every time he is mad. Not entirely sure what that's about. I assume that he doesn't yet feel the liberty to yell
'I hate you!' I'll take it.
He finally cooled down. We watched Star Trek together. I tucked him in. As anticipated, he didn't return my 'I love you', as he has been doing this month. But he quietly stroked my face & fell asleep.
Unfortunately, I feel like this is the calm in the middle of the storm. Tomorrow will be his first missed
soccer practice. I don't expect that to go well. At all.
Time will tell...