The past few days have been a bit like watching a slo-mo video of a flower unfolding from its baby bud wrappings in the first drips of spring rain. The soil is fertile, fresh, and fluffed just enough to give that sprout the boost it needs to unfurl and turn its inner soul to the sunshine above. This little boy is unfurling right before our very eyes, and the warmth and depth of love that is beginning to spill out is quickly seeping into and coloring our very world around us.
Exhausted? Yes. Some difficult moments and times when I have to plead with the Lord for divine strength and for someone to collect my transmitted ESP brain waves and drop off an extra-caffeinated almond milk latte on my porch? YES. A few anxiety-laden, loooooooong minutes wondering if my attempts at working through an issue will result in the emergence of the Hulk, or if a snuggly Sunshine Care Bear will crawl into my lap? Yes. Tears? Yep, a few. But worth it all? Let me put it this way. When we get to the end of a long day, and we’re snuggled in his bed reading our 4 bedtime stories (including Hulk for the 4th time this week), and I lean over and sneak a quiet kiss on his cheek and he responds by immediately rolling over and giving me a puckered up not-so-sneaky kiss right back…or when he hears Daddy say he’s going to go work in the yard and promptly says, “oh, me too! I goin’ help Daddy wif my gwuvs!” and runs out to grab his “yard shoes” and his new yard gloves and helps daddy shovel dirt and bark chips, carry firewood, and hammer landscaping staples in the 96-degree heat – with a smile…or when I tell him we are leaving to go to the store, and he proceeds to ask by name if each member in our family is going (“Bwaeden comin? Logan comin’? Abby comin? Daddy comin’?”) and when I say yes, everyone is coming, his shining, toothy grin reaches from ear to ear and he says, “Oh I am SO Happy! I am SO SO Happy! Everybody is comin’!”…and when he drives his little ride-on car around the driveway to the “store” and brings me six hot dogs and some milk and a melon (6 rocks, a bigger rock, and an even bigger rock) in the back of his car, or decides he’s going to help me bring the empty cans from the street (with his car)…many of you saw that cute video on Kris’ Facebook page ;)…
These are just a few of the moments that make it worth it. Last week, we were praying at dinner and we asked him if he wanted to pray, and he said “no, I pray on Tuesday.” So guess what happened on Tuesday? He prayed for dinner, in Creole – I don’t think there was a dry eye at the table, it was one of the sweetest things I have ever witnessed. I couldn’t understand it all, but he thanked God for a brother and sisters, for the dogs, for the food and some of our activities from the day, and said a bunch of other things in Creole that I can only assume were “I love this Mommy she is the best white lady on the planet and this Daddy is the coolest ever, and one of these days I’ll wear that shirt mommy bought that she obviously loves because she tries to get me to wear it every day and I keep saying no.”
His personality is getting bigger and bigger each day, his ability to give and receive love is expanding exponentially by the hour, he has figured out really quickly that he loves his family – immediate and extended, he has cousins coming out his ears and I’m sure he feels like he meets new aunts and uncles on a daily basis 🙂 He takes it all in stride and is outgoing and friendly, but appropriately shy upon first meeting. He is quick to warm up to people, but we are seeing a healthy balance between sticking close to mom/dad when he is presented with a stranger and new introduction. This is great, because through all our training as adoptive parents pre-adoption, we learned how hard it can be to foster the attachment bonds to parents and immediate family. Many times children from hard places like this will jump into strangers’ arms, snuggle up at the drop of a hand or simply a welcoming smile. It can take a long time to re-train them through bonding to see mom/dad as the ultimate safety, comfort and retreat. To look to their new parents as the ones to fulfill needs, rather than seeking needs met from anyone they meet.
We know the timing is early and the days home have been relatively few. We have been home 3 weeks and 1 day, which feels like months already – however we haven’t even scratched the surface on the kinds of symptoms and signs of trauma and neglect that we were prepared for. We know that doesn’t mean it will never surface – it could be months, even a year or more down the road when some of these things arise and startle us out of our new normal. If that happens, then we deal – we work through it and love through it, and we’ll move forward together. For now, we are thankful for a blessedly simple transition. One that allows us to focus on and revel in the unfolding – the new discoveries each day that leave us breathless, waiting for the next surprise – things like the fact that he can sing – and dance, and is most likely (to mommy’s chagrin because it makes her nauseous) double-jointed (ugh). He is incredibly smart – like engineering and math smart, and can do cartwheels, round-offs and a near flip on the hard floor. The kid loves matching his clothes (and shoes) – obviously the Lord knew what he was doing pairing him up with Braeden…they will be shopping buddies for life.
It’s now 10:10pm and I am about to turn into a pumpkin…he has been sleeping much better thanks to a special wake-up alarm clock that glows green when it is “time to wake up” (at a time we pre-set a.k.a. 7am), and has been sleeping in his own bed all week! Makes for much better night’s sleep for us, and great responsibility-builder for him as he has to put himself back to sleep if he gets up to pee, or back to sleep if he wakes up at 5:30am and it’s not 7 yet.
I’ll sign off for now, but I’ll leave you with some photos of the week! If you happen to read this within a few minutes of posting you’ll have to refresh to see the pics 😉
Best use of $30 – hours of fun in the hot sun!