Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Year 3.7 and Counting

Over Labor Day weekend The Man of the House went on a 4 day hiking/backpacking/camping excursion, leaving me home with kaboodles of minutes to bond with the wee ones (who, let's face it, aren't so wee anymore!).

I parked my great big giant mega van bus at the homestead on Thursday night and didn't move it until Monday, when the whole clan went out for a raucous family rendezvous to celebrate the superior survival skills of Big Daddy upon his safe return to us.

So, here we were all.weekend.long. Just Being Together, they and I. Honestly, the homebody in me (which is the primary and biggest part of all that is me) was thrilled. I loooooooove me some home life. It would take me weeks (weeks, I tell you!) for me to go stir crazy around here when the weather is warm and we can all get outside. There is so much to do! Fresh air and nature were made to enjoy! (The winter holds a different story.)

Anyhoo, during this time I really wanted to focus some attention on our little man whose hands and feet are bigger than mine at the supposed age of seven, Flint.

Flint is largely non verbal. At least with me. And the survivalist who is his white replacement father. And his grandmother. And any other adult.

Our conversations usually go something like this:

Me: Flint, are you finished with your math?

Him: *silence*

Him: Uh.

Him: *silence*

Him: No.


Me: Flint, since we're all saying something we like about Jayla for her birthday, can you tell Jayla something you think is great about her?

Him: *silence*

Him: Uh.

Him: *silence*

Him: No.

Me: Flint, what is your grateful thing for today? Would you like to share something you were thankful for today with us?

Him: *silence*

Him: Uh.

Him: *silence*

Him: No.


Me: Flint, are you listening to the story I'm reading?

Him: *silence*

Him: Uh.

Him: *silence*

Him: No.

Nope, I'm not even kidding.


Softly bang head on table.


Yet, if there is a "naughty" activity that can be done, the child will think of it and he will execute it. With fervor. Over and over and over again. Until all day and night. Forever. With apparently no recollection of the last time he did it when it was also a poor choice.

True confession?

Bonding with the boy has been difficult for me. 

Bonding with the boy remains difficult for me. 

Sometimes, bonding with the boy seems impossible to me. 

3.7 years into our union, I am not very bonded with the boy.

3.7  years into our union, the boy is not very bonded with me. 

On a We're Going To Sort This Out therapeutic parenting kick, I read books with fury, watched videos like a fiend and decided we were going to make some headway with our hours on end this weekend.

I pulled the boy aside and tried to have a heart to heart with him.

He disclosed a curious thing. He told me he thinks we came to Ethiopia to pick him up from his mother, where he was living with her, alone, to bring him here. But he didn't find it strange or feel sad about the fact that we were taking him from her.

Indeed, I can attest, he was not sad the day we left there, nor has he ever spoken a word about it. There were no tears from him, no apparent grief, no signs of sadness, nothing really.

Meadow says he was often "in trouble" in the orphanage in Ethiopia.

The boy was dropped off by his father when he was just over a year after his mother died, and he remained there until we came at the age of (roughly) four.

As far as I understand, those are some fragile and crucial and critical formative years in brain development. 

At this point, it seems to me that Flint has never formed a strong and healthy attachment to anyone. In addition, school work is very, very, very difficult for him.

So, I am continuing to read and learn and delve into what can be done to assist his progress and our relationship. Honestly, $100/hour therapy is not an option and the child is so non talkative/expressive anyway, I wonder if it would help.

Folks, this is no easy road. Meadow has her own set of unique circumstances to overcome and Flint has his and I have mine and I have five other children and two dogs and sixteen chickens and six cats and one husband and sometimes the labor of it all feels like it is bearing down on me, a burden I can hardly sustain.

I don't think there are any easy answers.

In our case, I highly doubt there is an Easy Street.

Mostly, at this juncture I am working to keep realistic expectations and to accept limitations and to take it one day at a time and not get overwhelmed with thoughts of what the future holds. I'm working to keep it simple and light and to be kind and patient and to smile and let a lot go rather than over engaging in a effort to push through so we can arrive at a place of normalcy.

I'm working to breathe and to relax and to pray and to trust and to not worry.

I'm working to come to terms with Newly Defined Normalcy and all that it entails.

I'm working to understand, there may be no arrival.

If you are a long time in with your adopted kids and you have not hit your stride yet and you sometimes wonder if you made the right decision and if this child is a truly good fit for your family and if you have done him a disservice in bringing him here where he must adapt to The American Way of Life with all its expectations, which often seems terrifically ill suited for him, you are not alone. 

I am with you.

I just wanted you to know that.

Everything will probably be okay.

If not, there's always heaven to look forward to...


 Welcoming dad home!


Courtney Cassada said...

thank you for this. after reading jen hatmaker's latest post (which i'm fairly certain you read also) i was kind of sad. i mean, will we EVER get "there."??? thank you for this.

Erika Stanley said...

So so hard, and frustrating. I can only hope for him and you (and the rest of your family) that God will do a miracle in that boy. His brain was clearly been traumatized. I too have spend countless hours learning about all this attachment and brain stuff. Someone needs to write more about happy endings with these kids. Do they exists? Are the real life stories out there? I want to know that it's worth all the effort (I think it is, it has to be, right?).

You have six cats? six? do they go in your house?

Tisha said...

Our cats are outdoors, Erika. :)

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