Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Grieving is complicated.

The reality is I'm hopeless when it comes to blogging or any type of writing for that matter. Although I enjoy sharing our story & more so than that I find it very therapeutic to express my feelings through words I am just not disciplined enough to be consistent with it. So hear is my seemingly weak attempt at updating you on the craziness that has been our life the past 3 months...

When Bek came home at the end of September we were still living at my parent's house while our house was being built. They were kind enough to allow us to stay in their winter home for 5 months while they were still up north. It wasn't ideal bringing home an older child during this transitional time but we really didn't have another choice. In hindsight I don't think it impacted him that much moving into our new home shortly after he came home to America. As expected we have witnessed so many firsts with Bek. What I didn't expect is how much fun that would be! He has embraced American food & has appreciated my attempts at adding a Ethiopian twist to our family dishes (adding berbere). He immediately & naturally fell into the big brother role with Cruz. They already have a unique bond & Cruz copies him as much as he can. These eyes can see nothing sweeter than when my 2 boys interact. The first few weeks were an amazing honeymoon with our new son! It was short lived but OH SO WONDERFUL! But it wasn't real life. Everything was new & exciting. We didn't have to be real parents yet because we didn't implement discipline & boundaries those first couple weeks. We just wanted to get to know our new son & have him familiarize himself with his new life & family. We had so many fun moments together during that time, moments where I thought that maybe this was how it was going to be forever but I knew better. I had spent endless hours educating myself on bringing home older children & was aware that there were going to be many challenges on the horizon. Oh those first few weeks were sweet though. They abruptly ended when we brought up the plan for Bek to eventually attend school. We weren't sure when he'd start but we wanted to start a dialogue with him about it. That initial conversation brought about many raw emotions in our boy. He had a bad experience with a teacher in Ethiopia (that we were unaware of at the time) & has disliked school ever since. Insecurities about his inability to speak English came forward & his lack of friendships made the idea of starting school terrifying. This was the first time I saw him sob. You have never heard crying like a child who is grieving. It's like a moan mixed in with a heart crushing cry, it takes over their entire being & causes irrational thought. I kick myself now for bringing the school subject up so quickly after getting home but at the time I was clueless as to what he had experienced. After that first "incident" the honeymoon had officially ended. I was sad to see it go but knew it had to in order for our son to heal. He needed to grieve before healing could take place & grieving he is still doing. Grief is a complicated thing. It rears it's ugly head at the most unusual times & takes over our son's entire being when it comes. It normally is triggered by something small & can bring about anger, sadness, anxiety you name it we've seen it! Two things that seems to trigger it is our inability to effectively communicate due to the language barrier & telling (not asking) Bek to do something while watching TV. Already John & I have learned to parent our grieving child more effectively but that's come with experience & time. Even though we have read several books on the topic when the craziness of grief is going down right in your living room it rocks you to the core. I am thankful I did educate myself beforehand though because we were able to start implementing some of the tools I read about & that has made a HUGE difference. Another resource that has been so helpful is the Facebook adoption groups I'm a part of (shout out if you're in one!!). Connecting with fellow adoptive mothers has been an amazing source of encouragement. Knowing there are others who have walked this road & are currently on it with you is a blessing to say the least. Before adopting Bek I educated myself on how to help him deal with his grief & making his transition as smooth as possible. I did little to prepare myself on the changes that would have to take place within my own heart & daily life. In the past few months in order to survive & stay remotely sane I have had to alter my expectations I subconsciously placed on our son, become more patient, learn to let go of control (not all but some), leave the dishes & housecleaning behind to spend more time with my children & not to feel guilty for taking time away from my family to regroup. Another thing I've learned is that it is never good to compare your child to others who have gone through or are going through the same things. You never know their full story & comparing places unhealthy expectations on your child. I hate to admit it but I have done this. I have asked myself "Why isn't Bek doing this like so & so's child"...terrible, I know. I'm learning. I pray God will continue to grow me as a mother. I am so grateful He has entrusted me with such incredible blessings. My hope is to not screw them up too bad! Although we are still healing & grieving I am seeing glimmers of God's redemption take place in our boy's life. The "grieving episodes" that can look alike like defiance are getting shorter, his confidence is increasing, he initiates physical contact with both John and I & many more little but important milestones. Parenting a child who comes from a traumatic background must look differently than how you'd parent a biological child. I always tell John that basically you take what your natural parenting instincts tell you to do & do the complete opposite! Maybe you're naturally better more patient parents than us but this is what we've experienced.

Most days are really great but we have several hard days mixed in. Those hard days just make the ones that are good that much sweeter. Bek is truly a sponge. He is learning English quickly & understands a lot more than he lets on. He is one of the sweetest kids his age I've ever known. While around the house he seeks out hugs & affection (which melts my heart every time). He has recently started saying "I love you" first & he loves family time. While in public he grabs for our hands (unless we are around other kids his age). All of these things make being his parents so sweet! We are also getting excited to have another big boy in the house which I will share in another (long time coming) post!


1 comment:

  1. I Love you... i am crying as I read your blog...I so want to support you and wish we lived clsoer so I could be of more help. what I can do is to lift your name in prayer each morning when I wake...asking the father for strength and guidence..and do the same for bek and John. God has given you and John this call and all you need is already yours.... your gratitude will help create a space for healing and growth. love Mamma #2