Rainbowkids is excited to share a family journey to adopting a son in 2017. Nancy has agreed to share her adoption story through a series of articles on RainbowKids. Her blog, Ordinary Miracles & The Crazy 9, documents the daily life of parenting a big family. Through her gift of photography and the written word Nancy captures her growing family through the lens of a DSLR camera. Read her prior posts: It's A Boy! (a.k.a. Why Even is Better Than Odd. Not Really) and The Adoption Process: Patience.Not. and Artificial Twinning in Adoption: Our "Not Twins" and The Reality of What Adopting Looks Like on Rainbowkids.
T-21 hours and eyes wide open!
We're excited to meet our son and start our forever with him. We're excited to get to know him and discover what he likes and what he doesn't. I wonder if he likes hard boiled eggs as much as Mimi did. Has he ever taken a bath? He said his favorite food was fruits, like bananas apples and pears. I'm so excited to show him that what used to be a rarity in his orphanage is now something he can have every day! Does he understand, I mean truly understand what a family is? That he doesn't have to be a good boy to be loved. No, it's not likely he does. But I still wonder. Yes, I'm nervous. But I'm excited too.
But unlike me, I don't think he's excited. Nope, I don't think that's happening at all.
Ru has lived in the same orphanage for almost 7 years. It's his home. His caregivers, nannies and friends are his family, the only family he's ever known. I'm sure like all families, it isn't perfect. Even abuse in his current home is a possibility. But being taken from one's family one has ever known... forever... isn't likely to bring on feelings of excitement. Or happiness. Or joy. Even if it's for his own good. Being taken from one's home and from the only family one has ever known is much more likely to bring on an immense amount of fear and sadly add yet another layer of trauma to a boy that's already experienced too much of it already.
Fear. Potentially gut-wrenching fear is a very likely scenario.
And of course we want to be prepared for his fear and help a scared Ru in any way we can. One of the things Papa and I do a lot of these days, in between sipping up the suitcases and checking off things on the enormous list of things to do, is to remind ourselves of what fear can can look like. It's important that we don't go into this with the mindset that this is going to be easy. Or a vacation. Or that Ru is going to be happy or thankful. Just the opposite. It's gonna be hard, and we want walk towards that likely scenario with our eyes wide open. Ready for the fear in whatever form it takes.
So what does fear look like? Fear can take on a huge variety of appearances including but not limited to...
...crying. And screaming. For hours, days, weeks or months. In public. In private. In the middle of the night. Screaming in our face. Or silently with his back toward us in the corner. Crying in the presence of important public officials. Or contrastingly fear can look like silence and a refusal to talk. As one mom told me for a whole year.
...biting, hitting, scratching, pinching, hair pulling and kicking... Directed towards us. Towards children or adults alike. Like his siblings, including Boo and his new younger sister Mimi. Sweet Mimi. Or towards strangers.
...a constant smile and an ever pleasant disposition. Fear can look like loving those around them by showering them with hugs and kisses. Including sharing this affection with strangers and "mommy shopping." Or possibly the desire not to rock the boat or make a scene. Trying be a people pleaser and be perfect.
...running away. Running down the busy streets. Trying to duck out the door and get "home." Dangerous running.
...eating too much. Until he throws up. And/or hoarding food in his pockets, in his suitcase or his mouth. Or refusing to eat at all.
...incessant talking, singing, humming, asking questions All. The. Time.
...sleep issues. Like a lot of sleeping above and beyond a good night's rest and a healthy nap. Sleeping way too much. Perhaps during those important interviews when you have nothing but a lethargic child. Or sleeping at the drop of a hat. Narcoleptic type sleeping. Or contrastingly fighting sleep with all everything ounce of strength they have.
Fear, manifested in any of these ways would very be hard for us to deal with, but more importantly, not only are these challenges something we are willing to do, it's something we welcome, because fear manifested in these ways and so so many more, are a wonderful and beautiful indicator that a child was loved and felt love from others, from the only family that he's only known. And that's something we've been praying for all along. A child that hasn't bonded with others or felt love leaves the only home and family he's ever known easily. He leaves and changes care givers with little concern. A child that is a loved part of a family and has bonded with care givers, even if that home is an orphanage and that family is comprised of nannies and other orphans, is fearful of leaving. As hard as it will be, we pray that Ru will show signs that he was loved and bonded with his orphanage family ie, fear.
So as you see, parenting a child from international adoption is full of unknowns and is kinda contradictory to many things we do when parenting our bio children. When you're the parent of a child that's experienced loss, what's up can actually be down. What's easy is often hard. What's good can be bad and bad can be so very good.
So bring on the crying and the running. Bring on the hoarding and indiscriminate affection. Bring on the biting, hitting and scratching, (but we pray it not directed at our sweet Mimi) because we hope that you have been loved and cherished, our son, like every child should. And we're gonna show you that we love you no matter what.