There are some big things going on over here. major changes and God asking of us big things and it’s exciting and scary. Sometimes I wonder what He sees when He looks at us because He definitely sees more potential than I do!
I’m ready to share the first leap with you after getting a few details ironed out….. this is going to be RJ’s last week of traditional school. Eeeeekkkk!!
A year ago I felt called to really pray about my relationship with him. Adopting an older child comes with a lot of challenges and one of them is attachment. Kids who have had so much loss and so little stability in their lives for so many years before joining a family find it hard to bond. Think about all the time people spend with their babies looking into their eyes, their skin touching yours and building emotional bonds and connections. We never got that. This has brought a struggle to our whole family for the past five years. We all want to bond but it just isn’t happening.
As I prayed I asked God to show me if I’m doing everything I can. Is there anything left that I can do to try to bond with him? Can I say I’ve tried everything and just accept that this is all I get? I thought about homeschooling because that would give us more time together but I had tried that when he first came home from India and he begged me to be able to go to school like the other kids. So I let him.
Recently RJ and I started reading back through my blog from when we first met him in India and into the months that followed. I could see the fade. He used to hug and kiss us and be his happy go lucky self here at home and then something changed. It could have been that the honeymoon was over or it could have been that he was spending more time away from us than with us, or both. Either way I saw a tremendous shift and for the first time I realized it.
So, after a lot of prayer and guidance and prompting from the Holy Spirit we are taking the plunge. I know the timing seems weird but leap of faith #2 will make that make a little more sense when I share about that. I want to know I did everything I could to bond with my son. I wanted to get the joyful little bubbly guy that the teachers all talk about. Ask anyone who lives in this house, we don’t get that kid. We see glimpses every now and then but not often.
And how does RJ feel…. ready. He is excited that I want to spend more time with him and excited to have school not be as challenging. He will miss his friends but most of all his teachers. Leaving his teachers is the hardest of all for him, and rightly so… they’re fantastic. But, next year he would be at a whole new school and miss them anyway. Having a new teacher has always been hard for him every year as well. He has a lot of anxiety and grief over the bonds he forms with his teachers and then has to leave every year and even sometimes every semester. Making and breaking bonds continually is not good for him I have finally figured out. It’s OK for typical kids every year because they feel stable but for him it is not.
Now I want to be clear, I think sending him to school was the best thing for all of us at the time even though the consequences of it are showing. He has loved both schools he has been at and has been loved on beyond my expectations. It was what was needed at the time. I was honestly not mentally in a place to have him home with me and all the challenges that go along with that, nor did I have the time and mental capacity while trying to care for Laila. But times have changed. I committed my whole last step study of Celebrate Recovery (12 months) to studying myself and my behaviors and trying to find room for more patience and love for RJ. I’m really throwing myself out there today…. phew, be kind. It’s just the honest truth that sometimes these kids are really tough. And it’s hard for others to understand it when they get all of his kind energy during the day at school or at a play date but then his family who loves him unconditionally gets the left overs which are either unkind or not engaged at all. It is very hard to want to engage and be loving towards someone who doesn’t feel that way towards you, for close to five years….
So, I ask that you would pray for us as we start this new adventure. Pray that God would help me to see when I need to let things go. That I would just love on my son and then let everything else fall into place. That I would be careful with my time and making the most of it and not fill up my days that are not priority right now. That I will balance work, ministry and homeschooling well and let RJ learn through all of those things alongside me instead of saying things like “I’m busy, it’ll have to wait a minute.”
I’m selfishly loving my son, and I’m OK with that :)
Stay tuned for leap #2….