Monday, January 25, 2010

A Therapist's Dream....

My usual morning routine involves emptying G's backpack of nick-nacks, papers, art projects and treasures found on the playground . I do it every morning even though I ask him every afternoon before homework to perform this menial task . Unfortunately, in between retrieving his homework and talking about whatever pops into his 1st grade mind, said papers are quickly forgotten and I am left to sort through a half dozen worksheets or journaling pages to make room for his Clone Wars lunch box. This morning time was on our side and with lunches made and ten minutes to spare I dug through the contents of his bag with gusto, greeted by two journaling pages from last week. One page detailed his future plans on becoming a scientist (an all inclusive job complete with glasses and a partner) and the other page contained only one sentence that said, "I felt left out when we obpted my sister". I quickly tossed aside the other paper and focused on this one sentence that left me with an immediate feeling of trepidation. The picture speaks volumes; Daddy holding adopted baby sister and G standing apart from the rest of the family. (I'm sure any therapist would dissect and evaluate this simple phrase and picture with the gusto of a professional chocolate taster.) In that moment I was transported to August, over two years ago when my little boy-only four years old then-cried and begged me to take his baby sister back. He was hurt and confused and angry at the one-girl-wrecking- machine we had dumped in his lap and all I could think was "what have I done?".
Those feelings were very difficult and unexpected for me. I didn't think I would have moments of regret in bringing home this beautiful little girl that we had longed for, prayed for, dreamed for. But I looked at this little boy that I had carried, nurtured and given every moment to for four years and felt caught off guard. No one can put into words the depth of emotions that you experience as an adoptive parent. We are told so often how noble our hearts are and how wonderful our intentions yet silently we suffer through moments of real despair, sadness and sometimes anger in acclimating our little ones into our family.
G was colicky as an infant. I do not remember feeling anger towards this baby that fussed for hours on end and had to be carried all hours of the day. But we brought home this little girl and for the first time I felt anger towards a child. Angry at myself because I couldn't meet her needs. Angry at myself because I couldn't soothe her pain and sorrow and I couldn't take away my son's feelings of being left out, forgotten and usurped by a stranger. One sentence written by my son brought all of this back and touched my heart because it is still present in his.
Today I learned that my son's memory is deeper than I imagined which makes me think of my sweet little girl, whose memories must reach beyond the depths of her understanding. This sentence made me realize that I do not have to feel guilty for his feelings of being left out or forgotten. It's a reminder to me that we all face challenges and have experiences that affect us for good and bad. I look at the memory written on his page and am happy that it is just that. A memory. When I talked to him about it he told me that he was sad when Prim came home but now is so happy because he doesn't have to be alone. That he has someone to play with all of the time. That he has a friend forever in his sister.
What we've learned shouldn't be discounted and I'm not upset that Gabe still remembers difficult feelings. I can't shelter him, keep him from hurting. He's grown, he's learned to love in the face of a situation he did not deem ideal. We've all gained and triumphed not because of our decision to adopt, but because of a little girl with big brown eyes. Our God is an awesome God. He does not promise that this life will be easy. He does not promise that we will be without pain and sorrow. What He does promise is that life with Him allows us to see the joy through our tears. Because of adoption my life-OUR life-is brighter and better not because of the act, but because through it God is revealed and glorified.


Hannah said...

So great to have you back blogging :) It's the G's frowning face in the picture that got me. I remember how angry Ian was when we came home too.

Hirally said...

Man - the memories you post brought are quite powerful. D was so angry and how challenging and confusing it all was almost 2yrs ago.

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