Wednesday, April 6, 2011
We've been going through a lot of adjustments here. First, I'm reminded again of the changes that our Konjo Meddie is going through (Konjo is "beautiful" in Amharic). She has left her culture, her country, her food, her language, her friends - they are all gone now. She is now living life in the middle of a family that loves her dearly, but has its own faults. Those are a lot of changes for a little 4.5 yr old girl to go through. Even if she is extremely Konjo.
Her sleep habits have been good and have been bad. Right now, they're not so good. As I'm blogging, Heather is laying down with her, hoping she'll go to sleep tonight. Last night, Konjo Meddie was up many times. Naps? They've been essentially non-existent. Combine a tired, language-less 4 yr old with a tired mom, and well, you know how that goes. There are many things that I've read about adopted children fighting sleep, and let me tell you, they are all true! For a child to sleep, they must feel safe, they must feel at rest, they must feel comfortable with loosing control, they must deal with the thoughts in their minds since the visual stimulation of the day disappear, there is much that is going on. Combine that with the fact that she is a 4 yr old that just might not want to go to bed, or just might not want to do what Mom and Dad says, or just might need to go to the bathroom (again), or just might really need a drink, or just might really be scared.........
Enough about sleep! Food has been good. Sleep and food are the two big initial battlegrounds, and the food has been (as they say in Africa) "no problem." Though it is likely due to the passenger that she brought along with her from Ethiopia. The "friend" within her will hopefully disappear soon as we are now dosing it with some type of liquid medication to eradicate it. Thankfully, she is taking her medication with no issues. We're through 7 of the 15 doses so far. We'll see what happens to her appetite when she is no longer eating for two.
Bonding? It's been great with our five other kids. There have been virtually no issues with them over the last 10 days. She has bonded beautifully with Sunshine our 17 yr old daughter. And all of the boys have been magical with her. In fact, Sunshine took all of the kids to Wed night church tonight while Heather and I stayed home with Konjo Meddie. After about 45 minutes, Konjo Meddie wanted to know where her brothers and sister were....enough of the night with the parents only! I am extremely thankful that Konjo Meddie's siblings are so patient with her. They go out of their way to die to self daily with her. God's grace and mercy have poured through their lives right into little Meddie's heart.
Bonding has also been good with Heather. I am very thankful with that since I am at work during the day and Heather is Meddie's main link to the world. Let me just say that Konjo Meddie has an amazing mom!
Bonding with me? It's only good when it's on her terms. She dictates everything and it's very clear that she's doing it. If it's playtime, she's all about dad. She likes to be playful and have me chase her and push her on the swing and just have fun. But if I correct her with a simple "no," then it is rejection time. If she's tired and I come near her, it's rejection time. If she needs help with something and I come near her unrequested, it's rejection time. It seems as though she's chosen to reject one parent and that's me. Her grief and her inability to understand what's going on around her is channeled into a vote of "I don't like what's going on." She stays warm to Heather (most of the time) in order to keep the motherly love flowing to her. She rejects me as a means of expressing her desire for independence. It's a complicated flow of emotions that I'm sure she herself doesn't even understand.
This is why Heather is laying with her right now and I'm blogging. Even if I wanted to go in and help, there would be rejection. I tried to fight through the rejection two nights ago. I was reminded once again that she was not ready and that a very recently internationally adopted child cannot be parented in the same manner that I've parented five other bio kids. As much as my gut says to do this or do that, there are different rules that cannot be ignored. I'm scouring books for wisdom, praying much, and talking with friends who have walked down similar roads. Suddenly my parenting experience is not of much use. So we desire to love her as Christ would love her and forgive her as Christ would forgive her. Isn't that what adoption is all about? Isn't that what parenting is all about? Oh how we gain new glimpses into God's patient love for us.
Sleep and bonding. Those are the two things we are battling. They are tiring and can be frustrating. They do not come through in happy blog posts. But, that is where we are living. Sure, there are many happy times. Yes, things have gone extremely well in a lot of areas. And certainly, there have been a lot of happy pictures and videos that have been recorded. And we are extremely grateful for God's mercy that's been extended to our family. But to leave the story just at happy blog pictures would be less than truthful. Because we're tired and we're confused. We know that this is a marathon we're running, not a sprint. We know her problems and adjustments won't all be resolved in a few short days, or weeks, or months. We know much love and wisdom will be required. We know we don't have that love or wisdom, but God does. We know that He's enough for all of our shortcomings. We know that He will sustain us and He will heal her.
In the end, the reality of adoption is similar to the reality of life. We are all broken vessels. Whether we are adopted or living with our biological family, we all need to be filled with God's love. We need to taste His goodness. We need Him. Because He is Konjo, and we are not.