Friday, August 26, 2011

This is Hardly Easy

Looks Easy!
Attachment... how and when does it happen?  Unfortunately there is no simple answer to that.   Each child has had to endure different circumstances, and different care givers. Each child has their own personalities, strengths and weaknesses.  There is no mathematical solution for the perfect and quick attachment for all in the family.  We have been dealing with our own attachment issues.  David is perfectly attached to me and that began in China.  It has taken and is taking a little longer for Andreas, but it is the attachment between Sam and David that worries me the most.

Small glimpses of friendship
This summer has given us just small glimpses of what could be a friendship between our boys.  Samuel has gone from having all the toys, attention and love for over 5 years, to being a sibling.  David has gone from 3 different caregivers to having a mommy and daddy and actually getting his own toys for the first time in his memory (he was with his biological family for one year before they had to find him medical help by relinquishing him).  These factors don't make for an easy transition for our boys.  

As much as we tried to prepare Sam for this event, he still believed he was getting a sibling that would do everything he said to and that would be able to communicate perfectly.  On one of the first days home I overheard Samuel telling David that they were going to play together.  He went on to give instructions on how that was going to happen...

Sam:  David we are going to play with duplo.  

David: uuuhhh

Sam:  Since you don't know how to play with it and I do... you can watch while I play.

David:  AAAAAHHHHHHHH (as he reaches for the duplo Sam has just taken away).

This was just a small taste of what our summer has looked like.  As David becomes more comfortable he also becomes more assertive.  As David becomes more assertive, Sam becomes more irritated.  David communicates with some sign language, some words (almost) and mostly grunts, Sam has really struggled with how to adapt and understand.  As a mom it has also been a bit frustrating for me because the default setting on David seemed to be this grunting yell if he didn't get his way.  Now I am starting to notice a guttural growl when he is frustrated or doesn't get his way.  

Samuel has also struggled with knowing the difference between being a brother and being a parent.  He continually wants to tell David what to do and tell him no if Sam believes he is doing something wrong.  Poor Sam has heard... ''Stop being a parent''... many times this summer and I am sure it will flow into Fall and Winter (maybe his life).  Of course David doesn't take correction very well from Sam.  

So what could we have done to make this transition easier.  To be honest I have no earthly clue.  These are things that siblings learn when they become siblings, but we didn't start with the baby stage, we went straight for the toddler.  That makes it hard, but not impossible.  It makes it frustrating, but still very much worth it.  These lessons are family lessons.  Lessons that both of these boys will take with them into their families someday.  Learning to live with another that shares your room, your parents, your toys, your food and gets on your last nerves sometime.  These are not easy lessons for an adult let alone 
children, but they are lessons that I want them to learn now.  Even though it has been frustrating to break up yet another argument or fight over a toy I am praying that these lessons will stick.  Of course they will have to be reminded from time to time, but hopefully there will be longer periods of time between each reminder.  

A couple of weeks ago I was at my wits end when I believe the Lord reminded me of the goal with these two.  That was that they would become friends and love one another.  So I, in return, reminded Sam.  One of the absolutely beautiful things about Sam is his heart for people and God.  Early in the summer he made a small Bible.  In it he drew pictures and wrote a few words to remind himself what those pictures were about.  Each page was about a Bible story...the Good Samaritan, the cross, the resurrection, Zacheus, feeding the 5000 and so on.  He said he made this book so that when we were mad or frustrated we could look at it and remember Jesus and what Jesus wants us to learn from these stories.  He went to this book many times this summer and he would hand us this book when we needed it.  Then he would come back to is with his thoughts and oooohhh how sweet those thought were and how true. Sam reminded us so many times of the patience, grace and attachment that Jesus has for us and has shown us.   When I reminded Sam about being friends with his brother he pointed out Zacheus.  Sam then proceeded to tell me that Jesus became friends with Zacheus and he was friends with us.   All I could say was thank you Jesus for this sweet heart and the gentle reminder.  

Since that time things have gotten a little better.  Sam has started first grade and that might have really helped.  When Sam gets home the boys actually can play without fighting for a little while.  Today when David and I came home from a doctors appointment, Sam was already home with Andreas.  David raced out of the car screaming Samuel's name and ran to hug him (unusual).  Sam lit up and said it was the best hug for a long time.  

So while this sibling attachment is taking longer than I would like and the lessons are harder than they would like, it is working.  David is attaching... to all of us.  Are there moments when I feel like a monster because I am so frustrated I have to take mommy time-outs...yes.  Are there moments (like right now) that I feel like I need a break from it all...yes.  Are there moments when I need to pray to Jesus for the correct love for both of my children...yes.  But then there are those beautiful moments that God reminds me that he has done all of this for me, and he didn't have to take time-outs or any breaks... he just kept on loving me.  (that is not to negate that sometimes breaks are necessary!)

Not exactly happy to have to share Farmor.  

So I will look forward to the days when I see more friendship than fights.  
When I see more acceptance and love than frustrations.  
When I see two brothers who share secrets from their parents. 

 I  am believing in faith that it will happen.  
I am believing it because I know a mighty God that puts children in our hearts 
and orphans in our families to become full members and not longer orphans. 
Because I know a God that did that for me, and I know how much I fail.   
Yet he wanted me to be a full member in his family...
fights, frustrations and all.  

At the end of the day, I still have to relinquish it to Jesus (not as easy as it sounds) and rest...really rest.


Monday, August 15, 2011

Still Here

Yes, we haven't fallen off the Earth, just the grid for the last month.  I do have a lot to share in thought and pictures, but that will come in a week or two.  I would still appreciate if everyone would be praying for the two prayer requests below.  Karl, by the grace of God, is doing amazingly well, but still needs your prayers and the people in Norway are still grieving and need prayer.  

I will leave you with two pics that will let you know we are still here.