Hey look at that! A Two-fer. 😉 The elephants moved from upstairs to the pool so I figured, hey I can lifeguard and blog at the same time! Night swim, woohoo! Love having a pool. 🙂
One thing I am learning in our foster to adopt journey is the importance of boundaries. There are so many dynamics you can not possibly anticipate in adoption and every situation is unique. Most of the people in our life simply will not understand what we are navigating. They will try to understand and they will BE “understanding” (and I am SO grateful for how understanding and compassionate people have been) but that’s different from actually living it and truly getting it. And that’s okay. There are hundreds of experiences I will never personally walk through and wont be able to understand. What I’m learning though is that this means I have to be honest, direct, and fearless about what I believe (and what I have sought the Lord in) is best for our family.
I have been trying to be very sensitive and open to the boys great grandparents. We have always said we would want them to remain in the boys lives. And they will. But I’m praying over what will be a hard conversation with great grandma because honestly, we just need some space. It’s so vital that the boys bond to us and see us as their parental figures. Since the boys moved in the great grandparents have visited every week. About a month ago the caseworker expressed concern over the frequency of their visits so early on and offered to step in but I didn’t think this would be necessary. I just like to handle my concerns and conflicts personally. I truly believe that in every relationship we should be the one to confront people not send someone else to do it for us. I know this situation is different, but I’m really wanting to maintain a good rapport with great grandma and I think the key to that is open, honest communication. Plus, I fully recognize how difficult this is for her. She cared for her great grandchildren for a year and a half, day in and day out and now they are here. To some degree I know that heart break. I know she misses them terribly. And yet, they are young, they have been through so much, and seeing her so frequently prevents them from settling in. In some ways I believe its hindering them from healing and fully attaching and moving forward with their lives. So while I’m extremely empathetic toward her, my responsibility is to them. Please pray I would have the courage to express my concerns. Pray I would do so tenderly and lovingly and that she would hear my heart and love for these boys and understand.
Another boundary area I didn’t anticipate encountering is our traveling or people traveling to us. When you have children coming from hard places, consistency and routine are VITAL. When you change the schedule or add something new, sometimes they do great and sometimes they absolutely cannot handle it. And you will know by their behavior. All kids can get thrown off but it’s just a different beast when you have children who are being adopted. My big kids, I can basically say “suck it up buttercup!” but with my little guys, I have to treat it sensitively and carefully. When we went to the beach the boys did pretty well. I did my best to maintain the schedule we keep at home. After our trip to the beach we had family come and stay with us. By the end of their stay we had a full fledge BITER. Both boys are pretty off but one is definitely exhibiting some concerning behaviors. It’s summer, the time to travel. I wanted to go to Florida and I also had plans for our family to come back again…. Basically everything is getting put on hold because we have to get back to normal and help our little guy handle his big emotions. It stinks RSVPing “No” to my sister in laws baby shower, and “No” to a friend’s daughter’s birthday, and telling my sweet family “Hey, umm, I love you but can you maybe not come?” I mean that’s hard. I don’t want to hurt anyones feelings or come off like I don’t care about their special events and milestones. But we’re only a couple months in to a huge adjustment not only for ourselves but for these boys. I keep telling myself “It’s like having a new baby. No, twins. That come with DFCS, great grandparents, and a mixed bag of bonding and behavioral issues.” And they are completely worth it all. So to those in similar adoptive situations, the boundaries you have to set may surprise you but be open, be honest, and be fearless! These kiddos are so worth it!
We are on a seriously steep learning curve here. I know we are doing this all so far from perfectly and I pray people know we mean well as we stumble through the journey. I pray these boys especially know how loved they are. The other night, J was having a hard time getting to sleep, and it was one of my finer mothering moments. I went up and rocked him for like 20 minutes and just sang every worship song I could think of, plus Never Enough from the Greatest Showman. And then I prayed over that little guy and that God would continue to be so merciful in his and his brothers life. That He would step in all our many parenting gaps and all the broken places that everyone has left in their little lives. And I prayed they would know the Lords fierce love for them. And that he would equip Jason and I to love all our kids in ways that direct their hearts to Him. I am such a mess sometimes you guys and my prayers have been desperate for God because I cannot do this without Him. Maybe you are feeling a bit like me today…. Just desperate for God to be present in your parenting. Tonight I am just praying that I would not neglect meeting with my Heavenly Father. I need my Good Shepherd to lead and guide me otherwise, I am utterly lost with out Him.