We've been home from Ethiopia for 10 days, and this is my first post. Partially because my main home computer hasn't let me write on this blog when I have sat down to do put words on a blank screen. But, frankly, partially because I have struggled with the words to let loose.
America has been a shock.
A shock to my eyes. A shock to my body. A shock to my heart.
A shock to my children, new and old. In undefinable ways.
We arrived home on last Tuesday, and our family was thankful to have a large homecoming at the airport. Many family members and friends showed up to welcome Yohannes and Paulos to America and welcome our family home.
We are very grateful that those moments will forever be etched with pictures and videos for our sons. If you came to the airport, thank you!! You are a part of their "forever" memories. If you sent well wishes to our family, thank you! We have cherished every email, facebook message, and card that we have received. Please know that if we did not respond to your message, it wasn't that we didn't read it, it's because these past 10 days have been tough. We love you and we thank you.
Now to the hard part.
This whole transition is difficult. It just is. I'm having a hard time explaining all that I'm feeling and experiencing.
I'm angry. A lot. I'm sad. A lot. I'm mourning. I'm happy. I'm relieved. I'm stressed. I'm thankful.
I am mourning what my family used to be, and so are my children. If that sounds mean, just skip this part and wait for the next post. I knew from reading other adoptive family's blogs that I would experience this emotion, but to actually feel it is unnerving. I don't want to feel this way. So I am praying and waiting.
Yohannes and Paulos are beginning to adjust slowly to American life. They are starting to realize what it means to have a mom and dad. That's not always what they want. They want to do what they want to do without being told "no". Just like other children. But they're getting off to a late start.
They have fits frequently. If you've seen us out in public you may wonder at that statement and think, "Really? My kids have fits, too." But these are not like the fits that a toddler throws at 2 years old when they are angry. They are fits of anger, loss, and grieving. Our boys are angry that they are in a new environment. They have lost their family, homeland, food, and way of life. They are grieving for "E-toe-pee-ah", as they call it, which is evidenced by the screaming of their country name sometimes when they are inconsolable.
Yohannes will cry and withdraw at the drop of a hat and many times we just don't have a clue what set it off. He will cry for an hour or more and not allow us to be near him. Other times he will be angry and throw things or trash a room and at that point he will be physically restrained by one of us for 45 minutes or more (a full arm and leg hold) until he stops resisting. Now I know why God allowed Natalie to whip me into shape in Ethiopia. He was preparing me for the muscles He knew I would be using when I returned home!
Those fits are getting progressively fewer and farther between. Still, it's difficult to plan to go out in public. We're never sure if the boys will be able to be seen or will scream for so long. There's nothing to do to stop those episodes but wait. Can you understand why it'd hard to be in a public place with the possibility of physically restraining a 10 year old child in the middle of dinner or a store aisle?
We've had to say "No" a lot. Had to not go places we would love to go. If you have been the recipient of a cold shoulder on our part, please know it's not because we didn't want to see you or do something with you, it's because we couldn't leave the house. Or sometimes, we leave and then turn around an drive right back home because a child has melted down in the car.
Our bio kids are having a very hard time, too. They feel left out. And they are. They feel neglected. And in lots of ways they are. They feel like Yohannes and Paulos are getting all the attention from their friends. And they are. In many instances, Easton especially is acting out.
Our family needs grace right now. We need all of you, family and friends, to know that when you see us in public, we need some space. We are not ignoring you. We are not trying to not speak to everyone. We are just trying to get through that particular hour. Our kids are not well behaved at the moment. None of them, from the oldest to the youngest. If they offend you, we are asking for mercy and forgiveness for the next few months, or however long it takes.
Thank you to everyone who has sent a message and brought a meal. It was a blessing not to have to cook for the first 10 days.
If I cry when I talk to you, just ignore me. I feel like I have post-partum depression, except I did not just give birth.
Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of firsts this week that were wonderful, and I will post pics of those moments soon.
I'm just venting a little here right now. Bear with me.
Thank you for everything. All of you. We love you.
2 Corinthians 12:9
"9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me."
Let me tell you, I am weak right now, so my Lord has to be strong. He is who I am leaning on. I said I would not sugar-coat this adoption stuff. I want to be transparent.
I want to tell you that adoption is a beautiful thing. It is. So if you're thinking about it, there's a reason you're thinking about it. Do it. If you're being called to support someone who's adopting, do it. But support takes many forms, and that means being there and being understanding and forgiving when they come home.
I am weak, and Jesus is strong. Thank you, Lord, for carrying me.