Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Ups and Downs

I have been enjoying the new Blake Shelton song, "God gave me you for the ups and downs."

When I heard it this morning, it brought tears to my eyes. Ben and I have been living this wave for the several months, now. The amount of love and patience required to parent LJ is well past our natural ability.

There are so many moments that I have to walk away and take a deep breath.

Unless we're on a family run (mama does more of a walk-jog) or expelling energy in some other way - park, pool, bikes, etc - LJ struggles. He has endless energy and minimal ability to focus or regulate his emotions. It's exhausting.

Tonight, after dinner, LJ said, "Mom, I want to go home."

My reply was, "Honey, we are home."

I want to go to another home.

I sighed and bit my comeback, then exchanged eyes with Ben before saying, "That isn't very nice LJ. This is your home and we love you very much."

Ben has the amazing ability to punch restart and move on. He is calm and patient and, continually, redirects the boys' attention. I am in awe of it.

I thought about LJ's comment all night.

It's not that I took his words, personally...I fully recognize that he is three and discriminating in his opinions.

It bugged me that he understood what he said.

As a mom, I want to protect my kids from the world, so that God's truth and goodness can shape their view before they have to face it head on. With Ty, that's easy. All of his experiences have been controlled and protected.

LJ's have not.

He has seen glimpses of the world that will be hidden from Ty for years to come.

I hate the injustice.

In LJ's life, I know the wrongs will be righted and I recognize the significant progress that he's is just, so, extremely, slow going.

The good news is that, tonight, I get to sleep beside my helpmate and tomorrow will be a NEW DAY.


  1. I thought to myself why would he want to go to another home? Then, it hit me. Coming from what you have shared about LB's life that he bounced around in foster homes. He might not be secure in your keeping him forever so you might as well move me now. That's so sad. I hope as time goes on he becomes more sure in his new family and things become less of a struggle for him.

  2. I have had to learn to hit that "restart" button with all of our kids but especially Lizzy. Every day it is something. A fit. A behavior. An attitude.

    But, she is so much better than she used to be. She is learning. Maturing. Changing. Healing.

    And I am growing into the person God meant me to be. It is oh so slow, but I am closer than I was when I met my little girl two years ago.

  3. He might just be testing you to feel out if he is staying or not. My daughter lived in 5 foster homes before mine and she went through a similar stage.

  4. I wonder if LJ wanting to "go to another home" is simply recognizing the struggle he has had also in your family. I'm not certain (although I and others were not there to hear said conversation) that this wasn't a part of his own grieving.

    I think of myself, going through several traumatic events as a young child/teen and wanting to get away from all that seemed healthy - it was easier to live in the unhealthy. I recognize his words as something I would have said - because it hurts less to be somewhere familiar, to be away from what is currently taking place. Your return comment of "that isn't very nice" made me cringe a little - because it is never about the people that are caring for us broken children - it is about our own pain, and our own grief.

    You have given me a great deal to think about in my own journey of healing - perhaps quite a bit of projection on my own part. Blessings to you and your family.


    1. Mandy, now looking back, I agree on my not being nice comment...Yesterday was a difficult day and my frustration surfaced. I'm just glad I held back what I wanted to say! Thank you for your perspective and having the courage to voice it.

      We are having a better day, today. I'm so thankful that God's mercies are new every morning!

    2. Honestly, I think it was a more correct thing to say, the "it wasn't nice comment." Because the "it wasn't nice" was immediately followed by "we love you." In my perspective LJ expressed unthankfulness or discontentment for all he has been given (so much too)... While I do not agree that it was a bad thing to say, another choice of words might have been, "I'm sorry to hear that LJ. This is your home and we love you very much."

      But you were right to express (in some form) that you disapprove of that. In my opinion, LJ should always know how you and the family are "sorry to hear" that he wants another home etc.

  5. We have a son, adopted at birth, and lately, when we are at home, he says, "I want to go home." WE are the only home he has known, so I don't take it personally. But it's son is three, as well. Perhaps LJ really doesn't understand what he's saying??? He also might be seeking reassurance from you that this IS his home...maybe it's his way of asking, "Am I staying forever?" Hang in there, you're doing great.

  6. What a struggle this must be for you. However, God is with you always! You've done an amazing thing by saving and protecting this child. In his little body it must seem like it's time to move from what he's been through in his short life. Blessings to your family!

  7. How is LJ with Ty? This must be hard on him. Maybe this was not the right choice for your family. I would think if you are still struggling with this then maybe this was wrong and could damage both boys.

    1. Oh my goodness. Our oldest daughter has been with us for almost 6 of her almost 7 years and there are still challenges we face with her that we do not face with the two we adopted at birth. Early childhood trauma can be so, well, traumatic. This absolutely does not mean it wasn't the right choice. After all, these are not our choices per say. Are we not working for the greater glory of God?!?!

      Thanks once again for the honesty of your posting, Rebekah. Thanks for not only posting about the good stuff but the hard times as well. Real life is not always easy....but that doesn't make it wrong. God bless you and your family!

    2. how are you going to suggest that "this was a wrong choice?" that is the advice you give someone "if asked" before hand... not smack dab in the middle of it. This is the time to say, "Rebekah, you have made an amazing choice to love and parent a child that needed a forever family, and you are doing a fantastic job at it!!!

    3. I hate to say this, but I agree with you. I believe LJ notices he is diff from the family and he don't feel as if he belongs. Sorry to say that.

    4. Just tonight, LJ said, "Ty, you're my best friend." The boys are brothers through and through and have a really beautiful relationship. We have tough moments, but there are also A LOT of really sweet moments, too. We are 100% confident in our decision to adopt LJ. Our family is better because he's in it.

    5. I think it's awful to suggest that adopting this precious boy was a wrong choice. He is already part of the family now. Any struggles within the family or between siblings are just part of growing and loving as a family. Do people say this sort of thing to families who are struggling after birthing a second child? "Maybe you shouldn't have had another kid then."?? Shocking and offensive, really.

      As far as sensing that he is different,(as in a different race), I am sure both boys will be raised to embrace and be proud of their respective heritages. Both will know they belong.

      On a side note, LJ may well not be the only child of African American descent in the family by the time the family is complete. Really, having another family member of the same race would help a lot with feeling different. Still praying baby sister joins your family :)

    6. First time commenting, long time reader. I worked in the adoption field before having my little man, and I had plenty of preadoptive parents express statements like the one mentioned above by anonymous, and then terminate placement after even a couple of days. If there weren't parents like you who continued to move forward by riding on the wave of Jesus' grace, we wouldn't have successful stories of strong placements. This is hard stuff that you are wading through. God wants to meet you at the place where you recognize your powerlessness and your desperate need for him. By God's grace alone that ANY of our kids grow up to be a strong force for His glory. As a side note- I worked mainly in domestic infant adoption and man alive if I had more ap's like you, I would have cried tears of joy. you absolutely get it.

  8. LJ has never been able to know that there is one home, one place where he will grow up, one family forever. As much as he may like it/love it with you all, it's a part of a cycle for him....okay, now on to the next home.

    There have probably been times in his live already, that he cannot articulate, when he felt comfortable and it was ripped out from him.

    He doesn't know the life Ty does, and as hard as it is not to take it personal, it is not personal. The cycle of his life is staying a while and then moving. He doesn't realize that's not normal, because for him it has been normal.

    My girls were 1 1/2 and 7 1/2 when I adopted them from foster more than 5 years ago. My older daughter still tests out if this is permanent, because she also had many "families" and placements before ours. It takes time, and patience. You've had him a very short percentage of his life. It takes time, time, and more time.

    I would recommend talking to experienced foster parents in your area, many of whom have likely adopted. There are several good blogs by foster and foster-adopt families out there....

  9. I have to say I agree with the comment about not saying "that isn't very nice". I think that could give him the feeling that in the future he shouldn't voice his feelings to you if they are negative. Perhaps, "I'm sorry you feel that way" or something along those lines that give him permission to voice his feelings, even if they are not feelings of sunshine and roses.

    I definitely don't give this advice as an expert, this has been learned only after making remarks to my kids that I later realize (usually when they have told me) have made my kids feel they need to censor what they say to me.

  10. Rebekah,

    Please be careful that you do not let the comments of those who haven't been in your shoes, affect you too deeply. This is a unique and wonderful path you and Ben are choosing to walk. It isn't for the faint-hearted. Those of us who choose to walk it are never prepared for what loving hurting children is really going to be like.

    What you are experiencing is NORMAL. Your feelings, his feelings, Ty's and Ben's they are all normal. Keep loving him through the power of Christ. It is Christ who will heal LJ. Not Rebekah and Ben's perfect parenting. It will be Christ alone and He will get the glory.

    Just keep a journal of the reality of today, so you can look back and see where God has brought you. When we bring in our older babies we don't get to measure by first steps, first words, and first foods. We measure by other more subtle signs of growth and healing and we can miss them if we aren't keeping a record for ourselves.

    1. Thank you. This is so beautifully written. I love that last part. We certainly do measure by growth and healing...

  11. Oh, I forgot! In therapy with Tyke (He just turned 3), I talked with the therapist about hot button things that Tyke sometimes says. She told me that if we have discussed an issue before and he was comforted when we discussed it then he may bring up the issue again because he is seeking my attention. I can either answer that we will talk about it later (if the topic is inappropriate for the setting) or I can give him the same comforting response as last time. Sometimes I may need to be more matter-of-fact so it does not become an emotional button to push.

    I thought of that because you recently went on vacation and your last post was about LJ and going home. If you shared a sweet moment with him and discussed going home he may be looking to recreate that moment. I know my Tyke definitely remembers emotionally close moments and sometimes tries awkwardly, to recreate them.

  12. LJ's comment made perfect sense to me, given his history. Moving and loss has become his normal and even when their normal is sad and painful, kids still feel most comfortable with it. That said, with time, the love in your family will be his normal. You are very brave to post this...people have their opinions and that's ok. And we ALL say things we wish we wouldn't have to our children...I can say honestly, for me, it happens on a daily basis! I am just not brave enough to post it on my blog! LJ is pushing buttons, testing your love and craving inconsistency because at least he has learned how to survive that. And you are working hard to stay with him, love him and contain him. You are doing a wonderful job. Keep it up!

  13. I want to offer a little comfort from a different perspective. In my husband's and my 7 1/2 years of marriage we've moved 9 times. We were married in college and then went to seminary and it's a ton of moving. But something strange happened. At first I HATED the moving, but after move 2 or 3 I began to be desperate for moving after the amt of time I usually moved. And did you just say LJ is at about the time he usually moves? The kid was probably totally removed from emotion and was just like, "hey, new house, new room, new experiences!" I actually love moving every year or so for the same reasons! Don't give him more credit than is due for emotions at his tender age, esp since it sounds like Ty is so much more advance in this area. I really doubt he was trying to hurt you or your feelings. Take heart Mama, you are doing such an amazing job! Oh, and I second, thanks for posting with such honesty, I love reading this blog!

  14. I hope and believe that you will get some encouraging words from his mouth very soon.

  15. Here's the thing, LJ is not Ty. He never will be Ty, and he will never act just like a child you raised from birth. The comment I want to go home really makes sense given his history, and regardless, it's difficult to understand how this could be perceived as a cruel comment from a 3 year old. I get that you're trying, but it sounds like you are dealing with your own emotional issues from the adjustment of adding LJ to your life as much as he is. Along with prayer, I imagine it would be super helpful to talk to a Christian therapist to help manage your expectations, anxieties, and frustrations along the way, in addition to venting on your blog.

  16. Oh jeez Rebekah. I am so annoyed and appalled at the people who think they are perfect parents and feel the need to point it out to you. NONE of us are perfect and we are all learning as we go, trying to improvise the best we can. You guys are doing as great job with BOTH of your boys. As parents, we all have our own thoughts and emotions, even under the best of circumstances. It is really, really HARD to parent a hurt child. Understanding in your head why he acts a certain way doesn't make parenting him any easier.

    Please disregard any comments on here that are anything less than supportive or constructive. Continue to use this as a forum for support. When I was going through the most difficult times with my son my blog was my lifeline. Please continue to share all the hard moments. That is real life. Real parenting of real children.