“Grief” can come in many forms and can rear its ugly head so quickly with just a word or something that might remind of the past. Little man has been dealing with a lot of sadness and missing his birth mom and grandfather lately. He has just recently become verbal about it and when we sit and talk about what he is thinking and feeling it is interesting to hear his perspective. With him being 5 he remembers so much, and we don’t want him to forget those good things but showing and teaching him that acting out and bad behavior isn’t appropriate when he is sad is an on-going challenge.
Try to imagine 5 years of your life just being snatched away in an instant and not being able to go back to those familiar places right now and have those familiar things and see your family daily; that is traumatic right there. I can’t even imagine. Everyone keeps telling us that those first 5 years are the foundation, building block, and formative days of a child’s life, so that “foundation” that he knows is completely different than what we have at our home. So not only is he dealing with loss, but also a 360 degree change from what he has known and in his little mind he most likely is thinking, will I leave this “mommy and daddy” and go to another set of “parents”?; that is so much for a child to process. It is no wonder that those thoughts and feelings of “grief” come out in his behavior.
We let him talk when he wants to talk about his past, we let him share with us the things he misses, etc., but we still are not the life he “knows”. He laughs a lot, he has fun playing, he gets along great with the kids he knows, he is very affectionate but still there is that part of him that is “grieving” but we will continue to love, protect and care for him even in those moments of “grief”.
He has impacted our lives so deeply in the short 50 days that we have had him in our home, we are blessed.
There is so much to say, but it feels so hodge-podge just bear with me, this is definitely one those posts that makes sense to us but most likely will feel so “unconnected” to others.
Little man had some hard days at the beginning of the week but Thursday morning he woke up completely different than he had been, this was a HUGE answer to prayer. You see he is 5 (almost 6) and he remembers EVERYTHING it seems from what he has experienced in the past. So one small thing that seems insignificant to us can be HUGE for him. One emblem on a car reminds him of people that he loves but that he doesn’t get to see hardly at all anymore. One picture in a book can bring back a flood of memories, some good and some not so good. One trip in the car can make him remember trips in the past. One sighting of a dog that looks like his dog makes him reminisce about the dog that he loves but no longer sees. But the opposite is true also, he knows that in our home he has his toys, his bedroom, his familiar things that he knows and things that are his and he loves to be at home in the familiar space.
He has been with us for 20 days…that is all but we quickly established a routine and the week days are very similar each day and he thrives on that routine. He knows that Monday-Friday he goes to “school” for a couple of hours and then Ryan picks him up. He knows that on Sunday we go to church. He knows that the bedtime routine includes a song, Bible story, prayer and lots of hugs and kisses. We also want him to know that we love him and each day the decisions we make we are trying to do what is best for him.
Ryan and I were talking last night before falling asleep how much we have learned in the last 20 days about parenting and how much we have yet to learn but are thankful that we don’t need to know everything right now, but take things one moment at a time. People have said to us many times in the last 3 weeks they don’t know how we are doing it but to be honest we don’t know how to do it either, except by God’s grace and wisdom for each new moment. We never in a million years thought that our first experience as parents would be with a 5 year old, but God knew. God knew exactly what that would look like. Right now we have an overwhelming need that we didn’t foresee two years ago, when we made a huge decision but God knew and God has it completely under control. Do we know how He is going to take care of that need? Absolutely not, but He didn’t bring us to this point in our lives to just let us “hang out to dry” so we will trust knowing that His plan is perfect.
Our dear church family is doing a “Welcome to Parenthood” celebration and we are beyond blessed that they are celebrating with us this new chapter in our lives just as if he were our biological child, even though he is our foster son. We are thankful that the Lord lead us to our church only a year ago when we moved an hour away from our families and our familiar territory. Once again God had the perfect plan.
You see what I mean…complete mis-match of things but things we don’t want to forget and we want to be able to look back and remember.