Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Heart Wrenching Discussion

I thought I would share a heart-breaking and eye-opening conversation with you all. It went like this:
Last night, at the very end of story time with Dad, I said to Luke, as he was staring blankly and unwaveringly at me, "Even though you love me, it's still not nice to stare." Tim wrapped up his reading to Luke, and Luke climbed up into his bed, his eyes getting redder and wetter as he climbed. I asked him what was wrong, thinking he was sad that story time was so short. He blurted out, his tears erupting, "I feel like I don't love you!" I was confused. I asked, "Are you saying you are so mad at me that you feel like you don't love me, or are you saying you think I don't love you?" He answered that he thought I said that he didn't love me, and burst into fresh tears. I explained more clearly what I had said. Then, I asked, "Why are you so afraid that I might not know you love me?" He answered, crying as he did, "Because if you think I don't love you, then you might not keep me and give me up for adoption!" I hugged him as he cried and assured him that when we said he was our "forever son", that meant forever. I was explaining what forever means when he said, "For some reason, I just have trouble believing you," and burst into fresh tears. I hugged him. Tim hugged him. We both let him know that we understand why he is afraid and has trouble believing that we mean forever.

It has not entered my mind since the beginning weeks that Luke is not used to being permanent. His life has been in upheaval since he was born. We all know that he is our son forever, but over time, we have forgotten that that fact is not a reality yet for him. I suddenly have clarity on so many things. No wonder he still robotically obeys every command without reason or emotion. He is trying so hard to order his world in such a way that it does not cause him upheaval again. When we give him an order, he obeys mechanically. We appreciate the obedience, but always feel like something is just not quite right about it. Now, I've had a paradigm shift. Sunday, I was wondering in frustration if things will ever feel 'normal'. Now, I see more clearly, that 'normal' will come as he feels more secure and one year is not enough to feel secure after 6 years of not having security. He is so smart that he picks up the rules of proper attachment pretty fast, but the heart (habit) of attachment will take more time.

One of the most helpful things we have been taught in our Circle of Security attachment therapy has been learning that young children that are neglected in the early years haven't had parents who pick them up and tell them how they feel: "Oh, you're hungry, that's what's wrong." "Oh, you're sick, no wonder you are unhappy." "Oh, Did you miss Mommy? That's why your crying." We verbally tell our babies what they feel, with more detail as they grow older. When a baby is neglected, he doesn't learn to put names to his emotions (sad, jealous, angry, scared) and feelings (cold, hot, hungry, full), nor how to deal with them. He was left to answer his own needs from early on. In a loving, caring home, he would have learned that his parents will take care of his needs. In a neglectful home, he learns to deal with unanswered needs in ways that alleviate the pain of that unanswered need. He learns how to control things in whatever way he can. It is one of our tasks to help Luke learn that his parents are responsible for answering his comfort needs and he has to allow us to do our job and not move into his habitual behaviors that he learned as an infant.

Adopting an older child is a real adventure. We are learning so much.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

It's Been a Very Long Time

I have neglected my blog for far too long. It is long past time for an update.

The biggest event of the summer was Nathaniel's graduation from high school. We shared the big event with four other graduates at the home of one of them. It was an enormously fun time of celebration with our church family and a few other guests. The night included the ceremony, barbeque, ultimate Frisbee, dancing and loads of fun!

Tim took Luke to Colorado this past month for 5 days of Luke meeting and visiting his paternal grandparents and his Uncle Andrew, Aunt Nicole and cousins Shea (Luke's age) and Sophie, along with Uncle Tom, Aunt Susanne, and their kids. They had a wonderful time exploring, playing, Kayaking and getting to know each other.

While Luke and Tim were in Estes Park, Nathaniel visited a friend in Colorado Springs. We had a very quite house here at home with only David, Whitney and me. It was very restful and we did a lot of rejuvenating in their absence. Whitney and I worked for hours on our crochet projects. She is making a bear for a friend's baby and I am making a baby afghan. This is Whitney's very first crochet project and she has done wonderfully.

Nathaniel and Tim are taking a landscaping management class at the local community college to hopefully grow the lawn business that Nathaniel started. We add, on average, a customer per week right now. I even enjoy getting out to help drive the mower every once in a while. It is a zero turn mower and very fun to drive! Nathaniel continues to make sure he gets plenty of social interaction. Here are photos of him and Whitney at Busch Gardens with friends.

Whitney spends her hours helping me in the house, baking delicious treats and planning and cooking our meals. I, especially am loving her domestic skills. She also spends hour upon hour honing her piano, guitar and singing skills. Wow! The music in our home is beautiful!
David continues to try to befuddle our minds with physics talk and words we often don't understand. He really enjoys things like physics, chemistry, mazes, codes and Rubik's cubes. Right now he is studying what makes up languages with the goal of creating a new alphabet and language, just for fun. He also loves to keep Nathaniel and Luke busy with wrestling. The last match in the living room was too close to the hearth. This is the sewing job done on David's head.

Luke is still spending time looking for and playing with his many bug finds. He recently caught a big, (in Mom's estimation, ugly) bug and brought it in his bug holder. After show it off, he said, "I love this bug =). I just want to hold it." How sweet and snugly.

This summer we have had many animal adventures. We raised a praying mantis from infant to 4 inches long. Wow! He was educational! Every time he shed his skin, he doubled in size. He learned things very fast too. In the end, we kept him overnight on a plant in the sun room and he became very angry when we tried to return him to his small enclosure, so we decided it was time to set him free.
We caught a 4 foot long Black Racer Snake in the neighbors tree and allowed it to crawl around in the sun room for awhile. I found out the non-poisonous snakes don't have fangs at all, so it really doesn't hurt much when they bite. We had a box turtle lay at least one egg in our turtle garden in the back yard. We have two newborn water turtles growing in an aquarium, in the sun room. We rescued and are keeping in the turtle garden some type of deformed, half-eaten water turtle that had healed by the time we found it, but resembles some type of dwarf. We call her Zombie. Most recently, yesterday I had to cut off the end of one of our goat's horns to keep her from strangling herself in the fence. It is always interesting living rurally. Not exactly country, but not city either.