Maturing is realizing how many things don’t require your comment. ~ Rachel Wolchin
I’d love to tell you who Rachel Wolchin is.. but the most I know is that she said this quote at some point and I think it perfectly fits with my here and now. Let’s just say I am maturing… daily…
The last few months have proven to me that this adoption is by far the hardest thing that I have ever chosen to do. I’ve said this to a number of people and I’ve gotten many different responses or questions in return. And, in mulling over these comments and questions from friends and my everyday learning and growth… I’ve decided it was time for an update… so here it is!
We have indeed come a long way since November. We now find ourselves at the dreaded 6-month mark. For any of you that have any experience with adoption… you will know that the 6 month mark is a milestone that “they” warn you about when you are being trained as foster/adoptive parents. It seems that this is about the time that adoptees start getting comfortable enough to really test your fortitude. It’s the “let’s see just how serious you are about letting me stay” phase. And we have, indeed, experienced some of that – but truthfully, Micheal has been testing us all along. And really – you can’t blame him. And, this will likely continue for awhile. So what’s the key to survival?
remain neutral and ignore what you can
Because as soon as you engage – it all blows up and nobody wins.
The good news, however, is that while we have definitely had some highs and some lows… I do believe that the highs that we’ve had are more meaningful than the lows. As I’ve mentioned in the past… dishonesty is quite possibly the biggest hurdle that I personally have in growing this relationship. It’s gotten to the point that I almost don’t believe anything that he says… and that is exhausting, at best. So, last week we discussed this at our counseling session. I explained that I just don’t get why he continues to lie when he’s getting into trouble for lying… not really what he’s lying about. And, we give him multiple chances to own up. It is mind boggling! AHHHHHHHHHH!
But wait… time for a new perspective… this is how it was explained to me… Think about times in your life when you’ve decided to make some big change – like an exercise routine or a diet. So, you decide that you are going to start walking a mile every morning to get in shape for summer. And, on day one… you get up early, you strap on your tennies, grab your headphones and out the door you go! And when you get back – you feel great – what a huge success! Tomorrow… here you come! And tomorrow does come… but on this morning it’s a little chilly outside and that bed is feeling super warm and super soft… and, tomorrow is supposed to be much nicer… so it’s probably a better idea to just wait. So you do. And you wait the next day… and the next. And the whole time you KNOW that if you got out there and walked… it would be SO good and you would feel SO good! Well, when you have spent your whole life lying for survival… lying is your warm, soft bed.
Much more understandable, huh?
So, only time will make this better. However, Micheal did get honest about a couple of things that probably weren’t so easy to be honest about. And he did it on the first try. And that is success! As a friend of mine pointed out… every moment should be an opportunity for success – so, we will take it wherever and whenever we can get it!
The other complicating factor is that it really is hard to tell what things are stemming from a traumatic past and what things are just 9 1/2 year old boy. Our boys didn’t get to 9 1/2 so this is new territory for everyone. I must say that I wholeheartedly rely on family and friends for this one. It really is a feel good to hear things like… “HA! you don’t really expect him to use the laundry hamper, do you?” or “my 15 year old still can’t remember to flush the toilet.” I will add, however, that on the latter front… I do believe that we’ve made progress… thankfully!
Another high is that in just the 6 months that Micheal has been here, he has advanced one full year in reading level. He came here as a fourth grader reading at an end of 1st grade level. He came here with an IEP that didn’t even mention a reading deficit. He got an updated IEP, he gets extra help with reading every day at school, Bob reads with him every night and he now reads at end of 2nd grade. It is an impressive achievement and we are very proud of his efforts.
So, as for the rest of us… we are adjusting. There are calm days and there are stressful days… but, I think that’s pretty much the story for everyone. Next week we will be going to Faith’s Lodge in Wisconsin to spend a long weekend with our friends. It will be the first time that Micheal has been on an airplane and he’s a bit nervous that he might be sick. He bases this belief on the memory that he rode in a helicopter and he felt very sick afterwards. As you might imagine… we were very surprised that he would have ever had an opportunity to ride in a helicopter… so, we asked him about it.
And he was right… he did ride in one… right in front of the Walmart!