Thursday, July 9, 2009

Did You Know......?????

in the eyes of others born outside our beautiful country, America has the perception of being Utopia..aka the "promised land," similar to the one that God promised the Israelites in the Old Testament. I probably would laugh if I wasn't living this misguided perception from the eyes of a 6 1/2 year old little boy who believed everything that was told to him about how perfect his life would be once he got to America.....

So....you ask...what exactly does that look like? How do you know he thinks "America is Utopia?" I've questioned many times if he was saying Ethiopia or Utopia...and honestly, sometimes I think he uses them interchangeably, depending upon the circumstance. Today, he wanted Ethiopia because the reality of America was not exactly what he was expecting. Life is not perfect here...and no, he doesn't get everything and anything he wants, nor can he behave inappropriately (like hitting and kicking his sister) when he doesn't get what he wants. It has been a very difficult adjustment for him. I wish I could turn back the clock and talk to the person with the misguided intentions that told him life in America would be perfect for him and set them straight...tell them the real reality that here in America, you have the opportunity for success...to be all you can dream of being......but it is not handed to you on a beautiful gold or silver-plated platter. It requires work....... hard, hard work, dedication to your dreams, and sacrifices that are beyond what you can even imagine. The American Dream is not a gift given to you because you are born an American or are now American through adoption or other means. The dream of being an American is the opportunity to be all you want to be and so many of us have forgotten that.

And grief...we cannot forget grief. Grief manifests itself in a little boy in primal screams and temper tantrum meltdowns that were beyond my comprehension until recently. I thank God every day for the training we received from Gladney...without Dr. Purvis' training, I don't know if I would be equipped to handle it without causing more harm. Intinctively, your primary response as a mom is the one that would do the most damage to bonding with an older adoptive child. You can not focus on the behavior, you have to look beyond the behavior, i.e. the meltodwn, the anger, the lashing out, you have to focus on their heart....and how it's breaking for all that they've lost and have no other way to express it except in complete and uninhibited primal responses. It takes a moment or two to pull back, control your initial response and refocus on the training.......the child is hurting...in a deep, deep pain we cannot begin to comprehend. Nurture.....down on their level...look them in the eyes..talk softly to them...explain to them that it's ok to hurt.....it's ok to feel pain...it's ok to be angry. But it's not ok to hit your sister...it's not OK to kick her.....How do you gently discipline and tenderly love at the same time????? I don't profess to have all the answers, or even a few at the moment........I just hold him tightly.....rock him gently, and tell him I love him, and that I am here for him ALWAYS....but mostly, it's OK to cry.......it's OK to hurt.......and that he's safe here with us.....and we'll be here with him as he works through his grief.

3 comments:

Cecilia said...

I just joined the Charlotte-Yahoo group and found your blog. You have a beautiful family. I love Dr. Purvis also, it is such a blessing that the adoption community has someone to give such wuisdom. Be encouraged, it will get better.

The Albertsons said...

and you, my dear friend, are the hand-picked-by-God mother to this hurting little boy. and you are doing a glorious job already... i can tell just from your writing, and how it comes from your heart. sending you all my love, prayers, and support. you are the rock star of mamas.
Rock on!
love :)
b

Farmboy and Buttercup said...

Sounds like you are just the mom he needs during the grieving. Yes, it can be so hard, and I am so thankful, too, for Dr. Purvis' wisdom.

take care