Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Life After the Airport

We have been home for nearly six weeks.

Thunder and Lightning started second grade and kindergarten, repsectively, at our local, year-round, public school immediately after our arrival in the States.  After a five week bonding vacation in Colombia where every day was fun and games and free time, we were  more than ready for routine, structure, and learning now that we were home.

The boys attended school for 8 days before experiencing their first "track-out".  For the next 2 and 1/2 weeks they attended "Mommy's Front Porch School" as a way to maintain routine and structure as well as to continue their immersion in learning.

Now, public school has been back in session for over a week.

For every one of his first 12 days in public school, Lightning's behavior clip stayed on "RED".  Finally, on day 13, he achieved "PURPLE" behavior grade BETTER than "green"!  (Truth be told, if he had a behavior clip at home, it, too, would have been on "RED" most days.)

For every one of Thunder's first days in public school, he was a model student, attentive and motivated.  On day 9, the tide turned and both his motivation and behavior went south.

School days 14 and 15 have found Lightning back on "RED", and Thunder is regaining his motivation and model behavior.

ROY G. BIV symbolizes the colors of the rainbow.  Through the spectrum, from the fiery reds, oranges, and yellows to the calm, cool, greens, blues, and purples, every color combines to create something beautiful in the hands of God...something hopeful. He set the rainbow in the sky as a visible symbol of His promise.  The rainbow is a symbol of hope, a reminder that He has not forgotten us.  

We have experienced every color of the rainbow in these days after the airport, and I have great confidence that God is taking us through the spectrum of colors as He creates a masterpiece worthy of His glory.  In the meantime, through the fiery red days and the calm blue hours, we live faithfully in the shadow of His promises looking daily to the heavens for a glimpse of the rainbow, the hope, that He is painting in our sky .

In many ways, life after the airport greatly resembles life on the Adoption Highway.

There are days:
  • ...of great joy
  • ...when expectations are too high
  • ...when expectations are too low
  • ...of despair
  • ...of great triumph and progress when you move forward by leaps and bounds
  • ...when you feel like you have been in reverse from sunrise to sunset
  • ...when the responsibility (financially and emotionally) is overwhelming
  • ...when FAITH, HOPE, and LOVE are literally tangible
  • ..when fear lurks and doubt haunts
For the last 6 weeks, I have spent a lot of time refereeing and modeling appropriate behaviors.  I have spent a lot of time giving examples of "good" choices vs "bad" choices and the consequences of each.  There are days when I have wished that we could afford to buy three of everything we own and that sharing was NOT an option in our family.  The enemy still lurks, he didn't disappear with the placement of Thunder and Lightning.  Although generally GOOD, the days can be long and exhausting.

There are also those banner days when Lightning runs to me and says "Mommy, Mommy, come see!".  And the child that could not walk up and down stairs without holding both of my hands is climbing the rock wall in the backyard ALONE, without help, and loving every minute of it.

There is the moment when I am washing dishes, absorbed in my own thoughts when I turn around to get a dishtowel and there is Thunder with his arms open wide coming to give me hug...a hug from the child who is very stingy with displays of affection!  As he wraps his arms around me, he says ,"I love you so much.  I want to be here forever."  He sheds a tear and so do I.

We continue to:

  •  talk about House Rules 
  • discuss what it means to be a family, 
  • identify positive character traits.
  • read a lot of books and search the illustrations for clues about how the characters feel and then how they react, and how they solve their problems in appropriate, and sometimes inappropriate, ways.
  • have an interactive bath time where I wash them and towel dry them and lotion them before bed when each is read stories and given a massage followed by quiet lullabies.  Their day also starts with touch as they are awakened  with a back rub and limb massage to get their engines going without a grumpy roar.  All of these things help to satisfy their craving for appropriate touch and closeness.
  • remind them that asking permission is a necessity in a family.  With this realization has come a greater respect for authority.    
Most significantly, the days after the airport are spent WAITING.

You WAIT :
  • ...for language acquisition
  • ...for a deepened level of trust
  • ...for behaviors to become internalized
  • ...for a routine that works
  • doctor's offices, and dentist's offices, and in labs
  • ...for wisdom
  • ...for assessments and progress reports
  • ...for acceptance
  • ...for walls around hearts and minds to crumble
  • comfort the grieving child
  • ...for some sign that they understand, that they are happy, that they know they are loved
  • ...for them to share their possessions, their thoughts, their feelings, their wants
  • ...for affirmation and words of affection
  • ...for the idea of teamwork to take root
The WAITING continues, but this time it is different because you have traveled the Adoption Highway, and you have learned HOW to wait.  

Now you wait hopefully and confidently.  You wait while engaging and immersing yourself in life around you.  You wait knowing that God is in control.  His timing is perfect.  He is there.  He has a purpose and a plan in every circumstance.

You wait while loving God with all of your heart, mind, soul, and strength remembering that His grace is sufficient and that you can do all things through Christ who strengthens you.

You WAIT while passionately loving your children.

Adoption IS love in action!

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