WARNING: I feel like I should have a big red warning at the top of my blog. “NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART” or “NOT FOR THOSE WHO WOULD RATHER I PAINT A FAKE BUT FALSE PICTURE OF MY LIFE”. If you’ve read me very long, you know that I can’t stand the fake smile “my life is hunky dory because I have Jesus” stuff. I have experienced too much of that in church for most of my life.
I believe that life is often hard because we live in a place where the enemy has been handed a great deal of power. We find our hope in the fact that Christ has already won the victory. And we do have glimpses of heaven and abundant life here. But for many, many people who live their lives for Jesus, life is still hard. In fact, (and this is why there need to be warnings on my blog) if you never have struggles maybe you should question why the enemy isn’t going after you. Are you really a threat to him?
So, if you’re looking for an everything went perfectly and everyone lived happily ever after adoption story, quit reading and come back in a year or two (or 13! 🙂 ). If you want to follow a family trying our best to follow the dreams that God put on our hearts many years ago, a family who is really struggling with/questioning what went wrong and how God is going to redeem this situation, a family who is relying deeply on our Father to rescue us, help us, guide us, and give us the strength we desperately need for each day, then “Welcome!” Buckle your seatbelt and come along for the ride!
First, a little about me, for those of you who do not know me. I have ALWAYS wanted to be a mom. I began praying for my husband and children nightly from age 13. In fact, I feel like it is my calling. I always made good grades and school was easy for me. I could have done something “bigger.” Instead, I got a bachelor’s in nursing, worked for 1 1/2 years, and then quit work for my dream job–staying home with my kids–13 years ago. I now have three boys, Eli age 13, Caleb age 8, and Titus age 5. I have always stayed home with my kids and have homeschooled them from the time Eli was old enough to start school. Although it is hard at times, teaching my children is actually the thing that brings the most joy to my day. I rely on God to give me strength to get through the hard parts. And having the opportunity to teach my children about Him throughout the day makes all of the hard parts worthwhile.
I say all of this to say that I have met my match. This daughter of mine is bringing out the absolute worst in me. I’m beyond exhausted from lack of sleep. Her personality quirks grate on my nerves constantly. Her inability to do anything gently–play, interact with people, walk across the room, etc. is a source of constant frustration (and self-inflicted injury to her). I am at my wits end most days. Things are SLOWLY getting better, but the lack of sleep makes everything seem like its taking an infinitely long time.
However, my three amazing boys have come to my rescue many times during the past week and a half. Whenever Eli senses that Mom is losing it, he gathers the others up to entertain Suhui for a while so that I can rest. I think that she is learning far more from her interactions with them than she is with me. They patiently correct her over and over and over, telling her “bu hao” (not good), “deng deng” (wait), and showing her the right way to play together.
I wrote most of this post several days ago. This week has been even tougher than last. It’s been hard because I keep thinking, “When is this ever going to get any easier?” But we have had small glimpses of God’s grace to keep us going. And today we seemed to have some sort of breakthrough.
After battling and battling and battling all week over Rachel throwing things when she gets mad and hitting when she wants to get someone’s attention, something just seemed to click tonight. I don’t know how to explain it, but suddenly she seemed to accept the fact that we’re in charge and she has to do what we say and not do the things we tell her not to. I don’t expect it to last forever. But I do hope that maybe we can have at least one more peaceful day.
Rachel has seemed to be getting used to our routine and the way we do things around here. She also seems to be getting much more comfortable, feeling more at home. But that also means that she’s been testing things a little bit more.
She reminds me of my boys when they were toddlers. They would stubbornly try to get their way. We would struggle and struggle with them until they finally realized that mom and dad are the ones in charge, and then they would finally give in. And suddenly they are hugging and loving on us and far more happy than they were before the struggle. I really think they find comfort in knowing that there is someone in charge who’s looking out for them.
Sleep has improved tremendously since earlier this week. I started lying in bed with Rachel last weekend until she went to sleep (she had been sleeping with us until then). Then I’d get up and go to my bed until she awakened in the night, and I would spend the rest of the night with her. All of our boys slept with us when they were younger. But I have just really had a hard time sleeping with Rachel. Mainly because she keeps was keeping her arms wrapped tightly around me all night, and if I moved her away from me she immediately scooted back up against me. On Wednesday my friend Linda, who has been an absolute lifesaver through all of this, came over in the morning so that I could catch up on my sleep. But we have had a couple of nights this week where she slept six and last night eight hours alone in her bed. She has also relaxed tremendously falling asleep. We will start out cuddling with her arms around my neck. But she soon relaxes, rolls over, and goes to sleep.
Although Titus has been doing pretty good with Rachel. He has had a rough week this week. It’s hardest on him because Rachel very much tries to push him out of the way whenever I’m showing him any individual attention.
The boys usually spend every Friday night with my mom. But this weekend Caleb decided to go to my dad’s house since it’s warm enough for fishing. Eli was going to Granny’s house. Titus wanted to go to Granny’s, but he started running a fever Friday afternoon, so I decided that he needed to stay home. Instead, I asked Mom to keep Rachel for a few hours so that Tommy and I could give Titus some extra attention. We had a wonderful evening playing Webkinz, eating pizza, and then getting the movie Space Buddies to watch. Titus was feeling a little better and just soaked up all the attention. He is such a fun, neat kid. 🙂 When we went to pick Rachel up about 8:30pm, he was a different child. He was really trying to be extra nice to her sharing some candy and things with her even though she was not reciprocating the niceness. When I asked Mom how Rachel was, she replied, “She’s great as long as she gets her way.”
In spite of my sleeplessness, I have wanted to post several times this week, so this is really several posts combined. But I’m going to have to stop for now. I’ll share more tomorrow.