Monday, August 10, 2009

"Georgie Africa!"

There is so much to tell about what is going on with George the last few days. I don't even know exactly where to begin and this post may end up going backwards chronologically. Sorry.

We have hit a very crucial point in our adoption of George. The permanance of his situation seems to have finally hit him; he is now our son and he will live in America. This is not such an easy thing for a boy who has only known Africa for his entire life. I am sure he was told things about life in America, and I am also sure that our country life in Wisconsin has not always lived up to those stories. So, in the last few days, we have heard a lot about Africa and specifically "Georgie Africa!", which means he wants to go back.

Today, George was caught in two lies. Earlier, he lied about stealing some chewing gum from Isabel, and I will admit that I had too much on my plate today to deal with it other than just a scolding. This evening, he lied again. This time, there were witnesses. And all we wanted was the truth! Telling the truth has been so hard for George - it seems he will lie about the littlest thing. I am sure he is afraid and I am also sure he learned to lie living in an orphanage for a year, but we just won't tollertate lying in our house, so it was time to deal with this head on.

Joe took over (despite coming home in a horrible mood and just wanting to "retreat" to the bedroom - that's the awesome man I married!). He made sure from all the witnesses what really happened. Then Joe took George into his room and asked him the same question over and over again, "George, did you throw the shoe at Harry?". Trust me, George completely understood the question and time and time again he stubbornly answered, "No!"

Joe very clearly and simply explained that he wanted to be told the truth, to tell Daddy what he did. When George became even more belligerent, Joe needed to spank George. That is when George yells out, "Georgie Africa!" and runs out of his room, heading for the door.

We had a choice to make in a split we let him run out or do we try to talk to him some more. We chose to watch him run. Shoeless and braving the misquito infested yard at dusk, we perched ourselves at various windows throughout the house and watched our son walk away.

I had just mowed the grass this afternoon, so our boundary was very clear, and George walked to the far corner of our yard. And then he stopped. He looked back at the house, but because we are sly we had turned off all the lights so he could not see that we were watching him.

He thought for a while. I am sure he was thinking about taking a step off our land. But, instead he sat down, right on the edge of the road at the far boundary of our acre. And he sat....and he stayed. I could see him swatting feverishly, and I just knew the misquittos were feasting the easy target. But still he stayed. A few cars raced by. We don't live on a busy street at all, but occasionally we get the testoerone laddened teenager doing 55 down our street. All of a sudden, the thought of a careless driver speeding down the street and not seeing this little boy at dusk griped my mind. A knot formed in my stomach and I immediately started praying. Eleanor could sense my change in attitude and she put her arm around me and started praying with me. "Oh Lord, protect this little boy. Do not let any harm come to him. Bring him home to us."

It was then that I thought of a recent sermon I had listened to by Stuart Briscoe. He was discussion the prodigal son and he made a point that I had failed to really notice before; the father did not go after the son. I thought how that father must have prayed that same prayer every day, a prayer of protection and of bringing that boy home. Yet, the son needed to make up his own mind to come home.

And that is what we needed to do. Eventually, everyone left their window perch, except momma, of course. I continued to watch every move he made. I even quietly opened a window so I could hear if he was saying anything. After about 20 minutes, George stood up and started slowly walking back home. I continued to watch, but now I could actually breath.

He climbed onto the front porch, looked in the windows and paused. One last time, he took a minute to think things through. Then, he finally walked through the door and into the arms of his daddy who said, "I am glad you came home."

This time, when Joe talked to George about telling the truth, George admitted that he had thrown the shoe. George then came to me and told me the truth. Joe and I praised him and told him we loved him so! And then, of course, the issue of the shoe being thrown had to be dealt with, but we had made such huge progress!

About an hour later George came over to Joe and I and said, "Georgie no Africa. Georgie like America."

This wasn't the first time we had heard this statement this weekend. In fact, it has been said often over the last few days. I think George is really coming to a place of acceptance, and maybe even a place of love for his family.

Saturday night, Joe and I were reading on the front porch when George came out with his yellow popsicle and sat down on the step. He looked out over the land and then said, "Georgie go back to Africa." There was no emotion; nothing had just happened to make him say this out of anger. I think he really thought that he wanted to go back. Back to all the words he understood and all the familiar sounds and smells. Everything here is just so different!

Joe and I were a bit shocked and did not know what to say. George then said, "Hailu Georgie brother in Africa." Now, we know Hailu and we know that he is not George's brother. But, he was George's ONLY friend for the year in the orphanage. We explained that Hailu was not his brother...but then precious little Lincoln interrupted.

"Georgie...I am your brother and I love you so much. And Mommy and Daddy flew all the way to Africa to bring you home. You are my brother and I want you to stay with me. I love you, Georgie."

We sat stunned. We have always joked that Lincoln is our "little shepherd", caring so intensely for his siblings, but this was pretty special. We watched George for there simply was nothing more that needed to be said and us bumbling parents probably would have ruined the moment if we would have jumped in with some "great thought for the moment". No, we both were silent...and watched.

George didn't say anything, but we could see the wheels turning in his mind. Lincoln walked away, down the front path, but then stopped and came back and simply said, "Come on George, let's go play!" And off they ran together...brothers.

Nothing else was said about what George had brought up. But a few hours later, George came to me and said, "George no Africa. George like America." And I believed him. I truly believe that George made a pivotal decision on that front porch, and consequently had the time today to reaffirm that decision. George WANTS to be here.

Thank you, Lord!


Brooke said...


Anonymous said...

Remember that kids often want two opposing things at once. George probably wants to be in America and Africa both! Great progress though!

Katy said...

Oh my goodness. This progress in George's life is so precious. You are amazing parents and an amazing family. I know it probably doesn't always feel amazing, but you are. Thank you for sharing your journey with us.