Monday, November 16, 2009
Six Month Update
I am a little late, but it is time for our sixth month update. On the last day of April, Joe and I landed at O'Hare airport in Chicago with our new son, George. We were dazed, worn out, and absolutely terrified. We had just experienced the worst 20 hours of our lives, with George causing such a commotion in customs back in Dulles (Washington DC) that the federal agents barely checked our luggage, just wanting to get that screaming boy out of there. Joe and I wept on the plane ride home, continuing to ask, "What have we done to our family?"
When we arrived home, our kids had made beautiful sings, they hung bright orange balloons all over the outside of our home, and they raced to the car with smiles, ready to hug and welcome their new brother. What they got was a boy screaming and crying who just stared out the windows of his new house.
Over the first month, we experienced things that had never occurred in our home before. Temper tantrums unlike any other, rooms being torn apart, clothing constantly being taken off in anger, pinching, hitting, spitting.
Each night, when George was finally in bed, we would all let out a huge sigh of relief that the house was now quiet and I would cling to my home made children, not wanting to let them go. And each night, I would fall asleep dreading the cries of "Momma!" that I would inevitably hear as George would scream when he needed to go to the bathroom. He didn't really want me...he just wanted to have permission to get out of bed.
I remember calling Carole, a friend who was about 7 months ahead of me in adopting older boys from Ethiopia. I cried as I asked her, "When will this get better?" I clung to her sweet southern accent as she very calmly replied, "Oh, Traci, it WILL get better! In three months you will see a difference with language. In six months, oh, there will be such a difference. Please just hang in there." I hung up the phone with her and decided on that day I would start marking time...if I could just get to three months, things will be better. Then, I set a goal for getting to six months, just longing to be proven that, indeed, things would be so different.
Well, we just passed the six months mark...and I am not even sure how to put into words the changes that have happened. Joe and I were driving home from the airport this past Saturday, with George happily sitting in the back seat. We both paused to just look at him...he was staring out the window just fascinated with each and every car that zoomed past, and he bopped his head to the music, singing a word every now and then that he might remember. His face is so different...he holds his head up high, he looks at us when we talk to him, and he smiles... a lot now. And, in that moment of looking back at George in the car, Joe and I could not even whisper a word, we simply started crying with each other. We have come so far!
That behavior in those first few months was the behavior of a terrified, angry child. All he needed was love and stability. Look at what six months of love can do for a child! And I am not tooting my own horn here - y'all know how difficult it has been for me to love George...the love that has changed George's life is none other than GOD'S LOVE!
I guess I could go into details about all the ways George has changed over the past six months; how he loves his dog, how he is thriving in school and almost reading (even impressing the Title 1 teachers), how he loves Awana and can't wait to learn more about Jesus, how he sleeps through the night without crying anymore, how he confidently plays with his neighbors...the list could go on and on. Let's just say, those who knew George in Ethiopia would not recognize the boy now..he has LIFE in him again!
The one thing I find very interesting about George right now is that he absolutely hates (and I hardly ever use that word) when we talk about his life in Africa to other people. As soon as he hears us answering some one's questions about Ethiopia and what his life was like, he says, "No talk about Africa!" and hides. He also does not want to be reminded, in any way, about his behavior when he first came home. This is a case of a person being adopted into a family and being a totally new creature, not wanting anything to do with their former life.
It's a reminder of how we are to be when we are adopted into God's family - look at how George doesn't want to even talk about his life before us - why are we still attracted to the things of this world after we are made new? I have a great example right before me of how easy it is to put that old life behind me and embrace my new life. Maybe this topic is for another day...just something to think about for now.
I was kicking the soccer ball with George this morning as we waited for the bus (not sure my neighbors appreciate the noise at 6:30am - but we were cold and needed to do something to warm us up). A ball he kicked raced past me, so I had to run up the yard quite a bit...right then the bus pulled up and while Isabel and Harry just yelled, "Bye mom!", George ran as fast as he could yelling, "I can't go without a hug from Momma!". He threw himself into my arms, hugged tight, and then raced back down the driveway to get on the bus. That says it all.
Posted by Traci Weldie at 5:23 AM