Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tell Us About Yourself.....

It is the usual Back to School assignment that MOST kids LOVE!  They get asked to bring in baby pictures, tokens from special family vacations, favorite memory of growing up.  The kids very proudly stand in front of their classmates, show off their cute, chubby baby-picture self, hold up their Micky Mouse ears they got from Disneyworld when they were 4 years old, and then say, "I look just like my daddy."

George had this assignment today.  He moped around the house most of the afternoon yesterday looking for special things to put into a brown paper bag that "told the story of his life so far".   He grabbed a few things and I asked him, "What does this say about the story of your life?"  He never had an answer, so I suggested a few items that might tell his story;  I found a little ambulance match-box car and said, "You could tell everyone that you want to be a paramedic." I found a flag and said, "You could talk about how you loved watching the Olympics this year." 

Pretty much every idea I came up with, he discounted.

He put a few things into his bag, one of which was a small woven basket from Ethiopia.  I was very proud of him that he had chosen to bravely talk about how he was from Ethiopia.

I couldn't wait to hear how it went, but inside I KNEW it would be a disaster. 

He gets into the car, "I hate you.  I am the step brother and I  know in my brain you love Isabel more than me."

"Um....what?"

I told him that we would talk when we got home.

He said some more hurtful things and he needed to cool down a bit in his room before we talked. 

I thought, prayed...prayed some more and then walked into his room and asked, "Did you have a bad day because you had to share your story?"

Immediately, the tears started falling.  "I saw all these pictures of kids with their mommas and daddys and I don't have mine anymore and I just miss them so much."  He sobbed.  He was truly heart broken..again.

Again..he was reminded that he is different.

Again..he was reminded that he has experienced loss.

Again..he was reminded that his life story is not like all the other kids in his small town, SC school. 

Maybe some day he will thrive in this..but as a 9 year old...being different is NOT what George wants.  And so, he lashed out at me and the other kids today.  He wanted to hurt us again.

For the first time in our relationship, we were able to really talk about this.  He was so scared.  He was so ashamed.  He is convinced that the kids in school will make fun of him if they knew his story.  He won't even try..he doesn't trust me enough when I tell him that the kids won't laugh.  And so, he lied and said his dad worked for WalMart and made the basket. 

And the kids said, "Cool.  I want to get one."

They think they can meet George's dad at WalMart this Saturday.

Sigh.

3 comments:

Amy Hinrichs said...

Joseph cringes at these assignments too. He doesn't want anyone to know his middle name - Tegegn, his Ethiopian name. This is hard for all adopted children, but I think especially for children who are older when they are adopted.

Marian Mohamed said...

May the Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guide and protect you, I thank you for your blog, Im reading it today on Christmas night, The way i found it was typing in "Ethiopian Christmas" in Google search engine, then up came the photo George with his adopted family dressed in traditional Ethiopian attire,and then later seeing the traditional meal.I was proud of how your family was uplifting to Georges heritage and culture. I am too of Ethiopian decent with a son of my own, you have touched a special place in my heart and I pray righteousness and blessing for you whole family.
In Christ,
Marian

Marian Mohamed said...

May the Almighty Father, Son, and Holy Spirit guide and protect you, I thank you for your blog, Im reading it today on Christmas night, The way i found it was typing in "Ethiopian Christmas" in Google search engine, then up came the photo George with his adopted family dressed in traditional Ethiopian attire,and then later seeing the traditional meal.I was proud of how your family was uplifting to Georges heritage and culture. I am too of Ethiopian decent with a son of my own, you have touched a special place in my heart and I pray righteousness and blessing for you whole family.
In Christ,
Marian