Thursday, January 19, 2012

How’s It Going?

Well, it’s like a dance that I really don’t know the steps to.  And poor Noelani and Clive sure don’t know them.  Adopting older children is very different and I find our days flipping between many emotions.  Also, I have made several mistakes.  I have been to hard when I should have been softer; not firm enough when I was being a push over.  We have laughed (some) cried (some), apologized for mistakes, and tried to find the steps to this exhausting dance.  
Yes, they are trying....
except when their not.  
How much do I share that can be helpful to someone else, with out “picking” on my newest children?
I knew that they could/would act younger than their age.  YES, they do.  I do know that it is good for them to revisit those areas of development that they might have missed out on.  An example - sometimes when Clive is feeling especially low or upset he wants me to feed him.  Now, of course, he is “able” to feed himself physically, but emotionally he needs some babying.  
Some things that REALLY bother me (which shows me my own “plank in my eye” - impatience with a fair mix of expectations), is Clive’s DIRECT and frequent, blatant, obvious, unmistakable, undeniable, overt (is that enough adjectives?) attempts to challenge  and disobey us.  It’s really more like a sick sort of teasing.  And when we try to tell him "stop" or sit him on the “sad chair” (this is what they called THE chair in China, so they are familiar with this), or anytime he gets mad about something he yells LOUDLY (the kind that makes you want to pull your hair out) and hits his head on anything he can find.  Now, my mothering heart hurts for his inability to deal with his frustration, thus the head hitting, yet I must also train him, thus the discipline.  So it’s always a simple math equation; Clive is naughty, we have to stop him, he get angry and tries to hurt himself, we have to hold him till he calms down, knowing that this will repeat itself again soon.  He’s a smart guy too, and will uses the whole head hitting thing just because he doesn’t like what we tell him.  It gets the same results - fine, we hold you till you aren’t hurting you or our walls.  Sometimes, when I’m in an ornery mood (usually tired), I think, “Fine little buddy - hit your head all you want...your not doing it hard enough to hurt anyway.” 
This dance is an emotional one.
On the flip side, I was up one night with him crying and scared, unable to sleep and after he finally went to sleep, I kept thinking “I don’t mind...”
-helping him when he is afraid;
-teaching Noelani manners and how to read;
-having extra work as we bring home these two children and teach them how to live in a family instead of an orphanage;
-watching them relax and actually play;
-ask a thousand times a day if they can go outside because they can’t seem to get enough of just playing;
-hearing her say for the millionth time that she is hungry, and teaching her to wait, because good food will be there;
-watching Noelani pout because she doesn’t like something I told her, and I tell her to give me a smile and stop pouting, and she does;
-helping Clive clean up the paper mess because he is ADDICTED to cutting paper;
-telling Noelani again and again, that she isn’t going to die because her muscles are sore from all the exercising that she is doing and is obviously not use to;
-finding things hidden in their rooms;
-wondering why Noelani still wears her purse EVERY SINGLE DAY;
-the thousands of times that Clive kisses me;
-seeing Noelani’s HUGE heart showing itself for someone with a disability;
-typing on google translator so that we can try to get to know each other.
No I don’t mind.  Except when I do. I sounding a little like Dr. Seuss?
A side story about the google translator....Noelani was upset about getting caught doing something that Clive had asked her to do.  I knew that she didn’t know it was wrong, and I told her that on google.  Still she was upset, so I prayed and then typed “It isn’t easy when you and I don’t understand each other because of the different language, is it?”  She shed a little tear and nodded yes.  She still wont really let me hug her or anything.  I patted her hand and said I understood and was sorry.  She was fine in a minute.  Another time she was being very rebellious about doing her school work.  I typed in “I bet you never acted this way with your teachers in China, did you?” (Now, this was a bit of a trick question ... I met her teachers in China and knew about the "sad chair", and I also knew that they were very kind, but expected order).  She looked in shock at me and nodded her head “no”, as in no, she would never have treated them the way she was treating me.  Non-the-less, she spent some time in the sad chair before she decided to change her attitude.  
So, how’s it going?
Well, it’s like a dance...we’re a little rough right now, but we are practicing each day, and I have no doubt that one day, we will be dancing a beautiful dance.  


  1. Hi Shonni
    I'm continuing to pray for you all. I hope the challenges now mean that they will settle in quicker in the long run. You're doing so very well ~ keep trusting the Lord!
    Renata XO

  2. It sounds like a beautiful dance already...difficult, yes, but still very beautiful.

  3. Your honesty and your heart are beautiful and I have no doubt you will be dancing in rhythm very soon. Praying for that.

  4. Seeing that you brought your 2 over about the same time we brought our 9 year old daughter home, I can relate to almost everything you shared. Thank you for sharing your days...and your heart. I shall have to follow your blog more faithfully.

  5. That is a perfect description!

    And I am still doing the dance. Sometimes I just don't know the next step and yet I am supposed to because I am the Mom.
    It makes me depend completely on our Lord- I cannot do this alone!

    The dance isn't so much with the new kids (although a little) but more so with the 3 older kids.

    Sometimes I feel like a party killer- everyone is havin a great time and then I walk in the room... the fun stops.

    There is so much to work on- on myself and with the children.

    Great post!

  6. A dance that you don't know the steps to -- that is such a perfect description! Yes, we have been both too harsh and too easy with the two daughters we brought home in October, and we have had to apologize and to recalibrate and to make family-level changes, etc., all the while not knowing if we are making the right decision. I keep telling myself that if *I* feel this conflicted, confused, angry, and frightened, and I'm in my own home, language, culture, etc., how much more conflicted, confused, angry, and frightened must my daughters feel as strangers in a strange land? And yet some days it is still hard to be sympathetic, in spite of the realization that all of this is worse for them than for me. So your Dr. Seuse-iousness :-) is a perfect description. Praying for you! Please pray for us!

  7. I had to scroll to the top to see up if this was my own blog post! You captured this unique season perfectly. Thankful that each song doesn't last too long :)

  8. at least you have rhythm! our dance was not as graceful - but thanks to God's grace and His healing for all of us - HE makes all things beautiful! :)

  9. Beautifully said.

    We brought our 2 girls home almost 4 years ago ... at ages 6 & 9. While the 9 year old blended right into our large family dance, we are still struggling to dance smoothly with the younger sister (now age 10). She just plain doesn't want to dance with us, so she changes her "rules" for the dance every. single. day. It is exhausting to keep trying to find our way with this precious daughter who has wrapped her heart in concrete.

    Praying for all of you as you work to keep in step with each other.


  10. It is a dance. We are 3 yrs 3 mos into ours and it continues to move in a less then positive direction. If anything, it's a dance of endurance that I pray will end well someday.

  11. I haven't adopted any children yet but I feel like I know this awkward and difficult dance. I have 4 biological children and I am doing the same dance. I think this dance keeps us parents on our knees before the Lord.

    I pray the Lord pours His Grace over you, overflows your heart with His presence and carry you as you learn the steps. :)


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