Tomorrow mommy has to go to school during music class and sit on Kenny, as I got word today that he is goofing around too much in class, disturbing the other kids and playing "Ham bone" wanting to use the microphone all the time. His music teacher is a relaxed, laid back, great guy and isn't all that disturbed by it, but I want to nip it in the bud now, so I informed Kenny that because he wasn't behaving in class I had to go with him to make sure he was going to listen and pay attention. I also learned that he is pulling the same act at school as he is at home, telling adults "no" when asked to do something. Now, this is not at all a snotty, obnoxious "NO", it is a softer, gentler-yet-still-controlling "no". So in front of his teacher I explained again that he is NEVER EVER to tell an adult "no", and that his teacher would email me immediately if he does it during the day and when he gets home he will sit on his bed for half an hour for each time he has told an adult "no" that day.
Thankfully, his teacher said that overall he is actually doing very well and they are all seeing him slowly calm down. I think in another few weeks he might settle in pretty well, but we need him to know we are very serious about this and that we all present a united front where his behavior is concerned. I want him to know that I will know everything that goes on, that I am checking up on him, and that he will get away with nothing. Sooner or later he will get the idea that the rules at school are the same as at home, and his efforts are wasted. If I have to go to school with him every day and correct him every 20 seconds until he improves, then that is what I will do! I have always threatened Matthew that if he misbehaves in school I will show up and sit next to his desk until his behavior is corrected, and maybe him seeing this actually happen with Kenny will let him know I am dead serious about it...not that it has ever even come close to being an issue with him.
So much of this can be attributed to simple immaturity and boredom in class when he doesn't understand something. While I understand the causes, I am responsible for trying to correct it. I think what bothers me the most is not Kenny's behavior, but him being a distraction to the other students and a burden on the teachers who already have their hands quite full. We all agree though that soon, when they start his ESL pullout and speech pullout that some of this might lessen a little as he will be more actively engaged at a level he can understand and participate in. In the meantime though, I am ever so grateful to those who are working with him daily and showing such great patience and understanding.
Tonight we went out to dinner with our Social Worker and family friend, Joan, as she was gathering information for a post-placement report for Kenny. All 3 boys adore her, and she is wonderful to them as well. I am so lucky to have such a great resource to turn to if the going gets rough, and I wonder how many others really have a good relationship with their agencies and social workers or if they view it more from an adversarial perspective. That is so sad because I think it is often forgotten that these folks are there to help families work well, not to judge us. Because they have the job of trying to capture our life in words for peop;le who will utlimately amake the judgment we are scared of them instead of viewing them as part of our support team. Joan has really made a difference for our family, especially with Josh and his RAD, and I went into this adoption of Kenny knowing I had someone on my side who had great experience and who really cared if we succeeded or not. If issues did arise, there was someone in our corner who could help. I am not only lucky to have her as our social worker, but as a trusted and caring friend.
As we sat there talking about all that Kenny is doing now, how he has grown in size and language acquisition, I found myself surprised that something so monumental happened in our life by adding Kenny, and yet when looking at it from a distance I can see it has been but a blip on our radar. By that I mean that the balance of our family was not horribly disturbed, that the "feel" of our family was not changed a whit. Sure, we are struggling with some things as I have shared with you all, but none of it is at all insurmountable or overly "life wrecking". We have peace and happiness at home almost all the time, we share jokes and laugh and goof around and none of that has changed. You would think that doing something as drastic as this would have totally upset the apple cart, changing the entire dynamic of our family unit, and yet it hasn't. I have no explanation for it, or for so many other things that have surrounded this adoption other than to lift my eyes upward and thank God for all of it.
Now, don't get me wrong, I am not a preachy, self-rightous, pious type. I am not at all formal in the practice of my faith, and I have a very down-to-earth relationship with God. He is in my life daily in very practical ways, and I talk to him about stupid, insipid things that I can probably see His eyes rolling over :-) I guess I can just see God in all of this and it has been a very profound experience for me, a very faith-affirming time in my life. There are moments when I have asked why we have been a part of this, especially since I have not lived the perfect life nor have I done anything wonderful to deserve being selected to witness Him so powerfully in action. There have been times of doubt and moments of complete utter disbelief in my 41 years. I received an email today from someone commenting on Kenny's friends being adopted, how much prayer went into this from others and how now the rewards are finally being seen. I realized that God used us and dozens of other very imperfect, very real people, to fulfill His wishes. I also saw quite clearly that if He waited until all of us were perfect to be used by God, then by golly none of us would ever be used! I think I was struck by a moment of real self-discovery today that God wants to use all of us and can use all of us for amazing things, and we don't have to be perfect...the only real requirement is we need to be willing.
I remember quite vividly one evening about 4 months after Matthew came home standing in front of the mirror in my bathroom, staring back at myself but not really seeing me at all. I was very intent on the thought of having more children, and yet had no idea how to make that happen financially. I knew after parenting for even such a short period of time that I felt very much made to do this, even in my own imperfect way, and in one of those very intense moments I told God that I knew He was laying something on my heart, but I wasn't sure at all how it would happen...but I promised him right there and then that I would gladly and eagerly take on the job of mothering any children he brought into my life who would need it, that I was His to use and if He had a plan for us to adopt more kids, then I would totally turn it over to Him to figure out the "how" of making it happen and I would provide the loving labor. I think that was the first time I really understood what it meant to surrender one's self. I felt it happen, I offered myself up and in no way making a bargain simply let Him know that I was here and would do as He led.
As I sit here and re-read this, it all sounds so "churchy" and that is actually so NOT me. But I don't think you can go through something like this and not be utterly and completely changed. I watch the light that is Joshua and know where we started from, and know we might not have made it...and I see God's mercy and goodness. I watch Kenny and I see the courage provided by God's strength coming through. I sit back and observe Matthew from afar and I see God's grace shining through in his easy acceptance of two challenging circumstances with the addition of his brothers to our family, one even usurping his role as the eldest. I also see God speaks to me daily in a million different ways, and I guess I finally got to the point where I wanted to acknowledge that and not ignore it. I finally wised up and realized that I am not smart enough to totally run my own life, as I made some big mistakes and used poor judgment at times all because I elected to turn my back and ignore those messages that were coming through from Him.
So, here I go again, rambling on about nothing in particular, just wandering mentally from one idea to the next. We'll see how tomorrow goes at school, and I can better judge what Kenny's behavior is like and how much discipline needs to come into play...and I might find myself enrolled in Olathe Elementary School myself if he doesn't start settling down! Hahahaha!