Monday, September 28, 2009

Catch Up Time!

We were all excited to receive our first postcard! One came in from Columbus (Thanks!) and we hope our lonely first card is soon joined by many others from all over. Thank you so much to those of you who are making the effort to help us create a little memory for our girls. It is thoughtful of you to go out of your way to get a card, write a little something on it, and get it mailed. I know how my days go and sometimes my best intentions are swept away by the busyness of the day, so we appreciate the time that goes into fulfilling this request.

Sorry for the blog remaining quiet for so long, as you all know it is quite unlike me. I just have a lot on my plate right now (or platter as I joked with someone else, we LaJoy's don't use mere ordinary sized Chinet! hahaha!) and I am trying to focus on the most important tasks at hand first, and sadly blogging is a little lower on the list at the moment. Don't worry though, as things develop it will quickly rise to the top of the list!

We heard from our agency and the dossier is in the last stages!!! Hurray!!!! Why does it still feel so unreal? I think it won't feel as if it is really happening until we step on that plane...and we have a contest winner. What an incredibly long journey this has been, one that in reality has yet to physically take place but emotionally has been like traveling the Mojave Desert with an oasis in sight just ahead...just ahead...just ahead...only to never quite find that shade and promised cool drink.

In some ways maybe it has been good to have had my "spare brain time" taken up with learning the ins and outs of homeschooling as it has made the weeks pass more quickly. My mind sure has been preoccupied with research and study as we explore this new lifestyle of sorts. Letting go of old ways of thinking about education is proving difficult...I want to embrace the freedom that comes with homeschooling and yet worry greatly about "doing it wrong". But I have learned with great gusto right along Matthew, trying to gain footing and balance as I laugh at God's great joke. So it wasn't enough to tackle an extremely difficult international adoption, no...God wanted me to take on school for lay ministry and wouldn't leave me alone until I obeyed. Then we have to create a 5th grade curriculum from scratch in 24 hours, gain enough confidence to say to myself "Yes, you can do this." and pretend to have a teaching credential all at the same time. Anything else God? How about becoming Manager of the Cubs too???? Hahahaha!

I really am joking about it despite how absurd it feels when I sit back and look at it all. These challenges are mountains of love to climb, they are all good things which bring meaning and purpose to life. There is someone I care about who has been slammed over and over again the past 4 or 5 months with major life event after major life event, and the hits still keep coming. We all have those seemingly unending times when so much happens are afraid to lift our head off the pillow in the morning for fear of what the day might bring. I certainly have lived through some very dark, dark days. So when I begin to think to myself "Hey, what is going on here?" as I examine the life I am leading I can only give thanks that at least for today, my troubles are minimal, at least for today I may be very busy and have my mind racing a thousand directions but there is no death and no great sorrow. For that I really do give thanks every day, for I know that another season will arrive eventually, bringing with it a wintry cold to be trudged through when life will not be filled with happy busyness but with true reasons for sorrow.

I was thinking to myself that this time with Matthew is precious and perhaps necessary. Life in our household is often about meeting the needs of Kenny and his medical, educational and emotional deficits. Nothing that can't be handled as you all know, but he is often the focus. It has often been about Josh's needs as well as we struggled through the Valley of RAD and revisit it occasionally. Steady Eddie Matthew is rarely at the center of need. He demands little, requires little, and rarely wants to have all eyes on him. He is the quiet strength of the boys, he is the one who sets the example, he is the leader...and he has often been the unnoticed one by others with his less gregarious and outgoing nature when compared to his two brothers. He has lived through the ups and downs of adding 2 siblings, some of which was far from easy, and he has taken it all in stride. Now he once again will live through another big life change as we add the girls. I can't help but think that these few months he and I are having alone together homeschooling will strengthen our relationship and provide him with some unasked-for-yet-always-appreciated one on one time with each other, just Matt and Mommy. I have always been so grateful for each of our sons, and I also realize that Matthew sets to tone and has, in many ways, unknowingly helped us parent with his calm reactions to over-the-top emotions or his gentle guidance of his younger siblings. He is all boy and yet has a touch of kindness that springs up at moments and touches my heart.

For example, the other day we were driving to the store and out of the blue he says "Mommy, it feels weird without the girls home. For some reason, it is like someone is missing even though they have never been here." Then he added "I need to talk to you about something. I think that in between the two trips you need to stay in Kazakhstan and not come home. I have been thinking about it a lot and we men will be OK, but the girls might be heartbroken and scared you will never come back. Remember how Joshie was heartbroken? Maybe if you stayed with them until they can come home they will feel safer and know you are not leaving them for good. I am worried they will think you won't come back for them."

And through my tears I lifted up this son of mine to God in thanks.

Embracing the sisters he has never met, loving them from afar, protecting them before they are even home. Yes God, thanks for these precious weeks to let HIM know that he too is very, very important.

Joshie lost one of his two front teeth a couple of days ago, and man, he is the cutest thing with tat big old gaping hole there and just a hint of a lisp. Don't know why this hit my heart the way it did, maybe because it is one of the last vestiges of babyhood and I know I won't ever get this again as we are rolling past all the last of the younger childhood stages faster than ever and I wish we could slow the train down just a little bit!! He is growing up so fast, this next Saturday he is competing in a triathlon for kids with his best buddy in the whole world. Josh will be doing the biking portion of the race and has been "practicing" on our street. It is a 3 mile trek and I think he will love it.

Kenny had a difficult week last week (another reason I was away from blogland so long) as "Daddy Kenny" once again reappeared and we had 2 days where we had minor incidences at school where control was a factor as well as lying. Oh how frustrated I get when we visit this place again, especially when we go along so well for several weeks and then BAM here we are. Someone asked if I thought it was triggered by Matthew being home schooled and Kenny wanting attention and I simply didn't want to feel obligated to explain that this is cyclical for us, sort of like clockwork and I can almost predict when we are due for a bad week.

Frankly, I get tired of explaining things to others all the time. I get worn out feeling obligated to nod my head and smile so I am not seen as rude, despite how rude others are in making assumptions that they know what is best for our if they have adopted kids from these backgrounds and can understand the nuances that go into parenting them. I am NOT talking about casual or private conversations with those who love our family, I am talking about the mom you don't know well from school, the passerby at Walmart, the casual acquaintance whose children are perfect, don't you know! Hahaha!

So back to Kenny, we have made it clear to him that serious consequences are coming down the pike. One of his offenses was playing around during math time in class. Not such a biggie if one doesn't consider the other facts that for 2 weeks he was coming home with homework saying his teacher never explained it or never talked to the class about it. Hmmmm.....this is Kenny. This is Mommy knowing Kenny. This is Mommy not quite buying Kenny's explanation. This is Mommy letting Kenny suffer a natural consequence of not interfering, letting him not turn in his homework completed, and having his teacher notice he was not paying attention in class and had a talk with him. This is Mommy being asked to speak with the teacher after class...and this is Kenny not getting to go to woodworking or TaeKwonDo that night because he was playing in class when he was working so he now needed to work at home when he should be playing. This is Kenny not very happy about it.

We had another incident of straight out lying the next day, and yet another day last week after school his teacher talked to me again as Kenny along with the whole class Kenny was instructed specifically not to do something but decide that he was going to do it anyway because in his words "I wanted to", so we made it clear to Kenny that his next consequence was going to be more severe. If we have another incidence this week, Kenny loses all after school activities and TV for one month. The TV won't be too big a deal as they don't watch that much anyway, but when they do he does enjoy it a lot. But the after school activities will really, really bother him. So we will see if he gets it together and we have a better week this week (I sure hope so!) or if we continue down this not so pretty path and end up sitting at home much of the month. On the bright side, these rough patches are growing fewer and further between, he IS slowly maturing and as I was telling someone this weekend we place him at about 8 years old now versus the emotional equivalent to a 4 year old we brought home. I know where the desire to control stems from, I know the logical explanations for his behavior, and it would be easy to play "Pity Kenny" based upon that knowledge, but that won't create an honest and respectful young man, so the "Pity Kenny" party disbanded a long time ago. That doesn't mean that privately at moments I don't feel for him, he is fighting to let go of skills that once served him well in orphanage life, and it is expected that it would take years to undo what was created in him. We'll get there, we just might have a few rocky roads to travel first.

So here I sit, 2:30 AM as we begin another week...all for you folks as I was feeling guilty about not blogging! What adventures in LaJoy Land will this week bring? Will it bring "The Call"? I hope we get it before our Family much fun it would be to walk in there knowing we finally...finally...finally will be joined with the rest of our family.

Only the Shadow knows...! Hahahaha!


Carol said...

Great post... love your honesty and depth... can't believe you wrote it at 1:30 am!

Matthew is amazing... I shake my head in wonder. Hang in there with the Kenny situation... sounds like a tough one, but you're doing the right thing... as you know, he will thank you someday... though not soon enough!

Dee said...

Sounds like you are doing exactly the right thing with Kenny. I know it's hard. I left Michael at home for a couple of hours and took Alesia shopping Saturday because he refused to finish his math homework. He hates not getting to go places. Consequences have to happen though, or they don't learn.

I keep meaning to pick up a postcard to send. I will try hard to remember! I am going to send something for the girls anyway, when they are closer to coming home. I was thinking and praying about them this morning on the way in to work.

Hang in there!

Lori said...

Matthew really is amazing and his heart is so pure. What a blessing!
Though I'd love to win the contest, here's hoping I don't because the call comes earlier!!! :)

Carrie DeLille said...

You are an incredible mother and are raising the most amazing boys. You are so wise and I thank you for the blog-
What would you ever do without the help of "friends" and strangers helping to raise your children :o) ?