A family consisting of two parents that are educators with 3 daughters and a son. Alex is 17 (he was adopted when he was 16 from Ukraine), Yana is 13 (she was adopted at 12 from Ukraine), Lily is 6, and Elliot is 4.
This is my mom-story, but more than that, it is my God's story. My journey walking with the Lord and raising 4 kids. It's not always pretty, or well written but it is real life. Enjoy.
Tuesday, June 30, 2015
In the past few months, we have had good days and we have had bad days. I usually only post about the good ones,
but someone once told me...
my mess is another person's ministry.
Well, here is my mess...
I went for a run the other day. Yep. A run.
Running, in flip flops and a blue flowing skirt up a huge hill in my neighborhood. And as sweat drips and tears roll, I grab my son's arm and pull him toward me to tell him I love him and that family stays.
All I know is one minute I was making his lunch (bologna with mayo and ketchup on potato bread, his favorite) and the next minute three girls come running into the kitchen yelling "Alex left, Alex left." What happened? What set him off? I know that I was in a rush and hurrying around and barking orders. But was that it, was there more? Why, exactly, did he leave?
Sometimes things aren't perfect, usually they are really great, but sometimes, they aren't.
Sometimes my kids get sad.
Sometimes my kids get angry.
And sometimes my kids need to run away from their past (up really big hills).
"Why you adopt me, if I cheat?" A 13-year-old screams at me from her room after being caught by her 6 year old sister for not playing Battleship honestly. The guilt is too much for her to handle and she escapes to her room then explodes, questioning why she is worthy of love.
Trapped and held until she stops the fight against the loving embrace from her mom and her dad.
"Dad and I adopted you because we love you. Even though you are a big cheater, we still love you," we explain after she calms down and I tuck her brown hair behind her ears. Getting the slightest smile peaking through her lips contradicts her annoyed demeanor.
I wish I could say it's all rainbows and unicorns around these parts.
They had a hard past and we are working through it.
Memories, I wish I could reach in and take away, remain available for them to think about, to wonder about.
Bad ones. Memories of people that were suppose to care for them, and... well, didn't. Mothers, fathers, sisters, caretakers, friends... all betraying them, over and over and over.
They get messages from their sister in Ukraine, "I want to talk to my Sasha." But he refuses to talk to her. He blocks her from conversation. He closes off his old world and will not admit he feels anything but happy now.
Usually he is, they both are, until they are not...
Everything will be fine and then, something triggers a behavior of self pity or self sabotage and they suddenly think they are not worthy of love.
Then they flee or yell or shut down.
The Love Diet
When I was trained to be an educator in Special Education I learned about something called a sensory diet where you create a routine to help meet the sensory needs of a child. We have adjusted it here in this house and have implemented the love diet where we are filling our children with love.
The reassurance is constant.
A love diet, embedding positive praise, touch and rewards throughout the day. The words "I love you" thrown around at every meal, every goodbye, every cuddle, and every goodnight. Always taking the time to notice their effort, trying not to be distracted, pouring into them at all moments of the day. Saying thank you always, for everything, so they know we appreciate them.
God is doing things in them. God is healing the hurt and the pain. God is revealing His unfailing love to them.
God is softening their hearts.
Three months with a mom and dad doesn't erase ten years without one. I try to explain this to family or friends after an episode, but most don't understand why he/she is acting this way. They should feel grateful, they say.
Honestly, I don't know what they should feel...I don't even know what I feel.
It can be frustrating.
But this is a hill of hurt we are running up together; blue skirt, flip flops, tears, sweat and all!
And we have the best Tour Guide to lead us
Trust and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.