Every day the wonderful happens…

and I'm here to blog about it.

At the Heart of Him February 18, 2011

Filed under: adoption thoughts — Elizabeth @ 3:43 PM

Matthew is feeling alot better, but we experienced some backsliding while he was sick.  It’s not anything worth going into in great detail here–we are just having some “Who’s the Boss” moments around our house, whereas before he got sick, we were beginning to settle into some really nice “yes ma’am” times.

It’s frustrating, for certain, and when we experience turns of events like this, I always find myself searching for the reason.  What happened?  Did I drop the ball?  Miss a red flag?  Fail to meet some crucial need?

My mind goes first to adoption.  Loss.  Abandonment.

I know that adoption itself does not define Matthew.  That every single aspect of his personality is not completely due to the circumstances he has lived through.  But it seems like it would be reckless not to take it into account.

Sometimes I feel like a doctor examining a patient.  My patient has diabetes.  It is controlled but it is chronic.  When that patient presents with any other symptom, I treat it, but I always have to investigate if the diabetes is causing it or if it stands alone.

Sometimes I never know why or what causes these setbacks.  I just have to treat the symptom–re-establish our roles, stick with our consistent boundaries, and try to patiently await our return to the promised land of “yes ma’am”.

The key is to remind myself that while I do have to thoughtfully consider his past at all times, I also have to remember that he’s a 3 -year old.  A stubborn 3-year old with a strong personality who is working to make his mark in our family and in this world.  I will never know why he does everything he does, just like I will never know the exact reason Isaac acts the way he acts.

So like any good doctor, I find myself again assessing him, and wondering what I can do to make it all better.  I wade through his past and our relationship searching for answers, but at the same time, I have to remember that sometimes a diabetic just gets a cold.


9 Responses to “At the Heart of Him”

  1. Kristen Says:

    “I know that adoption itself does not define Matthew. That every single aspect of his personality is not completely due to the circumstances he has lived through. But it seems like it would be reckless not to take it into account.”

    I love that statement, it so clearly expresses how I feel. Sometimes kids are just being kids and sometimes its more than that…but how do you tell the difference? That’s not something we’ve really figured out yet – I understand exactly how you feel.

    Hoping in a few days Matthew will be back to feeling better and things will return to normal soon. We are finding that as time goes on, Buddy takes less time to re-adjust after something throws him off. Whether that’s the result of maturing or being better settled, I can’t really say, but I’m glad to see that sort of progress happening.

  2. Aunt JoAnn Says:

    My bestest therapist always told me this:
    “The pathways of life are always open to regression”
    He always also said: “And habit doth make monkeys of us all.”
    And this much I know to be true:
    “We always regress to our former baby selves, especially when we are sick.”
    and this:
    “If you let it roll down the hill, it will come back up in due time.”
    (I just made that up, but you may quote me.)

  3. I *love* what Aunt JoAnn has said! So many nuggets in there!
    But what stood out to me in your post was: “it seems like it would be reckless not to take it into account.”
    I think sometimes people (APs) shy away from always considering adoption to be a part of their child’s issues. But it’s so hard to know the line. When I sit and think through the utter trauma that adoption is that our children have been through at such a young age, it’s a wonder they’re able to function at all. I try to imagine being ripped from my own family, and all that I find stable, reliable and comfortable, and it makes me ill. And it worries me that some folks don’t feel it affects their own child. How could it not?!
    Of course, all these sentiments are NOT your point. And I *know* you’re not one of those people living in denial.
    Not sure why I’m blathering on… just that I get it. Sometimes, it’s tough to know when the effects of adoption end and the difficult personality begin.
    I think you’re absolutely right in keeping things as normal and reliable and consistent as possible. That’s the best thing we can do for our little ones 🙂
    Get well soon, Matthew!

  4. Kelly R Says:

    Can I repost this on http://www.wearegraftedin.com? I think it is perfect for other adoptive mommies to be reminded of!

  5. Christy Says:

    Wonderful post – thanks for sharing.

  6. Grace Says:

    good stuff, elizabeth…so well said. carson’s had a cold this week and i’ve been thinking about this, too, even though our guy’s been home barely 2 months!

  7. Great thoughts that come up often in my mind. I have been thinking about that especially lately since my six-month old by birth is struggling with major separation anxiety, a normal thing at this stage. I can’t even imagine what life was like for Daniel at six months (adopted by us at 8 months), and how much we ripped apart the world that he knew. I try to be cognizant of that fact in my parenting, but sometimes I forget and need to be reminded.

  8. Jen Says:

    I like this post- it is something we all grapple with. Matthew is such a unique little boy, and you know he will never be an easy child, because none of them, adopted or not, are! When I look at Matthew, I see a son, brother, grandson, cousin, nephew, adoptee, as well as a faux hawk wearing toddler. One day we all hope to see him as a husband, father, son-in-law, grandfather. Maybe he’ll be a doctor, a lawyer, a teacher or work at Publix (though I know Isaac would be jealous of the latter)! We all have so many facets to our lives, and are a compilation of various titles and adjectives. Being an adoptee some days may be the most important thing to him, and other daysit may not cross his mind at all. Here’s to hoping that being an adoptee is just one of the many wonderful titles he will have bestowed upon him in his lifetime! As the months and years pass, and our kids are able to verbalize what they are feeling more articulately, I think we will be shocked by what they have to say 🙂

  9. KJ Says:

    That’s really a great analogy. My husband NEVER wants it to be adoption, and I always want to at least consider it. Although sometimes he has a point–maybe it can be adoption, and still be treated the same way you would if it wasn’t…but we really do have to think about it.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s