Last weekend was our first full weekend with the little man, and like we expected would happen during our first long weekend--we experienced the behaviors people had been telling us about. The trigger: exhaustion. He met my family on Friday night and played hard outside with them, and then Saturday morning we set out for an overnight camping trip nearby with the Helzer family. He spent the entire weekend being active outdoors (he also has bad allergies), and on Sunday when we got home, he melted. All over. Loud enough for the neighbors to hear. It was like we were dealing with a completely different kid for about 25 minutes. I won't go into specifics about his behavior, but at one point I ended up in the living room sobbing, and Nate--my typically strong, unshakable husband, had a slight quiver in his voice. Eventually the storm subsided. We talked through it, brainstormed better behaviors, and dished out consequences. But the rest of the day and really, for about three days after, my fears about this placement, a possible adoption, and parenting took root in my mind.
There's so much I fear about this new stage in our life. I fear that we're not prepared to parent this child who is resiliant beyond belief yet still delicate. I fear Sunday's tantrum will happen when he's at children's church and that it will cause him to be labeled by the other kids and their parents. I fear people will not be understanding with his behaviors, that they'll fail to realize there is a very good reason why he acts this way. I'm nervous that the other grandkids on Nate's side won't get along with him. I've always had this fear that if we adopted/fostered a child, that he/she would be an outcast in the family since he/she isn't a biological, blood relative. I fear our marriage will suffer. I'm nervous that little man will pick up on the fact that we're novice parents feeling our way through. I'm nervous that I'll be too overbearing with him. I fear we're not "spiritual" enough to develop in him a hunger for the Lord. I worry about disciplining him--do I give time-outs or time-ins? I fear if this does end up as a long term placement, he'll never attach to us or we'll never attach to him.
The truth is, I'm nervous about the entire transition to becoming full time parents. In one week we will catapult into an entirely different lifestyle. We've desired to be parents for nearly 7 years now, but that's 7 years of adapting to a certain lifestyle where we can go where we want, when we want. I'm ecstatic about the opportunity to be parents to little man whether for a short time or long term--but I guess I never realized the adjustment it would be for 7 year DINKs (double income no kids) like us.
Despite being utterly exhausted yesterday, I stayed up late reading just about every article about adoption, attachment, and discipline that is posted on Focus on the Family's website to try and prepare myself and ease my mind. I ran across this verse in one of the articles, "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give
to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled, and do
not be afraid" (John 14:27). Peace for my worrying heart will not come from articles. They may help ease my mind, but prayer and faith in God will bring true peace. I fell asleep yesterday praying for wisdom, peace, and guidance as we parent this boy. I prayed that we'd be able to protect this boy from harm, nurture him well, and help him grow into a well-adjusted young man who serves the Lord. I was able to fall asleep that night peacefully for the first time in three nights. It will take a lot of prayer and time to help settle my troubled heart, but over time I hope replacing worry with prayer and faith will come more automatically to me.