Two years ago today, our family grew by one when our precious baby boy was born. M is such a sweet spirited little one...all boy, but he gives great hugs. He's starting to talk more and more, although I think MJ was a little disappointed when he didn't suddenly start talking like a big boy this morning on his birthday. M adores his big sisters. His favorite toys are cars and balls, and his current absolute favorite is a toy bus from a fast food meal, of all things. He is a precious gift from God.
That’s how I’m feeling today. Sometime this weekend, our baby boy decided that he would fight nap time and bedtime with every ounce of his being. Putting him in his crib resulted in tremendous amounts of wailing--not just crying, but the most pathetic, loud, wailing cries I have ever heard him cry.
He has thus far been the kind of child that when he has decided he’s done with something “baby,” then he is just done with it. High chairs...done! Bibs...done! Pacifiers...done (but that one only because Mama and Daddy insisted)! So on Saturday we decided to try converting the crib to a toddler bed. Nope...did not work AT ALL. At bedtime, my very patient hubby was pulling the crib side back out of the storage shed and putting it back on the crib. We put him in his crib and closed the door. The wailing started again. Next thing we knew, M had climbed out of his crib, which he had never done before, in spite of the fact that he is a climber. He was now wailing at the door to his room. What finally worked was his daddy taking him into our bedroom, letting him (actually both of them) fall asleep on our bed, and then moving him to his bed.
Sunday, we went back to the toddler bed.
Nap time on Sunday was in the arms of our church nursery worker. She tried to keep him awake, but after Saturday night’s adventures, it just wasn’t happening. Afternoon nap was non-existent. We did finally get him to sleep in his toddler bed by following the same technique as the night before.
Nap time on Monday was in the car as we were running errands. Again, afternoon nap did not happen. We tried to transfer him from car to bed, but that didn’t work. (It usually has in the past.) Last night, more of the same. He finally fell asleep while my husband was lying on the floor next to his bed. M woke up shortly after 6 this morning.
Once he is asleep at night, he’s fine for the night. It’s just the process of getting there.
This seems like a separation anxiety thing, which means he will eventually come out of this. I just hope this phase is short-lived.
This morning I was feeling somewhat lightheaded, so since my husband has some flexibility with his work schedule, he drove for us to pick the girls up from preschool. We waited in car rider line, the girls were buckled in their car seats, and off we went toward home. We have a mini-van, and K and M are in their car seats in the two captain’s chairs, while MJ is in her booster on the back seat. As we’re driving down the road, MJ says, “Hey, Mama! Look what I found!” She is forever picking up things like snail shells and acorns, so I figured it was more of the same. Then the words...
So, I turn around to see her holding a wiggling worm, dangling there in her grasp--not a huge worm, probably about an inch long or so. I’m not one of these women who is scared of all things crawly--some things, but not all things. I don’t object to my kids playing around with crawly things that don’t bite. (And I have become quite used to the fact that our oldest has some tomboy tendencies.) I do however object to said crawly things being in my car or in my house. So, I did what we moms sometimes do in these situations...
I looked at my husband and said, “She has a worm! What are we going to do?”
In his innately calm way that he has in these situations, he said, “See that big grassy spot up there? We’re going to pull over, and she’s going to let it go.”
At the news of this, MJ started to get upset. We started reciting all of the reasons why the worm would be better off in the grassy spot, including mentioning that if the worm came into our house, it is likely that one of the cats would try to eat it. She wasn’t fazed...still upset.
So, now we’ve pulled off onto a grassy area next to the main thoroughfare in the town where the girls’ school is located. (If you are local, you will know the thoroughfare of which I speak.) I get out with her, and she drops her worm into the grass. All the while I’m telling her how much happier the worm would be there than at our house and how it can dig down in the dirt and find food to eat, etc., etc. You get the idea. So, the worm crawls off, probably much relieved with the idea of freedom.
Then it starts...
the utter meltdown.
“It’s in the sun! It’s gonna diiiiiie!”
“I want my Wormie!”
“I miiiiisss Wormie!”
“I loooove my Wormie!”
So now, the crawly worm has a name, and it is her favorite pet, and we’ve just made her let it go. At first, it was a little humorous, I have to admit. Then the wailing continued. The gigantic tears were falling. I felt like the most horrible mother ever for making her give up her pet worm.
Definitely the most unique ride home from preschool we’ve had in quite awhile.
Then it kicks in...the adoptive parent thing, “Oh, no! Have we triggered abandonment issues in our child by having her let her worm go?” It sounds ridiculous, I know, but stranger things have happened, and it is always there in the back of your mind.
The wailing continued until we were almost home, and by then it was just big tears and sniffles. As we were getting close, I heard from the back seat, “ I need a hug” in a very pitiful voice. Of course, as soon as we got home, she got her hug.
And that was that.
We have heard nothing else from her about Wormie, other than to find out her teacher did not know she was bringing a worm home, and me telling her that it was fine to play with them, but she could not bring them into the car or the house.
I think we can safely say that this was a case of a little girl who was distraught over getting rid of what--at that moment--was considered a favorite plaything. And I don’t think we’ve triggered any lasting trauma. It seems that this was a typical, high-strung 5 year old girl meltdown.
“The more things change, the more they stay the same.” There’s a lot of truth in that saying, and it has been on my mind lately. I’ve been thinking about it in the context of our desires for our lives in human terms and in human timing versus God’s desires for our lives in His terms and in His timing. Of course, His timing is always the right timing. I know that, but I’m human, and sometimes my human desires get in the way.
Looking back, my husband and I got married a little later than most. I was 27, almost 28, and he was 30. I remember the years before that and the prayers that I prayed that God would bring a godly man into my life to be my husband, and if that was not His will, to please give me a peace about being single. I had some great times with friends and family during my single adult years, but God never gave me that peace about remaining single. I knew in my heart that He was going to allow me to marry, but it would be in His timing. I also remember how difficult it was during those single years to attend the bridal showers, and the weddings, and to act as a bridesmaid in someone else’s wedding. Of course, I shared in my friends’ joy, but deep down, it did hurt. But the time came, and God brought my husband-to-be into my life. We knew each other as friends for a year before we started actually dating. Once we did start dating, we knew almost immediately where things were going, and were married within 7 months-ish of our first date. Looking back, we both feel like we benefited from our years of singleness. We also entered into marriage with a more mature perspective than we would have had we married earlier. (Not to say that people who marry younger can’t have successful marriages. Quite the contrary...we know plenty of people that married young and are doing quite well.) But looking back, we can see God’s hand and His timing. We have been married now for 10 1/2 wonderful years.
Then there was the next phase of life...the “when are we going to have children” phase. For those that don’t know our story, once we decided the time was right to start our family, like so many, we expected things to happen more quickly than they did. Then we went through several years of unexplained infertility. As with weddings, every time I heard that someone was expecting or I was invited to (or hosted) a baby shower, that hurt was there. Possibly even more so. Mother’s Day was awful. It was not my brightest hour--lots of feeling sorry for myself, I have to admit. We had already thought that we would adopt at some point, but we thought it would be after we had biological children. Notice that “we” thing. After praying about it and doing a lot of research, we decided to seriously move forward with the adoption process. God’s hand was so strongly felt during all of this. And His timing, as always, was better. Without going into details, I will just say that God provided financially for us in a way that helped us begin our adoption process sooner than we had originally planned. To put this in perspective, if we had continued with our timing instead of God’s, we would likely STILL be waiting on our referral if we had remained in the non-special needs line. Instead, we have been home with our girl for almost 5 years now. So, we were in our mid-30’s and first-time parents. At that point, with the fertility issues we had faced, we thought that our dream of a family with 4 children would not happen, and that in a few years, we would return to China to adopt a younger sibling for MJ.
That obviously was not what God had in store for us, either. We returned home from China with MJ in September 2006. In November, we found out that I was pregnant. People give us the “that always happens” line, and although everyone seems to know someone who has been down this road of having a biological child after adoption, the statistics are no different for people who have unexplained infertility whether they have adopted or not. It’s just more obvious for those of us who have. In our case, it was a total God thing. We feel like He wanted us to bring MJ home first, before we had biological kids. Also, if I had been planning, there is no way I would have planned to have 2 children less than 2 years apart. But God knows better. There are challenges, but we actually love having children close in age. And of course after K was born, M came along less than 2 years later. So, here we are in our late 30’s/early 40’s and our oldest child is just getting ready to start kindergarten this fall. Thankfully, God has brought friends into our lives that are in the same phase of existence, and that has been great.
Now, back to my original quote, “The more things change, the more they stay the same...” I’m back in that same phase of existence. Praying, feeling pretty certain of what God’s will is, but praying that I will be accepting of His timing. Ever since we brought MJ home, we have felt like we would adopt from China again. There was a period where we thought we were done at 3 children, but we just can’t leave the idea. We want MJ to have a sibling who shares her heritage. And, it would be very nice for M to have a brother. One day, we plan to adopt a little boy through China’s waiting child program. We want to stay in birth order, so he will need to be younger than M by at least 5 months (that will put them in different grades at school). We have already begun doing some basic research onto what special needs we can handle in our family. Our current plan is to start the process when M is about 4 and to bring home a child who is around 3. Note I said “our” plan. We are also praying and seeking God’s will about His timing and His plan for our family. And those old feelings are coming back...I have such a strong desire for us to be able to start the process. We have local friends who are waiting on their travel dates to bring their daughter home. A childhood friend just arrived home with her little girl. A college friend and another couple we know are paperchasing. Plus, we have a number of families on Adoption Voyages right now, and there are several bloggers I follow who are in various stages of the process. It’s hard not to feel those very human twinges of jealousy. We have said over and over again that if God miraculously provided the financing for us, that we would start the process today. (In a couple of years, we will be in a much better place financially.) But His timing and our timing are not the same, as we have said many times before. Sincerely, I don’t think the timing is right for us right now. For one thing, I don’t think M is quite ready to give up his “baby of the family” status just yet. But, if you would, pray for us about this. Pray that we will seek and know God’s will for our family, and that we will have a sense of peace about waiting.
I am a child of God, a wife of 12 years to my wonderful husband who happens to be a pastor, a mother of 3 precious children (one of whom was born in China), and an elementary school teacher. Life is busy, and God is good!