After our first week home, I can say with certainty that this has been far easier than I expected.
Four years ago when we adopted our son Mesfin, we had a tough go of it. His mother had to give him up for adoption because she was HIV positive, and we picked him up and brought him to the United States only 4 months after he left her. He had just turned 6. I think it was more like a kidnapping for him then an adoption. We all struggled for that first year and I know that I was not the greatest of adoptive moms. But by the grace of God, and only God, he is an amazing kid and an extraordinary blessing in our lives.
So we geared up for another rough year. We were prepared. Well read. Classes were taken.
And Iris is about as easy as it can get in the adoption world. I can not even think of a problem. She doesn’t struggle with food issues. She is confident. She thinks our dogs are great! (and even I don’t think our dogs are great) She hugs us a lot and says I love you. And although I know that is not totally authentic yet, she isn’t saying it to any other adults that she meets, so she clearly knows that is saved for family. We did come to find out that she was in foster care from birth until 5, and that clearly makes a difference. Only someone who has known love can understand what it means to accept it from others. She is doing fantastic.
My first 4 children, on the other hand, are sucking the life out of me.
The day after we got home Emily had a friend come pick her up to hang out and everyone is sooooo excited for them to see Iris, but they start overwhelming her (and me) by all talking at once and trying to get Iris to do “tricks.”
“Give her a hug.”
“Now give me one.”
“Say I love you.”
“Sing your song. Remember it? Remember it?” (followed by a freakishly loud rendition of Mary Had a (stinking) Little Lamb)
“What’s my name? Can you say it? Meeesssffffiiinnn. Try it. Try it. Messssffffiiiinnn.”
“Here. Here. Solve the Rubik’s Cube. You can do it. Hurry up now.” (ok, here I’m just bragging. she actually can solve the Rubik’s Cube. Oh yeah, she’s super smart)
Needless to say that was followed by a family meeting entitled She is NOT a Puppy.
It’s become our family catch phrase.
I’m glad they are excited. I am. But they fight all day about who gets to sit by her at church and in the car. Who gets to hold her hand. Why oh why can’t Iris take turns sleeping in all of their beds?!? And when they don’t have something specifically to fight about, they bicker over which one is “hogging” her the most.
I ensure them that they will soon find her as annoying as they do their other siblings, so just give it some time. But no one is listening to me, so it doesn’t matter.
Except Will that is. He’s had the toughest week. He missed us a lot while we were in China. He felt bad we didn’t take him. We moved before we left – just a few miles, but still, away from his neighborhood buddies. I’m sure it’s tough not being the baby all of a sudden. Will’s having a rough summer. So he’s either been angry at me or begging for my attention since we got home. I’ve played 5 games of Life in one week, and may I remind you all that the game of Life can NOT be completed in under 75 minutes. Even when I cheat.
Adoption is a lot like having a baby to the other kids in your family. Except when you give them a baby that’s already 7. Then there’s a lot more to work out. Everybody is trying and they love her a lot. We just need a little more time to settle in.
And a few more games of Life. I find it interesting that when I play it on a board game, I hardly ever end up with little peg kids in my car.