"This life therefore, is not godliness but the process of becoming godly, not health but getting well, not being but becoming, not rest but exercise. We are not now what we shall be, but we are on the way. The process is not yet finished, but it is actively going on. This is not the goal, but it is the right road. At present, everything does not gleam and sparkle, but everything is being cleansed." --Martin Luther

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

CONTROL (written a few months ago)

Most adoptive parents will tell you that their children have “control” issues. Agencies and books tell their new parents this, but it usually isn’t enough. You just don’t seem to really believe it until you have to deal with it. These issues manifest in controlling their food (amount of intake/stealing), their general behaviors, some even hold everything in instead of using the bathroom (for days at a time), among many others.
Why? Why is control a common thread? Because for part, if not most of their early lives, they have had little to no control. They had no say in anything-IF they would get to eat, where they would live, if they would stay with mom or be adopted, etc. (True of all babies I suppose, but more so for adoptees because these issues were real situations that have actually played out for them) And somehow they now have to be willing to relinquish whatever little semblance of control they (think) they have to their new parents and family-they have to CHOSE to be a part of the family and follow the families’ rules. Before we adopted I DID NOT do all the reading, researching, and preparing that I could and should have. I just assumed it would be like adding another kid to the family—no biggie. Boy was I wrong!
Anyway, this post isn’t necessarily about that. Because that could take posts upon posts to write about. And again, if you don’t live it, it’s just sooo hard to believe. I know it may look to the outsider that we treat J differently. Well, the truth is we do-we can only treat him how he is able to respond to. And we treat each one of our kids differently- if you tell me you treat all yours exactly the same I wouldn’t believe you. Each child is a different age (and acts their age differently than the last one), each has their own temperament; each is a very different person than the rest. And often that looks “unfair” to those who don’t see daily life. There is a reason J doesn’t get to eat whatever he wants, whenever he wants and from whomever he wants for an example. That’s one of those control issues-he doesn’t have (or I should say, won’t exercise) self-control in this area. It is a choice he could make if he wanted to, but doesn’t. It is something we have to work on, consistently. (Meaning we have to work on obeying-he knows not to take food from anyone without asking mom or dad first, but usually doesn’t. And there is an aspect of working on knowing when he is full or not, when he really needs to eat or not.) That was one blessing of living in Africa for a year-there were things/behaviors we were able to see in older children and grown African men that helped confirm the what and the why of some of his behaviors.
But I am going off again. This is about MY control issue. One day I seemed to just be struck with it-me having this issue. Our lives seem pretty normal, but really, it still does not seem or feel under control by any means. So what do I do? I control my house. I control, even obsess some about how picked up it is or isn’t. If you come to my house right now you will see my big schedule posted on the wall where I have written what I would like to have happen each day. Where I wrote what I would like to see if I really had all the control I wish I had, that I pretend to have. Some things seem to be spiraling and there is nothing I can do about it; so I will control what I know I can and overcompensate in that realm.
I guess the thought just struck me how I am more like J in some ways than I would have thought. The key now is to take that, remember it, and relate to him in his “moments” differently, knowing somewhat where he is coming from.

1 comment:

Christine said...

As an adoptive Mom to an older child I was getting into your first paragraphs. It was how you ended it I didn't like. Maybe because that part also, hit too close to home. I'll be mulling/thinking this over for awhile. Thanks...I think, LOL.