The first year of adoption is supposed to be the hardest… new school, new parents, new town, new rules and new family connections. On top of that, the adopted child has to go through a grieving process for the life they’ve left. As each holiday comes and goes in the first year, the child will be full of memories for what they did with their foster parents and/or birth parents, and they’ll have to deal with them, put them to rest and embrace their new way of life.
Last Friday marked the 3 month anniversary of Jasmine becoming ours, putting us 1/4 of the way through this tumultuous first year.
It’s funny that we were so focused on getting Jassy through her first year that it never occurred to us that we’d experience the same emotions. Remembering the weekends we spontaneously went away, the days spent shopping for antiques, the lazy sunday afternoons with naps, long walks and candle light dinners… not that we can’t still have those things, but they are temporarily put on hold until Jasmine is settled and secure, and that could be another year or two.
It can be easy for me to feel overwhelmed by my new role in life, but there is one thing that refreshes me every time I remember it. God has called us to die to ourselves and live for Him, not to simply live for ourselves. When faced with a new parenting challenge (and they happen almost daily), I have to ask myself who I am living for with my actions… myself, or Christ? Through God’s law, I am to honor my husband, and raise my child in the ways of the Lord. There may be times when my personal wants clash with those commands, but I have so many rich blessings as a result of obedience that I just can’t compare the two.
A friend of mine put it in great perspective one day. She said there was a time when her husband and her had a really rough spell, and divorce became a topic for discussion, almost a reality. Had she followed her own desires and the world’s view that “I have to happy too”, she would be divorced, and a single parent of two, working to make ends meet and still holding on to the bitterness that caused the divorce. Instead, she and her husband handed it to God, and followed Gods law that marriage was a blessing, and sacred. Today, they are happier than ever with their 5(!) beautiful children, and just the nicest, sweetest family!
Anyway, (back on topic) for the past two months, I watched Jasmine go from being super excited about being adopted to being insecure that it really meant forever, to mouthy, to angry, to disrespectful. For a little while, I started to think that all I was ever going to be was that lady in the kitchen who takes toys away and says no to treats for bad behavior, and the ultimate punishment… grounded from shopping while Easter money burned a hole in her pocket :). That one did the trick… she pleaded, begged, and stormed the house daily and each time she took it too far I added another day. A 1 week grounding turned into two weeks, but I was determined that she learn there are NO rewards for bad behavior.
It worked, not over night, but over a few days. When she realized that I wasnt going to back down, she started talking it out with me. We finished out the 2 weeks of grounding and then had a lovely day of shopping together. She is making better distinctions when it comes to having an opinion or being disobedient, and in an odd way, I feel like this whole thing made her feel more secure about her future with us.
And yesterday she paid me the strangest, nicest compliment. She said, “I love you mommy. You really act like a real mom”.