Yesterday was my birthday - JD and I went to dinner and the movies (October Baby - so, so good) on Friday and then yesterday we cooked out and a group of girls and I played Spoons. All in all, it wasn't too traumatic for turning a year older. The last few weeks have been pretty rough, however, due to the reality that I have a few children that seem to cycle between me feeling complete despair at their behavior and other times when I feel we are making progress and I feel hopeful. Honestly, I have no idea what causes these fluctuations, but the day to day dealing with their current behavior and the anticipation of bringing new children home has me feeling rather desperate.
Alei got me this card for my birthday yesterday - I thought I'd share -
While I found this card humorous, at the same time it tends to be true. It seems at 100 different moments of the day, someone is fighting with someone over something (usually something stupid that isn't worth a fight.) I have a few huge tattle-tales and others who would not tell if the house was burning around them. One that baffles me to no end is a child that talks back to almost everything I say, yet will immediately, and without question, do anything that another child tells him to (even if it's the wrong thing and will get him in trouble!) At times I feel we could baffle an entire team of child psychologists.
I have been down this road many times before and the major crisis of my feelings is that I have two new children that are coming home that, fair enough, will have immediate major needs. Looking at my current life and demands, I'm not seeing how they are going to fit. I want to have everything arranged here (including my current children's behavior) so that I feel I'm in a place to handle new challenges and my current children are not helping me out by being cooperative. This makes me seriously question my own logic and reasoning in thinking that I'm capable of parenting two additional little girls. I do have some ideas of things that I'm going to do to lighten the crisis load around here and I'll be sharing some of those over the next few days.
I'll end with my thought that parenting can cause the greatest emotions on each end of the spectrum. Only my spouse and children can produce the greatest of joy I've ever had and also the latter once and a while the worst feelings of hopelessness.
I'm hoping that my little "sharing" only helps people know that we aren't adopting because we are feeling so successful with the children that we currently have. We are only adopting because we are willing! Although the road is hard, very hard some days, and I often feel completely beat down by the same little people that also bring such joy, we are confident that we are a way better family than no family at all. I also have to remind myself daily that I am not the one who determines who my children are, neither am I the one responsible for every decision they make. Unfortunately, they have all been proven sinners, just as I am, and my job is only to teach, train and God will take it from there. In the natural, I tend to feel responsible for each short-coming I see and blame myself for their mistakes; I'm afraid God knew that it would not be easy to teach me that lesson, so he gave me many people to reinforce it daily.
Here's my little Buddy in Gabriel's jacket from years ago. Gabriel was always very impressed with police officers and he collected several patches from the police chief in Norfolk that we used to go to church with. Elijah is equally thrilled with police officers and was pretty excited to see and try on the jacket. Elijah is also wearing Gabriel's first cleats that he played soccer in at five; they are way too big on Elijah but he wears them frequently anyway.
Here's my little darling, being a little less darling -